Tag Archives: marathon

#AdeleWFOTM – Kartini

This month we have ultra marathonerKartini!


I got to know Kartini personally through the Puma Running Club. It has been great watching her running journey! I truly admire her determination, discipline and passion for running!

Read on to find out more about this girl and how she gives back to the running community!

My 1st Ultra at Pink50 2015 – 60km in 8:06


  1. What’s your fav sport/event?

    Running because I don’t know how to cycle or swim (Phobia from a childhood incident)!

  2. How long have you been running?

    Exactly 5 years this month!

  3. How did you start?

    Actually, I hated running. It all started back in 2012 when I managed to register for 10KM We Run KL (I was on my comp and iPad for over 2 hrs to secure a slot!).

  4. Do you join any groups/community? If yes, which group?

    I am a MURA member (Malaysian Ultra Running Assosiation) and I do join a few other running clubs for their weekly training sessions (eg. SARC, KyserunKrew, Puma Night Running Club, Run89Crew)

    Malaysian participants at The 16th International Jeju Ultramarathon Race 2017

  5. Your profession:

    Administrative and accounts manager.

  6. How do you juggle work and running?

    Well, there is a saying that when you do what you love and love what you do, you will find a way to make it work. Work is my priority but I’ll try to follow my schedule, and rest when my body needs to.  After my injury, I learned how to listen to my body!

    My very 1st solo #runcation trip at Laguna Phuket International Marathon 2015 – 4:32

  7. Do you have a training schedule? What is it like?

    Yes I do. It looks something like this:

    Weekdays (afterwork): Easy/Tempo/Speedwork/Cross training

    Weekend: LSD/Hill training/Running Events

    Rest: 2-3 days a week

  8. Who do you usually train with?

    I usually train with my running buddies (running crew) and sometimes just myself.

  9. Have you ever had injuries? How did you cope?

    Yes, I suffered a major one last year. It was a week before SCKLM 2016. This event was meant to be my sub 4 mission and I was working really hard for it. At first, I couldn’t accept it. I kept running, hoping it will get better. I was wrong. Things got worse and I was more frustrated. I decided to take a break from running until I recovered.

    Bali Marathon 2015 – 4:16

    Making a comeback is a whole different story. It is tough but I will never give up!

  10. Which was the most memorable event and why!

    To be honest, I love all of them (even the ones where I got injured, DNS or DNF…hahaha).  Every event has its own story regardless of the distance. But Borneo International Marathon would always be my fav event since 2014 (I skipped this year due to my injury). This event was where I completed my first full marathon (in 2014) and my parents were there to witness. Last year, I also managed to smash my full marathon PB (Personal Best), securing 3rd place in the Women’s Open category.

    My fav moment at Borneo International Marathon 2016 with my loyal supporters #myfamily – 4:06

  11. You have done quite a few ultramathons. Tell us, what do you think about when you are running an ultra?

    The rewards (FOOD!) after I cross the finish line (the BIGGEST motivation) and the lil voice in my head – “What did I get myself into? Is this going to be the last one? I will never register for an ultra marathon ever again! #insaf”.

    Of course, that’s a lie (haha!). I’ve already signed up for 2 ultra marathons – one in 2 weeks and the other in December 2017.

  12. Favourite distance: 42.195km (26 full marathons since May 2014 and 9 ultra marathons).

  13. My take on volunteering as a crew member and pacer for running events, and giving back to the running community:
    Being selected to be an official pacer is another dream come true. It’s fun but it’s not as easy as you think. As much as I want to see some improvement in my running journey, helping fellow runners to achieve their goal by pacing them and sharing some experience or tips about running is another satisfaction. A fellow pacer said this in his blog – “Nothing more rewarding than a handshake or a thank you from the runners after crossing the finishing line, knowing that you played a role in bringing them home, whether it is the entire course or partially.”#givingbacktorunningcommunity – Official Pacer
     
    Volunteering or being part of the crew for running events is fun too… in a different way. HAHA! I remember when I was assigned to be at one of the water stations 2km before the finish line. We came in early in the morning to set up the station, cheer for the runners and leaving the race village only after the job was done. It is tiring but the experience was priceless. I encourage you guys to give it a try! GOOD LUCK AND HAVE FUN!
     

