Training for my first Marathon, 8 tips I pick up along the way

While training for my first Marathon (Sundown Marathon 2017), I learn a lot of things over the last 3 to 4 months.

(Image credit

Am I training enough for 42.195km?
Am I happy with my own efforts?
Am I READY for a Marathon?
These questions keep following me along my training journey.

I like to challenge myself but 42km might be a stretch. The training journey has been time consuming, involves a lot of sacrifice, self doubts, and mostly tired body and soul.

Yet, I keep surprising myself with my own determination and enthusiasm. Little milestones like improved stamina and pace make my day and motivate me to keep trying.

I have listed some other points which come across my mind during my own training routine. Please feel free to share your thoughts and recommendations with this novice runner πŸ™‚

Training for my first Marathon

1. Why 42km?
I only started running more actively from 2015, 5km progressing to 10km (2016). Never liked to run, was not even sporty, the only motivation then was to pass IPPT.

I am 43 this year, not exactly young and energetic anymore.
Kids are now more independent, if I do not seek out my dreams (or bucket list) now, then when?

More importantly, I wish to impress some life skills upon my kids.
** Do chase after your Dreams, nothing is impossible, and we must at least TRY our best.

As a bonus, if I keep fit myself, I hope to take better care of my family.

2. YouTube preparation
Do not laugh, but I do not have the luxury of having a coach.
Internet is my teacher.

Tons of tips on Breathing, Running style, Hydration, Stride, Eat (gel) and nutrition, Recuperation etc. You can even Google “Marathon race day tips” to get last minutes tips! (Trim your nails ok).

Overwhelming load of information, and some interesting anecdotes.
(I guess no right or wrong answers)
– Are pacers good or bad for you? (since everyone has own pace)
– Run day or night better?
– Tapering and duration (got Tempo, Slow, Easy Run techniques!)
– Some recommend Run 7km and Walk 1km to prevent muscle fatigue and cramps

I believe this is the most neglected component in my training programme.
Family and work commitments keep us busy everyday.
Running takes up whatever precious leftover time, and we sometimes sacrifice our sleep (and rest).

If I should fall sick due to fatigue, there goes my gains and it Sucks.
I am still trying to place more emphasis on having enough rest.

4. Do something else besides running.
Swim, steps up your block, cross train, circuits, aerobics, yoga or hiking.
Develop all the other muscles (core) and improve your flexibility, it will help with running.

It is more Fun than running too :p

5. Have FUN during the training journey.
I will remember the training journey more than the Marathon finishing line, so might as well add in some Fun factor.

a) Plotting your own running path with Google Map.
– Running along the water ways in CBD (Kallang Basin, Marina Bay map)
– Park Connectors Kallang to Bishan to Sengkang (map)

The only challenge is the lack of water-points along the way (so I pop by MRT, Library, Coffee shop for a quick sip).
My legs are connecting all the parks and gardens πŸ™‚

b) I would prefer to run with friends, running alone can be boring.
I am motivated by fellow Dads (IG @NickPan.Runs, @IsaiahKuan), we are all busy with family and work but we encourage each other towards our own goals πŸ™‚

6. I can do it!
I cannot believe I am running 40km to 50km per week!

Still not enough as those training for Marathons should ideally run 50km and above, and get used to distance of 25km and 30km. Some say the real Marathon starts at 30km (YES, the mental block or the WALL!)

Sometimes, it can be very hard to drag myself out for a run.
I know I will always feel GOOD after a run, otherwise I would feel guilty about my excuses :p

7. Efforts, Sacrifice
42km needs 5 hour to complete ( assuming a pace of 7min/km)
10km needs 1 hour (pace of 6 min/km).

Can you imagine the amount of practice time needed for a Marathon?
(Running 50 km per week is 5 hours gone!)

Whether my preparation is sufficient or not, there is no turning back.
I must try my Best.

8. Final weeks

The final week is likely anticipation and anxiety (nerves).
I must remind myself to Relax and try to enjoy the journey and experience.

[Updated 14Mar] – Last Lead-up run 25km on 11th Mar, I will be trying to keep up with the 5.30Hr pacers (pace 7.30). My own slow jog at pace 7.00.
running with pacers

On race day, I need to remind myself to run at my own pace and not to go faster due to the surrounding vibes and adrenaline.

Hi, my name is Andy and I am a father of four kids.
I am actively trying to use Sports to engage my kids, to be sporty and resilient.

I will be running 42.195km with Sundown Marathon on 25th March.
I am still training for my first Marathon, and all blessings and Good Lucks are most welcome πŸ™‚

I am helping Ren Ci Hospital to raise Fund, hoping to give back to society in my own small ways. Do consider donating to Ren Ci’s worthy causes here –>

Follow me on my running journey Instagram Hashtag #training42sundown2017 or Family runs (blog link)

Wishing everyone Happy Running and Healthy Lifestyle !

2017 for us

Hello 2017, new challenges await but we will be ready πŸ™‚
If there is only one thing I need the kids to know, Be Brave and Adventurous.

That applies to everyday life, pursue of our own aspirations and of course PSLE (cough!) There will always be obstacles and hurdles along the way.

Persevere and do your best, know that family is behind you all the way.

PSLE for No2 (Boon Kang) would be the most anticipated event in 2017 #NoStress haha πŸ™‚
We do not need our kids to be top in their class, as long as they put in their best efforts.

Rest assured that Mummy and Daddy will walk together with you through rain or sun.

Family is growing so FAST when we browse through our photos! Just look at how tall No1 Boon Wee is now (1.77m!)
When you look through your Instagram and Facebook activities, it is amazing all the memories that we can packed into 2016!

Seems like we just bid 2015 adios not so long ago and 2017 is already here.

If I use the analogy of our fledgling Olive-backed Sunbird(Sunbird nest along our corridor), kids would have their own lives (higher studies, soldier and careers) in a decade and less!

Yes, kids are very noisy and quarreling with each other too, but I know I am going to miss all the “noises” when they are at home “lesser”. Truly, Days are long and Years are short.

The proudest thing which I have done for the kids is to inculcate a love for nature and sports. Sports build up their characters and make them more resilient.

I always tell the kids and my friends, there is never a “free” time.
If we parents do not lead by example when we are able and mobile, then when?

Any sports will do, just let them enjoy the great outdoors! Families will enjoy some bonding sessions too. (Links to Hiking, Cycling, and Running)

I would like to demonstrate to the kids that anything is achievable, but I got to admit 42km Marathon is a crazy harder target :p

If I can squeeze in the time and effort to attempt a Marathon (Sundown Marathon in March 2017), kids can be brave to dream BIG and own their Aspirations.

On a side note, when our family gets more adventurous and robust, our travel itinerary has more options!
We are no longer confined to city comforts (and shopping), we can do more exploration and non-mainstream activities.

Cheers to more camping and hiking trips, Yeah!

If the Mrs is reading this, I have not given up hope of having a couple trip with her. Nothing elaborate just 3D2N, we can pack the kids off to a staycation with their ε€§θˆ… πŸ™‚

After spending so much time and energy on the kids, we deserve more couple time too, just you and me β™₯

How, Meng Choo?

Bitter or sweet, all are memories from 2016.
From our family to your family, Happy New Year and may 2017 brings you Health and Happiness πŸ™‚

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