Run for your life: An eye on the finish line

PHOTO: Run for your life: An eye on the finish line

WHY do we like to do things that we regret to be doing even before we’re halfway through it?

We climb up a mountain only to curse midway as we struggle up the trail. Or to question our decision to take on the challenge of a run as we drag our tired feet through the last kilometres.

But don’t you think it’s a bit too early to regret an invitation to a full marathon only after two gym sessions?

When the Tokyo Marathon Foundation informed me that the full marathon was part of my press tour of the run, I thought, why not? After all, this marathon was too big for any keen runner to decline. Never mind that I hadn’t been exercising seriously for more than two months. Or that I had piled on the kilos during the year-end festivities.

When I told my trainer, Mohd Hoesni Rahmat, the news he flipped at the thought that he had only eight weeks to train me for the 42km marathon. I thought he was just over-reacting but I soon realised that his anxiety was not baseless.

Searches on the Net made me realise that such a programme takes at least 18 weeks, and that too for regular runners. According to one website, a person is in good condition when he or she can run 5km without stopping.

Hoesni designed for me an eight-week intensive programme which, he said, was based on the F.I.T.T (frequency, intensity, time and type) principle of training.

I have to train five times a week with an intensity that should reach 70 to 90 per cent of my maximum heart rate for a duration of one to two hours.

The training will increase my fitness and make me lose weight. Hoesni aims to make me lose 10kg at the end of the programme.

He says the training comprises 70 per cent cardiovascular endurance, 20 in strength, and five each in core stability and flexibility.

He designed the programme based on my strict condition that all my runs, which shouldn’t be more than 15km, have to be done indoors on the treadmill.

For the first two weeks, I focused on my cardio workout which included a 2km loop on the elliptical machine, a 10km cycle and a 5km run on the treadmill, to build up my stamina and fitness.

I was almost half dead, dragging my legs and screaming at Hoesni to lower the intensity of the machines. At the end of the two hour sessions, I lay on the floor as I tried to finish my cool-down stretches.

As I stared at the ceiling of the gymnasium in the office, my mind went back to the training I had for my first full marathon last year.

That training was not as demanding, probably because I trained myself over the six-month period — it included some mountain climbing as well.

But I also remembered how nervous I was as the marathon drew closer. I was so stressed that my blood pressure shot up to 170/130!

And that run was at home in Kuala Lumpur. I can’t even begin to imagine the stress and pressure I will have to endure on Feb 26, the day of the marathon in Tokyo, Japan.

How did I fare the first week? I couldn’t even jog on the treadmill at 7km per hour for three minutes! And the best time I clocked was a slow 45 minutes to finish the 5km loop.

Now, I am very scared!