Jan Cheang


Before I joined Mileage in October 2008, I was a recreational runner, although I had been completing about one marathon a year between 2003 to 2007. I was running because I enjoy running and it helped me to fit into my clothes given my ever-increasing voracious appetite. I ran my marathons without much of a target or goal, as I did not know how to improve. I thought that I can only run faster if I run a lot more (some marathon programmes suggest running/training like 6 times a week!), which I was unable to do given my work and church ministry commitments.

When I heard about Mileage's 14-week training programme for the StanChart Marathon 2008, I was really excited about it at the prospect of improving my marathon timing with just 3 training sessions per week. I signed up for it immediately, although at the back of my mind, I was a little skeptical if just 3 training sessions per week were sufficient to help me to make any significant improvement. I remembered asking Coach a few times at the start of the programme: "Just 3 times a week, really enough ah?"

During the programme, I enjoyed every of the training sessions, which was well-balanced and safe, although at times tough and at times very, very tough. Well-balanced as the trainings involved a combination of conditioning, speed and endurance. Safe as in Coach will monitor our progress weekly and step up our trainings accordingly. (As a result of this "safe" element, I did not fall sick during the entire training period as well as after the marathon. When I was training on my own, my trainings were often disrupted as I would fall sick from over-exertion by increasing mileage randomly and recklessly at times when I needed to play catch-up.)

Besides the training sessions, I also appreciated Coach's support to the group of runners and the camaraderie and encouragement among the group. (The great friends I made from Mileage are a wonderful bonus!) To this day, I still remember with much fondness and gratitude of Coach's dedication to us when he became a mobile water-station for all of us on his motor-bike, giving us drinks support throughout our training runs along the actual route.

At the end of the programme, Coach and I agreed on a goal of 4 hrs 30 mins (as I did 4 hrs 44 mins for StanChart 2007). I eventually completed StanChart 2008 marathon in 4 hrs 20 mins (a 24-min improvement from 2007), which was a very pleasant surprise for myself and Coach. I know that this could not have happened if not for Mileage and Coach. I would never have been able to do this on my own.

Many of my friends were surprised at the improvement I made in that marathon. And I just love to see their look of envy and surprise when I tell them that I only had to run 3 times a week to achieve that! :)

After StanChart 2008, I carried on with Mileage in 2009 and achieved 3 more PBs for 10 km (I won the 8th prizes under the Veteran Category in the 10 km Newton Active Run - 51 mins), 21 km (I won 5th prize in the Bidor Half Marathon - 1 hr 53 mins) and 42 km (I achieved my sub-4 hr dream in the recent Gold Coast Marathon - 3 hrs 56 mins) races.

Boston Marathon Dream - does not seem too impossible now, even for one who just runs 3 times a week! :)

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