TMBT 100 km ultra training — Going Solo

The past 2 weeks have been great training. I’ve gotten in my mileage and best of all, I’ve felt great. July 7th, I ran the 2nd series of the Penang Run — a half marathon on the backside of the island. For some reason, my handheld Garmin Oregon refused to connect to the satellite, so I resolved to just run my heart rate, keeping a steady pace of about 90% max (154 bpm). Despite the long 3 km hill near the beginning, I ran well and felt good the whole race. I placed 7th in the International Men’s Open category, just missing a podium finish of 5th place by less than a minute. Considering I’m training for distance and not speed, I am quite happy with the results — finishing time 1:44:50.

This kicked off a strong training week where I got in 108 km in 8 days! The most ever for me. 18 of those were trail (hill) miles. I ended the week with 3 back-to-back runs of 16 km, 15.5 (trail), and 34 km. It was good to know I could completely recover from an all out effort in the half marathon the previous Sunday and still feel great. This week I did a 12 km run with 3 long hill sprints in the middle, then the rest of the week was mostly on trails. Patricia, a fellow TMBTer from Singapore, was in town and got connected with me through a mutual acquaintance as she wanted to take advantage of Penang’s hills to get in some trail training. She ran with me on the Bukit Jambul trails for 2 hours (8 km) on Saturday. Our highest elevation was 340 m. Patricia informed me that the highest point in Singapore is 162 meters. This morning I set out on a challenging route I did a few months ago with Debbie Chinn: 14 km road run from Tanjung Bungah (home) up to Teluk Bahang, then 6.25 up the trail at Taman Rimba until it joins up with Jeep road running along the top of Penang Hill and then another 4.7 km to get to the Cliff Cafe food court. After a heavenly “Ice Mixed Fruit” and fresh coconut, then 4 km down Penang Hill and 4 km across the ridge by trail to my house. This whole

Steep trail leading up from Taman Rimba.

Steep trail leading up from Taman Rimba.

run I tried to keep my heart-rate near my aerobic max of 138, so I train my body to burn fat for fuel. (See Phil Maffetone’s article.) This also ensures that I don’t push myself too much on the long runs which could cause undue fatigue during the run and then require longer recovery time post-run. As Debbie is off in England, and I only confirmed my planned route last night, I ran solo this morning. While I like running with others and in groups — the competitor in me wants to stay with the lead runners or keep up to someone else’s pace. Today I ran my own pace based on my heart rate. I also enjoyed the 6 hours of being alone with the road and trail.
Running Solo - peak of Taman Rimba trail.

Running Solo – peak of Taman Rimba trail.


The good news is that I did it in about the same time as I did with Debbie back in December, but I was not nearly as exhausted as I was then. It is hard to compare times exactly because at one point near the end of the hike, I discovered I was no longer wearing my hat. Dang, I must have left it on the ground at my last water break/sweat mopping stop. It has an attachable sun protector neck flap which I need for the TMBT so I had no choice but to backtrack and retrieve it. This tells me I’m improving in my conditioning. This was nearly a third of the TMBT distance and with the highest elevation point being 780 meters, it mirrors the type of terrain I can expect from 50-100 km come September 14th! My total mileage this week was only 60 km, but 21.5 km were trail miles. My running time total was 10+ hours which was almost the same amount of running time as my 87 km the previous week. Best of all, I’m feeling good, strong, and revving to go 100 km in 8 weeks.
I set off from home at 5:24 am, so it took 4.5 hrs to get to this point, then another hour home.

I set off from home at 5:24 am, so it took 4.5 hrs to get to this point, then another hour home.

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2 thoughts on “TMBT 100 km ultra training — Going Solo

    • Yes, I’ve decided it is one of the best long training runs for TMBT — distance plus steep hill hikes of significant elevation. We will have to do it again when you get back.

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