The annual, marquee event – the Sundown Marathon – is less than a week away. For those who are racing, here are tips and cautionary notes (by seasoned and experienced runners) for running at the most humid time of the day in Singapore. Dr Ben Tan opined from experience that, running at 1-3am can be most challenging and risky to those who intend to push harder.
Melvin How: I hate running past midnight because I miss my much-needed beauty sleep. Anyway, how humid it is will depend on the period before the race, as I run better if the ambient temperature different is more than 10 degrees, i.e. lower than my body temperature as heat-load is a critical issue for runners, unlike cycling where the faster speeds cools the body. Pre-race hydration is definitely more important. as drinking too much during race is going to lead to feeling bloated. With higher effort to run, refueling with energy gels will be crucial to keep the body moving as the calories utilization will be much higher even at the same pace on a cooler day. For night race, past the sleeping time, it is best to forget about getting a PB.
Dr Derek Li: ‘Do not skip water-stations for the first half, preferably for the first two-thirds of the race. Drink, frequently, as early as 2km into the race. I personally take an energy-gel every 30 minutes. Stick to water for the first hour, then switch to isotonic (electrolyte) drinks thereafter. Finally, PB is never achieved by positive-splitting (meaning: run fast for the first-half, then slower for the second-half).
KK Chin: Agreed with Ben Tan on the humidity, nowadays. Personally, I have also experienced it during my evening run recently. Just for an hour run, I can easily bottle up a 1.5 litre of H2O as I was sweating profusely. Anyway, it is good to hydrate yourself sufficiently throughout this night race. Who knows you might need to double your usual hydration intake. If you don’t mind losing a few minutes to refill your water-bag, you can carry a small Camelbak or additional water bottles. As for energy gels or equivalent, just practise what you have been doing during training. Never try anything new during the race. After 3am, the weather might be cooler to run but your body fatigues, or sleepiness might kick in. That's when you will execute your own mind-over-body strategies. As I have seen in my past ultra races, different people will have different ways to get over their wall by moving at this critical stage. By and large, pacing still plays a very important role, especially in the first half. In the second half, your form will be very much dependent on various external & internal factors. To me, getting PB or not, is secondary. If I do, it will definitely be a bonus. The most important thing for me is to finish strong at the end of the race.