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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Running the Marathon for Plodders Part 3

Part 3 What you need and more importantly what you don't need

Start with the basic. What you need:

1) A running tee or singlet. Yes silly of me to remind you of that but I've seen people who wore buttoned shirt; sweat absorbing cheap cotton t-shirt; long sleeve shirt etc. It's going to be hot enough especially if you are going to run 5 - 6 hours so you want to be at the most comfortable. Those nice cotton tees with the fancy slogans or nice logo will absorb sweat and make it heavy. Oh and leave the clown costumes to the clowns.

2) A proper pair of running shorts. No bermuda, no long pants, no cut off jeans and for the ladies no micro jean shorts. I know those micro shorts look sexy on you ladies but the only people who will feel sexy will be the guys running behind you and oogling away while you struggle with abrasions around your nether area. Ditto the bermudas. Leave that for the beach.

3) A proper pair of running shoes. No slippers, flip flops, sneakers or basketball shoes. Need I say why? Also, don't try barefoot or use any fancy footwear unless you have run in it before and is comfortable with it. Believe me, getting blisters all over your foot is no joke especially after 20km of pounding.

4) Gel. So that your hair will look nice when you crossed the finish line when the official photographer takes a picture of you. Ha ha I am only joking although it might not be such a bad idea. I know a lady whose hair looks like a lion mane when she runs. But seriously, gel as in those jelly like thingy that comes in small satchet and you gulp them down during your run.

5) Your Bib and timing chip. These should need no reminder but somehow every year I hear of one or 2 friends who forget them. No bib no race. No timing chip - no time recorded - no finisher tee, no certificate. This one very critical you know.

6) A watch. Otherwise how you going to keep track of the time and pace? No need those fancy GPS watch. Just a simple Casio/Timex watch with a stop watch function will do.

7) A pace band if you are the forgetful sort. A pace band is a simple make it yourself wrist band where you can mark out the timing you expected to achieve at specific distance and you can use it as a guide during the run and make the necessary adjustment to slow down or speed up. You can make your pace band from these websites:

Just key in your desired finishing time and viola. Print it out and copy the tiiming onto a strip of cloth using a waterproof fabric pen. Don't use paper cos once sweat get on to it, it will just crumple up. Don't be a smart aleck and laminate either. The plastic will stick to the skin and cause abrasion.

8) A cap or something (like maybe the Buff) to protect your head from the heat. Not absolutey necessary but can come in useful.

9) PJ(dont't think naughty thoughts here), vaseline or those expensive abrasion cream like Neat, Sportshield, Bodyglide. Absolutely essential. The sight of blood streaking down the front of your tee isn't very nice.

10) Sweets. I swear by them. Not Mentos or Fruittella but powerpack energy loaded energy chews. Get them from Running Lab or at the Race Expo. Keep your mind off the distance and give you energy. Alternate with the gel.

11) Salt Tablet. Not abosultely necessary but some people thinks it will help to ward off cramps. No harm trying. Oh forget to add - don't be too smart and use cooking salt!

What you don't need. Actually very simple - anything that will weight you down. Every little items will seem to weight a ton after you ran for over 3 hours. Even the shirt you are wearing. But specifically:

1) Hydration Bag/Fuel Belt - If you don't know what these are, you can skip this paragraph otherwise there is no need to carry 1.5ltr of water on you. There will be ample water points including isotonic drinks along the route. Unless you only drink Evian in which case I have nothing to say.

2) Towel. For what? Maybe good to flick at people blocking your way but otherwise its going to absorb sweat and become heavier and heavier as you go along. Use a sweat band or wrist band if you absolutely need to clean away the sweat

3) Energy Bar. Most of them will melt halfway and become a sticky gooey mess. Stick to the gel and sweets.

4) A pouch or bag to carry all the aforesaid stuff. Stuff them into your short's pocket, pin to your shirt will do. A pouch bouncing away at your waist or a bag banging your back over 42 km is not gonna be nice.

Did I forget anything?


  1. Thank you so much for all the advices!! I personally will bring along a fully-charged MP3... need some music to 'survive' thro the 42K.

  2. shades / transition lenses - squinting wastes some energy that could've been used for running. haha, i saw that in some magazine.

  3. Yeah MP3 and shades are useful as well