The secret to the long run
Keeping yourself hydrated is as important as training hard, says SOH RUI YONG
I believe that the most important facet of marathon training is the long run.
Done once a week, ranging between 1hr 45min and 2hr 45min, I do long runs to train my body for the extended physiological stress and repeated pounding that is required of a marathoner.
Long runs don't have to be done hard.
In fact, most of my long runs are done at a relatively easy pace (4min to 5min/km).
Even so, long runs present multiple challenges, with the toughest of all being hydration.
Hydration is an often-overlooked aspect of the long run, and it can make or break your session, especially when training in a hot and humid environment such as Singapore.
I usually spend a good deal of time the night before mentally preparing for the route I will run and planning my hydration for the race.
I will ensure that I have sufficient rest and also watch what I eat before the race.
Unless I have hydration support from a vehicle, I plan loops so that I can rehydrate at points along the run.
Ideally, having a friend drive or bike along for your long run allows you to plan without worrying about looping back for hydration.
I like to hydrate with a non-carbonated isotonic drink, rather than just having water.
Isotonic drinks such as H-TWO-O are reverse engineered from sweat, and replenishes the glucose, sodium, potassium and other important nutrients and minerals that we lose through perspiration.
This helps you run further, faster and get more out of the two hours or so you are investing in the training session.
Many people are unaware that hydration should take place even before you start your run.
Drinking before a race ensures your body is not dehydrated before the workout.
In Singapore, the humid climate can cause us to lose body fluids even during warm-ups.
For runs exceeding two hours, I like to drink every 25 minutes or so.
Start drinking early even though you might not feel thirsty.
By the time you are feeling parched, it might be already too late as dehydration can cause muscle cramps.
Drink often and stay hydrated to have a good long-run experience.
All in all, long runs are my favourite part of training, as they closely mimic the nature of the marathon race itself.
Take long runs as opportunities to practise your marathon race plan - especially with regard to pacing and hydration.
I drink H-TWO-O for my long runs and my marathons because it tastes good and is not too sweet.
H-TWO-O's non-carbonated formula is great. It does not cause stomach bloating or discomfort.
This is an important factor that ensures I drink sufficiently and comfortably.
It also contains carbohydrates to refuel my working muscles and helps promote muscle recovery, which is critical in a marathon.
It keeps me hydrated and gives me something to look forward to when the going gets tough.
Train hard and drink smart as you plan to race!
- Singapore national marathoner Soh Rui Yong was talking to Sazali Abdul Aziz.