Thursday, February 28, 2013

Measuring Up The 1.5 Miles Fitness Test

A 1.5 Miles is used as a gauge in many military units worldwide as a standard of fitness for their personnel. A fit military will likely be a stronger force to reckon with should all other factors remain the same. I have never did or tested myself over the 1.5 miles or 2.4km distance. Maybe out of fear that I will not do as well. This 1.5miles or 2.4km run is actually a modification of Cooper Test. It involves a person (of reasonable fitness) to run as far as possible in the 12minutes duration and the distance covered within that period will be used as the benchmark.
Fighting Fit
The standard for military in Australia and UK is for their personnel to be able to run the 1.5miles distance within 11:18 and 10:30 respectively.
For US, They measure a 2-miles distance and it should be completed within 16:36 to gain 50 points to pass the basic training. 100 points stands at 13:00 (17 years old to 26 years old). South African Army apparently requires you to complete the 1.5miles within 11minutes or less - or do it again with the Drill Sergeant screaming at you from his Land Rover. The Singapore military denotes a 9:45 to be "Grade A" for personnel below 25 years old.
Again, this is basic requirement and different Corp might require you to run way faster, like to be in the SAS, Green Beret etc.
*Sadly, I can't find any details of our own Malaysian Military Basic Fitness Assessment (BFA).
The Run
With my current running fitness to be the best I ever had, i braved myself and it was an impromptu decision to do so. How impromptu was it? It was last Friday when I went to my Alumni Old Putera Association (OPA) for the Chinese New Year function. I reached early and saw that I could squeeze in, possibly a 5km run. That should takes tops, 22minutes - or I can try to score a new 5km PB. I nowadays (since my son has started school), packed a change of clothes, usually the T-shirt from 2ndskin Asia, the Skechers GoBionic (current fav) and my Garmin 910XT. With a towel in the car (luckily i brought a full sized towel, and not a face towel), i sort of changed from my Friday working clothes to running gear in less than 90seconds. I ran from the OPA Building towards Paremba Square. This is the first time I ran here and I have no idea how far this private road would bring me. I started running and it was a hot and humid evening. Weather forecast says it was "32degree C but felt like 39degree C".
I ran past the high-end condos and bungalows and saw Tan Sri Razali on the golf buggy heading towards OPA. Waved but I supposed he must had thought no crazy people would be running in that direction. I past the roundabout and it was 1km. 4:16. Nice. Race pace and at Threshold speed. I ran past the Saujana Clubhouse and traffic was starting to build up with people leaving the office. Had to slow down a little in case cars reversing out of the road side did not see me. I was running against the traffic, if you wondered.
2nd km 4:07, the Garmin beeped.
Mental calculation tells me that I will be able to cover 500m in 2:10, and It was only another 400m to go.
Pushed.
Pushed harder.
2.4km complete. 
Paused the Garmin.
9:57
Not too bad. It was a 4 out of 5 star effort - meaning I still have reserves. I re-start the Garmin and continued the run. I U-turned at about KM2.6 and headed to the OPA building and ended the run in a decent 22:18 at 5.28km. It translate to a 21:05 5km (according to the record in Garmin).
How Do I Compare To The Boys?
Armed with the 9:57 timing, I started to do some research (of which the results/standard of various military/defence were listed above). Actually the main reason for me to do this 2.4km or 1.5 miles run was to obtain an approximate value of my VO2max. I've been running 1mile best effort and the question always lingers if I can hack a decent 1.5miles run. I go to a website i frequent known as ExRx.net and used one of the fitness calculator. Key-ed in the appropriate value and these are the results.
Technically still 36.

Was not expecting this MUCH of info
I must say that the ExRx.net site provides more than enough data for the data-whore in me. From the run, I now know:
1. METs or Metabolic Value to be 14.9 times the effort compared to laying down ;)
2. VO2max is 52.04 which puts me at "Excellent", one point short of "Superior" in my age group (30-39)
3. I am 41.78% above normal - meaning pretty average. Haha.
4. Score 95 - which puts me pretty much at the top when compared to the US Military scoring.
5. Excellent - speaks for itself. lets aim to be Superior.
Compared to the various Military Standards for this test, I am considered to be "passing with flying colors" even when compared with anyone below 26 years old. 
Guess the only way to improve is to run faster. ;-) T qualifying for Special Forces (UK) is 9:16 ;-) I have to find ways to cut down the additional 41seconds.
So, after reading this, will you attempt to run your fastest 2.4km or 1 mile and see where you stand? 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Xterra Malaysia : Organizer's Updates


