Monthly Archives: August 2008

End of the 4th Week of Marathon Training

After reflecting on my performance at 2007 Stanchart Nairobi marathon I have realised my biggest obstacle is lack of stamina for the last 10K of a marathon.  Running up to the 32k mark is no problem, the problem is the last 10K when your calves and ankle start aching as the lactic acid builds up in the body.The 32K mark is the point where most runners hit the wall.

If you read my training  plan for 2008 Nairobi marathon you will see it has focused on speed work during the week and one long run of 25 – 30K on Sunday morning. This has helped me build speed and endurance but I have neglected my calves.

I have decided to make changes to my training plan. Two days in a week I will be doing Hill repeats to try develop strong calves.

I will be starting with a 5-10 minutes run to warm up my muscles then run up and down a steep hill for thirty minutes.

Happy Training

Sweat Test, Know How Much Water to drink

If you want to determine how much water you need to drink when running you can take a sweat test. It’s easy because you don’t need to see a pro to do it for you.

Weigh yourself naked before and after a 60-minute run. The amount of weight you lose equals how much fluid you typically need per hour. (half a kilogram equals 50oml of fluid)

If you drank during the run subtract that amount from your hourly sweat rate.

Happy running

How Much Water Should You Drink During A Run

The question how much water you should drink during a race depends on 5 factors

1. Your weight
2. How much you sweat
3. The weather of the day
4. The distance
5. Level of experience

Weight and How much water to drink

The leaner you are the less water you require.  If you have watched Kenyan runners run a marathon you might noticed they don’t drink a lot of water, it could be something to do with their lean bodies.

How much you sweat
Runners who happen to have a high rate of sweating will require to drink a lot of water to replace the lost water.

The weather of the day.
When the weather is hot, the rate of sweating is high and you get dehydrated faster. At the 2007 Chicago marathon the race had to be suspended after one runner died and many marathon runners taken to hospital suffering from heat exhaustion. The temperatures were abnormally high and runners complained that there wasn’t enough water stations.

The Distance of your run

The longer the distance the more water your body needs. Runners doing a 10,000 meters at a track are not provided with water but when distance rises to 21K organizers provide water.

Level of Experience
While elite runner like Kenenisa Bekele can do a mad rush at 10,000 metres without additional water on the way, the same cannot be said of fun runners doing a weekend 10K family fun day.

To know exactly how much water to drink, I recommend you take a sweat test.

The more you train, the fitter you become and you body is able to use water efficiently.

Keep in mind drinking too much water while running can be lethal, at worst too much water can kill, see my post dangers of drinking too much water.

My 2007 StanChart Nairobi Marathon

To see forward you sometimes need to look back.


As I prepare to run 2008 Stanchart Nairobi Marathon I decided to reflect on my experience at 2007 Stanchart Nairobi marathon. By looking back I hope to learn what I need do as a prepare for 2008 marathon.


The 2007 marathon was my second 42K marathon and my finishing time was 3 hours 6 minutes a big jump from my first marathon time of 3:26 but short of my target of a sub three hour marathon.


The Pre race night of  2007 Nairobi marathon


I couldn’t sleep so I spent part of the night watching re-runs of Prison Break.


Start of 2007 Nairobi Marathon


Being my second marathon I thought I would be more relaxed but instead I was anxious. I tried mental exercise to deal with the anxiety but the butterflies did not leave my stomach.


I remember I visited the loo three times and on my fourth visit, a guy in the loo confessed he had been there 10 times but he did not pass urine. Although I felt the urge to pee, every time I got inside the loo I did not pass urine. It seems I  was acting on a false signal.


My first 10K


My strategy was to to make it to the 30K mark in 2 hours and have 1 hour to coast the final 12K.The plan was to do a pace of 4 minute per Kilometre


At the 10K mark I checked my  wrist watch and it read 38 minutes. Ooh too fast. I slowed down for the next 10K stage.


20K mark


At the 20K mark my time showed 1 hour 25 minutes. To stay within my target I had to cover the next 10K in 35 minutes.  I tried to push hard and paid the price when I started getting stomach cramps.


At the 30K mark


My time was 2hours 12 minutes.  At the 35K mark I was losing my stamina and by now Lactic acid had built up in my legs and my calves were sore. I just kept jogging and back in my mind I knew I had to deffer my dream of a  sub three hours marathon.

I crossed the finished line in a time of 3  hours 6 minutes.I got my finisher’s medal and on my certificate I was placed as runner No. 196. Not bad in a marathon of 13,000 runners.

Samuel Wanjiru : Obstacles Standing On His path?

After 21 years old Samuel Kamau Wanjiru won the Beijing Olympic marathon gold, I got this feeling this guy could be the next big thing in long distance running.

