The Lessons Of The 7-Eleven Skyway Marathon

run-7-eleven-2017-race-kit-claimingSince the time I have come to understand and embrace running as a lifestyle, I have become relentless about my carefully chosen battles, which means training for the scheduled race, and properly gearing up on race day.

The Run 7-Eleven 2017 race village was all perked up when I arrived to claim my race kit. Roughly a quarter before the 11pm gun start for 42K, most runners including myself joined our respective wave groups. And being my first marathon for the year, I was excited to set the bar for this distance. I had a pretty good start running alongside my dear friend Rhina up until about the 5th kilometre.

Running through the Skyway was quite overwhelming I must say. But at some point, it has made me feel invincible. As I picked up on my pace, I realised I have missed my personal electrolytes solution (oresol). So I had to make sure I hydrate whenever necessary. Hydration marshals politely offered unli-water and unli-sports drinks along the way, and even went an extra mile of peeling off the bananas before handing them to us. It was actually a good idea to prevent banana peels from being scattered along the route, which when stepped on can cause someone to slip. A group of marshals were chanting giving life to the Skyway and giving the runners that extra push just when the legs started to feel heavy.

The Skyway became a rendezvous for me and my friends whom I haven’t seen for a long time, it was a good venue to simply catch up and say hello to, reciprocated each other when there’s no one to boost our waning energy.

At the 22nd kilometre, I could feel my calves locking in. I came up to the medics team and asked for a sachet of oresol to prevent further depletion of my electrolytes (although I already filled my personal hydration bottle with Lightwater, which is always available in 7-Eleven stores!). Lack of proper nutrition plan resulted to leg cramps. It prompted me to slow down and even walk to release the tension in the muscles, and started running again as soon as I could.

Literally hard-earned 42k medal. #Run711

Literally hard-earned 42k medal. #Run711

I was targeting a 4:30 finish time. Due to recurring leg cramps, I had to accept the fact that it was seemingly possible as I still had about five kilometres to go. Like what I would always advise to the runners I’m training with, “Always listen to your body.” I had to play it by ear, even if it means going beyond my target time.

Finally, as I was going off the skyway towards the finish line, a myriad of thoughts came into my mind. There were quite a few important things that I fell short on. Lessons were learned.

Back at the race village, I changed into my fresh clothes and had two bowls of the delicious rice porridge. Tucked my hydration with me and by 6 in the morning, I was back in the Skyway to fulfil my marshal duties to make sure that runners are off the Skyway before it opens for the motorists.

Marshal duties. #Run711

Marshal duties. #Run711

Capturing the sunrise as seen from the Skyway. #Run711

Capturing the sunrise as seen from the Skyway. #Run711

The race has brought me to a realisation that running is not all about the medal, the finisher shirt and the loot bags after crossing the finish line. Running a marathon has taught me how to value training, discipline, respect, integrity and self-worth.


How I Nailed My 5k Run The Easy Way

Preparation and training are very important in making sure you make a good 5k finish. A few considerations would include a good pair of running shoes and comfortable running gear.

A 5-kilometre distance race is not hard to accomplish. It’s about how well you can make it to the finish line without the risk of muscle fatigue during and after the race.

Training three times a week is enough to give you a good 5k finish, without getting you burned out.

Here are 10 tips to nail your 5k run the easy way!
  1. Set your goal.
  2. Have your gear ready (shoes, comfortable running clothes, hydration, etc.).
  3. Have a dynamic training plan, and train properly.
  4. On training days that you feel like being couch potato, think about why you’re working out.
  5. Eat the right kind of food.
  6. Hydration properly.
  7. Remember that rest days are as important as your training days.
  8. Be ready for your race.
  9. Always listen to your body.
  10. Cross the finish line!
The Training Plan

I normally train three to four times a week. To make use of these training days, I created my own dynamic plan to cover speed, race pace and my easy or recovery workouts. This will also give me a good amount of time to recover, especially after a hard workout, speed training or long runs.

DO proper warm-up and dynamic stretching before your workout, and static stretching after your workout. Hydrate. Rest.

My 5k Run Training Program

My 5k Run Training Program

This was my training program, and it worked for me. It helped me gain speed without feeling wasted after crossing the finish line. Since we all have varying fitness levels, this may not totally work on you, but you can tweak it to suit your schedule and your physical capacity. It would also be better to consult your cardiologist first and be cleared before doing any physical activity.

For speed training, run at 50-60% of your current speed, picking up on speed as you progress with each repetition.

Remember that rest days are as important as your training days. So, don’t forget to get ample rest in between training days. If you can’t help it, cross train by swimming or cycling, or do core strengthening workouts at the gym. Just don’t over do it. You’re training the next day.

Good nutrition plays a vital role. Whether you want to lose weight or gain speed, eat the right kind of food. Never ever starve yourself by skipping a meal. Eat small portions but complete meal. This way, you can avoid those “cheat days”, which can sometimes lead to having cheat days for the most part of the week. And that defeats your purpose of why you are working out.

If you’re a bit crunched in time, in four weeks, you can actually do your first 5k run without a hassle. But of course, don’t expect that you can do as much speed. On days that I do my “long runs”, I ran the first half of the distance a bit faster than my usual pace, and ran at race pace during the second half of the distance. This technique will result in a negative split. What I also like about this method is that, I don’t feel tired and I still have the energy to sprint the last 100 metres. During training or during the race, ALWAYS listen to your body.

Note: This was based on my personal training.

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