I've received a confirmation from the race organiser (yesterday) that the closing date for the race has been extended to March 11, 2013. If you have not registered, you have a little more time to decide - but remember, the early bird pricing will end after Feb 28, 2013 (aka from March 1, 2013 onwards)
from Xterra Malaysia Facebook yesterday ;-)
Surprise for Xterra Malaysia Participants based in Cebu!
The Xterra Malaysia Team will be up in Cebu this weekend for XTERRA Philippines, so anyone happen to be there – Do go and say HELLO, show them your confirmation slip (if you already registered) and get an exclusive XTERRA MALAYSIA 2013 merchandise.

Updates Feb 28, 2013 on Racing Fees
Please take note that the normal fee for the registration will be reflected on our system at 1201am, 1st March 2013. 

Fees details:

27th April 2013
XTERRA MALAYSIA TRIATHLON – SPRINT
Distance: 750m swim, 20km cycle, 5km run
Fee: USD80 (Malaysian), USD 100 (non-Malaysian)

XTERRA MALAYSIA – TRAIL RUN (11km & 5km)
Distance: 11km
Fee: USD40

Distance: 5km
Fee: USD15

28th April 2013
XTERRA MALAYSIA TRIATHLON – WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Distance: 1.5km swim, 30km cycle, 11km run
Fee: USD100 (Malaysian), USD150 (non-Malaysian)

XTERRA MALAYSIA TRIATHLON – RELAY (3 members in a team)
Distance: 1.5km swim, 30km cycle, 11km run
Fee: USD225/team (Malaysian), USD250/team (non-Malaysian)

Monday, February 25, 2013

4 Months Plan To Run A Marathon

I have been working on this post for a week. Thinking hard and deep to provide a good answer or a plan. Back when I did my first Marathon, no one told me what to do - it was crazy when I think back. Somehow, i survived it. My intention was to write a 6-months plan, and somehow, it got sidetracked because of many things that was happening. Then, perhaps, a 5-months plan...and that too, met with some issues as the draft posting went missing (note to self : NEVER press the BACK button when composing!) I lost the draft! *gasp*. 
The Plan
Now that there is only 4-months to the Standard Chartered KL Marathon, It is sufficiently enough if you start planning for it proper - like after reading this today. Give yourself a few days to digest and then take it on. Intention is to build the mileage progressively and go from 24km to 74km per week mileage in 3-months. But before that, I would suggest reading he entries I wrote on essentials such as HIIT, Tempo (and variation), Hill, Strides and Long Slow Distance (LSD). Each of the workout has their own merits and should be done as part of a program. You will see "Tempo" appearing up to 3-times in a week and that is normal even for world class athletes (only that they run way faster). Once a week, run up some hills and do a HIIT. Incorporate Stride or speedwork/sprint into the picture and you will see improvement as long as you keep injury away.
My 4-months plan is based on my current run routine that has worked great for me. You can read them here. The only obvious change from that program and this is a very specific "forced" rest where I suggest no running. Again, this is in assumption that you are running your FIRST marathon and to protect you from overtraining. However, what you can do on those "REST" days are stretching or weight work (light weight). Basically anything other than running. So yes, swimming is good. Biking is alright. Just keep the intensity at Recovery and/or Aerobic (nothing more than 70% HRmax).
*Important thing to note : LSD is nothing less than 20km and will be done at a pace up no less than 60seconds slower than your fastest 10km. It is supposed to help your body prepare for the longer distance as training progress. LSD starts at Week 8. Before that, Saturday is dedicated to Tempo runs.
Ready?
16-weeks or 4-months. Look at the plan below and ask if you are ready to commit to this. The mileage double after Week 4, peaks at Week 11 and dedicate a full week to tapering on Race Week. It requires commitment and you are looking at no less than 8hours/week as your training peaks (Week 11). Distance below is in Kilometer (KM), in case you are used to the Imperial system.
Click for larger printable version
Overtraining
It is the biggest enemy to you. Learn to spot it and breach it. Learn to use your own body as a gauge to your current physio condition. Heartrate do not lie and I use it often to see if I am ready for heavier workout the next day.
Hydration
I train at the above schedule without water or hydration as anything other than LSD will be done within an hour max. If you are not comfortable running without water, carry a small 500ml bottle. Remember, you do not need to GULP down water, just sip and wet the mouth. You also do not need sugar laden isotonic drinks - whether they are fizzy or otherwise. Water, just like cash, is King.
Fuel
I train/run on empty. It is my own way of teaching the body to use and burn fat as primary energy. However, for LSD, you can experiment with food to see what goes well with your tummy. I still train on empty as it has been working great. You may attempt this, but be reminded to do it with both eyes open and not just take what I write squarely. You know your own limits better when it comes to how your stomach reacts to liquid food.
Nutrition
This might surprise most of you that know my eating habits - with Team 2ndSkin collaborating with Hammer Nutrition (via their main distributor in Malaysia), I will be testing the whole range of products to see what works for me, and what don't. I will be eating/drinking/taking exclusively Hammer Nutrition products during these races as a way to put my body through "experiment" and to feedback to Hammer Nutrition for improvement. Stay tuned for very comprehensive reports of the product usage especially during races. 
Final Words
There is none - for as long as I am around and this blog exist, I will attempt to assist and help with any questions as part of "giving back to the sports community".  my opinion, 4-months is possible to finish your first Marathon. It is all about finishing it even if not within qualifying time. The experience you will gain will help to improve your next Marathon. My team-mates in Team 2ndSkin will be at hand to help out as we are from a diverse sporting and life background. No time to train? That is just an excuse. How about reading this for inspiration?
Keep Moving Forward!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Brooks 21km Race Kit Collection

