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Tips for First-Time Half Marathon Runners: Insights from Fitness Enthusiast Syazwan Haziq

Navigating the intricacies of preparing for a debut half marathon can be daunting, especially with events like the SCORE Marathon presented by AIA Vitality looming. To provide guidance to those new to the distance running scene, ToughASIA reached out to experienced runner Syazwan Haziq.

Originally from Rawang, Selangor, and now based in Kuantan, Pahang, Syazwan’s journey from a self-proclaimed running recluse to a passionate advocate for healthy living offers valuable insights for beginners.

At 29 years old, Syazwan’s running journey began with a simple goal of maintaining a healthy BMI. However, his passion was ignited after watching Alif Satar’s IRONMAN video on YouTube in 2019, pushing him into the world of distance running.


Reflecting on his first half marathon experience at the Budi Half Marathon in Putrajaya, Syazwan emphasises the importance of pacing strategy. “I sprinted excessively at the beginning due to adrenaline,” he recalls. “Now, I start with a leisurely pace and finish with a sprint.”

For newcomers to the half marathon distance, Syazwan emphasises the importance of a well-rounded training regimen. “Diversify your training,” he advises. “Incorporate easy runs, speed drills, long-distance runs, strength training, and adequate rest. Gradually increase mileage each week, tapering off as race day approaches.”

Preparation on race day is crucial, according to Syazwan. He stresses the importance of arriving early to facilitate warm-up routines and avoid road closures. “Eat a light, easily digestible breakfast like rice porridge 2-3 hours before the race, and use the restroom before starting,” he recommends. “Make sure you have all the necessary gear, including your bib number.”


Mental resilience is key in long-distance running, says Syazwan. He suggests incorporating Long Slow Distance (LSD) runs with repetitive circuits to build mental strength. “Running with peers can provide motivation,” he explains. “Encourage each other to maintain pace and stick together.”

Nutrition and hydration play a vital role in performance optimisation, according to Syazwan. He advises carb-loading in the week leading up to the race and strategic consumption of energy gels during the event. “Experiment with gels during training to find what works for you,” he adds. “I personally use DEVER Energy Gel, taking it 15 minutes before starting and every 45 minutes during the race.”

Managing race day logistics efficiently can help ease anxiety for new participants, Syazwan notes. He recommends familiarising yourself with the race guide, parking arrangements, and layout of the race village. “Some events offer baggage services, so you don’t have to worry about carrying personal items during the race,” he points out.


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A post shared by Syazwan Haziq (@ehapahal_)

Lastly, Syazwan highlights the importance of being prepared for various terrains and weather conditions on race day. He suggests incorporating training sessions on different surfaces and simulating race day weather conditions during workouts.

As beginners gear up for their first half marathon this July 2024, Syazwan Haziq’s expert advice serves as a guiding light, paving the way for a rewarding and successful journey.

Register your SCORE Marathon presented by AIA Vitality with a 5% discount using the code “SMZXCV5”. Click here to register.