1. Few days after King of Kg. Kemensah 2017, I went for a massage to facilitate recovery. I couldn't wait to start running again after KOKK2017. I however listened to my body and took it easy. But for days, my body had other ideas and seems to be on strike. I just don't feel like running or doing anything physical for that matter. Which is quite worrying since SCKLM is in a matter of days. I'm afraid I've peaked too soon. I still have some workout to complete so can't exactly all out rest yet eventhough it's taper week.
2. The goal for SCKLM is to break 4 (jinxed it). So some pressure there because I have to run at a reasonable pace most of the time. I have to run around 5:35'ish/km to break 4 and it's gonna be tough. But I trained for months (kind of) and hopefully I can break 4 or at least finish close to it.
3. The training has been a mix of marathon training and also training for TMBT which is another "A" race I'm looking forward to. There's nothing much left to do except trust the training and let everything unfold.
4. I like to go in with some kind of plan. I can just follow the sub 4 pacers with the balloons and stuff but I rather use the pacers to confirm/validate my effort rather than use them as a guide. I might pass them if I feel I can go faster but at the same time I know I can pace them if I'm struggling. I might not follow the so called plan and probably wing it on race day but at least I have something in my mind to focus on and avoid daydreaming during the run.
5. It's easier to negative split shorter races but longer races is usually about trying not to slow down too much and mainly being consistent with pacing. I wanted to see which KM I should watch out for. That's basically the plan. It might seem a bit obsessive but I went and pulled 2016 SCKLM sub 4 and sub 3:30 marathoner data from Garmin Connect. I'm assuming I somewhat share their running ability and had prepare more or less similiarly (except the 3:30 - for benchmark purpose). My simple school children analysis showed some general trend:
a) All sub 4 hrs runner tend to start out a few km too fast. But stayed on pace until KM 20-23;
b) All positive splitted and cross the sub 4 pace (5:35/km) vs average pace at around KM 22-23;
c) Struggle starts generally at KM 30-32;
d) Last 10k seems quite tough; and
e) They end the last 2-3km faster than their average.
6. I've read about this before (the 32km wall etc.) and I also have experienced it. Among others, elevation and time of day might be one of the contributing factor:
a) KM0~KM5: Starting out fast is normal because you've tapered and feel good. It is 4AM so it's cool as well;
b) KM22-23: Starts to slow down. The first big hill. It is also around the 2 hour mark where glycogen depletion starts to creep in. Might be around 6AM;
c) KM24~KM30: Still maintaining speed but using more energy to do so. Humidity picks up as sun starts to rise. Might be around 6AM-7AM;
d) KM30~KM32: Struggling. Probably hit the wall. A hill here just to make sure. Sunrise 7AM - 7:30AM;
e) KM32~KM40: Grind. The highest hill in the entire course followed by the 2nd highest hill in the entire course. Near 8AM; and
f) KM42: All out. Trying to get that sub 4 and going downhill maybe. 8AM (Sub 4).
7. Of course, this is all me in my own bubble making a simple analysis/assumption from a handful of runner's data. Not exactly PhD material, I know, but still provided some insight as to how I should run this marathon. The plan might go like this:
a) Warm up. No choice if I want to start near average goal pace and not too slow;
b) Forget negative split. Focus on negative effort. I'll be needing it in the last 10-15kms;
c) Stop for subuh at 15km and load up on nutrition while at it;
d) KM 24-30 is silently dangerous, slight rolling downhill/flat, so might actually carry some rhythm here and thus might be leaking energy unknowingly at this stretch. Not to get carried away going faster than goal pace. Patience;
e) Grind the last quarter of the race but steady on the hills. Might have to run my ass off to get 4;
f) Stop at all water station, 1 gel before race, gel every 1 hr, salt every 1 hr or consume based on feel. Use on course isotonic and water;and
g) Try to gain some time on the downhill.
8. Looking at the strategy and calculated splits for an avg 5:35/km pace marathon, it's gonna be tough because I never tried holding that pace for the entire marathon distance before.
KM Minimum Splits
9. I might have actually scripted my downfall with this "analysis". Haha. But, maybe it'll turn out to be a great plan and me going further below than just 4. Or I might end up doing something totally different and bonk. That's the beauty of training for a goal and not to just finish. But I'm looking forward to the feedback from race day. The risks and decisions made, the uncertainties and lessons learned.
10. Just like the Nike Breaking 2 attempt where all the marginal gains made the difference on the day, I need a lot of things going for me to break 4. What's for sure is that the course is designed to have plenty of hills in the 2nd half of the marathon. This is actually a hilly marathon. So yeah, I need a lot of luck with that.