Running a marathon can be very daunting, especially for first-timers! It takes countless hours of preparation and training to fully prepare for one.
Want to know how to train properly for the upcoming OSIM Sundown Marathon 2017? We put on our running shoes for a day out with veteran runner and Sundown with Love Ambassador, Evan Chee, and find out how he trains for a marathon.
OSIM: How do you usually prepare yourself before running a marathon?
Evan Chee: You will need adequate preparation. I believe in beginning my training early. I normally start 6 months before any race and increase the training intensity and mileage progressively, with not more than a 10% increase in intensity every week.
What do you think our training plan should be if we were to run a marathon?
The first 3 months will be the base training phase where you will clock up the running mileage progressively. This will adequately condition the body to handle the higher mileage required later. The base training phase includes a few easy short to long runs ranging from 6 – 20km and 1 session of a higher intensity workout every week. The total mileage per week can range from 40 – 80km.
The next 3 months leading up to the race will be your sharpening phase where you can tune your body to be ready to finish the marathon distance. The sharpening phase includes a few easy mid to long runs ranging from 8 – 35km and 2 – 3 high intensity workouts every week. The total mileage per week can range from 80 – 120km.
That sounds very intense. Don’t you ever feel like skipping your training sometimes?
There will be times when you just feel like easing off a bit for a day. I will either go for a shorter distance, or take the opportunity to rest for that day and to come back stronger.
What exercises would you recommend for amateur or first time runners?
You can do some cross training such as adding in gym sessions, cycling or even swimming. This can minimise injuries for inexperienced runners without a strong running base. Take a break or adequate rest when you feel any strain or pain, to ensure that you don’t over-exert yourself.
Are there any changes to your diet before running a marathon?
I personally do not adhere to a very strict diet regime. I am more particular about my food consumption during the 3-month sharpening phase, and try not to indulge in foods with high sugar content. I will follow a specific carbohydrate-loading diet for 6 days before any race, so as to ensure the best performance on race day.
Who do you normally train with, and how do you stay motivated and disciplined in preparing for a marathon?
I train with a big group of like-minded running enthusiasts, and also have another group of close running friends who are willing to wake up as early as 4am during the weekends to slog it out and do training runs with me. The camaraderie helps a lot!
Last but not least, I train with my coach, Rameshon Murugiah, who is the current national record holder for the marathon distance. He is constantly motivating me and pushing me to do my best. I have learnt more about efficient running and training in the past 2 years with him, than I have in the 16 years before I started training with him. This is evident from my current run timings in all marathon distances since I’ve picked up competitive running in my Junior College days.
Does an experienced runner like you ever “hit a wall” in terms of your running progress? How do you overcome it?
Definitely! After taking part in a competitive marathon race in December 2015, I had lost speed in my legs and was struggling to pick up speed again for several weeks. On top of that, there was another race which I was competing in fast approaching. There was nothing much I could do at that time except to be patient, to have ample rest and to slowly train progressively again. Eventually, I managed to clock my personal best timing of 2 hours and 49 minutes for the full marathon distance.
You must be looking forward to the upcoming OSIM Sundown Marathon 2017. Tell us more about which race category you will be running in and what do you hope to achieve?
I am definitely proud to be running again in the OSIM Sundown Marathon, especially since I am one of the ambassadors for the 2017 edition. This will be my fifth time participating. I will be running in the half marathon category (21.1km), and I hope that I will be able to maintain my form and have a chance to beat my personal best timing of 1 hour and 20 minutes.