Just got back from the Race Kit Collection at The Curve. If you registered for the race, the race kit collection is happening from today until Sunday (for local participants) and next week March 2 for outstation/overseas participants.
Remember your Bib number to help ease the congestion
AECO Technologies, the distributor for Garmin products in Malaysia has brought their range of GPS navigation system and sports tracking watches for sale at a discounted price.
Hi-tech Devices At Affordable Prices
With Dash from AECO Technologies
Marathon Shop has set up a corner for race-tech and items. Key Power International that brings in those cool compression wear is also there and offering good discount on compression wear and Nathan products.  Powerbar has a booth there too.
Brooks is holding sales during this period with discount from 50% to 70%.
The race kit collection were smooth and problem free with the volunteers working like well-oiled machine to verify, find and present your race kit which consist of the Brooks Orange vest, timing chip and your racing bib.
I collected for wifey and my sis
Good to note that this year's bib comes in men and women specific cutting and there will be less chances of you getting a badly fitted vest. Also, the material is the better type compared to the almost transparent version last year. :)
Don't forget to verify your timing chip at the end of the race kit collection. When I was there, I was given some Glucosamine supplement to try.
Will understand it before consumption
As usual, as with every race kit pick up, we will bump into friends. I bumped into two that I've not seen for a long time and one that reads (and i believe he is now) reading my blog.
Buff with wifey. Congrats on the newborn. Good luck next week 21km!
Shahran. Last i saw him was...a year ago!


Mat Joe. A friend i made through this blog
With PC and wifey
Good looking
See you all next weekend!

Xterra Malaysia Updates : Race Director Dave Spence and Promo Tour Singapore

Xterra Malaysia 2013 Race Director appeared in 'Bernama Today' on 21st Feb 2013 to speak about Xterra Malaysia.
Dave is a fellow triathlete and mountain biker. He has raced in the Xterra World Championship in Maui, Hawaii (that is the Holy Grail in the world of Xterra). With many years of racing experiences, it is no surprised that he was asked to the race director of the 2013 Xterra Malaysia.
Here is the interview.
If you still have not register for the race, head over to my link here and click on the appropriate event.
Click here for the official Xterra Malaysia Website

Extra! Extra!
XTERRA MALAYSIA - PROMO TOUR 

Xterra Malaysia will be heading down to Singapore this weekend!

