Monday, October 27, 2008

Know Your Pacers Part 2: 4hrs 15mins and 4hrs 30mins Pacers



This week, we will be introducing our 4hrs 15mins and 4hrs 30mins pacers!


4hr 15mins Group: Running makes You Feel Youthful Always
The team comprises of: Helen Cheah, Ang Wei Beng, James Tan and Ang Lai Soon

Helen Cheah
I started running seriously back in 1994, after I had put on weight after given birth to my eldest son. Running 3 times a week followed by swimming, I lost weight eventually, and managed to keep it off all these years! I have benefited much from running, just to name a few; it has boosted my immune system, always feeling fresh and energetic, and I no longer get easily tired as before. Best of them all, running allows me to eat what I like without feeling too much guilt. To date, I have completed 5 marathons and over 10 half marathons. As my stamina gradually improves over the years, I have too come to love long endurance runs, as well as trail running. Apart from encouraging people to be acquainted to this magical sport, it is my wish and mission to assist and motivate runners in achieving their personal best for the marathon this year. I will give my utmost to help runners enjoy running, and stay in the midst of training. “Listen to your body, and run safe.”



4hrs 30Mins Group: Because we know you can, Let's finish this in 4hrs 30mins!
The 4:30 hours pace group is led by Alber, and staffed by Freddie, Kok San, Johnny and Charmane, all of whom are experienced marathoners. This group of runners come from a diverse running background, and are confident that they will be able to deliver come race-day.

The team comprises of: Alber Yong, Charmane Tan, Tan Kok San, Johnny Lim and Freddy Chan.

Freddy Chan aka cfred84
I would say e 1st time I started running was way back in 2003 when I was 19. Goal was to train up somewhat because National Service was looming! Have always been active in sports but never really run much till then. It was difficult in the beginning (breathless, tired etc.) but after sometime from a 'chore' it became something 'enjoyable'. Did my 1st marathon, SCSM in 2005 as a challenge to myself that I could complete it and eventually did it in 5 and half hours. I couldn't move around much after that and everywhere was aching; took me a week to recover!

Chanced upon SgRunners forum towards the end of 2005 and met many like-minded individuals and made lots of friends and shifus whom inspired me further. They set the standards that I hope 1 day I can achieve. Have since come to love running even more and its an outlet to express myself. Being a pacer, I hope I can help guide whoever out there to hopefully achieve his/her dream as well. The journey is long but I'm sure with determination everyone can do it - “I can, therefore I will”.

Next week, we will be featuring our pacers from the 4hrs 45mins and 5hrs group so stay tune!

15 Week Training Programme: Week 10

Week 10

Marathon

Mon 27/10: Rest / Cross (5 - 10km for those who choose to run - Option: Changi Business Park, 1815 hrs. Meet at "The Signature")
Do this or Wednesday.
Happy Deepavali! 5 - 10km OTOT

Tues 28/10: 7-10km, with at least 4 x 1km Tempos.
River Promenade (Meet at FatBird statue), 1815 hrs.

Wed 29/10: Rest / Cross (7 - 12km, International Business Park, Atrium. 1800 hrs.)
Do this or Monday.

Thurs 30/10: 7-10km, River Promenade (Meet at FatBird statue), 1815 hrs.

Fri 31/10: Rest.

Sat 01/11: 35km to 38km @ Pace, Changi Beach Park Car Park 2 Meet 0645hrs.

Sun 02/11:
Recovery Run: 5 - 7km Easy, Own Time Own Target.

Note: This Sunday is also the MR25 Progressive Run: 35km, and the Pearl Izumi Run series: 30km.

Half - Marathon

Mon 27/10: Rest

Tues 28/10: 7-10km with at least 3 x 1km Tempo.
River Promenade (Meet at FatBird statue), 1815 hrs.

Wed 29/10: Cross.

Thurs 30/10: 7-10km, River Promenade (Meet at FatBird statue), 1815 hrs.

Fri 31/10: Rest.

Sat 01/11: 22
km Pace, Changi Beach Park Car Park 2, Meet 0645hrs.

Sun 02/11: Recovery Run 5 - 7km Easy, Own Time Own Target.

Note: Please look out for Team FatBird pacers at the meeting point.

FatBird Marathon Training Session #9

Field Report Filed By FatBird Benny

This weekend past was the 9th installation since the marathon training series for Team FatBird started. The allocated distance was for between 32 – 35 km, with the 3:45 hrs through 4:15 hrs pacers taking on the longer distance.

The morning started off with excellent weather, with the sun rising slightly later than usual, and intermittent cloud cover blocking off the heat. There was a buzz of excitement in the air throughout the pacer team, and rightfully so. Today was the debut of our pacer training gear courtesy of Nike Singapore, and all of us were decked out in our spanking new training tops! This was in no small part due to Jancy’s co-ordination and dedication to turn up earlier to ensure that distribution of the gear went smoothly. Thanks Jancy!




At 7:10 sharp the sizeable group that had turned up went off, breaking into the various pace groups with Max leading the pace as the 3:45hrs pacer. It struck me there and then that everyone seemed to be really comfortable and strong now, and surely this must agur something better one raceday.

The run was nice and comfortable with the beautiful weather, and before long we arrived at Carpark F2, where the 5:00 group took our first toilet/water break. We lingered for about 2 mins before starting off again, and I announced to the group that they did not have to worry as we would be stopping for water at the last toilet before reaching Changi Coast Road.

Along the way I chatted with the various people in our group, and informed them of the plans Edwin and I (Deepcruiser was abroad, and Jancy was tapering for her marathon next week) had for the day – that our actual km pace was intended to be 7:05, but we would be running at approximately 6:45 – 6:50/km to buffer up for toilet breaks, and on raceday proper, to walk through waterpoints.

We’d then arrived at NSRCC, and Max, the 3:45hr pacer was spotted coming from the other direction – he was doing a shorter 20km distance as part of his taper for his marathon, and even at pace was looking really relaxed and strong.

En route back to the start/finish point, the weather turned slightly warmer, but there was an nice breeze blowing in from the sea front, so it didn’t turn out to be too bad. As I arrived most of everyone else was already back at the pavilion and happily having their refreshments, mingling around with each other. Before long ZCO and Terry, helming the 5:30 group came back looking strong too, and after a short break we had a short stretching session to soothe those tired muscles, before breaking off to clean up and head for lunch.


All in all a great day to be out running, and the camaraderie provided by Team FatBird pacers and trainess certainly added to the enjoyment.

Carpe Diem!

View the FatBird Photo Album Here

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Marathon Training Tip: Run Safe - Injury Prevention

Personal security

Always expect the unexpected, and be aware of the worse that could happen. Just because you feel safe does not mean you are safe.

The safer time to go out running is 1st thing in the morning, just after it has got light. There will be fewer cars or people about, the pollution levels will be at their lowest, while in the trail or on the beach the risk of thunderstorms will be the smallest. Nevertheless, if it suits you to do your running in the evenings, you may wish to look for a club (such as SAFRA MF running club etc) so you can go out as part of a group, especially for a female runner.

If you are thinking of doing a new route, plan it properly beforehand to make sure there are no potential danger spots. If there are, at least you will be prepared for them.

If you are attacked or dangerously harassed while out running, make sure you report it at the local police station. Even if the police cannot do anything about your particular incident they might be more alert to what could occur in the future. Do your best to remember as much as you can about your assailant.

Road safety
There are 2 important things to remember when running on the road: cars are faster than you and harder than you!

Road safety for runners isn't that much different from road safety for pedestrians, except it all happens that bit faster.

If there is no pavement, run facing oncoming traffic, and if running after dark, makes sure you have reflective strips front and back, even if there is street lighting. Don't cross against traffic lights unless you are absolutely certain. Be aware of cars that you see parking ahead of you in case a door opens across the pavement, and don't be tempted to nip across a road from between parked cars. Watch out for cyclists too, especially at junctions coming against the light and going the wrong way up one way streets.

Cross country running at places such as MacRitchie Reservoir (MR) requires extra care regarding overhanging branches, exposed tree roots and holes. If you are going cross country run, stick to acknowledged footpaths or make sure permission has been granted to access the land.

