30 and 5

That’s 30 minutes run and 5 minutes walk. That was my plan for the 2 marathons I ran… to do cycles of 30 and 5 from start to finish. Having not really trained for the QCIM (my longest run for the year was a couple of 21kms), I knew that if I tried to run all the way, I’d barely go beyond the halfway point. (I was really tired at the end of my last 21 km, where I ran all the way.) So for me to have a chance surviving QCIM, I devised this plan to run 30 and walk 5 (I had no basis for choosing these times, I just felt it was a nice round number which I could easily follow).

I started out in the middle of the pack and I really had to keep my competitive juices in check. Runners were passing me by and more so when after my 1st 30 minutes, I would walk. (I used a stopwatch to monitor my times.) It was tempting to just forget my plan and try to keep on running but thankfully, the rational part of my brain won, hence I dutifully followed my plan.

I know that for some hard-core marathoners, walking during a marathon is a big taboo… that it shouldn’t be done at all. But, for the untrained marathoner like me, the 5 minute walks I had were definitely a life saver. Even though my legs were already tired, I was able to keep on pushing knowing that I’d have those 5 minute respites. Also, by doing my 30 and 5 cycles, I was able to mentally cut the marathon into smaller segments, making it seem less daunting and more manageable. By having kilometer markers along the route, it helped boost my confidence everytime I would pass by one… especially if I did it while walking. It made me feel good knowing that even if I was just walking, it was still helping me attain my goal… to reach the finishline.

When I reached the finish, although my legs were hurting, I still felt relatively fresh. I know that if I didn’t stick to my plan, finishing the QCIM would have been impossible to do.

A day before the Condura Skyway Marathon, I was able to attend a talk by Jeff Galloway. It was there that I found out my run-walk cycle plan was not conforming to what he suggested. His plan was to have run-walks which ranged from 30sec run-30sec walk cycles, to 4 min runs and 1 minute walks, depending on your target pace. The faster your pace, the longer the the run part should be. According to him, this made sure your legs wouldn’t get too tired (if the run part was too long) that the walk part won’t be enough to rest and re-energize your legs. However, with my “success” in the QCIM, I decided to stick to my plan (30&5) for the Condura.

During Condura, I was lucky to have as my pace buddy, Ilo Trinidad (who was then a first-time marathoner). I explained to him what I planned to do and he decided to follow the same plan as well. We stuck to our schedule of doing the 30 and 5 cycles, and it really helped us maintain our composure during the run. However, due to the difficult course (I’ve forgotten how undulating the Skyway was), at around 15 km before the finish, we decided to modify our cycle to 15 minute runs and 2 minute walks since we already had difficulty maintaining 30 minute runs. At 5 km before the finish, we further ‘downgraded’ our cycles to 5 minute runs and 1 minute walks. It was at this point that Ilo told me that by finishing each cylce, we were winning small battles… And by winning those small battles, we were on our way to winning the war.

At around km 40, I decided to ‘sprint’ it a little and the rests I had prior rested my legs enough that I was able to do my mini-sprint. Once again, doing my walk-run plan worked so I can finish another marathon… and since my plan has allowed me to feel relatively fresh at the finish, I think I’ll be sticking to it in my future marathons as well!

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