All You Need To Know To Run Well At The Singapore Marathon Official Warm Up

Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (SCMS) is one of Asia’s most prestigious marathons and is Singapore’s most iconic running event. This year, for the first time, the organisers are introducing an Official Warm Up race to help runners in their preparation.

To help you make the most of this opportunity we’re going to walk you through some of the most important things you need to consider and apply during this Warm Up Race.

Why Are Warm Up Races Important?

Warm up races – or secondary races as we call them at Coached – are a great tool in your preparation for a number of reasons. They allow you to …

  1. Make your silly mistakes in a race that is not important, so you don’t make them when it matters.
  2. Practice your race day routine and ‘dial in’ the timings and details.
  3. Familiarise yourself with the race day environment.
  4. Build confidence through preparation.

Treat This Race Like A Dress Rehearsal

Warm up races are the time to go through the motions and practice your race day routine and strategies. In the end, you will know what worked and what didn’t and you can make changes prior to SCMS that will improve your chances of success there.

Food And Meal Timing

Eat the same meal you plan to eat prior to SCMS on 4 December. Ideally, you should eat 2 – 3 hours prior to the start so you have time to digest your food. See how your body responds to the food and timing and make changes for SCMS if you felt bloated or sick in the Warm Up Race.


Warm up races are the perfect place to practice your race day nutrition strategy. Trial the types of drinks and gels you wish to use along with the frequency and amounts.  What works for you in training often won’t work as well under race conditions so secondary races are a great place to test your strategy under race conditions. If things don’t work as planned, you learn from this and make adjustments prior to SCMS so that hopefully things will go to plan when it matters more.


Runners often buy new gear and use it for the first time on race day. This is a big mistake and can lead to many controllable, yet uncomfortable things like chafing, bloody nipples (ouch), blisters and the like. Buy any new gear that you need for SCMS early and use your training and the Warm Up Race to test that everything fits as it should and will not cause any unnecessary pains that will hamper your performance.


Have all your gear organised, packed and ready to go the night before. Work from a checklist and cross off each item as you pack it into your bag to ensure you are not missing anything crucial. Plan how you’re going to get to the race venue and where the bag deposits will be. Be mindful of road closures around the Sports Hub and understand that the crowds could significantly slow you down, so allow plenty of time to make your way to the start line.

Cut Race Times, Not Corners.

Racing at your potential and enjoying training is easy when you’re following the right programme.

Smart Race Execution Maximises Fitness

When it comes to racing, you have either done the training and are prepared or you haven’t. It’s really that simple. In either case, the goal of racing is to express the fitness (good or bad) you have as best as you can. When you do this, the outcome (timing) will be the best possible given the circumstances and you can feel proud of your effort.

To help you express your fitness in an optimal way, there are 3 main things you need to do …

Control Your Effort

Most runners start a race much too fast hoping to ‘bank time’ for later in the race. This is a terrible strategy that will lead to a less than optimal result – especially in a climate like Singapore where the temperature is going to rise as time goes by.

When you start too fast, you burn your fuel, accumulate lactate and fatigue your muscles at too high a rate. The net result is a significant slowing of pace over time.

Instead, the goal should be to build your effort across the race.

Manage Your Energy

When you run long distances the body burns fuel at a higher rate than it can replace it. The goal of a race nutrition strategy is to limit your losses as best as you can so that you can continue to move forward at a good pace as the distance passes and fatigue sets in.

This step works hand in hand with managing your effort because if you run too fast in the beginning, you burn your fuel at too high a rate and you will suffer. By starting at a slower pace in the beginning, you’re able to focus on your fuelling and get in much-needed calories. The body does not have a good ability to absorb these carbohydrates while running and as such, the best time to take them in is early in the race when your pace is lower, the weather is cooler and your body is generally under less stress.

Master Your Thoughts

From the start of any race we are constantly receiving feedback that can have an impact on the state of our thoughts. Runners passing us, a blister on a toe, thirst, tired legs, not being able to hold onto our goal pace etc.

Successful runners know that the best way to manage their thoughts and to keep in a positive frame of mind even when things may not be going to plan is to focus on the process of running. How’s my form and my breathing? Am I drinking enough and getting in my calories? Is my effort appropriate for this point in the race? Can I maintain it?

The mind can only think of one thing at a time so by using our energy to think process thoughts, we slow the chances of letting the negative self talk creep and get the better of us.

How To Know If You Executed A Smart Race

The second half of the race should be as fast or slightly faster than the first half. If you have been able to do this, it’s a sign that you controlled your effort, managed your fuel and mastered your thoughts to push through to a good result.

Remember, racing is a skill, and you’ll get better at executing a smart race the more you practice, so pick your secondary races carefully and make your ‘A’-Race count.

If you’re running the SCMS or the Warm Up race and found this useful, please share it with your friends and help them run to maximise their fitness on race day.


