Preparation is the key to success and it is the same for a sport as simple as running.
With only 15 days to go to The Straits Times Run at the Hub, here are some common pitfalls that runners, including myself, have fallen prey to.
The first thing to take note of is your racing gear. Make sure it is in good condition, and remember to try your gear at least once or twice during a race-pace run to make sure it holds up. You should avoid wearing a new pair of shoes on race day.
When I won the Singapore Marathon in 2011, I chose a pair of socks which had a hole above my left toe. I thought I could wear them one last time before throwing them away.
My toe nail came off and I was left with a blood-soaked shoe so I cannot stress this point enough.
Collect ST Run race packs at the Hub
The Straits Times Run at the Hub participants can collect their race entry packs at the Singapore Sports Hub's OCBC Square from Sept 18-20.
The booths are open from 10.30am to 8pm.
Race-goers who had requested the spectators wristband during their registration will also be notified via e-mail from Monday.
The wristband will be issued during the race entry pack collection.
RUN WITH MOK - WEEK 5
This will be your final hard run, as we head into tapering mode for the next two weeks.
Warm up for 10-15 minutes. Next, run a sustained hard effort for five minutes before resting for two minutes.
Repeat two to three times. Aim to complete each one faster than the previous one - this means starting conservatively for the first repetition.
Complete the session with a 10-minute cool-down.
Do a 6km run at race pace. This should be a breeze to complete. There's no need to go out hard. Control the pace, enjoy the rhythm and draw confidence from the fact that it feels so easy.
This is an optional run for those who are fitter or keen to train more.
Do a 30-minute run as an easy effort. You may replace this with an easy 30-minute swim or cycle. This will help your body get ready for Saturday's long run.
The long run this week will be only 8km, to ensure your legs are as fresh as possible for race day next week.
This run should feel really easy in terms of effort. Do not make it into a harder run just because it is shorter.
Training effort description
Easy/long run: You should be able to hold a conversation comfortably during the run.
Moderate (race pace) run: You should be able to speak in phrases but not in full sentences.
Hard (fast) run: During these intervals, you should be able to speak only in a sporadic fashion.
The second thing to pay attention to is race-day nutrition. It is up to the individual but foods like cereal with milk, bread with peanut butter and mashed potatoes are good as they are easy to digest, not fatty and rich in carbohydrates.
More importantly, test your race-day diet over the next two weeks to make sure you do not have bloating or discomfort in your stomach after consumption.
In addition, if you plan to take sports gels, note that they come in various textures, concentrations and flavours.
Some are more liquid-like and can be consumed without water. Others are thicker in consistency and require you to wash them down with plain water. This is the time to decide which works best for you.
Next, logistics. This includes your racing bib and transport plans.
Four years ago, I reached a race venue only to realise that I had left my running bib at home.
The panic and fatigue from rushing back home to get the bib affected me greatly and I felt drained at the start line.
So once you have collected your race pack, pin the running bib on the jersey and put them aside.
It is also wise to plan your transport options, such as car-pooling with friends. I find that it helps to have people to talk to on your way to a race as it calms the nerves.
If you are taking public transport, make sure you check the train and bus schedules.
Finally, it is important not to panic as race day approaches.
Some people believe that last-minute training will help them run better on race day - but this is not the case.
All the physical preparation has been done and it is time to let the body recover fully and absorb the training of the past weeks to produce your best performance yet.
Focus instead on doing the little things right. Keep yourself hydrated, stay away from crowded places to avoid catching bugs like the flu and get ample sleep at night.
Remember this mantra: Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
- Have any questions for Mok? E-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "Run with Mok" and he will try to answer as many as he can in his weekly column