Go anjd find them, bring along your registration confirmation slip and you will get an exclusive limited edition XTERRA MALAYSIA merchandise! (while stock available)

23rd February 2013 - Saturday
Location A - Rear Exit of MBS
Time: 11am & 1.30pm
Location B - Bayfront Station
Time: 12noon & 2.45pm

Drop by to say Hello to the team!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2013 Officially Launched


Standard Chartered KL Marathon is more than just a race:
Celebrates five years of nation-building efforts

Kuala Lumpur, 20 February 2013 – Following its success over the past four (4) years, Malaysia’s most anticipated running event is back and scheduled to take place on Sunday, 30 June 2013. The Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2013 was launched with festivity and colour yesterday by the Minister of Youth and Sports, YB Dato’ Sri Ahmad Shabery Cheek at the Standard Chartered KL Park, a unique location of green and tranquillity amidst the bustling city’s high-rise buildings. The park is the country’s first “pocket park” collaboration under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) Greener KL/ Klang Valley initiative.

The launch was commemorated with the unveiling of a 10-foot tall wall panel depicting a historical photo montage wall, showcasing the evolvement and successes of the Marathon since it first started in 2009. The wall panel will be located at the Park for public viewing until after the Marathon ends. The Minister of Youth and Sports was joined by co-organiser, Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL) represented by the Deputy Director General (Socio-Economy Development), YBhg Datuk Hj Mhd Amin Nordin bin Abd Aziz on behalf of the Mayor of Kuala Lumpur, YBhg Datuk Haji Ahmad Phesal Bin Haji Talib; title sponsor Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Berhad, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Osman Morad; YBhg Dato' DCP Mohamed Bin Salleh, Chief of Police (Kuala Lumpur Contingent); and Marathon owner and organiser, Dirigo Events Sdn Bhd Director Rainer Biemans together with official sporting officials from the Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF), Deputy President, YBhg Dato' Wan Hisham bin Wan Salleh and Mr S Vegiyathuman, General Secretary of Federal Territory Amateur Athletic Association (FTAAA) and SCKLM 2013 Race Director.

“I’m glad to be here to celebrate Standard Chartered KL Marathon’s 5th successful year in Malaysia. I applaud the various parties who have successfully showcased growing sporting brilliance through this nation-building event for the past four years. I am confident that by now the Standard Chartered KL Marathon is embedded in our sporting culture and is contributing to nation-building,” said YB Dato’ Sri Ahmad Shabery Cheek during the launch.
Yang Berhormat Dato’ Sri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, Minister of Youth and Sports delivering his speech as the Guest of Honour for the launch of the Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2013.
This year’s Marathon, which will be held at Dataran Merdeka carries the theme, “Run for a Reason”, a theme that is parallel to Standard Chartered Marathons around the world. The event offers 12 categories to the public to provide a participation opportunity for every person. Worth to note, the prize package offered for Standard Chartered KL Marathon remains the highest among marathons in Malaysia, with a total prize pot of USD110,000 (RM341,000) this year.
[L to R] – Rainer Biemans, Director of Dirigo Events Sdn Bhd, Osman Morad, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Bhd, and Yang Berhormat Dato’ Sri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, Minister of Youth and Sports pointing out that the Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2013 is targeting 30,000 runners this year.
By the people, for the people
A multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-lingual public sports event, the Marathon ecosystem continues to be a platform that fosters comradeship, unity and positive collaboration. The Marathon over the years has forged strong collaborative partnerships between the government, the sporting associations, the private sector and the society in establishing a united platform for the benefit of the people. An estimated of more than 2,400 people are involved in the 6 to 7 months preparation leading up to the Race Day.

Osman Morad, Standard Chartered Bank added, “We always believe that sports shapes and unifies a nation. We have seen the benefits of the Marathon in our community, and we are happy to have been key to this effort. As the country’s first and oldest bank established in 1857, we take pride in contributing to our community and the Marathon is an event we are very proud of.”

Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2013 announced the “Run-For-Free” Campaign, a promotional campaign where runners can enjoy a full rebate of their Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2013 registration fees by applying for any Standard Chartered credit card or for a JustOne Current and Savings account.
“This year, Standard Chartered is pleased to introduce special packages where runners can ‘Run for Free’ and other special benefits when they sign up for a credit card or savings or checking account with us. It is yet another feature from Standard Chartered to continually add value for our customers,” Osman added.

