Sundown Marathon: Tips From Top Runner, Ivan Low

Ivan Low and his best buddy, Mok Ying Ren.

Ivan Low (right) and his running buddy, Mok Ying Ren (left).

He has conquered the Sundown Marathon twice with podium finishes – coming third in the 21km race in 2012, and then winning the 10km relay event last year.

29-year-old Ivan Low, who only started running in 2011, has definitely come a long way since then, and today, he is a regular podium finisher.

I recently interviewed the admin officer and got some tips for Sundown Marathoners. Here is what Ivan said.

Having taken part in The Sundown Marathon twice now, what would you say are the main differences between a night and a day race?

Our body is fresh and most alert in the day, so it is the best time to do a race.  And during the day, the air is fresher too.

My body starts to shut down after about 9pm, so anything later is considered as a drag. I don’t have the habit of staying up late, so I’ll find myself very tired at least for the next two days after a night race.

Any benefits of doing night races?

It’s much cooler running at night as compared to running in the day, so some of you might feel yourself running faster at night.

What would you say are the biggest challenges of preparing for a race that flags off at midnight? Any advice on overcoming these?

Just before an evening training jog.

Just before an evening training jog.

The biggest challenge is definitely keeping awake throughout the night and the best way of overcoming this problem is to try to sleep or rest more during the day – which is not so easy.

If you are doing a midnight race, is it is necessary to include some midnight training runs too?

Of course.  Your body needs to adapt to the different timing. If your body can’t take the stress, fatigue may kick in.  Depending on your daily activities though, not everyone can stay up late to run.

What advice do you have for training for speed and pacing?

My advice would be to:

  • Warm Up before starting intervals.  Injuries may occur without a warm up.
  • Assess current conditioning and set training goals that are within your ability.
  • Start slowly – for example, walk two minutes and then run two minutes. In general, longer intervals provide better results.
  • Keep a steady, but challenging pace throughout the interval.
  • Build the number of repetitions over time.
  • Improve, increase intensity or duration, but not both at the same time.
  • Make any changes slowly over a period of time.
  • Train on a smooth, flat surface. A running track is the best place.
A training session at MacRitchie Reservoir.

A training session at MacRitchie Reservoir.

 What type of shoes would you look for when you are training and racing?

For Training

Something like Brooks Pureflow 3 would be good. These have enough cushioning and is a pair of good shoes for daily runs.

For Racing

Get lightweight shoes with not too much cushioning for racing. Good examples will be the T7 racer or Pure Connect from Brooks.

How would you advise someone who is tackling their first Half Marathon (21km) race at the Sundown Marathon?

I would give the following advice:

  • Wear something that you are comfortable in.
  • No hard training two days before your race. Give your muscles a break to rest and recover.
  • Three to five days before the race, you must carbo-load to give yourself more energy. A good level of daily food consumption would be to have at least 60 per cent from carbohydrates, 20 per cent from proteins and the rest maybe from fats and other food groups.
  • Be sure that you are well hydrated in the day. During your race, if possible, try to stop at water points.
  • Remember to run at your most comfortable pace.

What tips can you give to someone who is tackling a night race, such as Sundown Marathon, for the first time?

Some tips would be to:

    • Have an early dinner
    • Try to get more rest in the day – it’s going to be a long night.
    • Avoid high fiber or spicy food, which might give you diarrhoea.

Click here for more Sundown Marathon tips – from 42km race winner in 2012, Alex Ong.



Other Blog Posts

Click here to find out more about Sundown Marathon.

Click here to find out about the handcyclists who will be tackling the 42km route at Sundown Marathon.

Click here for tips on how to buy running shoes for Sundown Marathon.

Click here to find out about the visually impaired runners who are taking on Sundown Marathon.

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