Storm Warning
You are more likely to get knocked down by a car or bitten by a dog than be struck by lightning, so although it can be scary if you are caught out in an electrical storm, you are probably pretty safe. You will need to take precautions, though. Try to head for cover as soon as you see the storm. Don't shelter under a lone tree or isolated tall structure.

Dog World
If you are bothered by a dog, don't try to outrun it, you won't succeed. Stand still until it gets bored and slopes off. If faced with one about to attack (head and shoulders lowered and snarling), don't make any sudden movements and avoid making eye contact (as dog take this as a threat), the chances are that once it sees you are no threat to its territory it will relax.

Watch out, there are thieves around!
Don't take any more with you than you have to when you go out running. If you drive to your run, don't leave valuables in your car, specially parking at places like Lower Pierce car park before dawn.

Summary of safe running Dos and Don'ts:

Dos:
(1) Wear reflective clothing after dark, even in area with street lights
(2) Run facing on coming traffic
(3) Carry identification, an emergency contact number and medical details (if needed)
(4) Be alert to your surroundings

Don'ts:
(1) Don't run by yourself if you can avoid it
(2) Don't stop to give directions or the time or have any stationary contact with strangers
(3) Don't run the same route at the same time each outing (especially for female)
(4) Don't try to outrun a dog

Injury Time
It does not matter how careful you might be, running is a potentially hazardous activity.

You will suffer some form of injury at some point during your running life. This is pretty much a given, as in any one year >50% of all serious runners will pick up an injury severe enough to make them miss a week or more's running. Often the body part will get damaged and start hurting as a result of keeping the strain off some other apparently unrelated part, which is where the problem actually lies. Taking an example, a runner may think that he had a back problem, and after seeing several specialists discovered he had a problem with his ankle and the incorrect techniques he had adopted to keep his weight off it as he ran had been twisting his back.

Because of the self-contained nature of running, the vast majority if running injuries are self-inflicted, therefore entirely avoidable and usually self treatable

Indeed, most running injuries occur for one or more of these 4 reasons:
(1) Over use and/or
(2) Lack of preparation and/or
(3) Unsuitable equipment and/or
(4) Poor technique

Bad Shoes
If you are suffering unexplained and repetitive pains, wherever they are on your body, check your shoes first!

Running on shoes that are not right for you or are worn out can have adverse effects far beyond your feet.

Don't run on the same pair of shoes for more than 6 months. Worn out shoes probably claim far more victims than the wrong shoes, as it is so easy to carry on for a few more months with a pair of shoes that "seem alright". But if the midsole of the shoes has collapsed, the shoes will no longer be providing the cushioning they should do, and the impact as each step hits the concrete will be transmitted, virtually undampened, to ankle, knee and hip joints, resulting in internal inflammation such as bursitis. This lack of shock absorption puts you at enormous risk or stress fractures in the ankles and feet, particularly in the fragile metatarsals.

Top 5 injuries at a glance:
(1) Runner knees
Sharp pain under or just outside the knee cap
Cause: weak quads, too much downhill running or over-pronation
Remedy: Ice; cut down on mileage; check your shoes; build up quads

(2) Shin splints
Tearing pain down the muscles at the front of the legs
Cause: weak muscles at the front legs
Remedy: ice; cut down on mileage and build back up gently; run on softer surfaces

(3) Achilles tendonitis
Dull ache just above the heel
Cause: tight calf muscles
Remedy: stretch Achilles tendons; cut down hill running; change to more flexible shoes

(4) Black toenail
One toenail, usually on the longest toe, turns black
Cause: blood pooling under a toenail that has come loose or is being pressed into the toe by the shoe
Remedy: it usually falls off by itself; if it comes back repeatedly get better fitting running shoes

(5) Llitibial band syndrome
Ache on the outside of the leg by the knee
Cause: lliotibial band too tight to accommodate your stride's range of movement
Remedy: lliotibial band stretching; run on even ground

Failure to warm up properly
Running without warming up is one of the primary causes of tissue sprains and strains, and can lead to internal joint damage like bursitis or synovial cavity inflammation. By raising your body's operating levels you will increase the flow of synovial fluid, the thick fluid that lubricates the parts of the joints that come into contact with each other, making the joint move much more smoothly. This rise in internal temperature will also decrease the stickiness of the synovial fluid in the sacs that sit between the muscles or tendons and the bones, meaning they provide comfortable cushioning as the soft and hard tissues move across each other.

Dynamic stretching as part of your warm up before intense exercise will go a long way toward preventing sprained ankles or knees. A dynamic stretching routine gently eases out the ligaments that connect one bone to another inside a joint, elongating the tissue and loosening it to reduce internal resistance. This means that when it comes under stress as you run, it can absorb new demands rather than be forced to stretch or tear.

Poor Techniques
Most commonly, bad techniques will involve too much up and down instead of forward movement. High striding is a common beginner's mistake, pushing off upwards with the toes and as what does up has to come down, this means stopping the movement by landing hard on the pavement. Each stride sends a shockwave through your body, jolting joints in ways that can cause internal damage and inviting stress fractures of the feet. Pushing off with the toes also increases the risk of hamstring strains.

Over striding is another danger, especially going down hills. If you feet land a long way in front of your body, the movement involved in catching up will pt undue stress on your knee joint and to a lesser degree your ankles. Heel runners will always be more liable to shin splints and Achilles tendonitis.

Over Training
This is pretty self explanatory and will be common among new runners as the temptation to get stuck in will be enormous.

Often other people will see the signs of your overtraining before you so: Tiredness, drastic weight loss, loss of appetite, aching joints. You might think you are just working out hard and getting fitter. Listen to other people if they comment on how you seem.

There are simple rules to remember as regards overtraining. Don't run through the pain barrier, you will experience some mild discomfort during and after training but any serious pain is telling you to stop. Don't overdo it, pretty obvious, but surprisingly neglected.

Ice Is The Answer
Ice is probably a runner's best friend. Some runners (including me) will go as far as dousing their legs in ice water every time they come in a long run. I ice up my legs and knee for about 5min as soon as I get home. An ice pack will usually be the 1st thing prescribed for any over training injury.

Don't apply heat to running injuries. Although it might appear to soothe any aches and pains, it will be having exactly the opposite effect to ice and therefore will make them worse.

If soft tissue or a joint has become inflamed and most knees and rear leg muscles will after 10km, even if they don't hurt at the time, massaging it with ice will greatly speed recovery. The blood vessels below the skin have been damaged and have expanded to allow a greater flow of disorganized blood cells into the tissue, breaking it down, this is what causes swelling, discoloration and pain, Icing he area shrinks these blood vessels down, allowing much less blood damage as this slows the metabolic process. The swelling will be reduced, the pain will be much less and the healing process will be speeded up.

R.I.C.E:
RICE is pretty much a universal runner's remedy. It is a cure for sprains, strains, bursitis or internal bruising, which make up the majority of minor running injuries:


Rest: Don't try to run off an injury. Take a few days rest and try to keep weight off the affected area as much as possible.


Ice: Putting ice on an injury, no matter how small, will do wonders to ease it by reducing internal swelling and numbing any pain.


Compression: A tightly applied bandaged, athletic support or elastic wrap will reduce swelling in a joint, help immobilize it and keep it stable.


Elevation: Raising the injured area, preferably above the level of the heart, will stop blood pooling there and so reduce swelling and discomfort.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Know Your Pacers Part 1: 3hrs 45mins and 4hrs Pacers




Starting from this week, we will be introducing the respective pacers from the various time groups so that you can get to know them better!



We Are The Fast N Furious… Follow us to PB @ 3:45Hr

The 3:45hr Pace Group runs the fastest, eats the most too! They are all big eaters, especially after a good run. You will be amazed at their enormous appetite if you ever have a chance to sit down and join them for a meal. It all make senses when you see them run, speed coupled with precision form, all that burns a lot of their energy to achieve the required pace distance. If you are looking at completing your marathon before the 3:45hr timing, then they are the right group for you to follow.

The team comprises of: Max, Henry, and
Selvaganesh Periasamy.

Max Ang, aka Feetoffury
Prior to his passion in running surfaced three years ago, he had hated running. He attributes his running success to failing the 2.4 km run of his IPPT back then. Like an awakening call, he decided to train hard to overcome this weakest link in his fitness form, and he has not looked back ever since. Nothing is impossible! “It has been said, that a person has 7 years of improvement after which one starts its serious training, and so I am looking forward to conquer higher plateaus in the next 4 years.”


