The Sundown Marathon is around the corner again. Flagging off on 28 May at the F1 Pit Building, the annual night race comprises of a 42.195km Full Marathon category, as well as a 21.1km Half Marathon, 10km Competitive Run and a 5km Fun Run.
Stuart Haynes, an Executive Director at a bank, had won the Sundown Marathon 2015’s 42.195km Men’s Open Category in a timing of 2 hours 41 minutes and 34 seconds.
So I got some tips from Haynes, 40 – on how to run well in the 42.195km category of the Sundown Marathon. Here is what Haynes shared.
Sundown Marathon is not too different to the SCMS
Even though the Sundown Marathon (42.195km Category) has a 12.30am marathon flag off, Haynes does not think that the night marathon is too different to the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS), Singapore’s other marathon race, which flags off at 5am in the morning.
Said Haynes, “At SCMS you normally get up at around 3am for the 5am start, so if anything, I think it’s easier as your body does not have to wake up. I find the early hours after finishing a bit difficult though – you are tired but buzzing after finishing, and it’s 4am! I’d prefer a 10pm start – we’d still be running through the night.”
Get A Good Night’s Sleep
To spend the day before the Saturday night race, Haynes advocates that a good sleep is essential.
He explained, “A good night’s sleep on Friday is critical and a lie-in with a nice big breakfast of porridge and pancakes would be good. And don’t just sit around – you’ll get stale and anxious about the race. Get some time away from your family and kids, and have a nap. Consider going down to the race site early – it’s great meeting everyone and watching the 10km and 21km races flag off.”
Know the race routes
He added, “Also, prior to race day, check out the route so that you know where the slopes are and if you are not familiar with East Coast Park (ECP), do a pre-race run there over the next few days. You’ll be running in the dark through ECP during the race and it helps to know the paths.”
Execute Your Race Well
However, even though you know the routes, your race strategy must still be executed to perfection though, to avoid hitting the wall in the later stages of the marathon.
Said Haynes, “Starting out too fast is a common problem and is more easily said than done. But if you are the type who is tempted to go fast, then get a GPS watch and stick to your plan. The first 3km should feel super easy – you have a long way to use your energy up so don’t be tempted to ‘bank time’ – instead bank the energy as you are going to need it in the last 10km.”
He added, “At 30km into the marathon in the early hours of the morning, your body can start to rebel. Stay focused – think about your running form and effort levels. Don’t let your k-splits deviate too much if you’ve still got the energy.”
Adjust targets if you are undertrained
And for those who are undertrained, Haynes advises a conservative strategy.
He said, “I’m included in this group due to work commitments and a bug. It depends on what areas you are undertrained in, but adjust your targets accordingly and be conservative and slow early on.”
Does not advocate drinking coffee for a performance boost
Haynes does not advocate drinking coffee for a performance boost though.
He said, “I’m a big coffee drinker, so I will drink my normal amount on race day, but not after 4pm as I don’t normally do so. I have read about the benefits but I’ve never drunk coffee for a performance boost, and prefer not to risk the diuretic effects anyway.”
Hydrate SmartHaynes stresses that hydrating smart is the key both leading up to the race as well as during the actual race.
He said, “Hydrate smartly through Friday to Saturday too – not just water; take some sports drink of your choice. Personally I like GU brand powders.”
Do not over-taper
Added Haynes, “Also, don’t over-taper the week leading up to race day – keep active and just reduce your training by 50 per cent or so.”