How to Run a 6 Hours Marathon!

Many of my run buddies are off to Hong Kong for the weekend as they run their Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2013. Missed it as I have been too slow in registration. Anyhow, there is still next year and many more years for me to run! So have a fabulous run folks! Story me with your experience when you're back in KL.

Meanwhile, in the running group that I run with TPRC Weekend LSD - our sifu Terence Poon shared a lil note for those who were going to HK for the run. Honestly, if you read through it, many of the tips are applicable even for any other marathons.  So here it goes:

Nihao, HK marathon in 6 hours

A 6hr minute marathon is easily achievable even if you have not being training much the last month. Its all down to a clever strategy that you must plan.

(1) Nutrition. A week to race, eat lots of banana - 500 grams or more. Morning eat telur kampung setengah masak (soft boiled eggs).  2 days to race eat lots of raisin - it contains natural sugar that can  slowly release from your body system when you need it on race day so that  you will not tire. Carbo loading - leave it to the last 2 days as our daily (Malaysian) diet is already heavy in carbs.
(2) A day to the race - Ensure that you very well rested and relaxed. On race day morning - have a healthy breakfast. 
(3)  Break your race to 4 parts! First part 22km - never walk! You must do it in a maximum of 2 hours 40 minutes. Any longer you are in a very difficult position for the  next 20km. So you must look at the distance marker clearly. 1st 60 minutes must be 8.5km (any slower will be like walking). 2nd 60 minutes should be 9km. Its possible cos you will be running down slope of the stone cutter bridge. Next 40 minutes is 4.5km. When you look at this mileage you know, it is possible. In fact I think you can do it in 2 hours 30 minutes at a constant run pace. By now, you have cleared the Stone Cutter Bridge and Tsing Ma  Bridge (the two tough bridges) and also cleared the 1st cut off line.

(4) Second part - 22km to 31km - is only 9km. Now you can walk a bit. I encourage you to walk to rotate your muscle so that you don't hit the wall at 30km. But every walk is limited to 3 minutes only. When you resume running, run slow for 20 steps than pick up your speed. You must run for 15 minutes  non stop before you walk again. Thus 18 minutes of run/walk gets you 2 km. A total of 9 km will take you 1 hour 20 minutes. Again when you look at it, its certainly achievable.

(5) Third part - 7km which  you will take 1 hour (if part 1and part 2 goes according to plan). You must plan this 7km  in 60 minutes. This is easy - You can run 1km and walk 1km. Therefore in this 7km you run 4km and walk 3km. Note that around this time, your leg will be suffering. This is where you need to stay focussed and mental strength comes into play.

(6) Fourth part - final 4km which leaves you with 60 minutes. I rest my case to your determination to finish the race. This is where your "insurance time" comes into good use in case you struggle in the 3rd part of your race.

(7) Remember! Walk is about power walking. 10 minutes or under 10 minutes walk equals 1km. If you walk too slowly, you won't achieve your Part 3 target. Which means you may need to run more in Part 3.
(8) No loitering at water stations. Never ever pause at water station. Just grab your drink or banana or  small chocolate and move on. Yes they provide these at half way mark!
(9) Every moment in the race is about a step towards the finish line. You stop 2 minutes, you will need 2 minutes to catch up. You lose 4 minutes which is equivalent to 500meters.

(10) Do not at any time start walking before 22km.  It will send a negative signal to your brain and you will lose mentally and affect your mind and body

(11) Pack some salt, nuun and 2  or 3 power gel. Save the last gel for the water station at Western Harbour Tunnel because when you exit the tunnel, the climb is very very steep until Shun Tak building. 90% of slow runners including myself walk this  stretch. From here its approximately 4km to finish line.

(12) The start time is between 6.20am and 6.45am depending on your age and previous  timing. Grand sifu Mohan and myself start 6.20am. I note many of you  start 6.45am. But we will run very slow and cross finished line at 5 hours  50 minutes. We will carry extra salt, nuun and potassium. Shout out to us  if you see us or need the supplements. Of course we also run with our cameras so when we meet at Tsing Ma Bridge U-turn, do shout out for a photo shoot. When I finish my run, I will be at the line waiting to take a photo of you crossing the line.
(13) Unfortunately the cut off line or cut off time follows the gun time. So you must be smart to inch  your way to the nearest start line. If you are far behind the start line, it may take up to 10 minutess to cross the start line.

(14) Read the runners guide thoroughly. It spell out all the cut off time. They enforce it strictly. You fly all the way to HK for this race, you certainly tak mahu naik bas sapu lah.

(15) The weather is around 16C and its nice to run. Around 11am it becomes hot. While waiting in the morning to start running, it may be cold for some of you. So bring a big rubbish plastic bag or disposable rain coat to put over during the wait or go green and wear an old tshirt which you will dump it when the race starts.

(16) Finally! Enjoy your run. Don't be surprise you will be over taken by some running shark. Shout out to them that you have stopped eating shark fin soup!

 Good Luck and Have Fun .... !!!

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