Slated to start and finish once again at the country’s historical site of Dataran Merdeka, the Mayor of Kuala Lumpur, Datuk Haji Ahmad Phesal said, “It is only befitting that a monumental country event like the Marathon takes place at Dataran Merdeka where you will be able to see some 30,000 runners and volunteers, officials, supporters, family and friends gathering together to be a force for good.”

Run the marathon and put a smile on the faces of the less fortunate
Over the four years, the Standard Chartered KL Marathon has raised more than RM2.4 million to benefit charities around Malaysia. This year charity recipients are Standard Chartered Foundation, National Autism Society of Malaysia (NASOM), Ecoknights, and Hospis Malaysia.

The iconic event continues to set new records. This year, within just three (3) weeks of registration opening, more than 14,222 registrations were received surpassing last year’s record by more than 235 per cent registered over the same period. In 2012, participant registration closed six (6) weeks ahead of the deadline following an overwhelming response from the public. This year, Standard Chartered is confident that the target of 30,000 runners will be met soon. Registration started on 30 January 2013 and the closing date is set for 31 May 2013, or when 30,000 sign-ups are reached, whichever comes first.

A fifth year celebration would not be complete without a cake cutting ceremony. [L to R] – YBhg Dato’ Wan Hisham Bin Wan Salleh, Deputy President of Malaysia Athletics Federation (MAF); YBhg Dato’ DCP Mohamed Bin Salleh, Chief of Police (Kuala Lumpur Contingent); Osman Morad, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Bhd; Yang Berhormat Dato’ Sri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, Minister of Youth and Sports; Yang Berbahagia Datuk Hj Mhd Amin Nordin Bin Abd Aziz, Deputy Director General (Socio-Economy Development) of DBKL; Rainer Biemans, Director of Dirigo Events Sdn Bhd and Project Director of Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2013.
A journey of partnerships
The Standard Chartered KL Marathon is once again made possible by title sponsor Standard Chartered Bank in partnership with Marathon owner and organiser, Dirigo Events Sdn Bhd and co-organiser DBKL and the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

Rainer Biemans, Director of Dirigo Events Sdn Bhd paid tribute to the support and loyalty of partners and sponsors that have grown with the Marathon as it journeys into its 5th year. Re-joining Standard Chartered Bank, are gold sponsors MSIG and Honda Malaysia; with official partners 100Plus and New Balance. This year, the Marathon welcomes Seiko as the official timing partner.

Running enthusiasts can sign up by registering on the official website www.kl-marathon.com. You can also connect with the other runners through the Standard Chartered KL Marathon Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/SCKLmarathon and keep up-to-date via twitter at @scklmarathon. For queries or assistance, please contact the Marathon organising team at 2013@kl-marathon.com .






Total Charity Funds raised in 4 years

RM 2,053,384
For media information, please contact:

Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Berhad
Dominica Chin, Head of Brand and Sponsorships, Corporate Affairs
+6012 217 0245 | +6012 376 1539 | dominica.chin@sc.com  

Essence Communications at 03-7493 5588:
Karen Teh, ext. 209 | +60 12 448 1450 | karen.teh@my-essence.com
Dominic Chan, ext. 216 | +6016 441 4219 | dominic@my-essence.com

For race event information / assistance, please contact:
Dirigo Events Sdn Bhd
+603 7725 0881 | 2013@kl-marathon.com

About the Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2013
Back for the fifth year, the Standard Chartered KL Marathon is scheduled to take place on 30 June 2013. The marathon aims to grow to 30,000 total participants, ranging from elite professionals to first-time amateurs. The Standard Chartered KL Marathon boasts participants from all over Malaysia and over 48 countries worldwide. The Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2013 continues as Malaysia’s flagship running event with top runners competing for a total of USD110,000 prize money in 2013.

For more information on the Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon, please refer to:

About Standard Chartered Bank
Standard Chartered – leading the way in Asia, Africa and the Middle East
Standard Chartered is a leading international banking group. It has operated for over 150 years in some of the world's most dynamic markets and earns more than 90 per cent of its profits in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. This geographic focus and commitment to developing deep relationships with clients and customers has driven the Bank’s growth in recent years. Standard Chartered PLC is listed on the London and Hong Kong stock exchanges as well as the Bombay and National Stock Exchanges in India.