The Group of FOUR (4Hr)... ALL For One, One For ALL

The 4hr Pace Group put together has bags of running experience collectively. The group strongly believes that with their expertise, and is confident that we have what is takes to motivate runners and bring them across the 42.195 km finish line within the magical 4-hour mark. See you @ Team FatBird Marathon Trainings, and @ the Start Line come December 7th, 08!

The team comprises of: Aik Hock, Ronnie, Anthony and David.

Aik Hock aka Ultraman
Aik Hock is a member of MR25 Running Club and always actively offering support and running tips in SgRunners forum; at the same time, he is a good friend of Team FatBird.

Training diligently since 2003, he is an endurance runner, and a Chi-Running technique practitioner. Although, Aik Hock is an avid participant in most local competitions, and various overseas events, ranging from 10km distance to Ultra marathon, his mentor is always, “Listen to your own body”.

Anthony Sum, aka DreamRunner
Founder of Team FatBird, has over four years of running experience. Being an active member of several running clubs and community such as, SAFRA Running club, MR25, SgRunners, along with numerous valuable local and overseas marathons experience under his belt, he has much to contribute to the running community. Spurred on by the great success of pacing the 4hr Pace Group in Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2007, He decided to put together a complete Pacer Group this year to assist more runners in achieving their target timings in the upcoming marathon. Anthony is part of the very strong 4hr Pace Group this year that has been training very consistently under the guidance of the 15-week Team FatBird Training Program.

Stay tune for Part 2 next week as we introduce you the pacers from our 4hrs 15mins and 4hrs 30mins pace groups!

View Related Articles:
- Marathon Training Tip #1: Getting Started
- Marathon Training Tip #2: Running Gear
- Marathon Training Tip #3: Before and After your run
- Marathon Training Tip #4: Running Efficiently
- Marathon Training Tip #5: Training to Increase Your Running Capacity
- Marathon Training Program - Week 9
- Marathon Training Session #5
- Marathon Training Session #6
- Marathon Training Session #7
- Marathon Training Session #8

Sunday, October 19, 2008

15-Week Training Programme - Week 9

Week 8

Marathon

Mon 20/10: Rest / Cross (5 - 10km for those who choose to run - Option: Changi Business Park, 1815 hrs. Meet at "The Signature")
Do this or Wednesday.

Tues 21/10: 7-10km, with at least 3 x 1km Tempos.
River Promenade (Meet at FatBird statue), 1815 hrs.

Wed 22/10: Rest / Cross (7 - 12km, International Business Park, Atrium. 1800 hrs.)
Do this or Monday.

Thurs 23/10: 7-10km, River Promenade (Meet at FatBird statue), 1815 hrs.

Fri 24/10: Rest.

Sat 25/10: 32km to 35km (3.45hr, 4hr and 4hr 15mins Pace Groups), East Coast Park, Playground@Big Splash, Meet 0645hrs.

Sun 26/10:
Recovery Run: 5 - 7km Easy, Own Time Own Target.

Note: Please look out for Team FatBird pacers at the meeting point.

Half - Marathon

Mon 20/10: Rest

Tues 21/10: 7-10km with at least 3 x 1km Tempo.
River Promenade (Meet at FatBird statue), 1815 hrs.

Wed 22/10: Cross.

Thurs 23/10: 7-10km, River Promenade (Meet at FatBird statue), 1815 hrs.

Fri 24/10: Rest.

Sat 25/10:
18km Pace, East Coast Park, Playground@Big Splash, Meet 0645hrs.

Sun 26/10: Recovery Run 5 - 7km Easy, Own Time Own Target.

Note: Please look out for Team FatBird pacers at the meeting point.

Marathon Training Tip: Training to Increase Your Running Capacity

Think of your body as a car – it has the best wheels and the slickest suspension, but it will be useless if the motor doesn't run properly.

As a runner, a big, strong, efficiently working heart will be vital to achieving the maximum potential.

The heart of everything
The heart is responsible for taking oxygen from the lungs and delivery it to the muscles via the blood passing through our body's arterial/capillary network. It delivers oxygen to every cell in the body, but it's the working muscles that make the highest demands, and the harder they are expected to perform, the more oxygen they need to receive. Also, your muscle to body mass ratio will increase as your running progresses and this will further add to the amount of oxygen needed. For this reason, all athletes need a heart large enough to pump sufficient blood around the body without the pressure dropping or the heart having to beat at a dangerously high rate per minute.

A distance runner needs this oxygenated blood to be delivered at a constant pace over an extended period of time, without any undue strain. The efficiency with which your heart can do this is known as cardiovascular fitness. Endurance training develops your heart in much the same way as your legs: the increase in the amount of work it is expected to do make it grows bigger.

Your muscles' main source of fuel is glycogen or fat. In order for muscles to consume this fuel, oxygen has to be present to break it down and convert it into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a chemical compound which is the form of energy that muscle cells need in order to work.

The production of ATP leaves by products in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2) and lactate. The carbon dioxide laden blood is pumped back to the lungs, where the CO2 is extracted and exhaled into the atmosphere. The lactate is also removed from the muscles by the venous blood flow and delivered to the liver where it is converted into glucose.

As the intensity of your running increases your muscles will be working harder and will need to metabolize glycogen or fat at a proportionally faster rate. Your system will have to increase the input of oxygen to achieve this, hence, the heavy breathing or gasping for air during and after hard workouts.

Running faster and further is all about training the relevant muscles to improve their function, and that improvement is largely due to increasing cardiovascular efficiency. Running up a 20 storey flat will frequently result in that burning pain in the thighs that fatigues the muscles to a point of forced stop. This is the failure of the venous drainage system (the veins that flow away from the muscles) to clear the waste product of lactic acid from the stressed muscles fibred. Improvement in performance will arrive when the blood supply pump, the heart, can deliver more blood and the local blood vessels can more efficiently cope with clearing the lactic acid.

When you are running, your heart should be beating at 60% to 80% of its maximal rate, fluctuating according to the intensity of your running. If you keep it beating at this level, you'll be pushing your heart hard enough to reap all the benefits of having a good workout but not so hard that you'll be putting it under stress.

Your heart rate is not necessarily related to what speed you are running at because your heart will be registering all sorts of extraneous factors such as how stressful a day your have had, what the temperature is, how much coffee you have put away etc.

Summery of a runner's cardiovascular cycle:
(1) Oxygen is inhaled from the air
(2) The lungs transfer oxygen to the blood
(3) The heart pumps the oxygenated blood to the muscles and other organs
(4) Working muscles use oxygen to burnt glycogen, creating ATP to fuel movement
(5) Carbon dioxide is discharged into the bloodstream
(6) Carbon dioxide is delivered to the lungs
(7) Carbon dioxide is exhaled into the atmosphere.

Find your maximum heart rate
Your maximum heart rate (HR max) is the highest number of times your heart will beat per minute before it plateaus. Ideally, you should be running at 60% to 80% of it, therefore you will need to know how to work out what it is. Either use a heart rate monitor or manually take your pulse at your wrist.

To find your maximal heart rate, simply run faster then check your beats per minute. Do it several times, like this:
- warm up thoroughly,
- run easily for 10 minutes then
- perform your 20 second sprints
- with 30 second's recovery running in between.
- Run easy for 30 seconds then run at your top sustainable speed for 2 minutes.

Take your pulse. Run easy for at least 10 minutes then repeat the exercise twice, taking your pulse at the end of each session. The 3 figures should be within a couple of beats per minute of each other, and you can assume their average to be your maximal heart rate.

VO2 to the max
The amount of oxygen you can consume while working out intensely is known as your aerobic capacity or VO2 max. This is a measurement of the maximum number of milliliters of oxygen, per kilogram of body weight that you can use up in a minute, the higher the better. This is another indicator how fit you are, and just like your HR max, you can work to improve it. VO2 max tends to peak for weekly mileage of 80-100km.

Once you reach the age of 40, both your VO2 max and your maximal heart rate will decline at about 1% per year.

Running economically
Your running economy is also another important figure to understand. It is the % of your VO2 max that you are using to achieve a particular speed, the smaller the figure, the lower your oxygen use and the greater your running economy. Good economy means you can then step up the pace or distance and still remain within your capabilities.