Kartini is not only someone who RUNS but she also gives back to the running community! Definitely a fine example for us all. This is a COMMUNITY. We are STRONGER TOGETHER.

Let’s continue to support each other in our own special way! Thank you, Kartini, for sharing!

All the best in your running journey! KEEP IT UP GIRL!

#AdeleWFOTM – Angel Tang

Angel Tang – the ULTRA girl.

We met through the Puma Night Running Club about 2 years ago. She has been one of our loyal club members and we’ve witnessed how she bloomed (and still blooming!) into the runner that she is today! Even with a lingering knee injury, she’s still hitting the road and doing whatever she can to keep running. Crazy or determined? Read on to find out more:

1. How long have you been running?

Since secondary school! Back then, I was running in all categories from 100m – 1500m.  On top of that, I was also a member of the relay team in all the categories.  As a result of my active participation and achievement, I was voted the best sportswomen throughout my secondary school years.  When I graduated from secondary school, I stopped running to focus on my higher education and career. I rekindled my passion for running back in 2012 when my friend encouraged me to start running again by registering for a 12km run.  Since then, I’ve been running and by the end of 2012, I completed my first full marathon at Sundown Singapore.Angel 1

2. Why do you run/choose to run?

I choose to run because running allows me to slowly detach myself from the hectic and stressful world. Whenever I start running, I am able to immerse myself into my own little world where I can clear my mind and focus on myself.  It rejuvenates my mind even though it leaves me physically drained!

3. What do you like to do during your free time (other than running)?

Apart from running, my other passion in life is actually scuba diving. Due to the high cost and accessibility to great beaches, I can only dive once or twice a year.  I actually started diving around 2011 and I am now a PADI certified Rescue Diver.Angel 2

4. Do you follow a training schedule?

I don’t really have a particular training schedule or plan. I run whenever I can and whenever I feel like running.  Basically, if the weather permits, I would try to run every day and go for at least 1 LSD session over the weekend if there isn’t any running event.

5. What makes you want to go for an ultra? What keeps you motivated to finish?

Completing an ultra-marathon is the ultimate goal for me as a runner and I believe it is the same with most runners out there. For me, I want to experience what it feels like to run an ultra-marathon and to see if I am capable of achieving it.  My motivation to finish is my strong-will and my never-give-up attitude.  These traits push me to continue running no matter how exhausting or painful it is.

6. How do you prepare for an ultra-marathon?

My preparation for an ultra is rather simple but tough. It is basically trying to run as much as possible.  To be able to run an ultra, you basically need to train your body to be used to running as long as possible for extended periods of time.  To achieve this, I would try to run at least 10km for 3 – 4 times during weekdays and complete at least one 30km run over the weekend.  Apart from that, I will run with my hydration bag and under different weather conditions.  These are important as your body needs to be accustomed to the additional weight from the hydration bag and also various weather conditions that you will be subjected to while running an ultra-marathon.angel 3

 

7. What do you have to bring with you when you’re running an ultra-marathon?

I like to keep it as light as possible so I only bring what I really need. I carry about 1.5 litres of water in my hydration bag, which is sufficient as the water is meant to keep my mouth wet and I will drink more water at the checkpoints. In my hydration bag, I will bring around 8-9 packs of power gel, a few bars of chocolate, my light-weight jacket, a small LED torch-light, a LED blinker and a small tube of ointment for muscle pain/cramps. On top of these essential items, I ensure that I bring along mandatory items like emergency blanket, first aid kit, reflective vest and whistle.  The mandatory items list may vary depending on the race organizer.angel 4

8. Any advice to runners who want to go for an ultra?

Run more and train your mind. You need to be accustomed with running long distances alone and be in total darkness for long periods of time! It is important to be able to keep motivating and push yourself to the finishing line.

9. Do you suffer from any injuries? How do you handle them?

It would be a lie to say that I never suffered from injuries. Like any runner, I suffered from various injuries and the worst was my knee.  It has been a reoccurring problem from my hiking days.  Whenever my knee injury flairs up, I have to cut down on my mileage to let the inflammation subside. I stay fit by doing some core training and leg muscle strengthening exercises. Every 3-4months, I visit my knee specialist and if required, injections are administered to soothe the pain.

10. Your profession (your job).

Assistant Relationship Manager in HSBC.

