Category Archives: My StanChart Marathon Training

2011 Stanchart Nairobi Race Report

“Even when you have gone as far as you can, and everything hurts, and you are staring at the specter of self-doubt, you can find a bit more strength deep inside you, if you look closely enough.” – Hal Higdon

Another year and another StanChart Nairobi marathon gone! I arrived at 2011 Nairobi marathon with a goal of running a sub 3 hours marathon. I had previously done two sub 3 hours marathon, in 2008 (2.52) and 2009 (2.56) but in 2010 I had a real back sliding, and finished in 3.23. A very poor performance by my high standards. This year was all about getting my pride back.

The eve of the marathon was perfect. No anxiety, plenty of rest, plenty of food, plenty of hydration. I woke up at 5.00 am, took a very hot shower just to warm up my body. I made sure the hot water ran down the key running muscles: the hip and the calf. The hotel breakfast starts at 7.00am so I had made my own arrangements. My pre race breakfast consisted of half a litre yogurt and six slices of bread.

With roads closed, the only way to get to the starting line was by walking. Every one was walking from Nairobi City center to the start at Nyayo National Stadium. I think Nyayo stadium is almost 1.5Kms from Nairobi City center and that walk alone is enough warm up!

The full marathon started at exactly 7.00am. My routine is to avoid the crowd in front and start from behind. I started well and when I got to the 9 Km mark I started feeling my body was not responding well. I was pushing but I was lacking the endurance to maintain apace of 4 mins per Km. Thoughts of my body may have peaked and I might never run faster again started crossing my mind.

The White Knights

At 11Km mark a man and woman team caught up with me. They seemed to be working together and they looked good at what they were doing. The guy was pacing the lady. I asked the guy what was their target and he told me, sub 3 hours. I couldn’t believe my luck! My job now was to stick with them.

I stuck with my White Knights, shadowing their every move. We crossed the 15 Kms mark at exactly 1 hour. If I maintained that pace I knew I would be on target. Nairobi marathon is a real budget race, the runners are only given water. I was drinking water at every water station. As the day got older, the sun came out and the temperatures started creeping up. I started taking an extra bottle of water and poured water on my body to cool off.

At the 25 Km, my white knights started pulling back and I raced in front. I thought I was leaving them behind only for them to catch up with me at around 28 Kms mark. We crossed the 30 Kms mark at 2 hours 8 mins. It was clear to me if I was to hit my target of sub 3 hours I would need to do something special in the final 12 Kms.

I Hit The Wall

At the 35 Km mark, my white knights took their team effort to the next level. The lady asked the guy to hold his hand and they sprinted off. I tried to chase them but my body refused. I couldn’t flip my legs faster, I had peaked. I was still running but I was not racing. ( I caught up with my white knights after the race and they informed me they crossed the finish line at 2.59)

When I saw a sign showing 3 Kms to the finish line I looked at my watch: 2.50. There was no way I could do the last 3 Kms in 10 mins. My new target now was under 3.05. To cut a long race short, I did the final 1 Km in 5 mins and finished 2011 Stanchart Nairobi marathon in 3 hours 6 minutes. Very Satisfying!

I never hit my target but some how I was very satisfied with my performance. I live to fight another day. You win some, you lose some. That’s life!

 

 

2011 Stanchart Nairobi Marathon Training Week 7

“The marathon is a charismatic event. It has everything. It has drama. It has competition. It has camaraderie. It has heroism. Every jogger can’t dream of being an Olympic champion, but he can dream of finishing a marathon.” Fred Lebow, New York Marathon founder.

After seven weeks on marathon training for 2011 Stanchart marathon, everything is going like clock. I have been very consistent with my training: 3 speed works in a week plus a long run on Sunday. Every day am feeling more confident of achieving a sub 3 hours marathon.

The last week consisted of intense speed works. I did Basso 800 on Wednesday, followed 10ks speed runs on Thursday and Friday. I feel am getting more benefits from this speed work because they are really challenging my body. During the runs I can feel the strain on my lungs and feet but at the finish I feel relaxed and satisfied.

I have been working on my feet movement, especially on my landing, to try and get the perfect foot strike. I have tried landing on my forefoot, mid foot, heel and I have found landing on my heel seems to work for me. There is no answer to the perfect foot strike, you have to experiment and see what works for you.

Another important area of focus is hydration. I have been seriously water loading. Drinking plenty of water is important to ensure quick recovery.

This week I will miss my Sunday long run because I will be traveling. The trip had been planned months in advance and there is no way I can cancel it. I don’t plan to try to recover it when I come back, I will just skip it and restart my training next week.

upward and forwards.

 

 

Stanchart Nairobi Marathon 2011 Training Week 6

“Where there is anger, there is always pain underneath”

After six weeks of mild training am now moving to the next stage of training. As part of my preparation for 2011 Standard Chartered Nairobi marathon, I have been doing slow weekly runs, once in a while I would do intense work outs and once in a week I did a long run at a slow pace.

The purpose of the slow run was to strengthen my legs without risking any serious injury. I now feel this has been achieved and the body is prepared to cope with intense work outs for the next three weeks.

