Sunday, November 25, 2012

Carbo- loading for Marathon - A Mistaken Notion

Carbo- loading - using Sports Science Knowledge to improve performance
This knowledge is intended to those who are in quest of knowledge on carbo-loading. Usually, marathoners are the ones who will benefit from this knowledge. I wrote this for people so that their efforts after training do not go in vain and they in turn do a good time for their race. The mistaken notion for a number of runners is that during the last 3 days they carbo-load in a way that they eat a lot of food. By eating too much food for the last 3 days, in fact,  increases one's weight. Take note that the weight should not increase. One of the reason to train is to lose weight. We know from studies done recently that elite athletes are 10% away from their ideal weight. This is a fact if one wants to improve in running. The last few days training should focus on increasing stores of glycogen and at the same time NOT INCREASING Weight. All your training goes in vain if you gain weight. It is good to take not of this fact. This is Sports Science. Physiology speaks of this through research. For every grams that you have increased, your body has to use extra oxygen. Oxygen cost should go primarily to running performance. THIS IS THE BIGGEST MISTAKE THAT MANY HAVE BEEN DOING TIME AND AGAIN. The reason for this is ignorance of physiology knowledge.

First Objective - Deprive your body of carbo the 3 days for the first 3 days.
The glycogen stores in the body will drop in the muscle and kidney. Your objective is to deprive the body of carbo.

Monday to Wednesday - fats and protein uptake to be increased besides your usual food intake. Do not be too strict with your diet and take only fats and protein only. Limit your carbo, that is all.  Use 3 meals a day method and do not go for second round.

One can eat roti-prata, nasi-lemak, egg white, beans, soya beans, baked beans, milk, carrot cake. These are examples of fats of protein food. You may feel very tired for these three days. One should remember that this is normal and one should not panic. The reason for this is one should know that fats and protein, when used as fuel, are not as efficent as carbohydrate. The energy that make you run very fast is actually carbohydrate.

Second Objective - Increase carbo In the muscles and kidneys by taking low glycemia complex carbo food to increase glycogen stores

Thursday to Saturday - Switch your diet to low Glycemic Index food, for example, food like fruits (try to eat less sweet fruits, like berries, etc), vegetables, salad, corn-flakes (original ones), wheetabix, pasta, brown rice, food that are called complex carbo food.

Reduce your mileage from, for example, 120km to 70km on the last week of the race. By observing the food intake summarised above you can in fact increase your stores of glycogen from 100 % to 300 percent through this method. 

Note :Usually when a person runs a steady run, at about 1hr of running, they will feel tired after the one hour run as the glycogen stores from muscle and kidney are usually all used up, fats comes next as the fuel to be burned and this is not a good source of energy to run faster. The 6 days carbo-loading method shown above will help one to go longer to at least 30 to 32km of running faster before muscle fatigue takes its effect to slow you down.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dr Benny Goh : Interview of his 2hr:51min Chicago Marathon 2012

Benny Goh - From 3hr 15min (Berlin, 2008) to Four sub-2hr 55min for marathon races

Dr Benny Goh, 37, is the training buddy of Dr Ben Tan. We use to call him as Benny. The first time I saw him was in Berlin as we were about to run in Berlin Marathon 2008. In that race, I did 3hr 31min while Dr Ben Tan did 3hr 01min. Benny Goh, did 3hr 15min. The mileage that he did at that time was only 50km per week. 

After the race, the meeting ended with Dr Ben Tan, Benny, myself and Daniel Ling training together to run in the Stanchart Marathon 2008. While Dr Ben Tan, Daniel Ling and I came in third, second and first respectively, in the race, Benny ran with a balloon to help people to pace their race well. After the race, he told us that he was envious and he joined us later on for training. 

In year, 2009, while Daniel and I got ourselves injured, Benny did well in the race by coming in 3rd in the race. It was a podium finish. 

He also has the best time taken by a Singaporean for 84km performance in Sundown Marathon by a local. 

Recently, training with Dr Ben Tan, he did well in Chicago Marathon 2012 which took place in US. He braved the cold weather and achieved 2hr 51min for the marathon race.I salute this gentleman as he is one of the rare ones who have done sub 2hr 55min four time within a span of 4 years. As such, I thought that it would be a good idea to feature his interview in this blogpost so that many can benefit from it in their aspiration to run faster in the marathon.

An Interview With Chicago Marathon 2012
What was your marathon time in year 2008 and before?
I started doing marathons by running with pacer groups. Prior to taking part in the World Major Marathons, my timings ranged from 3:45 hr to 4:00 hr. Berlin 2008 was my first major. I ran a 3:17:36 for my first overseas and solo race.
Which was the first marathon that you did a sub-3 hr?
The 2009 Nagano Olympic Commemorative Marathon  was my first Sub 3 hr marathon.
Can you tell us on where you did your first sub 2hr 55min? 
The 2009 Nagano Olympic Commemorative Marathon was also my first Sub 2hr 55min marathon
How many sub 2hr 55min marathon time have you done?