11. How do you juggle work and running?

I normally train late in the evening (after work) and over the weekend. After work, I hit the road at around 7-8pm and run until 10pm.  During the weekend, I run early in the morning as my evenings are reserved for rest and some work.

12. Who do you usually train/run with?

My running buddy and running guru, Mr. Lee Teck Wai.

13. Which was the most memorable race and why!

Titi 100 in 2015. Even though it was only 50km, the Titi 100 route is one of the toughest road ultra-marathon in Malaysia and it is rather challenging to complete it.  Titi100 2015 was challenging as it started raining even before the flag-off at 12am and the rain continued until 3am.  The cold wind coupled with the darkness that surrounded us made it even harder to continue.  The beautiful scenery along the road and the experience of running under the moonlight that appeared after the rain had subsided made it unforgettable.  The sight of mist covering the tree tops along with the lake formed by the dam and other beautiful sights of nature were truly breath-taking.

14. Who inspires you the most and why?

I would have to say, Raymond Foo is my inspiration.  He provided the inspiration for me to start running back in 2012 and ‘poisoned’ me with all his stories of his various marathon and ultra-marathon experiences around the world.  I hope to do the same!

15. Fav running quote:

Don’t think, just hit the road!!

16. What do you think sets you aside from others?

Unlike many, I am not very disciplined with my training and I don’t really follow a particular training program. But I have strong will power. No matter the conditions, if I set my mind to run, I will give my best.  With this mind-over-body attitude, I am able to push myself further!

17. What are some of your running goals?

Currently, my main goal is to be able to complete a 100km ultra-marathon.  My other goals are to be able to constantly complete full marathons under 4hrs and to hopefully be a pacer for a running event.  Plus, I hope to be able to run in various marathons around the world.

To Angel: No, not every runner wants to experience an Ultra Marathon (HAHA!). Definitely not me…… yet.

Did she manage to inspire you to run your first Ultra? 😉 Thank you for your time, Angel!

 

Personal Thoughts: Post SCKLM Cancellation

Yep, it has been 2 weeks since the cancellation of the biggest event of the year! It would have been my second Full Marathon and definitely a highlight in my race calendar.

It took me a while to pen down (and go through) my thoughts. Honestly, I shoved it behind whenever the thought of “what could have been” crept up. The first few days were tough and I was still very much in disbelief. I was feeling very lost and very empty. I know many of my friends who have trained along with me felt the same way. The exhausting hours put into completing long runs, the pain of speed sessions, tears, running in the rain, haze and heat, and sacrificing much of our social lives……and not forgetting the tapering and CARBO LOADING phase. I had eaten enough to last A WEEK!FullSizeRender

To put things into perspective, I have one crazy friend who bought the next flight out to run the Melbourne marathon (happening this weekend!), just to put his training to the test! This is how hard marathoners train for an event! It is not an easy feat juggling work, school, family etc. Not going to let the sacrifices go to waste! To make things worse, another 2 events after SCKLM were cancelled due to the haze.

WAKE ME UP WHEN OCTOBER ENDS!

Thankfully, I was surrounded by very supportive people and we “cried” together for a few days. Now that we have gotten over it, it seemed a little silly and something we can laugh about!Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetKudos to Dirigo for the event that was supposed to be! At least I got to catch up with my friends!Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

For me, I was able to see the silver lining. Of course, I was a little bit disappointed. After the dengue episode, I had little hope for training for SCKLM with only 11 weeks out starting from ground zero. Still, I managed to put in the hard work. I don’t think I have been this disciplined, EVER!

Taking a step back, here are my GAINS:

-I have gained my fitness back. I am (was) at my fittest (so far).

-I am back to my healthy eating habits. I went off the rails with my eating and struggled with my appetite (during and after dengue). During the 2 weeks hospital stay, I had to eat whatever that was provided and I ate a lot of packed food (from the stalls). When I came back home, I couldn’t stomach fruits (for some reason). I felt sick eating fruits because it tasted “funny”.  I felt it was too bland. I craved foods that were SALTY and SWEET. Urgh! It was tough just trying to eat right! Glad to say that I AM BACK! 

-I am reassured that if I set my mind to it, I can get it done. Trust me, if I can do it, YOU can too!

