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My Next Marathon Journey

Posted on September 27 2016

I have been meaning to write more often. But I procrastinate a lot.

Let’s talk about my plan for the rest of the year. My numero uno objective for this year is to run a sub 3:30 marathon. I attempted twice, in Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur, and as most of you might already know, I didn’t achieve my target after two marathons this year.

So, after the conclusion of Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon about 7 weeks ago, I immediately looked up for my next marathon. I knew I only had one marathon left this year. Due to financial restriction, it has to be local. After scouring the internet, it comes down to two.

Putrajaya Night Marathon (PNM) on 12th November 2016,


Penang Bridge International Marathon (PBIM) on 27th November 2016.

I am inclined to run PNM since I have run PBIM last year and have never run PNM. But most people I know are running PBIM. I am still swayed towards PNM though despite not knowing the route yet. Apart from the long gradual inclination at the midpoint of the bridge (which runners have to overcome twice, outbound and inbound), and the flyover to U-turn back to the island, PBIM is mostly flat. But the route is boring. The bridge’s length is 13.5 kilometres, so that’s 27 kilometres running a straight line without any spectator.

Ultimately, it boils down to training. Despite running  a lot of mileages in preparation for Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur, up to 140 km/week, 99% of the runs were run slowly. It may work on others, but it clearly did not bode well on me.

It is back to square one. I am looking for something different. Probably less runs, and more cross-trainings, because I definitely under-utilise my bike. I don’t want to be stuck doing long runs during the weekends. I want to ride my bike up Genting Sempah, or Fraser’s Hill. Or do Broga loop, or cycling at LEKAS or wherever. Let’s face it, cycling is a lot more interesting than running. And with a baby on-board, I need to cut down on running.

After reading and comparing  few training plans available online, I find one that suits my need. It is FIRST training plan. It consist of low mileage, three running days per week only, which are speed workout, tempo run, and long run. The catch is, I need to include prescribed cross-trainings twice a week. I can choose either to cycle, to swim or to row, and I have to do it twice a week. It pans out that I am clueless at cross-trainings. The prescribed cross-training are hard to follow. It requires me to do tempo or hard effort while cycling, swimming, or rowing. With a broken heart rate monitor (HRM), I have no idea how tempo or hard should feel like while cross-training. I just want to have fun riding my bike. Anyway, I’ll save more rants on cross-trainings for other posts.

It is a 16-week training cycle, and it happens that PBIM is 16 weeks after SCKLM. Perfect! It is decided. My next marathon and my last chance to break 3:30 barrier this year will be at PENANG BRIDGE INTERNATIONAL MARATHON!


That means that I do not get to slack off after SCKLM and instead, start another training cycle immediately after SCKLM. I am already on Week 8 of the new training cycle now.

PBIM will be a special race too. I have been training my wife secretly (I guess it is not a secret anymore) for her first 10k, with a target. I won’t give away too much about it though. I guess I don’t have any other choice other than to finish the marathon early and be at the starting line for 10k race to pace my wife for her first 10k. You can do it, babe!

Before PBIM, I will also race a 10k at Mizuno Wave Run on 9th October in Shah Alam. It is a last minute arrangement as my brother is having chicken pox and doctor advises that it will take 2-3 weeks to heal. I will run in place of him. Sub-40 seems to be out of reach yet. I aim to get close to that though.

I am also looking to run a tune-up race in the form of half marathon before the big race. Half marathon at PNM seems to be ideal but registration is already closed. I may have to look elsewhere.

What’s next after PBIM?

No plan yet. Probably cycle.

See you in Penang!


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