Intense work outs and running faster

The intense work outs are speed works around a track plus a long run at a high pace. I also plan to include some serious hill running. The theory behind this high intensity work out is, in order to get stronger, the body needs to be challenged at a level above it’s ability. It works in muscle building whereby, to develop bigger and stronger muscle, the athlete needs to keep lifting heavier and heavier weights.

No Pain No gain

The next stage will involve some level of pain because I will be pushing my body beyond its’ limits and this will call for great mental strength. My mental trick is to see it all as necessary and not a bad thing. If you associate the intense running as a bad thing that is when you will feel the real pain. But if you see it all as a necessary evil you willl endure.

Upwards and forward!

Standard Chartered Marathon 2011 Week 4

During the week I ran a total of 43Kms. 7kms on Wednesday, 10 kms on Friday and a 26 kms long run on Sunday. I missed running on Thursday because it was raining and I wasn’t in a mood to go out running in the rain.

I did the weekday runs around a track. I wasn’t trying something fancy like basso 800s, my goal was to maintain a high pace for the duration of the distance.

I am getting better at focusing on my feet movement. I have learnt when I keep focus on my feet movement and prevent my mind wandering am able to maintain my pace.

The Sunday long run was the best so far, I felt my body was getting stronger. I started with a goal of running 24 Kms but I extended it to 26 kms because I was feeling strong. The good weather helped, it was a Sunny morning with cool temperatures. I ran the whole route without taking water and I never felt seriously thirsty at any time. My long run consists of running a very hilly route. It is a route where you are either going up or down. I try my best to step up my pace when climbing up those hills: it is the only way to get better and stronger.

Cross Training.

After missing training on Thursday, I made sure I did indoor work outs. I did press ups and squats. I have also been doing stretching exercises to make sure my leg muscles are nibble and flexible.

So far I haven’t been timing my runs but I plan to start timing myself.

Come October 30th, I will be strong and ready to fly.

Race Report : 2009 Stanchart Marathon Results

2009 Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon. I finished in a time of 2:57:29, one minute slower than 2008…..a rather disappointing race.

Pre Race

I travelled from Embu to Nairobi on Saturday. When I arrived in the city I realised I had forgotten my racing short back home and I had to buy a new short. Luckily I had arrived early and I had time to go shopping and buy a new Reebok short.

A friend of mine was working at the marathon secretariat and he invited me to the offices. The lifts at the building were not working and I was forced to walk up nine floors.(what a waste of my energy)

Instead of staying in a hotel I stayed at the home of my childhood friend Alex who lives a walking distance from Nyayo Stadium, the start and finish area of the marathon. Alex and his girlfriend Miriam were running the half marathon.

The Race

The first kilometres were fast. I had trained to run at a pace of 4 minutes a Kilometre. I had hoped to see a 5K mark and calculate whether I was within my pace but I never saw any markings of distance. In the runners guide it was indicated there would be markings every 5K but this was lacking on the course.  SHAME ON THE ORGANISERS! Without markings I just followed the fast moving crowd and made my own mental estimates.

As usual my breathing was hard at the start but I knew things would get better and easier the longer I kept running. After 1 hour of running my breathing never got easier, I guese I was running faster than my planned pace. After 1 hour 15 minutes we hooked up with the half marathon crowd and the course now got more crowded. I found myself weaving from side to side trying to overtake the half marathon runners.

I got back at Nyayo stadium at 1 hour 35 minutes, at this point the half marathon runners headed towards the finish line while the full marathon runners were supposed to repeat the circuit. After parting with the half marathon crowd, I looked ahead of me and shocked to see an almost empty road, it was clear many of full marathon runners had decided to drop out of the race at that point. The idea of repeating the circuit was too bitter to swallow for many runners!

Doing the second circuit was hard because I was running alone. It is at this point when it started raining and I remember at one time I thought………this sucks am done with marathons!……… Although my legs were feeling fine my chest was having a harder time. Make no mistake, I wanted to go faster…I would look at my watch and say ok legs, lets speeeeedup! and I would think I was going faster, but then I would check the watch a little while later and, nope, no faster!

After 2 hours and 10 minutes of running I got at the final turning point and I was now on the home stretch. At this point I could feel the smell of fresh bread from a bakery on the route. The smell of bread induced a feeling of hunger. I started having this imagination of eat a post race meat pie. I guese I was getting delusional!

As the clock hit 2.40, the finish line was out of sight and it was clear my goal of 2.45 finish was way way out of reach. My target now was to atleast match my PB.At this point I met up with Miriam, my friend’s Girlfriend. The half marathon was proving too hard for her to handle. As I overtook her she tried to run after me begging me to wait for her……….I just couldn’t…nothing personal!

Luckily for me a determined young lady who had an elite badge on her chest caught up with me at this point. I chased her tooth and nail. Although it was physically hard on me she kept me on my toes. She was my white knight, she pulled me to the end. We crossed the finish line together at 2 hours 57 minutes 26 seconds. Uh! what a relief. At least I stayed under 3 hours.

