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Mind Your Step….

17th January 2018 09:49 AM[(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

Mind your step….

I am the type of person who needs this warning everywhere they go.  There is no part of me that is naturally athletically inclined, I lack coordination.  I do not gracefully float along trails, or roads, or sidewalks, or really anywhere for that matter, in fact my mother used to call me her elephant because I was so heavy footed (at least I think that is why she called me that…hmmm)

Tripping and falling on the trails is cool though, I wear my bruised and scarred knees with pride, as well as any black toenails – means I’ve done good ! (As long as I haven’t twisted an ankle, because I do that a lot to, unfortunately) However, it is not so cool when at the tender age of 22(!) you try to get on a bike for the first time and your college roommate cannot stop laughing because it takes you about 10 minutes of awkwardness to figure out how to get your leg to the other side.  It is also not very cool (and rather embarrassing) when you trip and fall in the middle of the office with all your new colleagues there wondering: “How is she going to go in the desert as a 4 Deserts Event Manager…?”

I think this is why I am drawn to running, specifically long distance running, because there isn’t much involved, one foot in front of the other, repeat, for many many hours.  Sometimes I fall, and so far, have gotten back up every single time, even when there were tears involved.

Given my lack of athletic inclination and natural running form, I need to make sure I have a schedule in place that makes me stick to my training and doesn’t allow for too much thinking about what my work outs will be for the week.  I find that keeping it simple, with workouts I can do either by starting directly from my front door, my little at home gym, or the outdoor bootcamp which is a 5 minute walk away, is the best way to keep me motivated.  This second blog edition will give you a look at what my training has been and will be for the few weeks.

The countdown has officially started, 102 days until the start, 15 weeks of training

The last few weeks have been spent building up my distance and having a major reality check on where I am with my fitness.  Running in Singapore is hard work with the humidity, but great training when you can eventually stomach it. Having the support of people around who will go for a training run, and keep me going, even when I feel like poop on stick, is very important.  When Allen, 4 Desert Grand Slam alumni 2016, is in town, we used to go for beers, now we go for runs, and the last few we have been on were a shameful display of my lack of fitness and would have been cut short if he didn’t keep me going!! I hope the next time we hit the trails I can redeem myself.

Finally this last weekend, I felt somewhat OK and accomplished just under 30km. No need to stop and spew.  I followed that up with a walk / run / trot on Sunday of about 13km.  This means I have now entered the ‘targeted’ training before the race. 

My Plan – training wise

One of my training buddies and 4 Deserts Almuni, the beautiful Shri, advised so eloquently, the best training plan for you, is the one you can stick to.  What I have cobbled together below is ambitious and I will do my best to stick with my plan, keeping in mind, that life happens, and I will need to work around it.

  • Monday - REST
  • Tuesday - Speed Work - This has been on the treadmill to keep a steady pace
  • Wednesday - Hill Work (stair repeats, Bukit Timah hill repeats) - Hills are challenging to find in Singapore, however my buddy Azlan has introduced me to a great loop at Bukit Timah which does not make me want to poke my eyes out.
  • Thursday - Plain old easy run / jog - Somewhere between 40 - 90 min depending on where I am in the training
  • Friday - CrossTraining - 60 min outdoor Bootcamp
  • Saturday - Long Run -Holding at 30km for the next 3 weeks
  • Sunday - Back to back run - somewhere between 14-30km, depending on where I am in the training.

In addition to what I have listed above, I need to make sure I keep my supporting muscles strong to try and avoid any additional pain to my knee.  As with most runners, it is important to focus on core, glutes, hamstrings and quads.  I have a set of exercises that take me about 30 minutes to complete and try to get these done every other day.

So there you have it, my training goals for the next chunk of time. It will be challenging and has been challenging, but I just remind myself that I have been granted this amazing opportunity to be able to push my body, travel to some of the most STUNNING and REMOTE places in the world, and the excitement that  in just a few months I will be back in AFRICA – the most AMAZING continent in the  world.  Sahara Race (Namibia) 2018 – here I come!!

Above - The beautiful colors of the Namib Desert I will get to experience

Above- What we call team building at 4 Deserts, I look forward to Riitta pouring my water :)

Above - Running buddies at the top of the highest natural point in Singapore (L-R: Azlan, Zeana, Allen, Shri)


Comments: Total (2) comments

Keith Gayhart

Posted On: 19 Jan 2018 14:34 PM

Hey Zeana! Nice post. I appreciate the tips. My training routine is remarkably similar to yours, although I expect I'm slogging along much more slowly than you. I do have the advantage of having a bona fide desert (Mojave) to run in. It's just two hours from home. I have a question: poles or no poles? I'd like to avoid the extra weight, but I'll kick myself if I need them and they're not there. Thanks and see you in April.

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