Reza’s running problems

I don’t want to give the impression that my journey towards getting fit and competing in a triathlon is all easy and not without its problems. It’s the most difficult things I’ve ever done and I’m facing so many issues that it’s sometimes feels overwhelming. The biggest issue I am tackling so far is my running form and technique. I am not a natural runner. Nobody has ever taught me on the proper way. I remember someone saying to me ‘why don’t you just run’?

Well, believe me, there’s nothing more I like to do that just run. When I started in december, I had to spend nearly 45 minutes every night icing my legs and feet. Both my ankles were hurting and I had to limp around for quite awhile. The biggest problem was that my technique was completely wrong.

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5km Tempo Run – 27 Jan 2011

Reza after 5km tempo run on 27 Jan 2011

I did a 5km tempo run today. Running at 60-70% MHR (zone 1) for 60% of the distance and 70-80% (zone 2) for the remaining 40%.

Tempo runs are a critical component of running training. It’s simple. You start at a slow base pace for 40% of the distance then go to a faster race pace for 20% of the distance and then slow back down to slow base pace for the remainder of the distance.

It’s strange to discover that an increase of 10% of my heart rate can result in a 25% increase in speed. I tried very hard to keep my heart rate below 80% but it would still creep at 82%. I think it’s because of the warm weather. I need to find ways to cool down my body temperature by drinking more fluids not only during the run but before and after. I discovered that I drink way to little water for my body weight and size.



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Me and my running…

I wrote earlier about how running has always been a painful exercise to me. I never liked running as I was never really any good at it. I use to dread tuesday and saturday afternoons in school as I had to do cross-country runs on those days.

When I started my get fit journey last year, I bought myself a Reebok c5.1e elliptical trainer from Fitness Concept. I shied away from getting a treadmill as I didn’t want to do any running at all.

That all changed in december last year. Although many people say that reality tv distorts reality, I am a very avid follower of NBC’s Biggest Loser Show. I suppose I watch it both for the drama but also to get for the many inspiring stories in it. ASTRO was showing reruns of the Biggest Loser Season 7. Astro was showing episodes on a daily basis so we get to see the transformation and changes take place every day. It was the 18th Episode of Season 7 when the remaining contestants Helen Phillips, Mike Morelli, Tara Costa and Ron Morelli were told they had to complete a full 42km marathon as one of the challenges.

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5 km run at base pace – 25 Jan 2011

After 1 hour of running, still feeling good....

I ran another 5 km on wednesday  at 71% Maximum Heart Rate MHR (see here for an explanation why at this pace). I’m still running the park so that I can measure the splits which are as follows:

Lap 1. 4.41
Lap 2. 4.03
Lap 3. 4.12
Lap 4. 4.08
Lap 5. 4.10
Lap 6. 4.18
Lap 7. 4.21
Lap 8. 4.20
Lap 9. 4.23
Lap 10. 4.29
Lap 11. 4.14
Lap 12. 4.17
Lap 13. 4.31
Lap 14. 4.33

Total 60 mins 40 secs

I ran at an average speed of about 4 mins 17 secs per lap which is a little more than half my current race pace. I still feel great and think I could have run more than 5km but it was already getting very late (about 10PM) and I didn’t want to make a habit of exercising to late at night.

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Me and my heart rate monitor…

Reza about to go for a 5km run at night

Today was the best running day I have ever had.

One of the things I invested in to help me in my exercising was heart rate monitor. I didn’t know such a thing existed until I saw them given to the contestants from the Biggest Loser Asia Season 2. They were all given Polar Heart Rate Monitors. That very night I began to do my research on heart rate monitors. I started looking for them the very next day and finally bought a Polar FT60 from Athlete’s Circle in PJ.

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Me and the 5km run

Running doesn’t come easy for me. In school, I remember having to do a cross country run twice a week and everytime I tried to do it, it was a disaster. There was a time limit set for each run which ranged from 30 mins to 1 hour 10 mins depending on the distance and route. Needless to say, it was a disaster everytime. Points were awarded for all runners which would go to the house tally. At the end of the term one of the houses would be awarded the Cross Country trophy. My contribution to the house points for cross country was remarkable for how negligible it was. Running was a painful exercise for me.

20 years later running has taken a new meaning for me. One fine day about a month ago (Dec 2010) I decided to start running as part of getting fit. I have a park near my house and I started to run in the park. I decided on the 5km distance because it was not too long so that it doesn’t required extreme endurance and it was not too short so I still have to push myself. Progress was slow. The first time I ran I had to run/jog for 1 lap and walk for another lap. Each lap is about 350 m (don’t ask me why the odd number) so I had to run 14 laps. My time for that was 68 mins. As slow as it was, I did feel good about it despite the numerous pain I had to endure in my shins, heels, knees and not to mention the extreme fatigue.

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About Reza Ali Reactivated

This was how it was.....

I coined the phrase ‘Reza Ali Reactivated’ because that’s exactly what I feel like because today, I resolve to compete in a triathlon.

What is about me that I can share that would make sense to people? Some of the more flattering descriptions people have used to describe me includes trainer, photographer, teacher, motivator. Pleasing to the ear and great for the ego. But I know that less than flattering descriptions have also been used which includes fat, obese, unfit, smoker.

I find myself dreading going to places where I would have to climb a flight of stairs for fear of running out of breath and breaking out into a sweat (and of course looking uncool). No matter how much money I spent on clothes, they never really made me look good and I began to not care what I looked like. Between 2008 and 2010 I gained a total of 20kg so my pants would only fit me if I squeeze every last inch of my waistline into the same belt that I used before. It was a great feeling when I was finally able to let the belt loose and restore normal circulation and size.

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