After The race

My recovery has astonished me. Two days after the race and am feeling like I can run another marathon next weekend.

With the 2009 Marathon gone I can’t wait for next year. 2010 I will have another opportunity to get a crack at it. 2.45 is my target.

Nairobi Marathon : End Of Training 2009

All good things must come to an end.

After 5 months of marathon training, I have brought down the curtain on my training and now am looking forward to Sunday? race.

In the last two weeks I have run three 10Ks, the first one was a slow recovery run, followed by a Sunday run which I finished in 43 minutes then yesterday  morning I ran a final 10K run in 40 minutes flat. I feel lucky my legs are in great shape, no injury! I believe I have done enough to run a sub 2.45 marathon.

The only scare was a cold I suffered during the weekend. I made a mistake of going for an afternoon swim and I paid the price. I used alternative medicine to treat the cold before it got worse. A daily diet of soup mixed with hot pepper fixed the cold in 5 days.

With three days to go my plan now is to stay hydrated, eat plenty of carbohydrates, rest and most importantly stay physically fit.

To stay physically fit I will do two speed works on Thursday and Saturday morning. This will be in form of 1K runs around a track. I will also do daily stretching and massaging to maintain muscle flexibility.

I can only wish myself good luck. To everyone who is running 2009 Nairobi Marathon, GOOD LUCK!

StanChart Marathon Training Week 20 : Tapering

After 5 months of marathon training I finally did my last long run. It was a 37K run that took me over 3 hrs 15 minutes to finish. My initial plan was to do a 34K final run but when I got at the 17K turning point I was having so much fun and my inner voice said ¨Come on you are having so much fun, dont stop now” I guese it all started on Saturday, I spent the afternoon listening to the classic song ‘dont stop me now, am having such a good time’ by Queen

Am even thinking of making the song my official humming song when I run Stanchart marathon in two weeks time. Humming a song as you run can inspire you to run stronger and faster.

I had prepared well for this final run, I made sure I carried a bottle of water to keep me hydrated. Last year I finished my last run, cramping and feeling sore feet. I wasted a whole week without any training, recovering from the after effects.

Two days after the run am not feeling any negative reaction. Instead of the usual two days rest I have given myself an extra day of rest to ensure full rest and recovery.

My tapering plan is to do speed works to maintain (or even improve) my cardiovascular fitness.

StanChart Marathon Training Week 19, Fatigue & Stretching

Week 19 was supposed to have been the week when I did my final long run (a 34K run) before I start tapering, but I canceled it. I woke on Sunday morning feeling like my legs were cemented on the ground.

The leg fatigue had built up during the week. I did a 28K run on Sunday followed by two 16K runs, on Wednesday and Friday. The two 16K runs were on high tempo. I guess with the 2009 Stanchart Marathon 3 weeks away am getting excited and running very hard and fast.

Although I had been stretching my legs I had not been massaging. Professional massaging isn’t cheap? I decided to give myself a massage. When I squeezed my calf muscles I felt like screaming. All the stress of running had accumulated inside.

When am walking or running I cant feel the pain but i feel the effect of fatigue in form of slowed pace. No matter how had I try to run I only move in a slow pace.

I suspended my Sunday log run and decided to spend two days massaging myself. I have been squeezing my calf and shin muscles and now my legs are feeling lighter.

As I head into the last two weeks of training I will pay more attention to stretching and massaging.

Nairobi Marathon Training : End of Week 18

Last week I made a full recovery from my achilles tendonitis injury. I managed a total of 42K of running for the week. Two midweek trail running, 5k on wednesday and 10K trail run on friday. My original plan was to do a 21K run on Sunday but I ended up running 28K because my achilles felt fine.

The weather has changed Kenya has shifted from a cold season to a hot season. The shining sun is out all day. I could feel the change in the weather because what would have a routine non stop 28K long run, I had to stop once, around the 21K mark to drink water.

Am now entering the final stage of my marathon training and the biggest challenge will be overcoming the unfriendly weather. Training for a marathon when it is hot and sunny is never easy and I will require to ensure am well hydrated.

Stanchart Nairobi Marathon : Training Week 16

The last two weeks have been frustrating, a nagging achilles tendonitis had refused to heal.

It started as a small pain, I swiftly applied heat but it got bad then I tried an anti-inflammation cream, after one week the Achilles got worse, I was limping! I stopped the medication and tried Ice, although I knew I might be late, most experts think it is useless to use ice after 48 hours.

But the ice seemed to work because the pain started to go away. After two weeks of no running I got back to my love. Last week I did three days of running. On Wednesday, a 5 k run around a grass track, followed the next day by a 2K trail run inside a private ranch. I had hoped running on those soft surfaces would give me a soft landing but I was wrong. After the trail run I felt a bad reaction, my Achilles felt painful. I took a pain killer and took two days rest.

On Sunday everything felt fine, so I did a 16 K run on road. I ran most of the distance comfortably but I could feel a slight pain near the end. I finished the run without any serious reaction and am confident but hopeful the injury is behind me.