With 1,700 offices in 70 markets, the Group offers exciting and challenging international career opportunities for nearly 87,000 staff. It is committed to building a sustainable business over the long term and is trusted worldwide for upholding high standards of corporate governance, social responsibility, environmental protection and employee diversity. Standard Chartered’s heritage and values are expressed in its brand promise, ‘Here for good’.

For further information please visit www.standardchartered.com. Follow Standard Chartered at www.facebook.com/standardchartered and on Twitter @StanChart.

Standard Chartered in Malaysia
Standard Chartered Bank, a member of the Standard Chartered Group was established in Malaysia in 1875 and incorporated as Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Berhad on 29 February 1984.  As Malaysia’s first bank, Standard Chartered leads the way through product innovation, consistent and strong growth performance and sustainability initiatives. The Bank’s two businesses - Wholesale and Consumer Banking – provides a comprehensive range of financial products and services to corporates, institutions, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and individuals through its network of 40 branches across Malaysia.

In 2001, Standard Chartered UK established its third global technology & operations centre, Scope International, in Malaysia – the first international bank to do so in the country. Scope International provides software development, banking operations, IT support services and customer service capabilities to the Bank in up to 70 countries. It now houses the biggest software development company in the country, International Software Centre Malaysia (ISCM) and has a total workforce of more than 3,200 people.

Price Solutions Sdn Bhd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Standard Chartered Bank UK is also located in Malaysia. The company promotes and markets Standard Chartered’s financial products in Malaysia through a network of direct sales agents.

Standard Chartered Saadiq Berhad, Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Berhad’s Islamic Banking subsidiary was established in November 2008. It offers a full suite of Shariah-compliant products and services to individuals and corporates through its financial centres.

Standard Chartered employs more than 7,000 employees in all its Malaysian operations.

About the Event Organiser
Dirigo Events Sdn Bhd is a Kuala Lumpur-based company that provides strategic event management expertise for high scale sporting events. Dirigo is headed by Rainer Biemans and Gloria Ng that collectively have over 30 years in planning international sports events, and includes managing previous Standard Chartered KL Marathons. For more information on Dirigo Events Sdn Bhd, please call +603 7725 0881.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

2ndSkin : Faster Than A Jamaican

Image taken from 2ndskin Asia webstore
I bought this T-shirt before i was made one of the Team 2ndSkin athlete. Back then, i fit M-size. So, the photos you see below has the t-shirt draping over me like me wearing a curtain.
Roar!!!
The Vaporlite material is a legit technical wear. Made from 100% Microfibre Polyester, ultra lightweight and breathable. Wearing it for a run seems like the best way to verify this - and just like how i review my gears, i wear them/use them and report back the results.
Running Partner (for life)
As you can see, the "Faster Than A Jamaican" is available only in Neon Yellow. A color so striking that you actually felt safe (by being visible) to traffic. The material is light and does not cling to your body despite it being made from polyester. When it start getting drenched in (my) sweat, the material wicks them off from my skin fast to provide cooling effect. Granted that the run was done in a post-rain condition (at about 25deg C, as per Garmin weather) in the evening, the cooling effect were even more prominent.
Tshirt was drenched by KM4 Still feel and looked light as it doesn't stick to the body
I have 4 t-shirts in Vaporlite material and two were actually given to me (part of the sponsorship). You will see me often in the 2ndSkin t-shirt, not just because they are cool design, but it is actually a functional sports wear. I leave you with a video of me wrying out my sweat after an easy 6km run with the t-shirt drenched. You will also see how light the material is by how it is being handled in my hands (actually, that requires a lot of imagination...haha!) Pardon the topless-ness. It was the only t-shirt i had when i recorded it. I tried very hard to stay out of frame, but the 24mm wide angle obviously took in most of me. 

So, did i ran "Faster Than A Jamaican"? I believe i did not, but there is no harm in trying and this t-shirt allowed me to do just that. :)

This t-shirt can be bought at 2ndSkin Asia online store here at RM69. Else, it can be viewed and bought at these participating shops. For a complete list of shops, click here.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

5 Things I Wished I Was Told As A New Runner

I have been running for at least 10 years. I've went from knowing nothing to at least knowing "something". Like a friend said, "we have been jay-running". 

To quote a friend :
"Running is my favourite but vowed not to run with my heart ever again. Will use my head instead."