Your running economy will get better naturally as you train regularly and build up your strength. It can be worked on by improving your technique so as not to waste any energy in your stride, and by building up your strength, many distance runners do strength training simply to maintain a good level of running economy.

Carbohydrate
Once you start running, all that carbohydrate you have been eating is broken down in your digestive system to extract glucose and glycogen. Glucose will supply immediate energy needs and will combine with oxygen to be burnt pretty much as soon as it arrives in your system. Glycogen, however, is stored in the muscles and in the liver to be converted into glucose and the ATP as required in the future. Around 2/3 of the body's glycogen reserves will be stored in the muscles and 1/3 in the liver.

Because glucose is vital for producing ATP, distance runners need to store as much glycogen as possible. Increasing your training runs will naturally increase your capacity, but 2000 kcal will be about the most you can store, no matter how fit you are. The reason so many marathoners hit the wall at 30-35km mark is because energy consumption on a distance run will be around 60+ kcal per km.

Crossing the lactate threshold
Excess lactate sloshing about in your muscles during intense exercise causes a burning sensation within them and as it cuts down on the amount of oxygen your blood can transport, brings on premature fatigue. This build up of excess lactate occurs because when so much energy is used in a relatively short space of time more lactate will be produced than can be pumped away. At this point you have crossed the lactate threshold (LT) and as it will be detrimental to your performance you need to make sure your threshold is as high as possible.

Raising your LT will allow you to run faster for longer, and is vital if you are going to race at distance about 15km. It's not too difficult either. The idea is to run lengthy intervals. Your LT pace will be just below your race pace, so to top it you'll need to move it as fast a pace as you can sustain over the distance. It's important not to start off too fast and then slow down after a few km. After you have run an LT interval, you should feel like you haven't got a lot of running left in you for that day.

Importantly, always listen to your body!

Putting in the miles:
Once you have decided to formalize your running, in as much as you want to achieve certain levels of ability or fitness or weight loss, the most immediately useful step you can take is to divide your runs into "long" and "short".

Long runs increase your aerobic abilities, and thus your VO2 max, as any regular extended workout will multiply the number of oxygen bearing capillaries in the muscles concerned.

Speed drills should be undertaken by runners at a reasonable level of fitness, not complete beginners, as they can put intense strain on an out of condition body. For this reason, warming up is absolutely vital.

Increase your speed on the short runs, but stay at your usual pace on the long runs, concentrating on maintaining that speed for the entire extended distance just like what was done in the FatBird pacer training run.

An ideal long and short scenario is to do 2 short runs during the week days, either in the evening or early morning, and one long run at the weekend. The schedule is up to the individual.

Speed training:
Most distance runners focus on the strength and endurance as being the keys to improvement, but this will often be at the expense of speed work. Running fast is not only for sprinters, and the improvements it can bring to your performance will be absolutely vital if you are preparing for a race and have high ambitions than merely finishing the course.

Speed work is running at a pace of more or less twice your usual speed for a set or distance, and it will prepare you for the higher levels you may need to raise to in competition, in a way that is far more effective than regular pace running.

As your speed work take effect, not only will your regular pace increase, but it will seem like a gentle jog in comparison with the sprints. While this does not wonders from your starting line confidence, it also leaves you secure in the knowledge that you have speed in reserve as your secret weapon.

However, you should not speed train all year round as it will have a detrimental effect on your endurance and, as regards you getting faster, it will be subject to a law of diminishing returns. A distance runner should do no more than 1 speed session a week, rising that to 2 in the build up to an event, and even then the fast bits should make up no more than 5% of your total mileage.

Interval training:
Interval training involves structured speed sessions and has been the basis of athletic and sports for ages, with the same principles being applied to cycling, swimming, and rowing and so on.

Interval training is also acknowledged as a much better way to lose weight than slower, longer distances, as the intense running burns fat far more effectively.

It's best to do your interval sessions on a track where you can accurately judge the distances you are covering, and so time yourself more precisely. A heart rate monitor is particularly useful for interval training to monitor recovery periods and assess the varying aerobic effect your training session is having on you.

On strict interval sessions, recovery stretches between sprints should be kept to a minimum, as letting your heartbeat fall too far back towards normal will bring down average levels of oxygen consumption and lactate production, which will reduce your VO2 max and lactate threshold.

Speedy technique:
The best way to run faster is to practice running quickly than you will need to. It's why sprinters practice explosive 20 or 30m dashes and marathon runners will train at 5km speed, but each will make sure they have perfect technique.

When training at a higher speed it is crucial that you rigidly adhere to your regular style and only run as fast as you can like that. Altering your action to try to gain a bit of extra pace could be disastrous.

Fartlek:
Invented in Sweden, this is an unstructured version if interval training – the name translates as "speed play" – and it can be great fun when out running by yourself. The concept is to alternate stretches of intense running with recovery stretches, but it is done on an ad hoc basis: sprint to that bench, then jog up the rest of the hill; sprint from one corner to the next, jog a block then sprint the next, try to get to the end of the road before that bus does etc….

Strength training:
Many distance runners are frightened of strength training because they don't want to be saddles with carrying the extra weight that added muscle brings – muscle weighs more than fat. However, there's a huge difference turning yourself into the Incredible Hulk and putting on the few kg of lean muscle which will definitely help you as a runner.

The key to efficient strength training is increasing core strength through developing the abdominal muscles and concentrating on the deep abs. Strength training will also improve your running efficiency by working shoulders, upper arms and chest, which are muscles that can help your technique if they are strong enough. It can also provide the muscle balance needed to counteract the developing of such running muscles as the hamstrings or the claves, by strengthening the muscles they work against in your running stride.

Cross training:
Cross training is very important. Too often runners don't want to do anything that isn't actually running, but covering long distances each week can be very stressful, so to reduce the risk of injury you need to look for something that will maintain your fitness levels but will take you away from those stresses. Having another form of exercise will stop you going crazy too, especially when you are recovering from injury and cannot run.

View Related Articles:
- Marathon Training Tip #1: Getting Started
- Marathon Training Tip #2: Running Gear
- Marathon Training Tip #3: Before and After your run
- Marathon Training Tip #4: Running Efficiently
- Marathon Training Program - Week 9
- Marathon Training Session #5
- Marathon Training Session #6
- Marathon Training Session #7
- Marathon Training Session #8
- Know Your Pacers Part 1

Saturday, October 18, 2008

FatBird Marathon Training Session #8

FatBird Pacers @ 8th Weekend Training Session


Field Report Filed By FatBird Anthony
FatBird Photo Album HERE


It was FatBird's 8th weekend of the Pacers Marathon Training this Saturday. The distance was supposed to be 30km-34km. Because I was in tapering mode ahead of next weekend's ChunCheon Marathon in Korea, I planned to do only 18km. I took the opportunity to brief the Pacer Group Leaders to take care of the various Pace groups during their individual runs, as well as welcome some new members to the team.

We started off at about 7.10am, running towards NSRCC and Changi Coastal Road. I tagged along the 4hr Pace Group, led mostly by Raven and Ultraman. There were about 8 others running in this group. The 3:45hr Pacers were slightly infront, whilst the 4:30hr Pace Group was a little behind. I could see that all the Pacers were trying their best to start off conservatively, and run to their respective paces....I knew it was not easy, and I appreciate them all for trying and doing their best.

It was a smooth run all the way to NSRCC, with the 4hr Pace Group averaging 5:45min/km pace. DO and I decided to turn back, and we took turns to run along with the rest of the groups. It was a good opportunity for us to chat with the teams, understand their challenges and concerns, as well as to give them some guidance and motivation for their very long runs. It was fortunate that most of the runners brought their own hydration and fuel as advised, for it turned out to be scorching HOT.

DO and I, along with Bev, returned to start point in 2hr+. Along the way, we chatted a little with the TriFam Pacers as well as the Newton Shoe Trial-ers. Our new FatBird Team T attracted good feedback from fellow runners....hope that the Marathon Pacers top will bring the same interest and enthusiasm for all. I managed to hand out the training shoes to some Pacers, who had a chance to try it out for the first time.

