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 🙂

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 🙂

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 🙂

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 Training for my first Marathon.

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 🙂

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 !


**Updated 2017 Apr – Ran 42km under 6 hours hooray!


Safari Zoo Run 2017

[ Media Invite ]

So Safari Zoo Run 2017 came and go, all 5.5 km of race through forested grounds in Singapore Zoo and Night Safari.

We always tell our friends that this is the best family run in Singapore, because you can literally run next to animals!
Safari Zoo Run 2017

Young families can opt for 2.5 or 5.5 km route, we opted for 5.5km as we can see and experience more things along a longer route. I need to plan for a 10km route myself next edition. Read our 2015 and 2016 experience here.

A pity we could not run as a full family this round, as I was on a business trip and no1 got basketball tournament. Mommy Mengchoo was proud that Boon Yee (no2) took care of Boon Xin (no3) for half of the route, running together infront.

Boon Kang (no2) is our official photographer, so he got an excuse to “walk” slowly (Hello boy! You better run faster next round :p )

Spot the Zebras and Giraffes along the route, or Lions and Hyenas. These animals distracted us from fatigue (thumbs up). And this is exactly why we say running through the Zoo is such a novelty and FUN experience.

There is a new Wildlife Conservation theme for 2017, “Run For Wildlife”. I thought it was meaningful to raise awareness about Earth’s fragile ecosystem. Some species are endangered and risk extinction.

Can you imagine a day when we can only see animals in Zoo and not in the wild? That would be such a sad day.
(Image credit Safari Zoo Run)

We chose Chawang the Sumatran elephant as we felt our affinity is with the gentle giant. Our recent trip to a no-ride Elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai reinforced the need for elephant protection (read our Chiang Mai itinerary here)

Tourists, do not ride on the elephants as we are indirectly hurting them. Applause for Singapore Zoo for stopping elephant rides too (Straitstimes article)

Proud of Mommy and kids for completing their morning exercise 🙂

Once again, thank you Singapore Zoo for the wonderful invite to Safari Zoo Run 2017! Our family really enjoyed the running experience in Mandai.

Do follow our previous Safari Zoo Run episodes (click here), or read our friends’ fun adventures, Life’s Tiny Miracles and ThePerfectFather

Love Running, try “U Run All Access” 2017

[ Media Invite ]

Good news for runners, “U Run All Access” offers you an opportunity to run three races in Singapore and enjoy substantial savings. More details on U Run All Access 2017 website.

In three easy steps, you can sign up for “U Run All Access” and enjoy three races (either Competitive or Fun category) at an affordable one-off package price.

I am not exaggerating but there seems to be at least one or two organised runs every weekend! Just look at the areas around Marina Bay, Gardens by the Bay, Sports Hub and East Coast. Folks who sign up with U Sports can also enjoy their regular community runs from Novena Velocity and One Marina Boulevard.

I would always prefer to run in a group as it is more fun. When we enjoy our run, it becomes less taxing and monotonous. Running in a group will also motivate each other and feed off the adrenaline and vibes!

However, running in these races can be expensive, pricing fees from $50 to $80 are normal. U Run All Access allows runners to go for any 3 of their preferred races in their selected package category (Fun @ $198 / Competitive @ $168) without burning a huge hole in the pocket.

Take the Competitive package for example, the average price of each run amounts to less than $60! ($168 ÷ 3 = $56 )

Registration fees of Fun races are generally priced much higher than other races.

For example, normal registration fees of Men’s Health Urbanathlon is $128. With the fun package at $198 for any 3 of the fun runs, package holders will be able to enjoy significant savings. Moreover, they will also be receiving all the running entitlements of the races.

Furthermore, the race slots are guaranteed, meaning I do not need to aim for early bird discounts or rush to register. U Run All Access package holders will also be able to take part in lead-up runs to better prepare for race day and running-related workshops to pick up essential tips for improving running efficiency.

A small land area of 700km² but we managed to squeeze in so many runs! Singaporeans are crazy with fitness, in a good way :p

I am running to keep fit for myself and family. I enjoy the me-time (a luxury!) when I run, and I get to appreciate the pretty sceneries around our park and water bodies.

Meanwhile, I am training for my first marathon with Sundown in March (Instagram Hashtag #Training42Sundown2017 ). Do follow our family’s running Fun at this link.

Do take note of some T&C before you sign up.
– “U Run All Access” is only applicable for NTUC and nEbO members (sign up as NTUC member here)
– Minimum age to register is 18 years old as at 1 January 2017

–> Click here to register or find out more about U Run All Access

More T&C can be found on their website.
Do follow their Facebook and Instagram for latest updates too.