Maximise your fitness on race day, says Coached’s Ben Pulham and Under Armour Run Crew

Last Thursday marked the final training session with Coached’s Ben Pulham and the Under Armour Run Crew.

For the past 16 weeks, Coached – a heart rate training programme designed for marathoners and triathletes to track, optimise and enjoy your training – had tied up with Under Armour Run Crew and Power 98 FM on a training programme geared towards the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) on 3rd December.

An intense training session

This training session was an intense one too and took place at the 100PLUS Promenade at the Singapore Sports Hub.

After a one lap warm up on the 800m track, we did intervals, consisting of two minutes in our Hard zone followed by the next two minutes in our easy zone, before repeating the cycle. We did this continuously for 24 minutes without a break.

The previous week, Ben had explained the need for hard sessions close to race day. This is because the body responds to speed very quickly so hard sessions near to the race can bring up your fitness levels dramatically.

Race Smart

And then once we were done with the session, Ben then proceeded to give us some quick tips on race execution as SCSM is just around the corner now.

Said Ben, “Next week is the race so that is where everything that we have been doing in training needs to come to fruition. So your challenge is to maximise your fitness. So you have to be smart in terms of how you execute the race. Most people who run next weekend will completely stuff it up. I am talking about 98 – 99% of the entire field. They will not maximise their fitness.”

He added, “So on race day, your fitness will be good if you trained for the race and crap if you did not train enough. But whatever you did or did not do, the goal is to maximise what you have.”

Run the back half of the race, slightly faster

The way to do that, according to Ben, would be to run the back half of the race slightly faster than the first half. He said, “If you did not do that, you ran wrong. That is your only goal for next week.”

Ben pointed out that the best athletes in the world follow this race strategy and cited the recent Nike two hour marathon attempt as an example, where they had lasers shooting out of the back of a Tesla car.

Said Ben, “That was a dead even pace and he (Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge) dropped off the pace by 28 seconds at the end. It is interesting because nevertheless, if you look at his splits, they were less than two seconds per kilometre of difference.”

He added, “But if you look at your own splits, then there is a high chance there will be a minute or two of difference between the fastest and the slowest kilometre. That is not what you want. You need to keep your splits as uniform and close as possible. If you can, that means that you are burning energy evenly throughout the marathon. Your fatigue and consistency will be uniform and the way that you are dehydrating will be constant so you will be able to replace your energy levels and refuel yourself better.”

Do not blow up

But Ben pointed out that due to the adrenaline rush at the beginning of a race, very few people have the discipline to do that. He said, “Everyone else will be running too fast and things will be going on that stop you from following your strategy.”

He added, “So my advice to you is to not blow up now. You have done all of the training and just make the most of what you have got. Just execute well and you will be able to beat a whole lot of people who are actually better than you. That is a nice feeling, isn’t it?”

Chill out and gets lots of sleep and hydration 

More importantly, Ben also stressed that from now till 3 December, you are not going to be able to improve any more from a fitness point of view, so do not do anything stupid.

He said, “After all, you are far better going into the race undertrained rather than overtrained. So chill out, get lots of sleep and focus on your hydration and go there and execute the race well, and things will go great.”

Photos are from Facebook/Under Armour Run Crew.

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