Although the weather was challenging, all the Pace Groups returned strong, up to the final 5:30hr Pace Group. As we chatted with Ben Pulham from Racers Toolbox, zco the impressive 5:30hr Pace Group Leader finished his run looking great. Ben was suitably impressed with our 'madness' and enthusiasm for the long distance training under such conditions....hmm, we hope to get him to join in for some of our Pace Runs very soon....hehe.

With the various Pace Groups taking shape, and conditioning themselves physically and mentally, I am confident we will have a very good outing at this year's SCSM08. Very soon, we should be seeing more marathon trainees joining our Pace Group Runs, and hopefully, we can arrange for them to try out some of the gadgets like Pace Bands and even marathon running shoes...well, more action in the month of November....meanwhile, let me just go to Korea and enjoy my very first back-back full marathons :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

FatBirds make a splash at I-Run @ RP

A Glimpse of Team FatBird's latest running top for use at I-Runs and other FatBird run-leading events:

FatBirds in their RED outfit in front of Fat Bird :)

Team FatBird at I-Run @ River Promenade

Sunday, October 12, 2008

15-Week Training Programme: Week 8

Week 8

Marathon

Mon 13/10: Rest / Cross (5 - 10km for those who choose to run - Option: Changi Business Park, 1815 hrs. Meet at "The Signature")
Do this or Wednesday.

Tues 14/10: 7-10km, with at least 3 x 1km Tempos.
River Promenade (Meet at FatBird statue), 1815 hrs.

Wed 15/10: Rest / Cross (7 - 12km, International Business Park, Atrium. 1800 hrs.)
Do this or Monday.

Thurs 16/10: 7-10km, River Promenade (Meet at FatBird statue), 1815 hrs.

Fri 17/10: Rest.

Sat 18/10: 30km Pace, East Coast Park, Playground@Big Splash, Meet 0645hrs.

Sun 19/10:
Recovery Run: 5 - 7km Easy, Own Time Own Target.

Week Total: 54 - 69km

Note: Please take note that due to NBRR on Sunday, the LSD is on Saturday for this week!


Half - Marathon

Mon 13/10: Rest

Tues 14/10: 7-10km with at least 3 x 1km Tempo.
River Promenade (Meet at FatBird statue), 1815 hrs.

Wed 15/10: Cross.

Thurs 16/10: 7-10km, River Promenade (Meet at FatBird statue), 1815 hrs.

Fri 17/10: Rest.

Sat 18/10:
18km Pace, East Coast Park, Playground@Big Splash, Meet 0645hrs.


Sun 19/10: Recovery Run 5 - 7km Easy, Own Time Own Target.

Note: Please take note that due to NBRR on Sunday, the LSD is on Saturday for this week!

Week total: 37 - 47km

FatBird Marathon Pacers Training #7

Field Report From FatBird Anthony
Photography By FatBird Esther
Slide Show @ Team FatBird's Album


It was a record turnout for this morning's FatBird Marathon Training for the Pacers and trainees. I estimated there were 50-60 people, comprising both Pacers and Pacees. The weather promised to be a dry but hot one. We had our trial Pace Bands just in time for the Pace Leads, thanks to FatBird Esther and her team.

I divided the group into the Pacers and Pacees, then gave a quick brief of the route, before introducing the Pacers to the runners. We started off promptly at 7am, and very soon, the 3:45hr Pace Group was in front of DO, Ultra, Raven and I. There was a sizeable following for the 4hr Pace Group, and I was even pleasantly surprised to see Marcus and his friends from the TriFam Pace Team joining our FatBird Training....they too could be gunning for a 4hr finish this year...wow. SealBoon, HophIng, Cheow12, Alvo, and quite a few others were running along tightly. A quick browse behind showed YN and the many others following the 4:30hr Pace Group led by Charmane and Kok San.

There were a few additions to the Pace Team, with Ang Lai Soon, Kok San, Joe, among the few of joined us for the Pace Training for the very first time. DO got his Garmin 405, and do did Feet...:). With the new toy, many of us now have very high-precision tools to help with guiding the pace and measuring distances. The 4hr Group was aiming to do an average pace of 5:30min/km, and we were pretty consistent all the way to the 14km U-Turn along Changi Coastal Road. The 4hr group arrived at the U-Turn in 1hr20min.

It was interesting to see the various Pace Groups fan out along ECP and Changi Coastal. The Pacers and runners were all focused on running together and moving forward. Along the way, we met many other running groups and kakis, SAFRA Tampines inclusive. DO and I continued on from the 14km point for an additional 2km forward as we had planned to do 32km as our final long run before ChunCheon Marathon in 2 week's time. All the 4hr Pacees turned at the 14km and continued with their 5:30min/km pace.

After the U-tuen at 16km for DO and I, we continued running at abour 5:30min/km while chatting and cheering the other Pace Groups as we went by them. Met up the 5hr Pace Group at NSRCC, and they seemed to be on good pace. Then we saw the 5:30min/km Pace Group...hmm, they have gone a little fast, but thats because of their lack of pace timings to guide them along. They should be good as the weeks progress. Bumped into Gentle at the Canoe Centre, who was asking if there were more Pace Groups ahead. I asked the 5:30hr Pace Group Lead, zco, to slow a little to maintain pace.

The sun was beating down on us furiously. Those who did not hydrate themselves properly were suffering. I too was feeling the effects of the heat, but it was good that I had my Gatorade and Powergel mix with me....I sipped regularly, and that gave me a regular stream of energy to work with...hehe. Still, I had to make 2 more toilet stops to cool myself and take more water in. Saw Nomad, and then as I neared MacD, saw Kok San. Told him it was just 1.5km to go, and he picked up the pace to run together. With about 800m to finish, I could see SealBoon, and then ran up alongside to finish in 3hr3min. The iced-cold 100plus was heavenly, and we had 3hr15min marathoners serving drinks....what more can we ask yah? haha. Thanks to Ultra and his water support team :)

We took down the timings of the Pacers, and when all were back, we had a very nice group photo session. FatBird Esther's new tripod came in very handy, and we all had a nice time posing around the trunk of a rather large tree. After the photo session, I gave a very quick brief on the need for hydration and re-fueling, especially on such a warm day. I think more of the runners may invest in hydration belts, and start training with powergels and other fuel. As we progress with the FatBird Marathon Training Program, I am heartened to see many of the runners and pacers getting stronger and more steady with their pacing in long runs. If we can all keep up with regular training attendance and trying our best to train to pace with proper hydration and re-fueling, I am confident of yet another bountiful year of PB-breakers....SCSM08, here we come!


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Special Feature: The NorthFace 100 Support Team


[Parental Advisory: Mature Theme]

For those who do not know, this is one heck of a race. Two equally mad buddies run 50 km on a seemingly disgusting route. For those who still do not get it, take out your calculators:

2 Crazy Buddies X 50 km = NorthFace100. Simple Mathematics!

Because I was SANE and not high on alcohol, I did not join this race. I decided to join the support group from Team FatBird and SGRunners.com to have a look at the maniacs and of course, to take photos (as requested) of their lovely tired faces.



Being a water boy for a day was no joke. I felt like a coolie, loading sacks of ice and bottles of isotonic drinks on the two cars, driven by Friends of FatBird: Sealboon and Spencer. (On the side note, Spencer threatens people by pressing the hazard light button and asking you to get out of the car (even on the highway). Talk about road rage!)

As we arrived at our first site (along air rifle road), we spotted a naked Barbie doll, FatBird Terry was VERY EXCITED. We began to 'open coffee shop' and served drinks to familiar faces while whipping up Bloody-Mary's for the mosquitoes. My legs were horribly disfigured by the bite marks and I was scratching profusely. FatBird Friend Senza on the other hand looked like she was possessed, doing this crazy 'get-those-yeeky-mosquitoes-away-from-me' dance ritual. This was when FatBird Esther came up with the thoughtful idea of getting mosquito repellant. The not so brilliant part was when she helped me SPRAY my OPEN WOUNDS AND ROAD RASH from my bicycle accident.