When you hit big success so early in life, you can either end up being a legend or implode. After looking at the life’s of other sportmens whose career turned tragic, I think the following obstacles stand between Samuel and greatness.

1) Gold Diggers

After Samuel won Gold, the Kenyan media were quick to do a story on his family. Now everyone is talking about his $300,000 mansion. Samuel is married with one kid but that won’t stop an over zealous woman. And Gold diggers are not just women, I remember Mike Tyson used to move around with hangers on and bodyguards and they did their best to help him blow up the estimated $300 million he earned in his short career

2) Business

This could be the biggest obstacle. Samuel comes from the Kikuyu tribe, a tribe whose primary passion is making money. Investing your money is a wise thing but dabbling in a start up business can be a big distraction.

Catherine Ndereba at one time said how she opened a business on the side and she found her self  spending more time supervising the business and less time training. In the end she closed shop.

3) Fatigue and Burnout

Everyone who follows marathon running knows a 21 year old top marathon runner is something rare in our sport.  Am seeing more Kenyan runners barely out of their teens aiming for the marathon, part of the attraction is the big dollars in road racing. It’s simple economics; Big money attracts big talent!

Road running is very demanding on the body, it is the only sport activity where at the end of an event you have burned your calories to zero. Your heart rate reaches abnormal rates and your knees and ankles are subjected to bone breaking stress.

The irony of marathon running is that to be ready for a big event you have to train hard but it is the hard training that causes injuries. Look at Radcliffe, she got her injury while training for Beijing Olympics. Another casualty of hard training was Kenyan, Robert Cheruiyot, he was my favourite to win gold going to Beijing Olympics but he withdrew on the eve of the marathon citing injury

It was JFK who said “We should not pray for easier life but pray to be strong men!”

The obstacles are not going away, I can only wish the golden boy to be strong!

Samuel Wanjiru : How He Won Beijing Olympic Marathon Gold

I have  just finished reading an Interview of Samuel Wanjiru on Daily Nation Newspaper, on how he won Beijing Olympic Marathon. If you thought lack of sleep, anxiety, fear and self doubt is the stuff of amateur runners, you will be interested to know Samuel Wanjiru didn’t sleep on the eve of the marathon.

Samuel Wanjiru Couldn’t sleep on the eve of the marathon.

The 21 year Olympic medal winner admitted he spent the whole night thinking about the marathon. He only relaxed in the morning when he met fellow runners, Martin Lel and Luke Kibet who also admitted they had also not slept at all.

Lack of sleep on the eve of a marathon afflict all runners, the best advice I read was on the runners guide book of my first Stanchart Nairobi marathon: If you cant sleep you can try to relax. If that is hard you can check my previous post, Foods you can eat to help you sleep on the eve of a marathon

Samuel had doubts about his chances

He was confident of a Kenyan win but he knew team mate Martin Lel would win  the race because he has a stronger finishing kick.

Who said progression running is the best race strategy?

In soccer they say the best defence is attack. Samuel hit the tarmac on a fast pace because according to the assumptions of his Japanese coach, “It was hot and humid in Beijing and thats why it was important for Wanjiru to run fast in the lead group so that by the time the temperatures rose, it was difficult for the chasing pack to catch him. I think that is what happened. A perfect strategy by the coach!

The Pounding heart

I remember as he zoomed into the bird nest, I  saw a smiling face but according to Samuel, his heart was pounding heavily. Sometimes looks can be deceiving!

Samuel Wanjiru Beijing 5K split times

1st 5 Kms – 14 mins 52 secs

2nd 5  Kms (10Km) – 14 mins 34 secs

3rd 5 Km (15Km) – 15 Min 11 Secs

4th 5 Km (20Km) – 14 Min 33 Secs

5th 5 Km (25Km) – 14 Min 48 Secs

6th 5 km (30Km) – 15 Min 16 Secs

7th 5 Km (35 Km) – 15 Min 23 secs

8th 5 Km ( 40 Km) – 15 Min 17 Secs

At 21 years, you can expect to hear more from this young man.

Bye Bye Beijing Olympics

It was a beautiful month, it’s so sad the Olympics happen once in 4 years. Let me share my best moments from Beijing:-

Michael Phelps winning the 100 meter freestyle

After seeing the Serbian swimmer lead from start to near the finish I thought Phelps would miss his 8th gold medal. But Phelps made a stunning jump at the final metre to win Gold.

Usain Bolt  jog to win 100 metre gold

I didn’t watch this race on TV but listened to it on BBC sports radio. The fact Usain Bolt  jogged the final 10 metres to win the 100M gold means sooner or later a sprinter somewhere will dash 100m in 9.6 flat.

