This week, Deo share with us his challenge of training during the Ramadhan or fasting month. Waking up early for Sahur, going through the day with lower than expected energy level (until about a week in when things starts to normalise), training nuances and other religious obligation pertaining to the Holy Month. We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our Muslim readers a blessed Ramadhan.
It's the holy month of Ramadhan again. And one of the worries for runners like me is how to train during the month, when we are fasting. In other months, most runs on weekdays are done after work, normally in the late afternoon before sunset while majority of the runners are looking forward for the weekends to come to strike long runs in the morning or hit the trails.
For me there was not much different in training in the month of Ramadhan and any other months of the year and you don't need to experiment or invent a new training regime. A little adjustment should be enough.
How is my training different in Ramadhan from other months?
As I normally do my weekday runs at night, it is still going to be the same. Only that in Ramadhan, my runs will start a little late, around 10.30pm after Teraweh prayer. And I will have to cut short my runs from around 10-12km per session to around 7-8km to ensure I would be home no later than midnight, as I need to wake up for my sahor (pre-dawn) meal around 4.30am.
My weekend runs now will be done at night after Teraweh prayer, starting around 10.30pm. As I planned for my long runs to be from 15km to 25km, the sessions will run right past midnight. So, Friday and Saturday nights should be nice as I can catch few extra hours of sleep the next morning.
With two short runs on weekdays (probably Monday and Wednesday), one 21km run on Friday night and one 15km run on Saturday night, I shall be doing around 50km per week, a slight lower than my normal 60km per week in other months.
So, I guess training in Ramadhan is not much a different from any other months. The only notable different is doing trail runs. As it is quite not safe to run trails at night (this is what I believe due to the existence of poisonous animals), it is hard to train if you had registered for any trail events after Eid, for example the TMBT Ultra Trail Marathon to be held about two weeks after Eid. This was one of the biggest worries for me in the past two year when I participated in the event. To overcome this, I had to ensure that my trail training were sufficiently covered even before the start of Ramadhan while the month of Ramadhan is just to accumulate mileage to train the foot to be on the course long enough.
Other things that you need to pay attention during Ramadhan is dehydration. Drink lots of water at night and drink frequently while you go out running even at nights. If before this you can afford not to drink throughout your 5km run, in Ramadhan, make a point to drink even when you're not thirsty. Drink lots of plain water and fresh juices, and as energy for your runs, drink Milo or the likes or simply consume dates. Drink more post runs. Avoid caffeine, sugared water and carbonated drinks. If you plan to run after Teraweh prayer, don't eat too much during Iftar as you'll feel bloated during your runs and will feel like throwing out, and at times you will just feel lazy to even go out for a run.
Location wise, Putrajaya is the most known place to run at nights in Ramadhan (or in other months). You'll see more runners in Putrajaya on weekend nights this month. My other favorite place to run is in Bukit Jelutong as it is close to my place and less traffic. Shah Alam is nice but be careful of the traffic, they can be annoying even at 2-3am.
I found a good blog entry by Muslim Runner entitled "How to Run in Ramadhan" for you to read, some points/tips may not be applicable for us here in Malaysia but the entry should give us a general idea on the topic. Read here
So, all the best with your training in Ramadhan. Fasting month should not be an excuse for us not to run as when there is a will, there is a way. I wish all Muslim friends and runners a very blessed Ramadhan!