5km rabbit chasing run at Hammer Nutrition 2ndskin Inspire running clinic

I've shared first part of my afterthoughts after attending Hammer Nutrition 2ndskin Inspire running clinic few days ago. I also shared about sub3-hour marathoner Darren Looi's nine running tips. You may click here by finding out more, especially the running tips by Darren.

For this write-up, it's going to be about my "rabbit chasing running experience" running 5 km as fast as I could, chasing sub3-hour marathoner Darren and the next sub3-hour marathoner Azrizal Hussin nicknamed Koci. 😱

I'm not a short distance runner to begin with

I only participated in 16 races with running distance less than 21km from year 2010 to year 2013. From 2014 onward until present, it's coming to four years already that I have not participated in any short distance running races.  (You can click here to see my running milestone.)
You might ask me why not? 

Oh well, to be frank - the exorbitant race registration fees are the show stopper. In one of the most recently concluded running events, runners needed to pay as high as RM119 for 12km category and RM89 for 6km category. I was shocked! Of course there were goodies and all. But personally I wouldn't pay such a price to run 12km or 6km. But generally, the registration fees for short distance running events are around RM50 - RM80 range.

The second reason is that I already run 20km to 30km almost every Sunday during my weekly dose of LSD (long distance running). Besides, I'm also not a podium finisher nor a finisher medal collector. 😊

Third and most important reason: I enjoy endurance running (long distance running) much more than speed running (short distance running)! Speed running can kill me fast. I might get heart attack or vomit white foam at finish line. Haha! Endurance running can still kill me though - but more of killing my legs first compared to my heart. Lol! Oh - did I mention about age factor? As I grow wiser (ahem - older!), my speed has dropped too. It's a fact of life. Hence, slow and long is better than fast and short for my personal liking. 

But I'm hungry for running knowledge...

The goal is not to be better than the other man, but your previous self.

Yes, I admit. I'm hungry for running knowledge. 

There are three clear goals in my running knowledge seeking:
  1. How to run efficiently and effortlessly with correct running technique 
  2. How to have an injury free running with correct running form
  3. How to run faster in a full marathon to be better than my previous self

With the opportunity to learn from humble Darren Looi, a 3:58 finisher at Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon 2017, I was really excited to attend Hammer Nutrition 2ndskin Inspire running clinic. 

Running knowledge experience sharing by Darren Looi 
All participants listened attentively to Darren's sharing and followed cool-down exercises to the dot!

5km rabbit-chasing run

Rabbit chasing run.... haha!
I don't know why it's called rabbit chasing run at the first place. I was thinking perhaps the pacers would dress up like rabbits for us to chase in the 5km run. Nonetheless, it was catchy and it certainly caught my attention on 2ndSkin Inspire Community Page posted by marketing savvy creator Eugene Teoh. 😆 

The truth? Participants could choose to chase after Distance Force pacers Yew Khuay, Barkley and team at 5 minutes per km or 5:30 minutes per km pace. Unfortunately they were not dressed up like rabbits and we were not asked to dress up like dogs (like the picture above). Otherwise, it would be quite a hilarious fun scene!! Lol!

Originally I wanted to chase after Yew Khuay on 5 min per km pace. 

But Darren and Distance Force team threw us a great challenge! They challenged us to push for our limits and go for our personal best (PB) times. They mentioned that if we were quite comfortable at a certain speed and pace, then we should go one notch faster too see how far we could run in the 5km course.

Personally, I have run 5km at 5 min per km pace recently on treadmill, but not 4:30 min per km pace. 4:30 min per km pace was never in my running radar. Reason? As a full marathon runner, I aim to have a constant speed of 5:30 min per km for 42km. I don't see any point for me to train to run any faster than 5 min per km. I focus on endurance training more than speed training. 

But I decided to listen to the sifus to push my limits with the aid of Hammer Nutrition Super Charged and energy gel before the start.

I was so glad to know that besides Darren, Azrizal Hussin would be the 4:30 min per km pacer too.

Well, in case you don't know him. He is our up and rising runner who broke his own personal full marathon record with the time of 3:04:20 at Kuching Marathon 2017. Awesome feat! And I strongly believe that he will join Darren Looi to be the next sub3-hour marathoner soon - perhaps in his next full marathon race! 

What a rare opportunity for Darren and Azrizal to slow down their speed for slow turtles like us to chase and learn from! Such humble and selfless runners!

Even though I was wearing my Garmin VivoActive GPS watch, I wasn't looking at it during the 5km run. My eyes were fixed on Darren and Azrizal in case they ran too fast or I ran too slow and I lost them in sight!😊 I also observed closely their running form. I thought even a little things that I could pick up here and there to learn from, it would be so helpful for a desperate runner like me.

So I tried my best, following Darren and Azrizal. 

Darren taught me during the 5km run to use forefoot to land and push, and lean my body forward a bit to pick up speed. I could see that when he ran, his body leaned forward. And at one point, he just zoomed past me! So speedy! Like a wind or shadow! Wow! My jaws dropped! And I was like panting like a dog already!! Lol!

I remember clearly Darren shouted out to me, "Keep this running form!", "Kick your butt when running uphill" and "Go all out - the last 1km!" at three separate occasions during the 5km run. I'm truly grateful for Darren's coaching and guidance!

Based on my observation, Azrizal ran very fast with such good running form and effortless. I could sense that 4:30 min per km was an "easy relaxing speed" for him. From behind, he seemed to be "flying" - his feet touching the ground slightly and off he flew and floated in the air before his next feet touching the ground again. I was so so amazed seeing him run so closely!  

As Hammer Nutrition ambassador, Darren also needed to run back and forth to take care of all participants at different pace, helping participants on our running forms and motivating us to push our limits. A very good and considerate running coach I must say! 

I ended up chasing Azrizal most of times until my running shorts almost dropped! We ran an extra 600 meters because we turned back much earlier at one part. We then ran back again to cover the distance. Towards the last 2 km, Azrizal was still running at 4:30 min per km or faster. I was already out of breath, head a bit spinning, and starting to slow down. Thanks to the Darren's shout-out to push my limits! I picked up my pace again as much as possible towards the last 1 kilometers to finish the 5km rabbit chasing speed work! Phew!

Running analysis

Great thanks to Darren and Azrizal for slowing down to allow me to "chase"! :)
I didn't realize that I could run at 4:34 minutes per km for a 5km distance and still not ending up in an ambulance to hospital! Lol! Looking at Garmin's analysis, the fastest 1km was 4:19 minutes per km. I was very very happy with the timing! 

It also made me realize that with the right push and challenge by others, and the aid of proper nutrition, I might be able to unleash the running part of me that I myself am not aware about.

Besides 4:34 min / km pace, I'm also very happy with the 186 steps per minute running cadence!
Thank you Darren and Azrizal for making this such a great learning session for me! Thank you for making me see my own potential in short distance run!

Of course, great thanks to Hammer Nutrition, 2ndSkin and Distance Force for making this 5km rabbit chasing session such a fulfilling, satisfying experience.

I look forward to joining the future such sessions to learn even more!! Hopefully by then, I would have applied some of the great running tips learned from Darren. Azrizal and others.

P.S. To learn more about the 9 running tips shared by sub3-hour marathoner Darren Looi, please click here.

Written by Vincent Khor on August 31, 2017


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