A Race Day Gear Checklist & Its Benefits For Runners

"No matter how expert you may be, well-designed checklists can improve outcomes."

I’m a huge fan of the process.

Good quality processes ensure that you’re doing the little things that matter. The things that when done consistently well, will lead to your desired outcome.

When it comes to packing for race day, there is one simple process that shines above all others in ensuring you don’t leave any of your important gear at home when you need it most.

The process? Working to a checklist.

Checklists Provide A Myriad Of Benefits To Runners

Checklists Help To Reduce Anxiety And Build Confidence

Anxiety has a physiological effect on the body. It increases heart rate, inhibits fat burning, increases cortisol levels and a whole host of other things. By working from a checklist, you help to keep your anxiety in check, knowing that you’re not going to leave anything behind that will negatively impact your race and all the hard work you have put in over the previous weeks or months. This control builds confidence that you can carry through to other areas of your preparation and race day.

Checklists Help To Save Mental And Emotional Energy

This is one of the main reasons why having a process mindset is of such value. When you focus on the many small processes necessary for success (in this case, your checklist), you release yourself from wasting unnecessary mental and emotional energy having to remember the stupid simple stuff because there’s a checklist (or process) for that. This frees up your brain to concentrate on more important things.

Cut Race Times, Not Corners.

Racing at your potential and enjoying training is easy when you’re following the right programme.

Checklists Save You Time

When you work to a checklist, you have a repeatable process that you can refer to leading into each race. You no longer need to consciously think and worry about what gear you need and this saves you time. You can simply and quickly run through your list, checking off your gear as it goes into your bag.

Checklists Can Form Part Of Your Pre-Race Ritual

A ritual is a series of actions or type of behaviour regularly and invariably followed by someone. Rituals come with a number of benefits but the one I like most for athletes is the ability to call back states or emotions on command.

By going through your checklist the day before race day, you initiate “race mode” which helps to trigger the optimal mental and emotional state needed to perform well in your race.

Design A Checklist That Suits Your Needs

With the benefits of using a checklist now hopefully clear, it’s time to put yours together.

To get you started, I have put together a checklist with the most essential items that you need before you go, while you run and after your run. I have also left a few spots available in each section for you to add your own additional gear.

Member Stories

Jason Chao’s Success Story

This post was written by Jason Chao about his experience training with Coached.

Having been bitten by the running bug over six years ago, I have clocked many miles and run many races. My goal has always been to push personal boundaries aiming for continuous improvement in race times.

While the achievement of new Personal Best (PB) timings during the first couple of years came relatively easily, I found my performance reaching a plateau thereafter, making new PBs less likely and achieving only marginal improvements when hitting new records – this was despite the fact that I trained harder and longer during race preparation. Given my recent entry to the Master’s category age group, I began to wonder if the days of performance improvement might be behind me.

The old saying insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results rang true and I decided that I needed to better understand the science of endurance running in order to improve performance.

Cut Race Times, Not Corners.

Racing at your potential and enjoying training is easy when you’re following the right programme.

This is when I discovered Coached with their focus on sports science and how to use this in training to train smarter and not harder. After Lactate and Fat Burn testing at the Coached Lab, I signed up to Coached to commence a structured training programme specific to my fitness level and focused around time and heart rate zones. This training was very low intensity compared to my previously unstructured training where I’d generally run hard over a given distance.

After three months of training, I re-tested my lactate threshold and was pleasantly surprised that it had improved by ~0.7km/h and 5 beats per min. A week later I ran a half marathon and achieved a PB shaving over 4 minutes of my previous best time. Since then, I’ve used Coached to qualify for the Boston Marathon!

Not only has Coached introduced me to a whole new way of training, but it has also introduced me to a community of like-minded athletes looking to reach new performance levels, complete their first triathlon or marathon, or just to improve their fitness levels.


The Essential Race Guide To Singapore Marathon

Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore is one of Asia’s most renowned running events and is the pinnacle running event on the Singapore running calendar. Despite the relatively easy course, the searing heat and humidity make it a true test of your preparation and a course to be reckoned with.

In this post, we’ll take a look at the course and recommend a strategy for getting the most out of your fitness on race day. I hope this guide helps lead you to a better result and I encourage you to share it with your friends who are racing.

Race Week

The week leading into race day is all about final preparations and doing the little things that will put you in the best position to run well on race day.


Training in race week is all about freshening up and doing what you need to do to feel good on 6 December. Remember, it’s too late at this stage to get any better but you can get worse by overdoing things. Keep it light and use the training that you do to put spring in your step for race day.


The climate in Singapore provides the biggest challenge to all runners and if you start the race dehydrated, you’re on the back foot before you even begin. Carry fluids with you at all times and sip from your water bottle often. I’d recommend an electrolyte drink with no sugar and lots of sodium for best results. A good indication that you are well hydrated is clear urine, so aim for that all week.

