Friday, November 29, 2013

Things I have done before PBIM 2013 (1/4)

Sub-4 seems like an elusive target for full marathoners in the running community. Of course, achieving a Sub-4 meaning that you have completed one full marathon within 4 hours does not make you an elite runner, but rather a milestone itself. On the other hand, one that never ran a Sub-4 full marathon does not make him a loser as well. Every step counts and I believe that it takes courage and commitment to run a full marathon and everyone that crosses the finishing line is a winner.

I am taking break from running, not to say that I am not running at all, but the mileage is beinvg reduced, it is like a summer break or year end holiday for running now. Year ends really make things go slower, probably everyone is in the 'holiday' mood or mode. Enough with the crap... actually I am writing this for myself to record down the things that I have done during the preparation of the PBIM 2013 full marathon event. Perhaps, you could get some idea what are you going to do with your training for the next marathon. However, I would like to stress that things that work for me, might work or might NOT work for you. You have to find your own way... like what I have done.

Some background. I have started running full marathon back in 2011 and I have completed every single full marathon event (12 FMs) within 6 hours, before PBIM 2013. The best result that I had was 4:05 in SCKLM 2012. I would like to have a breakthrough in the full marathon event, so I knew that I got to do something.

1. Set Goal
  • or I should say set a S.M.A.R.T. goal. For me, my case was quite straight forward, I would like to complete PBIM 2013 in less than 4 hours. Is it specific? Yes, PBIM 2013. Measurable? Yes, less than 4 hours. Attainable? Yes, I need to improve at least 5 minutes from my previous PB. Relevant? Yes, personal achievement. Time bound? Yes, we'll talk about that in the training plan.
  • Preferably, a goal should be make early of the year during new year resolution or at least 12-16 weeks before the full marathon event. That will allow sufficient training time to adjust training plan to align to the goal being set.
  • Write it down somewhere you would see it everyday, or you carve it inside your brain. I did both. I wrote it down in my dailymile goal and it is carved deep inside my brain since SCKLM 2012. I just did not have the ingredient to make it before this.
  • Recap your goal as frequent as you can. I did it weekly as I started to write a weekly note to wrap up each training week. It helps you to focus.
2. Know Your Course/Route
  •  It is like the old Chinese saying, know your enemies and you shall defeat them. In this case, we have to know our running course of the full marathon event. You need to know everything, not just the event name and event date.
  • I have ran the same route 2 times. Once as a rookie in 2011 and second time in 2012 gunning for Sub-4 as well. I cross the bridge every day and I thought it was easy because I am driving across it, not running across it, so I have to be sure. I paid more attention to the elevation once I have had set the goal. The back and forth of Jelutong Expressway is not fun too, it would kill your quads if they are taken for granted. So, check the course profile and elevation, incorporate that in your training plan. If possible, train on the same course, I said if possible.
  • Beware of the event start time. PBIM starts at 2am which is the time that the body is in resting condition normally. What do you need to do to compensate that on race day? What preparation need to be done upfront. It must be planned and done before the race starts. I knew I could not sleep well, last year I slept 3 hours in the evening. 2013,  I slept for 2 hours. Luckily I have compensated it with a more rigorous training.
  • Know how many participants and starting traffic.In Malaysia, runners are not started by coral or waves, so knowing how fast you could run, how many participants and how accessible is the route can help you to save precious time. Normally a few thousands of runner will take 1 -2 km for crowd dispersion, depending on your speed. I lined myself up at the 4 rows because I did not wish to waste time at the back. However, please be realistic, try to position yourself accordingly. If you are doing a 6 hour marathon, you might want to start at the back a bit.
 3. Training Plan
  • If you fail to plan, then you might plan to fail. That's why a plan is always good. We are not going for a leisure backpacking holiday, but rather a 42.195km by your feet event, it is tough for your body and it is very long even by car.
  • A training plan sets you in the correct path. Sometimes, we drifted away from the original path, so we do regular review to that sure that we are on track to achieve the goal.
  • Ideally you should have 12 to 16 weeks training plan that consists of short run, tempo run and long run. It has to be tied to your fitness level and goal, remember.... be realistic~!!!
  • Those new in running might not be able to just kick start with a 40-60km base building mileage, but rather to get a mentor or coach to break in gradually to prevent injuries. If you are a marathon virgin with no running/fitness background, probably a 6 to 7 hours goal is realistic.
  • My training was very inconsistent in 2013 before this. Lack of long run. Too many runs without objective because there was no goal and no execution of training plan. No commitment, no discipline, bla bla bla... I had it all.
  • I have actually tried to use back the training plan that I used for SCKLM 2012 and PBIM 2012, but it was not quite successful because simply there too many administration and finally I have decided to use a mileage and specific workout training plan in the subsequent post. Another reason is that I only had 10 weeks instead of 12 or 16, so I need to be flexible..
    I'll share that, maybe next week?

    Example of the training plan of SCKLM 2012/PBIM2012:

To be continued... Part 2/4

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