Wise words by my friend. 
I have been giving a lot of sharing in my blog and will continue to do so. If you ever want to run with your head, read this entry here. I laid out my run training routine. This is called planning
Today, I share with you 5 things I have learnt over the past 10 years racing as an amateur cyclist, runner and triathlete.
You Don't Need To Be An Athlete In School 
The believe that you need to be an athlete to start running is not true. I grew up as an overweight kid and no way anyone would had thought I would be doing all these sports?
Spot Me. Age 12.
Many I know that has been running in the past 10 years started only after school or university. Many started due to health reasons (of being overweight or already starting to have lifestyle diseases). To start running, you only need to ensure you are in good health condition. Start easy and set realistic target for your level of fitness. There is no shame in able to run 1km in your first attempt - or walk it. You will progressively improve provided you do not give up.
You Don't "Just Run"
One of the biggest mistakes I've done was not properly stretching. This was something I took for granted and It came back and bite me hard in the form of Sciatica. This is the single main "injury" any runner and cyclist could pick up due to overused hamstring. 
The next thing that I failed to do (until recently) was working my core muscles. No one told me until 2 years ago to work on my core. Indeed this was one area most neglected muscle and it shows on longer races as tiredness sets in. The core ensure the legs, hip and abdomen works in harmony to ensure balance and stability.
These two above, coupled with some weight work such as chin-up, push-up and burpees will gives you a wholesome package as a triathlete and runner.
You Don't Need Cushioning Shoes
I started off with an old pair of old sneaker that were likely bought at a discounted rate as it was two-season old. As a struggling young adult with minimal pay and no luxury of extra cash to get those high-tech gears has most likely forced me to understand running shoes a bit better than the average runners. As I often wanted the best deal for my money, I did enough research to understand the complexity and lure of....marketing. 
No one told me NOT to heel strike but I was told that "cushioned shoes" will provide the best ride. 
No one ran barefoot, as that is too 17th century (and not cool).
If there was one thing I learnt, it was to take everything with a pinch of salt. if the shoes were as good as they claimed to be, why are world class runners going back to basic?
Bragging, I know

Buy a shoe, or I would say, invest in a shoe suitable for your feet type. There is no ONE shoe that will fit you perfectly but "close enough" is good. Do not be taken in by the hype without knowing what you need. Running barefoot is good only if you have your legs muscles conditioned (it takes a lot on your calves). Going to those "finger shoes" could be a good compromise to barefoot - again ONLY if your legs muscles are conditioned to run in them. 
Here is a money saving tip - use your existing trainer. You would had noticed that the shoe is worn off only at certain part, but look closely, most people will have the heels worn off. You been heel striking. Now, use the same shoe and start learning to run by landing mid and/or forefoot. Until you have developed the ability to run mid/forefoot, do not think of investing in those barefoot/minimalist/specific shoes. Many I know ended up injured due to this.
You Don't Need Energy Food
Or "carbo-loading" for that effect. Too many people abused these two food-items by justifying that they need to "carbo-load" a day before a race. You are actually putting yourself at a risk of tummy upset or worse, not able to race the next day. Carbo-loading has a very systematic approach and no average runners I know, let alone beginners, knows how to do it correctly. Here is how.
When it comes to "energy food" mid-way during your run, it is also something that works on the mind more than the body. Our diet has became too reliant on processed sugar and we mistaken these for "energy surges" when we take these food. Myself too, has started off with these mistakes and learnt my lessons. If the race requires, I will likely make my own energy gel from ingredients I know. Nowadays, I run with no food, even up to 42km. 
And isotonic sugar drinks too - is something you would not need. Hydration starts and stops with plain water. Unless you are dehydrated, a little salt might help - but if you allow yourself to be dehydrated during a race, you most likely already got the whole training and racing approach wrong. 
Learn To Have Fun
Too many I've came across were too serious in their quest to run their races. Some takes it too seriously and failing to achieve their target (sometimes it was set too high even for some advanced runner) causes them to give up running even. Many of us do not race for a living and uses sports as another extension to socialise and also for health - so, learn to have fun. I started off too seriously until i chance upon a group of like-minded people that has taught me to have fun while racing, which is why until today, you still see me running races with my camera, or even stopping for a drink mid-way through a marathon. 
Coconut water during Bali International Marathon
Now that you know better, see you on the road. :) Run safe and keep moving forward.
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