Run Your Race

How to train for and tackle marathons, triathlons, na­ture trails and ob­sta­cle cour­ses

Expatriate Lifestyle - - Contents - Words by Av­inash Sa­gran Photo by is­tock­photo

Blessed with great weather all year, Malaysia is the ideal lo­ca­tion for out­door ac­tiv­i­ties. The diverse land­scape of lus­cious green­ery and glit­ter­ing sky­scrapers make for a unique back­drop for out­door ac­tiv­i­ties. Malaysians have en­thu­si­as­ti­cally em­braced the fit­ness craze of marathons and run­ning events, lead­ing to event or­gan­is­ers de­vis­ing cre­ative ideas for in­no­va­tive races aimed at of­fer­ing par­tic­i­pants the best ex­pe­ri­ence. Train­ing and tak­ing part in these events is not only good for your health, but also a great way to meet like-minded peo­ple who love run­ning and stay­ing fit is so much more fun when you’re part of a tribe.

Run­ning a race is a phys­i­cal and men­tal chal­lenge. Whether you’re a begin­ner or a sea­soned run­ner, tak­ing part in a race re­quires dis­ci­pline and mo­ti­va­tion to reach the fin­ish line. Prepa­ra­tion is not some­thing to be taken lightly as run­ning in the heat, hu­mid­ity and on dif­fer­ent sur­faces takes a toll.

MARATHONS The most com­mon run­ning event is the marathon, typ­i­cally di­vided into two cat­e­gories: half at 21.1km or full at 42.2km. For a begin­ner, these dis­tances may sound daunt­ing so try a few shorter races – five or 10km – and this will help you un­der­stand the re­quire­ments be­fore com­mit­ting to a full marathon.

Some run­ning events have vary­ing race lengths so that all sorts of peo­ple can par­tic­i­pate. The up­com­ing Men’s Health Women’s Health Night Run by AIA

Vi­tal­ity, set to be held in Pu­tra­jaya on 22 July, has 5km, 12km and 21km races along with new 700m and 3km kids runs. That means even the lit­tle ones can join in the fun!

Run­ning tips: • Build on your base mileage by run­ning three to five times per week to im­prove strength and stamina. • Start work­ing on long runs by run­ning longer dis­tances every seven to 10 days to al­low your body to ac­cli­ma­tise. The trick is run­ning at dif­fer­ent pe­ri­ods of the day so your body gets used to dif­fer­ent tem­per­a­tures. Work on your speed and car­dio ca­pac­ity by prac­tic­ing tempo runs and do­ing in­ter­val train­ing – sprints, walk­ing, slow jog­ging. It’s so im­por­tant to al­low your body rest and not overdo any form of ex­er­cise to pre­vent in­juries and burnouts. Have suf­fi­cient rest and pace your­self dur­ing the train­ing pe­riod.

TRIATHLONS A triathlon in­volves mul­ti­ple stages of com­pe­ti­tion over three se­quen­tial sport­ing dis­ci­plines. Though there are vari­a­tions, the stan­dard form in­volves swim­ming, cy­cling and run­ning. The stan­dard Olympic ver­sion com­prises a 1.5km swim, 40km cy­cle and 10km run. Any dis­tance be­yond the stan­dard triathlon is clas­si­fied as an ul­tra­triathlon.

Prepa­ra­tion tips: Get the right gear as it will boost your per­for­mance. It’s highly rec­om­mended that you train in the out­fit you plan to race in. As this is a multi-dis­ci­plinary sport, it’s best to seek out a coach or a group to train to­gether and de­vise strate­gies for each dis­ci­pline. Swim­ming is of­ten the Achilles heel of many, and with freestyle be­ing the best stroke for triathlons, in­crease strength and flex­i­bil­ity by us­ing weighted wrist­bands while walk­ing or jog­ging. Get used to your bi­cy­cle, be at ease with gear changes and use clip­pings as it will help you gain power and waste less en­ergy while ped­alling. Run­ning 10km isn’t easy af­ter swim­ming and cy­cling, so en­sure you prac­tice tran­si­tion­ing from one dis­ci­pline to an­other dur­ing your train­ing.

TRAIL RUNS A great way to en­joy the great out­doors is to ex­pe­ri­ence trail run­ning. Sim­i­lar to cross-coun­try rac­ing, trail runs are usu­ally held in moun­tain­ous, grassy ar­eas.

Tricks of the trail: • Stay bal­anced with the proper run­ning mo­tion: el­bows slightly apart, away from your body and mov­ing your arms ver­ti­cally from your hips. This keeps you level on un­even ground and in­creases run­ning power. Keep your eyes on the trail; main­tain fo­cus, be aware of ter­rain changes and don’t get dis­tracted by the sur­rounds to pre­vent fall­ing. Train your legs; agility is key for nav­i­gat­ing your way over tree roots, sand and un­even ground. Get the cor­rect shoes with the proper tread to en­sure max­i­mum trac­tion. Slip­ping can cause se­ri­ous in­juries and de­pend­ing on how deep you are in the jun­gle or high up the moun­tains, help might take time to reach you.

OB­STA­CLE RUNS If you en­joy boot camp and tack­ling mil­i­tary ob­sta­cle cour­ses, then this is the sport for you. Ob­sta­cle races are now a ma­jor trend with gym classes ded­i­cated solely to work­outs for the Spar­tan war­rior within. Not for the faint­hearted or those with in­juries, this is one for those who are up for a real phys­i­cal chal­lenge.

War­rior mode on: Spice up your usual train­ing by adding ex­er­cises like lad­der drills, rope skip­ping and cone sprints to strengthen your legs, be­come more ag­ile and en­hance bal­ance. Mix up your car­dio train­ing to in­clude hill sprints, long runs and in­tense sprints to match the in­ter­vals you’ll face while rac­ing. Carb up! You have to con­sis­tently in­clude car­bo­hy­drates in your diet as it’s es­sen­tial to re­place lost glyco­gen af­ter in­tense work­outs, but don’t go over­board with the por­tions. Repli­cate the ac­tual race by be­ing as cre­ative as pos­si­ble to get a feel of the re­al­ity of the ac­tual race.

If long hours of train­ing aren’t your thing and your com­pet­i­tive spirit veers more to­wards the fun run side of things, there are many of these hap­pen­ing all through the year. You still get the kick of en­dor­phins by par­tic­i­pat­ing in these runs, and you can par­tic­i­pate with your fam­ily as these events are usu­ally lots of fun. Af­ter a few of these, you may find your­self want­ing to take the next step and go­ing for that full marathon! EL

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.