Best decision I made to train in Kenya, says Singapore Olympic marathon hopeful Soh
SOH RUI YONG says training base is so conducive to marathon training
I've been in Iten, Kenya, for four weeks now, just about halfway through my planned seven-week stint.
The main highlights of the trip so far have been the good training and getting back to full fitness.
After struggling with plantar fasciitis, a tissue inflammation at the bottom of the foot, since last November, it's great to be running 161km a week again.
In my first month here, I spent my two weeks adjusting to the high altitude with steady runs and tempo runs.
Then, I started track workouts, first with fartleks (a system of training where terrain and pace are continually varied) and then with eight sets of 1.6km runs, with each around the 5min 20sec mark.
The week after, I did 12 sets of 1km with a big group of Kenyan athletes, some of whom have run 66min for the half marathon, and each of those sets was completed in around 3min 15secs. Needless to say, this was the best workout I've ever had at altitude.
Iten sits 2,400m above sea level, 300m higher than Flagstaff, Arizona, where I did altitude training twice in 2015, so it is high enough to challenge the body's aerobic system, but low enough to still get good training in.
I'm doing my best to keep the train rolling with the London Marathon on April 26.
I remember, before I left Singapore on Feb 2, I had so many questions from journalists, runners, friends and family about my decision to train here.
"What will you eat?"
"Who will you be training with?"
And of course, the million-dollar question: "Will you have access to WiFi?"
My answers were always the same - I don't know and I'm going there to find out.
I've always been one for adventure.
Since I've been here, my best memories off the track have been with the villagers of Iten.
Whether jogging through the village with joyful toddlers running out and screaming "How are you", or attending a Sunday service in a small church, I've enjoyed the entire Kenyan experience.
I have to give a big shout out to Flight Centre Active Travel Singapore, Singapore Athletics and of course H-TWO-O, who are jointly supporting me by covering my travel and accommodation expenses.
My visit to Iten has broadened my horizons, and helped me to grow not just as an athlete, but as a person as well.
l Soh Rui Yong was talking to Sazali Abdul Aziz.
l You can also follow Soh's journey to Rio on H-TWO-O's Facebook page, where he regularly gives updates.