-Didn’t think that I could be this disciplined, again!

-My PBs across 5K, 10K and Half Marathon!

-I am happy and I have gained so much respect for the sport and EVERYONE out there fighting to push beyond their limits whether it is for health, fitness gains, confidence, happiness or self-achievement.Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Not hard earned!

The fitness journey goes on! Make it a habit and make it part of your EVERY DAY life. Yes, there are seasons of heavier load of training and off seasons but whatever it is, KEEP MOVING!

Have an awesome day!

 

Taper Week – Dos and Don’ts

Some say taper week brings out the worst in runners. They get grumpy, agitated, angry and frustrated because they are required to cut down on mileage (which means running a lot less than usual).

I don’t know where they come from but TAPER WEEK IS THE BEST!

Less running and more food, what’s not to like? I’ve been waiting for this week to come, since the beginning of training. It feels like a tonne of weight has been lifted off my shoulders.FullSizeRender

Taper week/s is just as important as your other heavy training weeks. Do it wrongly and you risk performing well on race day.

Want to do it right? Here are the dos and don’ts:

Dos

1. Get Enough Sleep!

These days, sleep is considered luxury! We’d be lucky to get in at least 7 hours of good sleep. But to perform at your best, the body needs rest!

As you’ll most probably be too jittery to fall asleep the night before race day, sleep and rest 4-5 days before is crucial!

Aim for some consistency in terms of bed time and sleeping hours.

2. Massage and Foam Rolling

Go for a nice body massage during taper week. This will help loosen up your muscles. It will also relieve your mind of any pre-race STRESS!IMG_4970

Aim to foam roll and stretch every other day to release any tension and tight knots in your muscles. I like to stretch before bed time because it helps me to sleep better!

3. Eat Enough

For most of us, we fear the weight gain by eating the same amount (If not more) and decreasing mileage.

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Just eat as you normally would. Eating the same amount but not running as much will help you fill glycogen stores that have been depleted during training.

Remember not to go to either extremes of eating too much or too little. Both will have an impact on your performance.

4. Carbo Load

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Do carbo load 3 days before race day. You can read more about it here.

5. Keep Your Body and Legs Fresh

It is a fine balance between doing too much and too little during the final week of taper. You don’t want to be doing too much that your body cannot recover and you don’t want to be doing too little that your legs feel stiff.

IMG_6835During the final week, do one short speed session and go easy the rest of the days. You can do a combination of strides, 100s, 200s and 400s. Keep reps to a minimum if you do them at max pace but you can do a little more if you’re going at interval pace. This should get your heart racing, blood flowing and legs feeling fresh.

You should feel strong after the session and not drained. Everyone is different so see what works best for you!

6. Stick to Your Routine

The final week is not the time to introduce anything new. Try not to eat anything new even though it may be seemingly healthy. You never know how your stomach or body might react.

Just stick with what you know and what you normally do.


 

Don’ts

1. No Last Minute Cramming

Unlike when you’re sitting for an exam, last minute cramming WILL NOT WORK!

During taper week, less is always more. Now is not the time to put in last minute lost mileage during training or any sort of key workouts. These will put you at risk for injury and fatigued muscles before race day. Weekly mileage is recommended to be reduced to at least 40% of your usual training week.

IMG_6350

It does require some effort but try to decrease overall volume and duration while maintaining intensity. For example, you can use the same effort for your 200m repeats but instead of doing 10 reps, do 5.

A key thing to remember is that any physiological adaptations require at least 4-6 weeks. Last minute training is not going to improve your performance. In fact, it will probably do more harm than good!

2. No Unnecessary Activities

This is not the time to be trying a new sport or workout. Anything from hiking to a spin class is out of the question. Do those AFTER the race.

At this point, you want to be well rested. Reducing overall stress on your body will help your body to function optimally. This includes keeping hormone levels in check which are responsible for many physiological activities in the body including sleep!

3. Don’t Overanalyse

During the final days, you want everything to be perfect! From the food you eat to the amount of sleep that you get. It can be pretty stressful!

FullSizeRender(1)Just relax. What is supposed to be done has already been done. No amount of worrying is going to get you to run any faster.

Even after putting in all the hard work, you cannot predict what happens on race day. A good performance is never guaranteed to anyone. Just smile and be happy that you’ve managed to put in all the crazy amount of running that is required of marathon training.

