Eat , Sleep and Run

I once saw a guy with a T-shirt that says "EAT, SLEEP and TRI" (Tri for Triathlon). I thought it captures our running culture quite astutely.

We have talked a lot about running and training, but I don't think many of us place enough emphasis on the topics of rest, recovery and nutrition.

Since Quality Result = Quality Training + Quality Rest + Quality Nutrition, we should pay some attention to the latter issues like nutrition and rest if we were to achieve quality results.

Unfortunately, these are commonly neglected areas. But for those of us who are fast approaching (or are already in) our mid life, one can no longer choose to ignore it's importance. 

We take for granted these issues because in our mind, as long as we feel OK, then we must be OK.

For most of us, marathon running is an obsession. (Some even wear it proudly). Of course, if you disagree with me on this, and you have not just signed up for almost all the races that you came across, or even gone out on races that you know that you cannot and should not participate....or even feeling that sense of guilt when you have just missed a run on certain training days....then, my friend, I am just talking about someone else you know.....

As for me, I have the insight to admit that I AM obsessed. (Hence there is still hope for me!) And I have the track record to prove it. I ran 6 full marathons this year alone. In between the full, I did 2 half marathons, one 25km and one 30km run. My training has been all year round. In fact, if I missed a certain training day, I was uneasy and unsettled. I have become a "marathon junkie". But the thing is, I know of someone who does even more than me......

Where do we draw the line? Physically, we have proven that we can finish a marathon. We have become more adaptive to the grueling demand on our body. In essence, our body has learned to recover within a shorter time compared to our very first marathon. We feel that we can "take on the world of marathon". We end up signing up for more and more races. And since most belong to running groups, there is also that issue of invisible peer pressure, (everyone's running it, guess I should just sign up la!) compelling us to participate in more races year round.

However, there are some considerations:

1. More races, less likely to achieve PB.
2. More races, more risk of injuries.
3. More injuries, less enjoyment, more likely to burn out and quit.
4. More injuries, even less likely to achieve PB.
5. And the cycle goes on....

However way you look at it, ultimately the body suffers. You may be an Ironman, but in the long run, even rust may creep in. Some people are gifted with the ability to heal and recover fast. But the majority of us plain Joe are just average folks who aren't invincible/indestructible. I once thought that I could push myself to the limit without any dire consequences. I had not placed enough attention to rest and recovery. Now, I know better, after landing myself with a fair share of injuries. But like most of us, I had to learn it the hard way.

As I have said in my earlier blogs, I am not aiming for too many races in the coming year. Some authors of marathon training books even recommend no more than 2 full marathons per year. I am setting my goal of 3 marathons in 2011. With a good 4 months in between races. This is to allow ample time to train as well as recover from the races. I have also adopted a new program that allows me to only train 3 key runs per week plus 2 other cross training in between. This is a 16 weeks program, so it should fit in my schedule just fine.

I am also working on the nutritional aspect of running. I have been trying to discipline myself to not over indulge in food that I know is detrimental to my health. If you are a Malaysian, you would know exactly what I mean...;) In the past, I just eat whatever food I fancy to my heart's (and stomach's) content. My excuse: If I am working out so much and burning that much calories, surely this kind of food is not such a big deal. I could just burn it off. But now I know there is more to that. Healthier food choices does and will affect your running. Somehow, I don't have that much craving for those Cha-Kuew-Tiow or Laksa as before. And with a proper diet and training, I have lost a good 7 kg (from 71kg down to 64kg) over the past few months. By the way, 64 kg is my ideal weight. It helps also towards running. Imagine carrying less weight on your body when you run.....

Nutritionist would tell you that you need 70% carbo, 15-20% protein and 10-15% fat. How does that translate? We are not going to start weighing our food at the dinner table, are we? But in essence, eat sensibly. If you find that there are too much meat and fat on your plate, try cutting down. From my observation, we Malaysians simply take in too much protein and fat. Cut down too on those yummy snacks. Think: will this help towards my running? If not, it's probably not good for you. For more detail on nutrition and running, you can look up:,,s6-242-0-0-0,00.html

I think it is easy to get carried away with our running, particularly when we assume that "training naturally equals better health". However, it is prudent to take a closer look at our method as well as recovery and nutrition as an integral part of the equation to a healthier lifestyle. With all those grounds covered, we will be less lopsided as a runner. Perhaps we can even optimize our true potential, to achieving that PB....


  1. Only 3 marathons for 2011?

    HK,Tokyo and Sundown are all in first half of 2011.

    Should plan something for end of 2011.

  2. Hk not consider a marathon for me. Remember? I'll just be doing a leisure run....probably will stop after 15 km.....for Tokyo's sake.

  3. 71kg->64kg... that's inspiring!

    Unless we pack our own breakfast/lunch, it is quite difficult to achieve the nutrition requirement in Malaysia.

    Yes... agree with Foo, should plan something for the end of 2011, for instance, seeing sunset to sunrise in a park during winter time... haha...! (advertisement time again)

  4. U mean the HK 100KM? That's a good thought. Still contemplating it.....


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