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Cramps are one of the most dreaded ailments for a runner. In fact, runners of all abilities can experience some sort of cramping during a race, be it muscle cramps, stomach cramps or side cramps (stitches). If you are planning to compete in a marathon or even just running for health benefits, heed the following advice so cramps don’t derail your running plan.
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For a successful marathon, it’s critical to fuel your body with proper nutrition and keep it sufficiently hydrated before, during and after the race.
Before any big race, build up your energy reserves by loading on carbohydrates, starchy vegetables, fruits and lean protein for three days. Inexperienced runners often make the mistake of taking heavy meals the day before the race. Overeating can overwhelm your digestive system. You may feel bloated or nauseous during the race. Learn more about what to eat before a race
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Sticking to a planned race pace is critical to a successful marathon.
Your race goals might be derailed if you do not stick to your marathon training plan. Every runner has an ideal race pace. If the race pace is too fast, you may suffer from injuries, severe cramps or even run out of steam before finishing the race. If the running pace is too slow, you will be kicking yourself for the disappointing finish time.
Learn more about finding your race pace and setting a targeted marathon time here.
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High humidity and warm weather increase the risk of heat stroke, an extreme form of heat injury that can affect marathon runners in Singapore. Heat stroke occurs when the body fails to regulate its temperature. It is a medical emergency and without proper treatment, the person can die within minutes. Read the following article to understand the heat stroke symptoms and how to prevent heatstroke during marathon.
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You don’t need to be a marathon runner to enjoy the health benefits of running. Even running for 20 minutes three times a week will get your heart pumping and give your muscles a good workout. Moreover, running is almost free, save for the cost of a pair of good running shoes. To reap the health benefits of running, you must be running fast enough to raise your heart rate, yet stay able to carry out a conversation while running. Gradually increase your running pace to allow your body to adapt. Learn the 6 health benefits of running here
[sws_ui_toggle title=”Pace execution article” closed=”true” jui_theme=”WPCSS” duration=”500″]Pace Execution
By Ben Pulham of Journey Fitness Company
Don’t be that guy (or girl), the guy who spends months building his fitness only to blow it all on race day by not executing a smart race.
Racing is more than fitness, it requires patience and control, yet almost every runner in the race ruins their chances of a fast time by starting out too fast and gradually fading away as the race progresses.
When you line up on the start line on 7 December, you have control and a choice of 3 pacing strategies available for you to employ.
1. The positive split
This positive split strategy is what will be used by 90+ percent of runners, not by choice, but through lack of understanding, patience and control. In this strategy, runners start out at a higher pace and gradually get slower as the race progresses, hoping they’ve “banked” enough time to see them through to their goal time.
2. The even split
Using the even split strategy, runners run a consistent pace for the entire duration of the run, where their first kilometer is the same as their last as well as in between. This is a safe and effective strategy that most of you can and should implement. To make this strategy work for you, all you need is a good understanding of your current fitness and the patience and control to execute the strategy.
3. The negative split
A negative split strategy is the go to strategy for running’s elite. In this strategy, the goal is to run the second half of the race slightly faster than the first half. This is the split strategy to aim for but because it is a challenge, it usually comes the more experienced you get as a racer.
The tools of the trade
Now that you know the available pacing strategies and understand the importance of racing with patience and control, there are various “pacing tools” you can use to help you.
Most major marathons provide pacers trained to complete the distance at scheduled times. The goal of the pacer is to run a consistent pace that runners can follow to cross the finish line in the specified time.
This year, SCMS will provide 8 pace groups for the marathon distance. Pace groups will start at 3:45hr and go through to 5:30hr at 15min intervals so if your goal is to run one of the specified pace groups times, then it is a great idea to start with the pace group and to follow them as closely as possible.
Because the pacers have been trained to run an even split strategy and have put in 16+ weeks of specific training, you can run with comfort knowing that you are on track to reach your goal time without the mental stress of having to gauge the pace for yourself.
2. Pace bands
Pace bands allow runners to easily track their own progress through the use of the pace band (a bracelet with specified timings on it), a stopwatch and the distance markers throughout the route. As you pass the different distance markers, you check the time on your stopwatch against the time on your pace band for that distance and adjust your pace up or down depending on whether you’re in front or behind your goal pace.
With the growing availability of GPS watches and heart rate monitors, runners can now easily monitor their pace and heart rate as they run. This has made running a smart race easier than ever before and I strongly recommend the use of one of these devices.