Have some confidence by knowing that you have given yourself the best possible chance of achieving your race day goals.


Tapering is serious business. It allows your body to rest and recover from the gruelling hours of training that you’ve put it through. Bodily functions from muscle glycogen stores, hormones, enzymes, the immune system and anything that have gone out of whack during training will return to optimal conditions. Any micro tears in your muscles or connective tissues (tendons and ligaments) will also have a chance to repair and strengthen.

Tapering prepares your body for peak performance on race day. So, TAPER AWAY!

All the best!

Fat Loading: Does it work?

*I apologize in advance for all the drool worthy fatty food pics*

I can’t say this enough, our bodies are AMAZING. Why? Simply because we are capable of adapting to our immediate environment in so many ways!

As you can see from my previous posts, we are highly adaptable creatures. Train hard enough and you are able to run that much faster because your body has made the necessary changes to adapt to it.

In this context, going on a high fat diet would force your body to utilise it more efficiently.FullSizeRender_1

I know what you must be thinking: YAY! Another reason to go on a high fat diet! Of course, it is NOT as simple as it looks. If it was, obesity and other metabolic diseases would not exist because we’d all be super fat burners!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetThis spells: H-E-A-R-T A-T-T-A-C-K !

Previously, we explored how endurance training can help us become efficient fat burners.

Let’s take a look at Fat Loading:

A few studies have found that in general, fat loading does improve performance during endurance based activities [1 , 2]. During an endurance event, intramuscular triglycerides (muscle fats) contribute a significant amount of the total fats used [3]. Consumption of a high fat diet has been shown to enhance the utilisation and storage of these muscle fats. This is the adaptation seen when undergoing endurance training.

However, note that high fat diets only seem to improve time to exhaustion in moderate intensity activities [4].  This is hardly the case in real world racing where there will be times of acceleration, uphill surges, midway and finishing sprints which are moments of high intensity bouts. Such a diet will not work for shorter higher intensity races (5K or 10K race) [5]. Also, a prolonged high fat diet seems to impair endurance performance [1].

The Protocol

Remember that you are not depending on just ONE TYPE OF FUEL at any one time during a race, it is a combination of the different types of fuel. Research has found that it was better to have the best of both worlds – a hybrid diet. A typical fat loading protocol would include a few weeks (1-1.5 weeks) of high fat diet to stimulate the fat oxidation capacity followed by a period (2-3 days) of high carbohydrate diet preceding a race to top off glycogen stores [6].

If you start off with low glycogen levels, performance will indeed be impaired!IMG_6893

Carbs and fat!

The Downside

There’s always a downside. The thing about fat loading is that while it enhances fat metabolism at moderate intensity activities, the use of glucose as a source of fuel is impaired. Studies have found that prolonged fat loading has been associated with a decrease in hexokinase activity (enzyme involved in the first step to using glucose as fuel) and pyruvate dehydrogenase activity (another enzyme involved in using pyruvate as fuel) in trained individuals [7]. This can affect the individual when the demands for muscle carbohydrates are high.Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Personal Thoughts

I’ve gone through many research papers and they all seem to have very different results/conclusions due to the heterogeneity of the trials.

Every individual is different. Some people can thrive on a high fat diet whereas the same diet might leave another person sick in the stomach. It is quite hard to screen for people who can adapt well to high fat diets to improve performance.

FullSizeRenderJust when I thought I could EAT ALL I WANT!

I personally don’t think I can go on a high fat diet. I have not tried though! But I guess for anything below the marathon distance, going on a high fat diet does not give any significant benefits.

Energy gels are readily provided throughout a race to help you avoid the dreaded bonk and maintain blood glucose levels.

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However, if you are planning to explore ultraendurance events, it may be worth your time to give this protocol a go. *At your own risk!* Experiment with 7 days of high fat diet followed by 2 days of carbo loading before an endurance event, who knows, it just might help!

*Don’t try this before your race though, practice first!*

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At the end of the day, TRAINING is inevitable! It guarantees improved performance and turning you into an efficient FAT BURNER!

Proper training coupled with a wholesome well-balanced diet DURING training is much more important when it comes to improving your performance.

I am curious to know what you think! 🙂

Keep Running!

 

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