Race Expo

You’ll need to visit the race expo to collect your race number, timing chip and other goodies. Spend some time to have a look around the different booths but don’t linger too long there because it’s too much time on your feet. Many runners overcommit at the expo and end up dehydrated and hungry. Be sure to keep fluids on you at all time at the race expo.


If you travelled into Singapore for the race, plan your sightseeing for after the race. Too much walking around and time in the sun will wear you down and negatively impact your race. Sightseeing after the run will be much more relaxing and a great form of active recovery.

Be Organised

Have all your gear packed and ready to go the night before. Work from a checklist and cross off each item as you pack it into your bag to ensure you are not missing anything crucial. Plan how you’re going to get to the race venue and where the bag deposits will be. Be mindful of road closures and understand that the crowds could significantly slow you down so allow plenty of time to make your way to the start line.

Cut Race Times, Not Corners.

Racing at your potential and enjoying training is easy when you’re following the right programme.

Race Day

The Beginning Is Fast

With the marathon beginning on a gradual downhill, the opening kilometres of the race are very important. With adrenalin pumping due to the excitement that comes with any marathon start, the downhill and all the other eager runners starting too fast, it’s easy to be drawn into a false sense of how hard you are working.

If you want to run to your potential and maximise all the training that you have done, it’s very important that you start conservatively (20 – 30 secs per km slower than goal pace) and build your effort carefully across the full 42.2km. Treat the early stages of the run as a warm-up and don’t worry if runners are buzzing past you – they will come back to you later when the day warms up and they begin to blow up.

Don’t Bank Time

Despite what you may have heard, “banking time” – running faster in the start so you can run x:xx slower per kilometre in the second half – is not a good marathon pacing strategy. I have seen this strategy blow up more runners than any other and in the Singapore climate, it is even more likely to make you suffer.
Why is “banking time” such an ineffective strategy? Because when you start too fast, you burn your fuel and fatigue your muscles at too high a rate.


When you run a marathon, the body burns its fuel at a higher rate than you can replace it, so the goal of a fuelling strategy is to limit your losses. The body can store enough energy to fuel itself for roughly 2 hours at marathon effort. This means that you’ll need to be taking in additional carbohydrates to help replace what you’re burning. Unfortunately, the body does not have a good ability to absorb these carbohydrates while running. As such, the best time to take them in is early in the race when your pace is lower, the weather is cooler and your body is generally under less stress. If you start the race too fast, you limit the amount of fuel you can put into your body and absorb for energy later in the race.

Muscle Fatigue

Outside of poor fuelling, muscle fatigue is the other major limiter when running a marathon. Muscle fatigue is accelerated by the accumulation of lactic acid as a result of running too fast too soon. Since your muscles will wear out well before your lungs, it’s important that you don’t wear them down unnecessarily at the beginning of the race.

The East Coast Park

At around the 13km mark of the race, you enter the East Coast Park  (ECP). This is a long out and back stretch that makes up nearly half the course. It’s at this point that you should get down to your goal pace and run at this pace until you reach the turnaround near the halfway point of the race, at the far end of ECP. If you’re feeling good at the turning point, you can begin to subtly increase your effort as you head back towards town.

During this out and back section of the course, it’s very easy to switch of mentally. Combat this by focussing on the processes that will help to keep you moving forward efficiently. Nutrition, breathing, staying relaxed and running with good form. Tuck in behind fellow runners to hide from any wind and remember to cut the tangents as you weave your way through the park.

Your Race Begins At The Golf Course

From the ECP, you make your way towards the Marina golf course. At this point, you have just over 10km to go and this is where your race really begins. From this point forward, you’re building your effort towards the finish getting gradually faster and faster until you hit the finishing tape.


From this point on, there is very little shade and the sun will be up. Stay focused and use the remaining aid stations to keep your core temperature down by pouring cold water on your head.

Sheares Bridge

At around 37.5km you’ll hit the base of Sheares bridge. While this hill is not too long or steep, the fact that you hit it so late in the race and the sun will be beating down on you make it a very tough climb. Your conservative start will definitely pay off as you run up this hill. Because your legs will be tired and heavy, shorten your stride and pump your arms. This will increase your heart rate but will help to take some pressure of the legs. Once at the top, relax into the downhill and ready yourself for the crowds.


The late stages of this race are notorious for the congestion for runners running a time above 3hr 30mins.

Enjoy Your Finish

While the rest of the course is almost void of spectators, the finish chute is full of people cheering for you and your fellow runners. Enjoy the moment as you make your way down the final few hundred meters and relish in the hard work you have done and your achievement.

Have Fun

Now that you’re armed with the right strategy, I wish you all the best for your marathon. Have fun, execute a smart race and get the most from your fitness on race day.

And, if you need help with your training …