Having topped up petrol and supplies from NTUC, we proceeded to the next checkpoint where there were no mosquitoes. But it drizzled on us. Apparently this was seen as a good thing because we could now use our cute little yellow ducky ponchos. At this point, everyone looked so shagged that we offered everything we had to all runners (except the cars, radio, poultry and umbrellas). We really tried our best, and most of the time we successfully put a smile back on those war torn faces! Who could resist the satisfaction of our donuts, deep heat, ice water bath (provided by FatBird Charmane, the car wash girl) and ice cold 100 plus. Oh, we even offered them Spencer the donut man, which was somewhat disturbing altogether, but made them run a lot faster than before!



As we drew closer to the end of the event, we had to pack up and return to the finish point to welcome the heroes back home. Umm, and take their photos of course. Everyone who finished, both before and after the cut-off has my respect - it was a hard run indeed!


On my part, it was a day well spent. And I too feel like I have accomplished SOMETHING.

Yes, something like eating for 8 hours while everyone was running their lungs out. Just so they feel bad, I will recap! I had:

1 X Polar Hotdog Bun

1 X Polar Chicken Pie

6 X Donuts from Donut Factory

1 X BBQ Chicken that Senza bought me =D (Except the chicken BUM which _ _ _ _ _ _ took)
Some chocolates, chips and biscuits along the way.

AND

1 X Nasi Goreng Pattaya to top it off.

Okay, This fantastic and sexy on site field report was brought to you by FatBird Edwin

Marathon Training Tip: Running Efficiently



"Running? What is there to learn? If you can walk, you can run" - That's perfectly true. But if you want to do it faster, for longer and without suffering too many injuries, there's quite a lot you ought to learn.

Think of the running action as like hopping from foot to foot, and with each hop swinging the raised foot forward to land in front of the other foot. A hop with one leg and the corresponding movement of the other equals a running step; two steps – that is, each leg has a hop – amounting to a stride. The sort of running we want to do is, of course, slightly more sophisticated than this, with aim being to get through a stride as fluently as possible, delivering the maximum amount of forward momentum for the minimum of effort.

Firstly, it's important to note that there is no such thing as the perfect running technique, just like there is no "best" running shoe. Because of the differences between runners in term of size, weight, age, gender, muscle density, strength and so on, everybody's ideal stride will be unique to them. But there are theories and guidelines that can be universally applied, although they will probably need to be customized to fit your individual action.

The Stride Cycle
To analyze and improve your stride, you need to break it down into its component parts:
(1) the support phase
(2) the drive phase
(3) the recovery phase

The support phase: that is when your foot is actually in contact with the ground. In the best actions, initial contact is made by the middle of the foot, not the heel. The foot should start to strike slightly ahead of your centre of gravity so that when firm contact is made it will directly underneath it. To cushion the impact of the landing, the knee joint should not straighten completely and the pelvis will dip slightly on the opposite side from that leg. As soon as the foot touches down, contact is rolled forwards towards the toes. This action is supported by the iliotibial band in the leg that has landed and the core muscles, which provide some resistance to the body's cushioning of the strike and hold up your trunk as the gravity shifts forward past the standing foot.

In short, middle of sole of foot in contact with ground, knee and ankle flexed for shock absorption.

The drive phase: as the contact with the ground is rolled forwards the toes the drive phase begins. The standing leg straightens, pushing backwards and downwards and extending the hamstrings and glutes. Then, as an additional level, the foot is pushed off as the calf muscles straighten out the ankle. In an ideal stride this will provide force upwards along the straight leg forwards the runner's centre of gravity in the hips. This should supply enough vertical force to keep you upright when your centre of gravity is a long way in front of your foot or there is no contact with the ground, but it should take a little energy as possible away from the horizontal force which is what is driving you forwards. How much the ankle should flex as the foot leaves the ground depends on the style of running and how high the foot is going to be lifted: distance runners should stay close to the ground, meaning the ankle will stay almost rigid, while sprinters will virtually point their toes for much greater lifts of up to 90 degrees.

In short, Rolling forward on the toes, pushing down and backward into ground to straighten the leg. Elastic recoil bends leg to move upwards and forwards.
The recovery phase: As soon as the foot has left the ground, the leg begins the recovery, or swing, phase. As the foot lifts it will be behind the body, and the leg will raise, bend and kick forwards ready to come down and repeat the cycle. The most efficient runners will make this happen through a combination of muscle force, elastic recoil and momentum left over from the drive phase. Think of a rubber band being stretched to its limit and released. The energy created as it contracts is enough to lunch a folded paper pellet all the way across the room. As you run, your legs work in exactly the same way; they are stretched all the way then contract during the first phase of the recovery run, creating an explosion of energy. This is elastic recoil, and it amounts to free energy inasmuch as it requires no muscles exertion to create it.

In short, heel moves towards the buttock, hips swing the leg forward and momentum starts to unfold the knees so the legs is almost straight when foot strikes and we are back at the support phase.
Where foot should strike:
(1) Sprinting: Ball of foot/underside of toes
(2) Short/middle distance: Forefoot/ball of foot
(3) Long distance: Mid foot
(4) Competition pace long distance: Just in front of mid foot



Summary of ideal running posture:
(1) Head and neck: erect, eye lines focused about 40M in front, neck in line with spine
(2) Shoulders: Square to the front, level and loose; they should not move as your swing your arms
(3) Arms: Close inside sides, elbows bent at approximately 90 degree
(4) Hands: Loosely rolled into fists, thumb resting on top of index finger, wrists straight and relaxed.
(5) Trunk: Upright and facing forward, with chest out.
(6) Hips: In line with shoulders; no lateral movement
(7) Legs: Working in a smooth circular movement; knees shouldn't be lifted too high
(8) Feet: Pointed straight out to the front so the energy of the push is used as efficiently as possible.

Over striding
After worn out shoes and failure to warm up properly, over striding is the bigger threat to running performance, a factor which increases considerably among novices. It's very tempting to stride out too far as a way of either conserving energy by decreasing turnover o increasing your speed by covering more ground, but in both cases over striding will have the opposite effect.

If your foot lands too far in front of your hips (your body's center of gravity), it will put unnecessary strain on your knees and hips, as the impact of landing will not be absorbed in a vertical line from the feet up through the ankles and knees to the hips. The knees will bear most of this unabsorbed shock as they are the pivotal point between the planted lower leg and the still moving upper leg, but the iliotibial band will also suffer because the jolting involved will create all sorts of friction around your hips. Because over striding pushes you to land on your heels, they will also take a bashing, especially at your Achilles tendon.

To avoid over striding, practice your stride with gentle running and stride outs, making sure to land on your mid foot, with a smooth forward momentum and very little jolting. Shorten your stride if you have to. The average runner should be taking between 85-95 strides a minute; and much less than that suggests you are over striding, then if you wan to cover more ground, increase your time in the air without overstretching your leading leg.

4 basic rules for running faster
(1) Bend the knee on your swing phase as it will get to where it needs to be more quickly because your foot has to ravel in a shorter arc.
(2) Keep the muscles along the front of your leg loose (quads, hip flexors), so there is no resistance when you straighten your leg as you push off from the ground
(3) As you push off, try consciously push backwards, getting the most out of your hamstrings and glutes. This will keep you moving forward rather than wasting energy going up and down.
(4) Don't over bend the corresponding knee as each foot hits the ground. It will dissipate energy, dampen your elastic recoil and keep your foot in contact with the ground for too long.


Up and down hills run:
Unless you plan to do all your running in the stadium, sooner or latter your are going to have to run up a hill and, very probably, down the other side. If technique is important on the flat, then it is vital on the inclines, and knowing how to run hills separates the good runners from the very good runners.

Correct technique on hills will gain you ground, conserve your energy and reduce the risk of injury.

(A) Running up the hill
The most important aspect of good uphill running technique is that it will conserve energy, which will pay back later in the run.

As you go over Mt Faber hill don't accelerate suddenly, but maintain total control over your running by adopting "baby step" and shorter strides. The most common mistake made by runners on an uphill surface is to stride out to maintain the same speed as on the flat by pushing harder against the ground. With this comes all the problems inherent with over striding and the additional force being applied to the push will quickly drain you at a time when you needed energy the most. Shorten your stride when running up hills, reducing your arm action correspondingly, and maintain the same stride per minute rate you would have on the flat. You should bounce up hills in short sharp steps, making sure you keep your elastic recoil at its most efficient.

When running up a hill, just as your stride turnover should remain unaltered from running on the flat, so your breathing should stay the same. If it gets much heavier, then you are probably running too fast.

