I just came back from Gold Coast Marathon on 6th July 2008. My coach, Mr Guy and I have planned this race 6 months before hand.
The Gold Coast marathon organization was very different from Singapore. I was greeted with surprise when I arrived 3 days before the race at the race expo. The road closures were already executed and directions to the race expo were very clear. It was very different from marathons in other countries where race expo were usually small and we had to look for the map for directions. It was totally different in Gold Coast. I was also greeted with a howl of cold air! The temperature was about 13 degrees!
The course of the marathon:
It was clear and straight forward. We had to start from the starting line, run straight to broadbeach, then Mermaid beach and Maimi beach, make a U-turn there at around 14km and then head back the same route. As we come to the initial start point, we just had to make our way to Runaway Bay and then make the last U-turn at around 36km and finally run straight back to the finishing end line. It was clearly marked out with 1km signs. We did not join in with other runners from the 21km and 10km category. There was ample space and sufficient supply of drinking water. There was also pacers running with balloons stating specific timings.
It was done as swift as I could imagine. They had all the names printed on a list of paper, all I had to do was to produce my identity card. Within 2 mins, I had received my race pack. No long queues, specific instructions and even a counter to double check my chip.
Mr Guy had planned out my race meals very specifically. Friday afternoon, I had zuchinni. It is a type of pasta which is rather starchy but gives me a good form of energy for the carbo loading and teppanyaki chicken for dinner.
Saturday, I had cereal and egg for breakfast. I had chicken sandwich for lunch pasta at night. It was cooked by coach. The pasta was made of potato and gives me the sufficient energy throughout my marathon.
I hydrated myself with lots of water and Gatorade before 8pm.
On race day morning, I had the same cereal and 2 eggs, and a cup of milk.
I also purchased a think long sleeve top to wear for the marathon. I wore long compression tights too. I even had gloves with me before the race!
Race day registration:
Coach parked his car at a big field, no hassle about worrying to get summons. We took an easy warm up jog to the race start point. We started off right after the 21km runners and in the opposite direction. It was easy to get a spot at the front as people were courteous and kind. There were also no boundaries set at the side and runners were allowed to wave their way into the start area from any directions.
I had very little perspiration from the race and did not feel hungry during the race. Felt strong and could walk after the race. Coach had also included an after race ice-treatment where I had to soak my legs into a bathtub filled with ice cubes! It was extremely cold, but very effective in recovery.
Previous beliefs and current performance:
I ran a 3 hr 24min 54secs. It was a 10 min pb from my previous marathon in Kuala Lumpur in March 2008. Mr Guy took on a very different approach to my training. I used to believe that running marathons is about how much mileage a person clocks every day. We do not need any speed to be able to do a good marathon. However, he showed me otherwise.
My training had moved to a pure mileage training to include intervals and speed work as well as plyometric drills.
A typical training week:
Monday: Interval training as either turf city or Bukit Brown graveyard where we do 2min, 4min or 6min run intervals with rest intervals about 1-2mins. Every third Monday, we would do slope training at Turf City where we run up slopes ranging from 100m to 200m, 9 times. This is done with variation according to Mr Guy.
Tuesday: Moderate pace long run of 10-12km and swim about 30 laps.
Wednesday: Easy pace long run of 10-12km and swim about 20-30 laps.
Thursday: Speed workout at Singapore Poly or CCAB stadium. We do sets of 400m, 800, 1.2km and 1.6km at a marathon race pace or slightly faster than that. These are done with specific timings and I ensure that I do not run faster than the set pace. We do approximately 10-12 sets of 400m 6-8 sets of 800m, 5 sets of 1.2km or 4 sets of 1.6km.
Friday: Rest day. I swim about 30-40 laps.
Saturday: Woking workout at Mr Guy’ house. We warm up with a 3.2km jog around woking road, thereafter we do leg swings. Next, we go onto 5min of skipping. We then move to a grass patch where we complete one legged hops for a short distance. We then do bounding up a slope. Last but not least, we do weight training which includes lunges, chest press, arm swings with weights, weight ball throwing and also sit ups and push ups. All these are done as a team.
2008 - 1 hr 35min half marathon in Cambodia on 7th December.
2009 – 3 hr 10min full marathon in Boston
Advice to beginner marathon runners
Choose a good marathon with better climate. Train for it and not plunge into it. Commit to it fully if you really want to do well for it. Last but not least, get a coach to guide you along!
I want to thank my coach, Mr Guy Ogden for his patience, tolerance and professionalism throughout this whole 6 months. I actually fell ill for 3 weeks just before the marathon. He took really good care of me as a coach and tapered the training programme to suit my ability. He also made sure that my before the Gold Coast marathon was in line with the training so that I have ample time for recovery. Mr Guy’s encouragement to me made me pull through these 6 months of hard training. I also managed to slim down 6 kg and race in a lean body through this training.
Thank you coach