Tips for SCB half-marathon runners
| Aziz Idris |
WITH less than six weeks before the start of the 21 kilometres Half-Marathon organised by Standard Chartered Marathon Brunei, runners are advised to consider what they are about to undertake carefully.
Mark Williams, the official head coach for this year’s Standard Chartered KL Marathon, is used to having runners joining him for weekend training sessions leading up to the race. This is the 5th year that Mark has fulfilled his role as the head coach.
The Bulletin managed to speak to the top expatriate runner to shed some light on the preparations and precautionary measures needed for runners who have entered for the race.
“Entering and running the race is only part of what you have actually signed up for as they need to consider how they are going to adjust their daily routines to accommodate the essential training that is involved,” he said in an e-mail interview recently.
He added that runners should also consider having a medical check-up to make sure that they are physically fit to start and complete the race in question.
Mark has competed in dozen of races internationally for Hong Kong for many years and once held both the Hong Kong Half Marathon and 15K national records. These days he still enjoys running, although less competitively, he now runs in the veterans’ category.
With his vast experience, Mark explained that a training regime for elite marathoners would be 26 weeks (half a year). However, for the everyday runner he would encourage at least 10 weeks of training prior to any race over the half marathon distance.
To complete the training you may need encouragement, said Mark therefore, joining a running group or club is the best help.
“If there is not one in the vicinity, then train with someone such as a close friend. A training partner can keep training fun and social but it can also be a good incentive to get up and out running when you don’t want to let your partner down for those early morning runs!,” he noted.
Besides the distance, most people always underestimate how much water they are going to lose when they run a marathon. According to Mark, each runner will lose an average of one kilogramme in body weight for every 10km run in our climate.
Even though this figure is an average and will vary from person to person, it is still an alarming statistic. He has known runners losing over five kilogrammes in weight during the course of a marathon here in Malaysia.
“This is dangerous and every runner should recognise the signs of dehydration which are first and foremost feeling thirsty; if a runner feels thirsty then they are already suffering from dehydration. The more worrying sign is tingling in the extremities such as fingers or toes which is a sure sign of imminent severe dehydration,” he said.
Mark also listed out several other important tips for runners in the upcoming race, among them is to spend time getting the right pair of shoes. “Many injuries, especially in the lower body, are caused by not wearing the right running shoes. They can help prevent injuries and help you to run better and more comfortably too.”
Never start off the race too fast. “Part of the idea of training is to learn about your body and also get to know the pace your body is most comfortable to run at. A good way of helping you to pace yourself is to wear a watch when you train to time all runs and monitor your progress.
Drop bad habits like smoking. “Your lungs will be filled with smoke when it can use that space for more oxygen when you run.” And lastly, watch your diet. “Training for a race can be the ideal way for a change of lifestyle which can involve eating more healthy food and drinking more water. The day before the race a runner should eat a higher percentage of carbohydrates than they would normally do.”
When asked on his expectation for the Standard Chartered Half-Marathon Brunei 2013, he replied: “Well, I would like to think that I could get on the podium in the Veterans Category but there are a lot of good veteran runners out there these days so we will have to wait and see.”
Commenting on Mark’s participation in the upcoming race was SCB Head of Corporate Affairs and Marketing, Jennifer Kang, who said “We are extremely pleased that our Standard Chartered Half-Marathon Brunei 2013 has attracted the interest of many participants, not only in Brunei but from overseas as well.
“When we heard that Mark Williams, head coach of this year’s Standard Chartered KL Marathon had signed up to register for ours, we were excited as having runners of his calibre will add to the overall excitement of the race while providing greater competition for all competitive runners.
According to Jennifer, a total of 4,200 runners have signed up for the race with 170 participation from overseas runners.
Registrations close on March 17 or when maximum capacities are reached. Therefore, interested participants are encouraged to sign up quickly. The most popular routes are the Half-Marathon and 10km routes.