Every runner who is at all serious about running should include hill running in their training. Sustained hill running is excellent for developing your quads. Training on hills will make you physically and mentally stronger.

(B) Running down the hill
The key to efficient running down hills is to allow gravity to do most of the work for you, but to achieve that you'll have to overcome a natural fear of hurtling downhill out of control.

The easier mistake to make when running down hills is to increase your stride length. This will happen if you push off horizontally, which, in conjunction with the surface falling away, will mean you end up almost leaping along. Quite apart from this being grossly energy inefficient as you are using a large amount of energy to push yourself forward, it ill mean gravity is working against you. After the propulsive force pushing you forward has dissipated, you are allowing gravity to pull your striking foot down to the surface from a greater height than is recommended, thus massively increasing landing impact. The stresses caused to your ankles, knees and hips will be felt later in a long run, and will have a cumulative effect on your body during your running life.
Ideally, you should be taking smaller steps to remain in control and, while keeping your body straight, angle yourself slightly forward to allow your momentum to carry you along. The angle of your lean should be relative to the gradient of the hill, as you need to strive to maintain the same right angle between self and surface as you would when running on the flat.

Touch down with your striking foot as lightly as you can to minimize wasted energy, then keep your feet as low to the ground as possible to maximize your momentum's forward thrust. This way you will be expending minimum effort to maintain your forward movement, as the only energy used should be for keeping your arms and legs moving and staying on balance.

View Related Articles:
- Marathon Training Tip #1: Getting Started
- Marathon Training Tip #2: Running Gear
- Marathon Training Tip #3: Before and After your run
- Marathon Training Program - Week 6
- Marathon Training Program - Week 7
- Marathon Training Session #5
- Marathon Training Session #6


Sunday, October 5, 2008

15-Week Training Programme: Week 7

Week 7

Marathon

Mon 6/10: Rest / Cross (5 - 10km for those who choose to run - Option: Changi Business Park, 1815 hrs. Meet at "The Signature")
Do this or Wednesday.

Tues 7/10: 7-10km, River Promenade (Meet at FatBird statue), 1815 hrs.

Wed 8/10: Rest / Cross (7 - 12km, International Business Park, Atrium. 1800 hrs.) Do this or Monday.

Thurs 9/10: 7-10km, River Promenade (Meet at FatBird statue), 1815 hrs.

Fri 10/10: Rest.

Sat 11/10: Easy Run: 5 - 7km Easy, Own Time Own Target.

Sun 12/10: 28km Steady State, East Coast Park, Playground@Big Splash, Meet 0645hrs.

Week Total: 54 - 69km

Note: Please take note of the changes in Meeting Place, Timing, and route for the run on Sunday!


Half - Marathon

Mon 6/10: Rest

Tues 7/10: 7-10km, River Promenade (Meet at FatBird statue), 1815 hrs.

Wed 8/10: Cross.

Thurs 9/10: 7-10km, River Promenade (Meet at FatBird statue), 1815 hrs.

Fri 10/10: Rest.

Sat 11/10: Easy Run: 5 - 7km Easy, Own Time Own Target.

Sun 12/10: 18km Steady State, East Coast Park, Playground@Big Splash, Meet 0645hrs.

Note: Please take note of the changes in Meeting Place, Timing, and route for the run on Sunday!

Week total: 37 - 45km

Note:: Please look out for Team FatBird pacers at the meeting point.

Marathon Training Tip: Before And After Your Run



This article is contributed by Good Friend of Team FatBird, Ultraman, an experienced Marathoner n Ultramarathoner who is a member of MR25 and SGRunners Forum.

Warming up

Warming up is essential. Not warming up properly is probably the biggest single cause of runner's injuries. It's not rocket science – when cold, tight muscles are pitched into an intense workout, they cannot be expected to perform at high level. Moreover, if they are pushed into it, something's going to give. In spite of such obvious logic, relatively few runners warm up diligently before every run.

Of course, with distance running, not warming up isn't going to be as potentially dangerous as it is for sprinting, as you can start off very slowly and work up your pace gradually.

However, warming up isn't only about injury prevention. Warming up prepares a runner physically and mentally for task ahead, thus a warmed up runner will be able to give their best from the moment they hit the course.

Typically 2 types of warming up:

Pulse warming is the basis of any good warm up, and consists of light jogging that slowly increases in speed, on the spot running or star jumps, anything to get the pulse rate up, hence the name.

Dynamic stretching is a series of slow, deliberate movements designed to increase your mobility and loosen you up so that your muscles are ready when you start working hard.

Warming up and pre race stretching will be much more important for a sprinter than for a distance runner – they have no time to ease into what they will be doing, as explosive, efficient muscles contractions will be required from the gun. It's a rule of thumb that the shorter your distance, the more attention you need to pay to preparation.

Cooling down
Also known as "warming down", this is probably the most neglected aspect of any sort of training routine, not least running. While failing to cool down properly after intense activity is unlikely to cause you permanent damage, it can cause considerable discomfort both straight away and in a few hours, and it can have an effect on your next run.

Cooling down consists of getting your system back to normal in a gentle fashion, and doing some static stretching.

Essentially, cooling down is warming up in reverse, and the main purpose is to reduce your heart rate and breathing after the intense levels they reached during exercise. The best way for a distance runner to do this is also the simplest – tail off and slow to a gentle jog for about 10 minutes and then reduce that to a decreasingly brisk walk for another 5 minutes.

As your cardiovascular system normalizes, you will stop producing large amounts of adrenaline, which will assist lowering your heart rate. Slowing down your circulation will also keep blood moving through your veins and prevent it from collecting in the extremities, which can cause dizziness. Your breathing will slow as the need for extra oxygen in your bloodstream progressively drops.

The tapering off will also get rid of any unused lactate in the muscles in a very controlled fashion. If you just stop dead, any extra lactate produced in anticipation of great effort will stay in the muscles where it will become lactic acid and cause stiffness. Cooling down gradually reduces the amount of lactate produced, and at the same time ensures the pulse rate is sufficient to pump away any waste products that might have remained in the muscle tissue had you simply stopped short.

Massage
One of the greatest ways to round off a hard run or a tough training session after you have cooled down and stretched is with a deep tissue massage (sometimes called a sports massage).

A massage will knead away any lingering waste products in your muscles, speeding up the healing time of any muscles and soft tissue injuries you might have incurred during your run. Regular massage will also reduce tightness and improve flexibility and the joint's range of motion.

During a deep tissue massage, the pressure will be stronger than for a regular massage but it shouldn't be agony. Everyone will respond differently, so tell the therapist if you are experiencing any pain.

Stretching
If you run 1st thing in the morning, make sure your warm up routine includes plenty of stretching, as during the night, your body's soft tissue (muscles and tendons) can contract by 10% compared to its usual relaxed lengths, that's why people instinctively stretch as they get out of bed.

The older you are, the more your muscles will lose natural elasticity, and thus pre-run dynamic stretching becomes increasingly important.

A dynamic stretching is a mobility stretching and should be performed as the second stage of your warm up route. It involves moving your joints in gently increasing movements to loosen connective tissue and wake the muscles up.

A dynamic stretching routine will involve:
(1) Neck
(2) Shoulders
(3) Trunk
(4) Hips
(5) Knees
(6) Ankles

Static stretching is another form of stretching that does not involve repetitive movement; this is usually carried out after you run. You assume static positions then push gently to extend the muscles to its limit for:
(1) Feet and ankles
(2) Achilles tendon
(3) Calves
(4) Quadriceps
(5) Hamstrings
(6) Groin
(7) Lliotibial band
(8) Hips and glutes
(9) Lower back

More than providing immediate benefits, over time static stretching will loosen your muscles to leave them much better equipped to handle the impact involved in road run.

"No pain no gain" is total nonsense. The whole reason we have pain is to tell us something is not right; it is crucial to recognize this when doing any kind of stretching.

Stretching dos and don'ts:
Don't:
(1) Never stretch a cold muscle, make sure you have performed a pulse warming routine before you start.

(2) Stretches should not hurt. You should experience some mild discomfort as the muscle is pulled, but if that becomes painful, stop immediately as you are stretching too far.

