Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tempo Run

I changed my training plan to only doing tempo pace (about 6min/km) in the weekdays training and long run at target marathon pace over the weekend. 3 to 4 workouts per week and all other days will fill with cross training on bicycle.

I made this adjustment because I am looking for an effective training approach to achieve my 2013 target to sub-5 in a full marathon. My PB for full marathon is 5:11 in 2012 SCKLM. Back then, I am doing fine all the way to 30k and lost the push after that. I think my WALL will be still around that same place this year if I follow the same training plan.

First I looked into the First Program, but it needs lots of discipline and more time for training (compared to my laid back easy training mode). I would say the program’s tag line of “Run Less, Run Faster” is very attractive, but the true is the time you saved from running less, you are spending them in cross training and core building now. I am totally agreed to the approach, but I got a very busy schedule this year so I decided to KIV…

Then I ran into the Yasso 800s. I spent few weeks on this speed work program, but it hurt! I put the blame on my running form / gaits, and the weak core muscles. These muscles and form is getting very hard to control after the first 800m @ 5min/km pace. Although the speed work repeats do improved my running strength but I don’t foresee I can last until the 10th repeats (maximum I did was 4 repeats only, so far), without injured myself! On the hindsight, I can’t connect the speed work to my marathon pace. I found it hard to go with my target marathon pace of 7min/km on my long run. I will normally started too fast and when bonk half way. Again, another KIV…

Then I came across this sharing in FB. It gave me an idea on how to build my training plan, and spend the limited time I had for quality training. I visited the McMillan site and calculated my current pace versus target pace. After analyze the number, I think I found the root cause for the inability to keep up with target pace came from lacking of Stamina, and the solution: Tempo Run. Tempo run aimed to perform the workout at certain level of effort (prefer at the lactate threshold level, which is 80-90% of max hearth rate). Fast but under control pace. I can spend time to adjust my form / gaits from time to time and reduce the risk of getting injured by going too fast. The key is to mix up the short-normal-long tempo run. My current level, short will be something less than 5k, normal is between 5-10k and long is more than 10k, in the tempo zone.

I started to trim down my training plan by removing the easy run and speed work. I don’t need to run very fast for a sub-5 marathon, and my half marathon result showing that I am fast enough for the 7min/km target pace. I used the short tempo run as one to one replacement to easy run, and normal length of tempo run for speed work. Ideally in 3 workouts weeks, I should do 1x short, 1x normal & 1x long run. In 4 workouts weeks, I should do 1x short, 1x normal, 1x long tempo and 1x long run. But I got limited time in the morning so it’s extremely challenging to perform a long tempo during weekday (so far I only got once).

Now I followed the new plan for about 3 months and I think I am doing the right thing. One significant improvement is on my ability to hold on to 7min target pace during my long runs. Will continue to following this home made training plan. The result in the next Marathon will tell.

Happy training!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Race Report: Seremban Half Marathon

I got no plan to run this year Seremban Half Marathon. It’s only because of the postponement of SCKLM, and I am starving for some race, I decided to join. This is my second bandit in a race. The registration actually extended to 5 July and I still able to register online, but the draw back is the race kit collection. I will need to drive 2 hours to just collect my kit from Seremban on 6 July. I am ok to drive that far for a race morning, but not for just race kit collection. Hence I decided to just bandit in this race.

Seriously lack of mileages due to laziness and work, I knew this will be just a race in training mood. Target pace will be the marathon pace @ 7 minutes and should complete the run in about 2:20~2:30 hours. Arrived in Seremban town 6:10am, decided to park the car at the pay parking area near by the padang and next to some budget hotels. Went straight to the starting line and surprisingly seem to be more participants this year. May be all runners are starving to put their training in to test due to the postponement of the SCKLM.

Flag off on time, and we will do the same route like the previous year. I felt lacking of traffic control since the first km. Few cars trapped at the traffic light in front of Seremban Parade when we flagged off. They are allowed to go by the traffic police even before all HM runners cleared that stretch. I thought that was just one off coordinating issue...  As usual, Seremban HM route give you a difference feeling compared to the usual city races we had. We covered mostly sub-urban area and kumpung area. As usual, we ran on the road side which most of them had zero traffic control. But I felt the traffic was heavier now compared to previous years. The situation getting worst at the last 3km, the road get narrower and after that, we emerged with the school children from 10k category. Runners forced to share the 2 lanes climbing roads with lots of walking students, motorcycles, cars and buses.

The support in term of refreshment is good though. Gatorade and sponges was aplenty. But may be next time can use paper cups instate of PS cups. Also observed serving of half bottle of mineral water in the water stations near the D-tag check point. Perhaps they ran out of cups, I think the half bottle is fine, but just wonder what happened to the other half of the bottle :P   As I bandit to the race, I ran with 2x 500ml Gatorade (500ml water plus 500ml Quiet Storm). It proven the 1l of fluid is enough for me to survive the 21km. The only problem is my right arm’s muscle was not used to the water bottle, it sore until now.
Around 11km, thanks Zaini for the nice photo
This was the 3rd times I ran this route, the easy pace game plan is gone after 8k in the race. Felt great and decided to play harder! Pace increased to 6:30~6:45, also the hearth rate went up to 160BPM. Body was doing fine and holding the pace all the way until finish. This is a short distance course of 20.3km and finished on 2:18’. I loved the herbal tea that the organizer served in last 2 years at the finish line, but this year they changed it with some diluted grape favorite solution and no more Gatorade at the finish line too! Another minus point is the same finisher medal, again! In conclusion, tentatively (learned from previous experience, you will never know) I will not return next year. If I need another half marathon, I will join Bidor next year.

As SCKLM postponed, my 10th Full Marathon will be the same River Jungle Marathon that I did as my 1st ever Full Marathon 2 years ago! And it will mark the 3rd running year in my life. 55 more days to go and I am aiming for a sub-5 full marathon this round :)