Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Look Back in Training...

By Frank

The 2 toughest month of the Comrades Marathon training, March and April 2013 is now behind me as it's just 15 days till race day. Preparation this year was certainly much better compared to the previous and I felt much stronger to tackle the epic race this time. As reality sets in and after completing my last long slow and easy run this morning running a 20KM distance, here's a look back on what I went through since official training started back on 1 January 2013.

The official training program of the Comrades Marathon is always scheduled to be between 1 January till 31 May giving runners about 5 months to train. And the healthy running distance to hit as part of preparation for the race will be a 1,500KM with various drills, which is tough to hit especially coming from the part of the world I am in.

For me, as of posting this entry today, my running mileage now stands at 1,042KM.  It was really a tough challenge due to my job and therefore to hit the 1,000KM distance was my main target with anything more will be a bonus to me. I was relieved and happy that I managed to hit it as it does help a little in mental strength. Talk about placebo effect. However, I am also glad too that besides running the various drills such as long slows distances and time trials, I have put in other training efforts like resistance and strength training to further strengthen myself.

My running data since from Comrades 2012 to Comrades 2013.

Beginning in the month of January, continuing my momentum from the Year to Year 6 days circuit race, it was a good start to the program as I managed a very healthy 217KM. I went back to square one and did the build up to prepare myself for tough months ahead.

Everything was going good till February came. I hurt my left shoulder doing shoulder press and couldn't run comfortably with a swollen scapula. To make matters worst, it was Chinese New Year month and I went back to my home town only to be greeted by rain. Running mileage for this month took a tumble as I only managed 114KM. Sweated a little, but panic I did not.

Rested and managed to let my injured left scapula heal. And I started the month of March where Comrades runners will call it hell March, with a bang teaming up with Roy to participate in the TNF Singapore City Race. A 40KM in the pocket as I continued on with training. And towards the final 2 days of the month, came the 3rd edition of the Twilight Ultra Challenge where runners challenge themselves to running loops in 16 hours at Singapore's East Coast Park. I was to simulate the 87KM but failed to do so as sleepiness took over after 12:28 hours in action. But all in all, it was a good month indeed as 364KM was achieved!

Armageddon April as I call it myself was next. Not as tough as hell March but I've still one long run to put in as plan. Continued with momentum until I was hit my food poisoning 2 weeks into the month. Though no diarrhea  I felt bloated for about a week. I did not train for the whole week but glad that fitness wasn't affected. Into the third week, I managed to put in some short quality runs before another 16 hours run challenge with Devan. This time, on the treadmill. I managed a 55KM in 12:45 hours. That resulted in a very sore body probably due to using the same set of muscles trying to stabilize myself on the treadmill. However, I managed to pull myself up to strength by completing off armageddon April with a very productive half marathon at Bidor. Total distance covered for the month was 218KM.

And into the final month, May. I am now enjoying my tapering month. Runs are still being ran, with intensity reduced. Weekdays are about 5KM to 10KM easy runs while one day on the weekend a bit longer at about 15KM to 20KM. Will keep moving till 22 May as I will be flying off on 23 May 2013. There will be 2 more short easy acclimation  runs scheduled for me at Pretoria once I get to South Africa though and hence will finish off my Comrades Marathon 2013 training with them.

Throughout the first 4 months of training, diet was pretty normal though as I will try to stay away from unhealthy food. However at times, I still reward myself with some "cheat" food like fast food, chips and so on. I believe a reward sometimes is necessary after all the hard work as we would not want to live a dull life. And sometimes, this type of rewards can be exceptionally rewarding. However, in the month of May, my diet has been clean thus far. This is when my body starts to adjust to race conditions and hence, a clean healthy diet is a must. All the reward can come after the race.

The above training may not be perfect but I am confident with it. The running distances does not justify anything if quality is not there. And besides, I have also put in other trainings too which will be beneficial. As after all, the sports of running isn't just about moving those legs. So moving onwards with 5 days till I leave for South Africa, there will still be a few more short active runs locally to keep those legs moving. And upon arrival there, there will be a couple of runs more to get use to the conditions there.

So yeah, it's 15 days to go!

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