(3) Don't hold your breath while stretching. Breathe slowly and evenly for maximum relaxation.

(4) Don't stretch any muscle that has recently strained or sprained, until you are 100% sure it has recovered.

Dos:
(1) Increase the mobility as you progress with the stretch.

(2) Stay in control of the movement and your balance.

(3) Make sure you are wearing clothes that will allow you to move and stretch freely.

(4) Create your own stretching routine as you decide what is best for you and the type of running you are doing

(5) Incorporate the time to stretch into your running schedule, so that it does not seem like an extra. This way it will stand less chance of being skimped on if you are short of time.

View Related Articles:
- Marathon Training Tip #1: Getting Started
- Marathon Training Tip #2: Running Gear
- Marathon Training Program - Week 6
- Marathon Training Program - Week 7
- Marathon Training Session #5
- Marathon Training Session #6

Saturday, October 4, 2008

FatBird Pacers get together...

Training Report filed by FatBird Anthony (aka DreamRunner)

FatBird Marathon Pacer Training Session #6

This Sunday's FatBird Marathon Training session started off from ECP CarPark B2. There was a large turnout, and we had all the Group Leaders of the various Pacing Groups present to run along with the trainees. The Pace Groups were all lined up, and it was a good meeting for most of them. We were quite overwhelmed with the sizeable turnout of trainees, and it was nice to have them join the FatBird Marathon Training 6th session.

After briefings to the Pacers of their roles, and then to the entire group of the route, we set off from B2 towards NSRCC/Changi Coastal Road. We broke into 3 larger groups after 3km of running, and started to get into some form of Paced running, although the Pacers were only to start Pace Training next weekend. I had a good time chatting with many of the new trainees who were enjoying the sights, yet at the same time trying to focus on their immediate task at hand. We dispensed some tips on nutrition, hydration, re-fuelling, cadence and general information on how to achieve good running form, including basics on attaining a comfortable pace.

I reached NSRCC and found DO guiding those who were doing 26km to move further up ahead to Changi Coastal for a 13km U-Turn, while the rest were to turn at NSRCC for 18km. Those who did the gruelling NorthFace Challenge like Ultra, acidburn yesterday settled for a 10km, whilst Bug still had reserves to go for 18km. DO and I decided to take it easy after yesterday's hard run as lead-runners for NorthFace. I had a good chance to run along some of our Pacers and was happy with their attempts and efforts in getting into pace....we have a relatively 'young', but motivated Pacer team this year :)

The F2 area was crowed with participants doing the Run For Hope race, as I weaved myself in and out on the way back. Hokkien Beng and Suan was doing an excellent 18km pace, and they should be good to go for their half-marathon SCSM08 race. Costner, Yamsong, Jeregoh, Stanley and many of the new participants in our Marathon Training were pretty good with their form and strides, and I am confident they can do their targeted 5hr marathon if they follow Team FatBird's Pacers and Training Program religiously.

On the way, I bumped into many familiar faces, notably Benson, Wee San, Siew Lee blading , Ong and the SAFRA Runners, Helen biking, earth in the RunForHope race. I returned from the 18.5km run in about 1hr50min (Garmin 405 reading) and saw weison already there, having completed 18km in 1hr40min...good, we have a steady 21km pacer adding on to the strong 2hr 21km Pace team. Had iced-cold isotonic drinks while chatting with Sleek about Newton and Lunar Trainer shoes...interesting topic. SpeedCage and Garmin 405 also interested a few runners, especially Bug...hehe.

Finally the main bulk of the runners from the 26km returned, and we had some nice group photos. A final brief was conducted for the Group Leaders/Dy Group Leaders of the various Pace Groups about starting Paced Training next week, gear allotment, group training and a host of other matters....a very fruitful session indeed. All who joined in the Training Run were pleased with the outing....weather was nice too....and isotonic drinks were in ample supply. We even found time to cheer the SAFRA MF Runners who were doing their marathon training. A successful 6th FatBird Marathon Pacers Training session, and we will be back to The PlayGround next Sunday 6.45am again....Hope to see you all Marathon hopefuls. Cheers!

FatBirds @ The North Face 100 UltraMarathon

North Face 100 Lead Runners @ The Start


Team FatBird Support Crew & Lead Runners

DO and I signed up to be the NorthFace 100 Ultra-marathon lead runners at the 11th hour, after race organizers felt that it would be good to have runners running in the trails to have someone guide and cheer them. About 300 runners have signed up for this grueling race, part of the NorthFace 100 regional series.

The plan was to have Hui Ying run the first 4km, then DO and I to run the body of about 8km along Northern Route and then onto Rifle Range trails. There will be mountain bikers who will take over the lead for the Bukit Timah/Zheng Hwa trails. Anna was to be the tail, sweeping the rear pack runners.

SgRunners all raring to GO!

The race started at 8am sharp, and we estimated that the first people to be back would be Lexus and some of the MR25 runners. There were also some sponsored Northface teams which were pretty strong. The Gobi runners were also out in force, along with good representation from SgRunners. Team FatBird was there to provide some support stations along the way, as well as do a little photo shoot and media coverage for their lead runners...hehe.

True to form, Lexus arrived after about 17min. Walter from Running Lab was impressed. Then we saw Khek Hong Leong, and then Bug...wah, Bug was fast. Then Hui Ying came...good run from her. DO took the walkie-talkie from her, and away we went chasing after the front 8 runners. They were running below 5min/km pace, and in the Northern Route, that was something. We exited Northern Route in 20min from the zig-zag bridge, and continued to push towards Rifle Range trails. With about 500m from Rifle Range Road, we heard that the front runner has reached. The Bikers took over. I reached the CheckPoint 2 in 39min, after running for 7.5km. We handed our walkie-talkie to the remaining Biker, and stayed at the CP to cheer all the runners coming in....lots of familiar faces. It was fun. After quite a while, we finally our TAIL, Anna exit the trails with Ham and her friend.

Since we expected the front runner to return only after about 3.5hr to the same CP, we proceeded to walk about 4km to Binjai Park kopi-tiam for some solid food....wonton noodles never tasted so good....we were so hungry...haha. By the time we reached back to CP2 after brunch, it was 11.30am, and we heard that the front runner had turned at Bukit Panjang just 30min ago. We knew then it must be a tough run there; to be confirmed later by Lexus and Bug. We chit-chatted for a bit, before we saw the first Biker, Ling come in at 12pm. Ling mentioned that the first runner coming in, and true enough, it was Lexus. He was way ahead of the field and looking strong.

DO and I paced Lexus from there along Rifle Range Trails....Lexus would be walking up the slopes to avoid his hamstring cramps erupting....a very smart strategy. We followed behind, keep a distance, but yet remaining close enough to give him encouragement. Onto Northern Route, Lexus picked up speed and we had a hard time keeping up....wow, this guy is still so fast after having run 45km. With 2km to go, Lexus' hamstrings were real tight, and he was hitting his legs to get rid of the pain. I encouraged him to keep going, albeit not to rush. Finally, we made it out of Northern Route and he was 'chiong-ing' all the way to the end-point at zig-zag bridge...a superb finish of 4hr38min, to rousing cheers of the crowd.

DO and I went back to pace the 2nd guy, an ang moh, and also the rest of the 8 runners. Bug came in 8th position, and was a great run for him. After about 13 men, the first lady came back. It was a German gal...wow, very steady. Lai Chee was close behind in 2nd position. After we finished running with Lai Chee to the finish, and walking back to the carpark, we saw Lesley coming in in 3rd position. Wow, so happy for them....Women's Champion team. Hong Leong came back in 6th position, and together with Lexus, their team F1 Runners captured the Men's team champion. Colleen and Cui Ying did well to clinch third place Womens', after the sponsored NorthFace women's team.

We hung around and enjoyed the nice buffet spread from Subway, and chatting with the runners who had finished. RealRunner and TLR came in later, and they looked good. The mid pack started to come back as we made our way to the carpark. Met F1 Runners there, and congratulated them on a good finish. It was an interesting experience we had, and I figured we ran a total of about 15km, and walked 7km...haha...nice way to spend a Saturday morning, soaking in the adventure of trail running. Heard from Walter that they might do it even bigger next year....let's hope this will open up opportunities for more trail racing in Singapore.

Photo Slideshow from La Senza's cam

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