I have done 4 Sub 2hr 55mins..Namely Nagano, Boston, New York and Chicago.

Which was the most recent one that you did 2hr 55min?
The most recent one being the Chicago Marathon. 
Are you happy with the time?
I cannot have asked for more considering the amount of training that I put in.
How was the organisation of the race?
There is no complaint with regards to the race organization. Both the start and end points were at the Grant Park which was in the city. It was very accessible and convenient from most of the hotels. However the crowd support paled that of New York and Boston because the running route went through industrial and university areas of the Chicago.

How was the terrain during the run?
Chicago is a relatively flat course compared to New York. But the last kilometer was the killer. It was an up slope End Point and was certainly a big DAMPENER!

Any goal that you have in the long run?
Of course will still continue to do marathons and try to maintain Sub 3 hrs if possible
How was the weather during the run?

The weather was kind to us on the race day considering it was Chicago. The morning temperature at the starting time (7.30am) was about 6 degrees celsius. The temperature was about 11 degrees Celsius during the race. It was warm enough for me to run in my usual singlet and shorts.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Shireena Woon - 1hr 41m 34s in Newton 18km Race 2012

 Shireena Woon - Great improvement with least training

I met Shireena about 3-4 months ago where she was discussing with me on running. After a long conversation I had with her, I told myself that it would be good to invite her to join our group of runners to do a once a week training so that she can run faster over time. 

It was found that she was only doing low mileage training. The training entails 10km runs 2-3 times per week. Hence, the mileage was really low. With this quantity of mileage, recently, she joined us for a once a week session training and took part in 18km Newton Race for the Women Open category. Surprisingly, she came in 15th. She was happy to inform me and I realised that it was her first time getting such a good position in a race. 

I told myself that if she had run 5 to 6 times she would have done a much better time. We wish that her lifetime target of sub-4hours will be met in the coming months, next year February. 

In order to inspire others, I decided to ask her permission on being interviewed by us. She kindly consented upon hearing our purpose, which was to motivate others to work hard for the upcoming races and stay fit throughout life. 
1. What was the race called that you ran most recently?  
  I ran the Newton Challenge Run (18km Women's category) last Sun 28 Oct 2012 recently. There are 2 distance categories -Mens/Women's 18km, and the Men's/Women's 30km.

2. How was your preparation for the race? 
Shireena: No special training above my usual weekly runs, but in the few weeks before the race, I ran on average about 2-3 times a week, each session about 10-12km, including a long run on Saturdays (16-20km), plus some strength and speed sessions with Coach Rameshon, once a week.

3. What was your time? 
18km in 1h 41min 34s.

4. What was your position for the race? 
15th of 367 runners (in the 18km Women's category) 

5. Are you happy with the position and time that you have got?
Yes, I was happy as I have been busy with work, family and other commitments, and not running regularly and yet improved on my pace for races generally (ave. 5:37min/km, compared to a near 6-6:30min/km last year with similar level of regular runs). This is the highest ranking position I have obtained so far.

6. Any plans of running a marathon in the near future? 
  Yes, I will be running the Tokyo Marathon in Feb 2013.

7. Why did you choose this race? 
I am a long distance runner and try to do a marathon a year, (other commitments permitting!) especially overseas where the cool dry weather and race conditions (eg. crowd support and organization) are better and more enjoyable for running.

I am running the Tokyo Marathon as Tokyo is fairly nearby so it is easy to take a short break from work/home for the race, scenic (the race route will take the runners around all the scenic spots within the City) and cool.  Moreover, there are many marathon runners in Tokyo and the race is well-organised with accurate distance markers placed, at the same time attracting serious runners here, and providing good water support etc.. For me, by the organisers bringing good runners means I have the ability to know my own running standard.  It is easy to get a place in the race through ballot as a foreigner compared to other popular races, no pre-qualification timings are required. Also, it gives me a chance to see Tokyo and eat good Japanese food and go shopping :)!

I ran the Newton run to incentivise me to maintain my regular runs and to gauge my current running standards before I start training for the Tokyo Marathon (42.195km).  The Newton run is one of the few local runs which cater to longer distances that I run as a long distance runner.  Also, as it is organised by Newton (which specialises in running shoes) it is well-organised with the runners' welfare in mind. The route was flat, and scenic as we ran along the east coast park in the cool morning hours.  

8. What kind of time are you going for?
 I hope to do a personal best and do a sub-4 hour timing.

9. What is your long term goal? 
 I have been running marathons for some years now, picking up running initially to lose weight after my second child and to keep fit and healthy, and to relieve stress. My long term goal is to improve on my timings and complete a world class marathon below 4 hours, compete in top marathons worldwide, and hopefully be good enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon, which is the pinnacle of marathons for me.  This will be a personal achievement given that I am a late starter in sports generally.