Now that you know and understand the pacing strategies and the tools you can use to ensure you are “on pace”, you have no excuse not to execute like a pro.
[sws_ui_toggle title=”4 Motivation hacks for SCMS runners article” closed=”true” jui_theme=”WPCSS” duration=”500″]We all enter Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore for our own reasons. Some to get to the finish line, others to set a personal best time and for the rare few, to win.
Regardless of your motivation for entering the race, at some stage it’s likely to get tough and you’ll find your motivation starting to run low. Instead of letting low motivation get the best of you, try some of the tips below to lift your spirits and to keep you on track.
1. Have a plan.
There’s a reason the best athletes in the world have a coach and follow a carefully prepared training plan. It not only gets them physically and mentally prepared for their event, it can also help with motivation.
When you have a plan and you know what you are doing each day and you take your brain out of the equation and training becomes simply a matter of scheduling and not a tug of war battle with your mind on what to do. Just like you do at work and with other appointments, schedule the training session into your day and hold yourself accountable.
2. Join a group.
Running in the company of others is a sure fire way to stay motivated. In line with point one, you are scheduling an appointment but in this instance, you have great company to keep you motivated as you run.
Get a friend (or group of friends) together and get out there and run. If you can’t find anyone, join Journey Fitness Company every Tuesday morning for a free run at the Botanic Gardens.
3. Mix up your route.
Running the same routes every week is boring. Aside from that, the body responds to variation so by mixing up the routes you run, you’ll not only get better results, your motivation will also benefit by running in different places.
4. Establish secondary goals.
While you’re preparing for SCMS, consider finding one to two shorter races to add to your plan as part of your build up. By breaking your main build up down, it’s easier to maintain motivation and these shorter races can be used as benchmark sessions to check your progress and to familiarise yourself with the race day process.
[sws_ui_toggle title=”4 Signs you’re not fuel efficient article” closed=”true” jui_theme=”WPCSS” duration=”500″]4 Signs You’re Not Fuel Efficient
By Jonathan Fong and Ben Pulham of Journey Fitness Company
As runners one of our main goals is to run as fast as possible for as long as possible. To do this requires the specific training of a number of different systems within the body.
One of these key systems is our metabolism and our goal with this article is to help you determine whether your metabolic function (fuel efficiency) is limiting your ability to perform well in endurance races.
As a long distance runner you will draw your energy from two main sources when you train and race. Fat and carbohydrate. While carbohydrate is the easiest fuel source, you are very limited by the amount the body can store – up to approximately 2,500 kcal. Fat on the other hand offers a nearly unlimited supply of energy with up to 80,000 kcal.
By identifying your limiters and then implementing our recommendations, you’ll become a better fat burner and enjoy all the benefits that come with it.
1. Can’t beat the bulge.
If you’re a person who runs regularly but still struggles to lose weight, you could be suffering from poor fuel efficiency. When we run our body draws energy from two main fuel sources, fat and carbohydrate. If you’re training at too high an intensity too often, you’ll be teaching your body to become better at using carbohydrate for energy rather than fat. To kick start your fat metabolism, slow your runs down to a comfortable conversational pace and you’re fat metabolism will begin to improve.
2. Always in need to feed.
If you’re always craving food, especially sugary and starchy food, this is a sign that you may have an poor fuel efficiency. To stop the cravings, remove sugary and starchy foods from your diet. These foods spike your insulin levels and suppress your fat metabolism. By removing these foods, you put your body in the best fat burning state and as you begin to draw more energy from fat you’ll find that your cravings begin to disappear.
3. Poor recovery between sessions.
If you train regularly and you find that you struggle to recover between sessions and after races, you could be suffering from poor fuel efficiency. When you improve your ability to burn fat, you conserve your precious carbohydrate stores and improve your recovery rate.
4. Running out of gas.
Hitting the wall (blowing up) in training or in a race is probably the most obvious sign that you may be suffering from poor fuel efficiency. When you hit the wall, your body is running out of carbohydrates that it needs to function properly. By misjudging your pace, you increase the rate of carbohydrates being consumed until your stores are empty. To prevent this from happening your need train at a slower “conversational” pace, especially for your long runs. By slowing down your long runs, you’ll begin to teach your body to get good at burning fats and saving carbohydrates. With a better fueling system you’ll be able to run further and faster.
To start training with more purpose, Sign up for our free weekly email training plans or subscribe for just $45 a month to get a personalised training plan with personalised heart rate zones and coach support.