Here’s how the Asics-sponsored TV personality trained to conquer her first-ever 42km race. By Estelle Low
Photos: @stephcarrington / Instagram
Prepping for a marathon is a marathon on its own. In those months of rigorous training leading up to the race, you will learn more about yourself than you ever knew. Take it from Stephanie Carrington, a TV host and presenter who completed her first marathon, the Tokyo Marathon on February 26.
She sailed through it like a pro, smashing her 4:30 goal that was viewed as overly ambitious by many. Once again, this is proof that magic can happen if you dream big. And of course, work hard.
Here, Stephanie shares the top tips she has gleaned so far. (In case you’re wondering, Stephanie raced in her Asics Gel-Kayano 23 running shoes.)
1. Develop a smart training plan
My trainer from Asics mapped out this routine to get me ready for my marathon: Start the week with interval training, then HIIT and a jog, followed by a steady long run and a mid-distance tempo run. At the end of the week, I feel completely zonked out. This sequence is representative of what the body goes through during a marathon, and trains me to deal with exhaustion.
2. Listen to your body
No matter how good you feel, don’t push yourself too much. Doing this can cause you to fall sick or get injured. I learnt it the hard way. During a training run, I clocked 21km instead of 17km as scheduled. The next day, I came down with flu. It’s better to undertrain than overtrain. That doesn’t mean skipping training altogether, but reducing the intensity and duration if you feel tired.
3. Nourish it
When you’re new to endurance running, don’t expect your body to adapt immediately. After a longer-than-usual run, your body goes into shock and your immune system is down. That’s when you should do cool-down stretches, eat nutritiously and avoid going to air-conditioned places. From speaking to running experts, I found that it’s quite common for first-time marathoners to fall sick during training. Once they overcome it, their immune system will be much stronger.
4. Prioritise rest
I usually have one rest day a week. If I’m still shagged, I’ll take another day off and push my training back. That makes a lot of difference to my recovery. On rest days, I do cross-training exercises like stretching, pilates and walking with my dog.
5. Strengthen your core
The core muscles are key to maintaining good running form. When I’m tired, I tend to slouch. I realised that by focusing on and tensing my core muscles during a run, it’s almost as if I’m gliding. My favourite core exercises include planks, hip and leg raises, hip raises with bicycle kicks, and Russian twists. The more controlled the movements, the better the results.