The Noob Runner Series: From ‘Tak Nak’ to 10K

I have never run in a race in my entire life.

The 100m and 400m dash that was made compulsory for everyone in high school does not count.

I hate running. I even hated those basketball days where Coach Lim would get us to jog 3 rounds around the entire school compound before our trainings.

My unadulterated hatred towards running was so intense, I even swore that I would never join the likes of crazy running freaks that run every other day after work, and participate in every damn race they possibly can.

Well, people, looks like I ate my hat.

After meeting Izwan, little did I know that it was the start of ‘life overhaul’.

At one point in Izwan’s life, he dropped all his unhealthy activities, which included his heavy smoking habit, and opted for a life enriched with fitness activities. To cut his long story short (we will cover this on another day) he has entered countless races, from 10K to completing full mentally-challenging marathons and several duathlons.

So, after much coaxing from him, I gave in. I registered myself for the Malaysian Women Marathon, on 8 March 2015 – my very first race.

I tried to negotiate in doing the fun run (5km), but that was somewhat of a losing argument, so 10km it was.


As a newbie, I started off with simple trainings at the gym – mostly on the treadmill, just to get myself accustomed to running, and some simple weight exercises to build strength and boost stamina.

  1. 20-30 minutes of HIIT (High-intensity interval training) Intervals:
  • 1 minute walk
  • 1 minute run
  • Repeat
  1. Weight lifting by body parts:
    • Dumbbell squats – 3 sets of 8-12 reps (you can start with 8 first if you think 12 is too torturous). I use 2 x 5 lbs dumbbells. I’ve never done weights, so 5 lbs is something doable for me.
    • Bench press – 3 sets of 8-12 reps. Start with lighter weights then gradually increase as you progress. Please get a professional to help you get started. And please, don’t be overly ambitious.
    • Dumbbell chest press – 3 sets of 8-12 reps
    • Back exercises (Lats):
      1. Lat pull-down, wide grip – 3 sets of 12
      2. Lat pull-down, underhand grip – 3 sets of 12
    • Planking (bodyweight) – 1 minute
  1. Crunches / Sit-ups – 100 reps. You can break it down to 5 sets of 20 reps.

We also did 5km weekend runs at Kiara Park, TTDI, with one 10km run near KLGCC along the highway a week before my race, just so that I would get a feel of the actual day. Boy, did I hate it. Every kilometer felt like an eternity.

Race Day

Izwan dropped me off at the Shah Alam starting point that morning. I was a nervous wreck. I just remember him telling me “Don’t bother about other people’s pace. Run your own pace.”

Indeed I ran at my own (romantic ballad) pace, in my little bubble. I could hear my heart pounding like Linkin Park’s concert speakers. I could see many runners overtaking me and going at lightning speed. Izwan loaned me his iPod – so that took away the nerves and crazy voices inside my head telling me I made a huge mistake by participating.

1 hour 28 minutes later (hence ‘romantic ballad’ pace) I crossed the finish line, and there he was waiting for me.

Oh well. It wasn’t entirely bad.

Did I like it? Let’s just say I don’t hate it as much as I did before.


Run chubster, run!



After 10K all I get is an itsy-bitsy teenie-weenie dog tag. (>__<’)



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