With less than four months to go before the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon (SCSM), runners looking for tips on preparing for the marquee race now have an additional avenue.
For the first time, SCSM organisers have started a training programme leading up to the Dec 2-3 event. It will comprise bi-monthly training runs and running clinics conducted by professional coaches.
The programme kicked off yesterday at the Singapore Sports Hub with the 5km Pacers Run, as participants ran with the official pacers.
Pacers are experienced runners who run the half and full marathon according to specific paces for participants to follow.
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For third-time SCSM pacer Edmund Ho, the run was a good opportunity for him to know his role and the target demographics better.
He said: "As the run goes on people started to fall off, this is representative of the race itself as people run at different paces.
"It's important for pacers to know their role, so that we can help everyone complete the race."
Throughout the day, the public also had the opportunity to sign up for a Heart Rate Run. Participants would first run 3km around the area with a heart-rate monitor strapped to their chests.
After the run and based on their results, they were then advised by running coach Ben Pulham and his team on how best to enhance their personal training.
For many, the alternative training method and its results came as quite a surprise.
Tan Xin Yu ran her first marathon at the Sundown Marathon in March and trains two to three times a week in preparation for the SCSM.
She said: "In the past for training I would just run at a comfortable pace, but just now when I did that my heart rate was still quite high, so I really had to slow down."
The doctor, who is in her early-30s, added: "It's a new method, a new perspective in my running habits so I will definitely give it a shot."
Former professional triathlete Pulham also conducted a running clinic later in the afternoon and offered race-day strategies and general training advice.
The 36-year-old Kiwi advised new runners, in particular, to formulate training plans with heart rate as a gauge, as that would minimise risk.
He said: "Beginners tend to run way too fast. They push themselves too much early on, try to keep up with the guy in front, and a lot of them get hurt because of that.
"Heart rate is a good tool to teach people to control themselves."
The talk could not have come at a better time for 42-year-old Saurabh Jauhari, who is hoping to complete the 42.195km marathon for the first time later this year.
The IT director said: "Although I don't usually run, I play golf and badminton almost every week.
"After the talk, I feel more encouraged and convinced, and will try to change my training patterns slightly based on Ben's advice."
The SCSM has been an IAAF Gold Label race since 2012, and attracted more than 45,000 runners last year.
With more than 35,000 sign-ups so far, the SCSM, into its 16th edition, will also feature three other categories alongside the traditional full and half-marathons.
There will be a 10km race, a 600m Kids Dash and the Ekiden relay - where a team of six runners each run a portion of the full marathon.
Registration for the races are open until Nov 15. More information can be found at singaporemarathon.com.