I am training for the Amsterdam marathon.Yes I am. And afterwards I want to run some more marathons. Is one per month possible?
Profile as a runner: I have run three half-marathons. My times have been 1hr30, 1h32 and 1hr35. The second two are approximate times. The second two were in Macau. Curiously, there was a mistake in the course and the runners ran an extra one or two kilometers. I ran a 10km race in Leiden in 2011 and my time was 42minutes. This was my first attempt at amateur competitive running.
In January, while in Melbourne, I joined a running group led by Campbell Maffet. Since deciding to train for the Amsterdam Marathon, I have used the training plan that he has devised for his running group. This schedule involves a range of running: a medium paced 12km run, intervals (shorter distances at faster paces), ‘diagonals’ (varying between short and fast) and long runs (probably over 20km). Campbell also recommends cross-training. But, the kind of cross-training is left up to the individual to decide upon. I have emailed Campbell regularly over the last eight weeks (roughly), since I decided to do the Amsterdam Marathon.
Since starting to train, I have lost roughly 5-6kg. I weighed approximately 62kg; I now weigh between 55-56kg. I have used Noom Android App to log the amount of food and exercise I have been doing. I did more than double the amount of exercise in August as I had done in July (based on the number of calories burnt). And, I ate probably 3/4s (or less) of what I had been previously eating. My weight has now stabilised and I feel that 55kg is probably the best weight for my running. I feel that I move more quickly, lightly and with better technique and balance. Losing weight has been one of the satisfying parts of my training. I had weighed about 61-62kg for the last two years. Before that I was probably over 65kg. I have never liked my body shape and I admit to be quite narcissistic: I have been fixated on changing my body shape and having a more athletic (and lighter) build. By following a focused training program of eating a balanced (and moderate) diet and training proportionately I have been able to reach my desired weight.
Over the past six years, I have been exercising regularly. I started karate about five years ago and did it for two years. I did my best to get the most out of it: but, I found it to be insufficiently taxing in terms of physical exertion. I also didn’t enjoy the formalities of the class. I would run once or twice a week during this time. When I moved to Indonesia in 2010, I started Muay Thai. I found this more challenging in terms of fitness and technique. It also had less formalities than karate. I became convinced of the virtues of Muay Thai as a sport. I have trained for muay thai in Indonesia (Jakarta and Yogyakarta), The Netherlands (in Leiden and Amsterdam) in Melbourne and in China (Macau SAR). Running is a necessary part of Muay Thai training. Since deciding to train for the Amsterdam marathon, I have stopped Muay Thai training. This is because I run five times per week and Muay Thai training generally takes three hours (inclusive of travel time) – which at the moment, is too long.
I run five or six times per week: starting from the south in Yogyakarta. I start from near the intersection of the Southern Ring Road with Jl.Parangtritis. I’ve adopted several routes. I run north towards Universitas Gadjah Mada and beyond to the Northern Ring Road and sometimes beyond. I run to the east along the Southern Ring Road and Eastern Ring Road, towards the over-pass that leads to Jl.Solo and the Adisucipto airport. I sometimes run south to Parangtritis Beach. I run intervals along the Southern Ring Road between Jl.Parangtritis and Jl.Imogiri Barat. This is a distance of about 900 meters. I start to run at around 5:15am. This is to beat the traffic and the pollution. Nonetheless, from 6am, many people are already burning rubbish on the sides of roads.
Yogyakarta is not ideal for running training. But it is possible. The noise from motorbikes is unpleasant. The uneven footpaths and unsealed roads are hazardous. But, if one wants to run, one can do it. Running is no doubt more pleasant with others: both as encouragement, as a social engagement and for support. One learns from others – whether it be through direct coaching, observation or the sharing of stories about one’s running and training. We run in our own context and for our own purposes. Running is simple and repetitive: it is a basic training in its self or for other sports.