Constatina Tomescu break

I love marathon running and as I watched Romanian Tomescu break from the other runners, I just wished one day I will be able to run at such a high pace and not implode at the 32K mark. The point most novice runners hit the wall!

Kenenisa Bekele Final Kick

As a Kenyan it is disheartening to see Kenenisa Bekele make that final kick and there is no Kenyan runner to match him.

Samwel Kamau Wanjiru  Winner Mens Olympic marathon

I loved the salute he made as he entered the Birds nest stadium on his way to break the Olympic marathon record. At 21 I never rated the guy to win the mens marathon but he was the strongest on the day it mattered most.

If you are already feeling the hangover of Beijing Olympics don’t go to sleep yet,  the Paraolympics are just getting started!

Olympic Scandals: Women Athletes Suspected To Be Men

The beijing olympics has been a success, no scandals have been reported. I did a google search on Olympic scandals and I only got scandals from the past. The most interesting bits were about the following women athletes who were suspected to be men.

Polish Runner Ewar Kobukkowska

She was the first woman to be caught in a gender test in 1967. In 1964 summer olympics in Tokyo, She won gold medal in women 4 x 100 meter relay and the bronze in womens 100 meters sprint.

She was found to have a rare genetic condition which gave her no advantage over other athletes, but was nonetheless banned from competing in the Olympics and professional sports.

Indian Runner Santhi Soundarajan.

She won the silver medal in the 800 meters track event at the 2006 Asian games in Doha, Qatar. She failed a the sex determination test and was stripped of her medal. Her case is yet to be concluded however.

Soundarajan  is reported to have lived her entire life as woman.

Brazilian Judo, Edinanci Silva,

At Sydney, she beat Australian Judoka Natalie Jenkins. At a press conference Jenkins raised the issue of Silva’s gender by constantly referring to her as “he” Eventually Silva was confirmed as female but not without some considerable embarrassment.

German athlete, Dora Ratjen 

In 1936 a German athlete named Dora Ratjen finished fourth in the women’s high jump. Twenty years later, Ratjen disclosed the he was in fact Hermann Ratjen and that the Nazis had forced him to compete as a woman.

Brazil Women Vollyeball team

After 2000 Sydney Olympics I remember reading about How volleyball teams had complained about the Brazilian volley team. The team officials admitted some of their players were formerly hermaphrodite but they had undertook an operation to be women. Even after the IOC confirmed the players to be men, most girls from the other teams continue insist they had played against men.

Usain Bolt : His Slave Origins & Where in Africa did he come from?

After watching Jamaican Usain Bolt smash the 100 metres record, I asked myself, “From which part of Africa did his slave ancestors come from?”

All Jamaicans are descendants of Slaves from Africa. Did his slave ancestors come from Kenya? I don’t think so. If they came from my country Kenya, Usain Bolt would have been a long distance runner.

Ethiopia? No. Ethiopia is good at middle distance running.


What about Nigeria? probably yes.

Nigeria is the only country in Africa that has been able to produce sprinters that compete in Olympics.

At 2008 Beijing summer Olympics, sprinters Olusoji Fasuba and Damola Osayemi represented Nigeria in the sprints. Fasuba holds the African record in the 100 meters with a time of 9.85 seconds. Nigeria won a bronze medal at the mens 4 x 100 meter relay.

I won’t mind if Nigeria gloat about Usain Bolt being their own!

Small Business Owners Competing at Beijing Summer Olympics

Running your own business is hardwork, all the time is spent attending to the needs of your customer. Most business people admit they don’t have time for family let alone hobbies.

I have just finished reading a BusinessWeek magazine story about six entrepreneurs who have been able to balance business and time to train for Olympics. I loved the following four entrepreneur/athletes who have been sweating at Beijing Summer Olympics.

Melanie Roach

She is an American weight lifter, A bronze medalist at 2007 Pan American games. She runs a 17 employee Gym with her husband.  “To be a good business owner,” she says, “you have to put in the work, have the vision, and be goal-oriented. It’s the same in athletics. You’re never off the clock. There’s always something you can do better.”

Christie Ramphone

She is in Beijing as captain of the women’s soccer team and is co-owner of Airship Self Storage, a three-person company in Manchester, N.J.

George Hincapie

This cyclist has competed in every Summer Olympics since 1992. Hincapie and his brother Rich are the owners of Hincapie Sportswear, a six-employee, $4 million maker of cycling apparel in Greenville, S.C.

Sailor, Austin Sperry

When Austin got married he discovered that his new father in-law had tried to qualify for Olympics for 40 years. Austin teamed up with his father in-law, John Dane III the oldest American athlete competing in Beijing. They are now in Beijing!

Austin runs a 10 person, 500,000 mobile home business. He told businessweek “I look at sailing as a job. I look at the other business stuff as what I love to do,”