My Marathon Journey

If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon. (Emil Zatopek)
My Race Kit for TBR

My Race Kit for TBR

By the time you read this, I either crossed the finished line or failed to do it. Of course, failure is not an option after training for 6 months. Today is a big day for me as I participate in my first ever marathon. It has been a magnificent 6-month journey from being a less active person to a more serious running individual. I joined the TBR Sunlife Dream Marathon and this is my journey.

The TBR Sunlife Dream Marathon is the first and only marathon in the world that caters exclusively to first- and second-time marathon runners. This was one of the reasons that encouraged me to join the event from the start. Who would have thought a leisure runner like me will join such a feat? I never imagined myself running 42K since I only took running seriously last year. Me and family members started running 5K events for fun and fitness. I learned of TBR on Facebook and being an event for first- and second-time marathon runners encouraged me to join. 

Structured training is not new to me. The training program on the Nike+ Run Club app introduced me to it when I started on my first 5K and this was the same principle I used in TBR. TBR has its own program and I just cross-check the one I’ve set in the Nike app. I made it to myself to follow the training program religiously. I don't want to get hurt running my first marathon. I also ensured that I attend the TBR workshops monthly for the lectures they provided for the participants. It was very enlightening actually putting some more perspective into running. I learned a lot in the lectures from nutrition, hydration, proper clothing, shoes and technique. The lectures are also inspirational as they also shared their first marathon journey.

I used my iPhone and Apple Watch during my runs and I kept track of my progress on the Nike app. This is the trio that accompanied me throughout the training with a supporting cast of other applications. Some examples include the Health app for checking my health metrics and the Intervals app for my run-walk intervals. I also got lucky winning the On Cloudflow running shoes in one of the sponsor’s contests I joined during the TBR program.

My very own On Cloudflow

My very own On Cloudflow

And before I end my post, let me share with you some more personal tips from my training, here are some of them.

  • Dedicate yourself to the program and follow the training with consistency. While there are group runs in TBR, the majority of the training are executed on your own. Good thing if you have a group but if you’re solo, you need to keep yourself motivated.
  • Allocate time to training. I myself have a day job and it's not an easy one. There are days that you need to do extended work but it's never a reason for me to skip training. Adjust and adapt accordingly but don't cram.
  • Get your gears right. Wear drifit shirt and shorts, running socks and of course running shoes. Before getting your first shoes, better to have a gait analysis to determine your pronation. You want to be running comfortably during a race and avoid getting an injury.
  • Don't just run, walk too. When I started my 5K, I thought running was, well, all about running from start to finish. But when you go the distance, that concept changes with doing some walk too. If you're a beginner like me, you will benefit a lot doing the run-walk technique.
  • When you want to go fast, consider going slow. At the start of the race, when we are also fresh and feeling strong, we tend to go fast. I do fall to that as well but running fast spends a lot of energy. Similar to what I mentioned above in run-walk consider conserving energy and pace yourself. You don't want to be a DNF (Did Not Finish) because you don't have energy left to complete the race.
  • Hydrate, eat and think about what you put in your mouth. Carbohydrates and protein are the main nutrients you'll need when you workout and it's no different when running. Carbohydrates is your body's main energy source while protein helps repair muscles post workout. Drink water as much as you can to avoid getting dehydrated. I personally track my fluids and target a volume of 3L everyday majority of which consists of water.
  • Rest and recover. Follow a structured training so that you don't overtrain. Prepare a training plan that suits your activities with family and work and allocate days for resting. You don't want to get injured on race day. Sleep is also a vital factor during your training so consider having enough of it.

The culmination of all of these will happen today and I hope as you finish reading this, I am done with my race.

Getting the Apple Watch Series 3

My Apple Watch just turned 7 days old today. I got this last Monday after having a hard time on what kind of smartwatch to buy. I've been a Fitbit user starting with the One then followed by the Surge which was given to me by my uncle. I've been longing for an upgrade and I thought it would be a good time to do it this year while I'm doing running and cycling. 

apple-watch-series-3

Initially, I thought of getting the Garmin Forerunner 935 but it's price held me back. Another thing that made me think again is its fit on my wrist. I was in Singapore and got a very good discount for it but when I wore it on my wrist, it's very big. I am thin and it seems awkward for me wearing a big watch everyday. So I backed off with my purchase and got back to scratch. During that time, Garmin also announced their new release the Vivoactive 3 and Apple has an upcoming Keynote. I thought of patiently waiting instead of doing an impulse buy which I might regret in the end.

When both the Vivoactive 3 and Apple Watch Series 3 came out I watched a lot of their reviews in YouTube. I'm still planning to get the Vivoactive because Garmin is known to have great battery life than the Apple Watch but this has gradually changed as I also thought of practical stuffs. Aside from battery, the price and the ecosystem became factors in my decision. For the price, I was very fortunate to have a big discount on the Apple Watch purchase. The price I got was below the suggested retail price so I grabbed away on this opportunity to buy it. The Vivoactive on the other hand was still scarce and I haven't seen yet where to get one except the US. Next in the consideration was the ecosystem. I have been an Apple user since 2010 and browsing on the Watch app on my iPhone 6 made me more interested further to the Apple Watch. Yes, Garmin has its own store for its applications but it's way less than that of the Apple's AppStore. The battery will definitely be a compromise but I thought I still have my iPhone with me when I run or bike so it's just fine.

After getting and using the Apple Watch Series 3 (42 mm) I finally thought that I made the right purchase. Setting it up was not that difficult, it looks good on my wrist (felt it smaller than the Surge) and battery life was not that bad. I've been used to charging my Fitbit Surge every 2 days so it felt just normal for me on the Apple Watch. I've been using it the past days for my running training and I've also been wearing it most of the time for better tracking of my Health metrics. I totally love my Apple Watch.

apple-watch-series-3

The Healthier Me (Get Fit, Stay Fit)

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I must say, 2017 is my most active year in terms of doing physical activities. I used to go to the gym in the past but it hasn't been as regular and well rounded this year. Aside from lifting weights, I now do running and cycling. I joined my first 5K run  back in May. It was such a great moment after weeks of training. I just had my third 5K last August. My legs are much better now being able to run longer distances that are prescribed in the Nike running app. I am gradually increasing my mileage going 6K to 8K. Also in May, I bought my very own bike. To be honest, I really don't know how to bike. I've ridden the BMX of my brother and never had the balance until back in April. I was learning the basics of swimming then and I realize that I'm getting it quickly. With the urge to learn, I rode the bike again and started improving my balance. After a couple of days, I am now riding around our village. It was such a wonderful experience and did not realize that at my age I'll still learn to ride this. The mountain bike I bought is approaching its fourth month and I haven't missed a week not riding it unless its raining. I just reached my 40K plateau and had signed up to two cycling events in November. I'm also looking forward to joining a cycling competition, short term goal being a Duathlon (run and bike combination). Will swimming come next? I do hope so but comparing it to running and cycling, I think I have a long way to go for it. It's a challenging sport and I need to improve on synchronizing my movement in the water and breathing. But so far, I'm very proud of what I have accomplished this year.