The Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM) takes place in about 14 weeks’ time, on the morning of Sunday, 3 December.
I caught up with Ben Pulham, 36, the founder of Coached, a heart rate training programme that allows you to track, optimise and enjoy your training, for some quick tips for the SCSM.
Coached is also the official training partner for SCSM.
Tip 1: Start Training Now
Ben recommends that runners should start their training now, if they are taking part in the Full Marathon.
He said “The reason why people get injured is because they cram their training. You need to start early and be consistent and progressively increase the volume and intensity as the weeks pass. There are three and half months to go from now so this is a good time to begin.”
Tip 2: Focus on your aerobic speed
Ben also recommends runners to focus on building their aerobic base, rather than to inject speed too quickly into their training, as this too, leads to an increase in injuries.
Said Ben, “Secondly when you run a marathon, you are not limited by how fast you are, but instead by your ability to maintain a good speed for the length of the race. So by focusing on your high end speed, focus instead on your aerobic speed, and you can do that by training at a lower intensity at an easy and steady effort.”
Tip 3: Eat less carbs
Ben is also not an advocate of increasing carbohydrate intake for a race.
He said “Most people believe in carbo loading but I am not an advocate of that. If you are eating a standard Singaporean or Western diet, you have more than enough carbs in your system to fuel you.”
Continued Ben, “Instead I am a believer in eating a lower carb and healthy fat diet. The reason is that it improves your ability to generate energy from fats and fat gives you twice as much energy as sugar. You can also store an unlimited supply of fats compared to carbs, and when you improve your fat burning ability, you can run at a higher output or pace whilst needing to use far less sugar. So you can save your sugar stores for the later stages of the race when you need to push rather than burn through it right at the start like what most people do.”
Tip 4: Enjoy the process
Finally, Ben recommends runners to simply enjoy the process of training and racing.
He said, “Just enjoy the process. This is supposed to be fun. If you question why you signed up for the race midway, I must stress this is why having a strong base is important and that executing your race well is vital too, because the better prepared you are, the easier it will be, to get through the race with less suffering.”
Continued Ben, “The people who suffer the most on race day are not the guys running a 2hour 14minute marathon. The ones suffering are the ones who have not prepared adequately for the race and they are walking seven or eight hours out there in the heat and their muscles and lungs are not conditioned, so their suffering is worse.”
So as such, Ben recommends adequate training and you will find that you can enjoy race day much better.
He said, “So do the training and respect the marathon distance and you will have a far better experience.”