Hubert Burda Media

Stephanie Carrington is a Woman on a Mission

I’m going to be brutally honest. When ASICS offered to send me to the Tokyo Marathon, I would have declined if I knew the brand was sending Stephanie Carrington to run alongside me too. I don’t think my ego can take being left in the dust, and bloody hell, she’s fast.

The FLY Entertainment artiste has been training hard the past three months and documenting her progress on her Instagram. It’s also causing me a lot of worry. But I put my fears aside for 10 minutes to chat with her about life and running. Stephanie, if your ASICS shoelaces were tied to each other, it’s not me.

I was told you’re aiming to complete the Tokyo Marathon in four hours, 30 minutes.
I’ll admit, when I was filling out the application and I put my estimated finishing time as four hours and 30 minutes, I was being a tad (okay, maybe way) over ambitious! (Laughs)

The longest I’ve run (consistently) is a little over 21 KM in two hours and 15 minutes. But between you and me, that was on a treadmill. Shh. Being a first-timer, I am probably aiming a bit too high, but you never know unless you try right? I think I have been quite vigilant when it comes to my training, so fingers crossed. Realistically, I think I may do around five hours or more. At the end of the day, if I don’t achieve not my target, I’ll still be super stoked as I know that I have done my best and that I got to run in the Tokyo Marathon!

What’s your training regime like?
I do different types of training each day of the week. I’d start the week by getting my heart rate up with interval training, then followed by my favourite, High Intensity Interval Training to build up my endurance and to strengthen my core. I’ll finish off the workout with a light jog. I then do a long, steady run and wrap up the week with a fast tempo run.

The whole idea is to train my body and prepare it for what it will feel like after completing a full marathon. So by the end of the week my body is exhausted, to say the least. Just as what I would experience after the race, what they call ‘marathon exhaustion’.

All together I clock in just over what one would run in a full marathon over the course of a week.

What do you expect to be the biggest challenge that you have to overcome during the marathon?
One thing is for sure – as the Tokyo Marathon will be my first full marathon, I have no idea what to expect.

Anything can be a challenge – the route, the weather, basically anything and it’s quite nerve wracking. But I heard the spectators are really fun and supportive so I’m super excited about that and I’m sure that will help spur me on to keep going.

All in all, I’m expecting for the unexpected. Main thing is, I want to be in the best physical condition so I can enjoy and complete my first marathon with a big fat smile on my face. One thing that is freaking me out a bit are the hydration points. I understand they pass you water in paper cups – to first grab the cup, then drink it while running? I can totally picture myself spilling most of it (most probably on all over myself or have it go up my nose) and actually only managing to drink a portion of it. I tried to practice this a couple times whilst training but it’s definitely not easy. So fingers crossed, no water up the nose. (laughs)

How did you juggle your work responsibilities and duties together with training?
As my work hours and schedule can be quite irregular and unpredictable, my trainer, Raviin Kumar, ASICS expert, gives me a weekly schedule and helps me adjust things and some of the workout plans accordingly. I do, however, try to follow and stick to it as much as I can, even when I’m traveling.

Raviin is super understanding and doesn’t pressure me too much. He reminds me, and I have to keep reminding myself as well, not to push too hard and that it’s better to under train than over train. I’m not sure if it’s because of the excitement that’s taken over me, but I’ve been incredibly committed. I make sure I clock in my miles and what is planned out for me as much as I can.

What have you learned about yourself in this journey?
Three major things. 

1. Everything is achievable! Especially when you put your heart, mind and effort into it. I’ll admit, initially I was a bit hesitant in taking this on, as I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to fully commit my time. So I was debating about this for awhile in my head and then finally thought, “Hey, why not? Let’s do this! It’s a once in a lifetime experience and as long as I cross that finish line, I’ll be happy!”

2. I’m quite the perfectionist. I’m seeing how this also translates into sports, especially preparing myself for this marathon. So I tend to be a bit hard on myself and push a bit too much sometimes and through this experience, I’ve learned that when wanting to achieve my goal in the best state – physically and mentally that patience is key.

3. I thought I knew my body before, but this journey and the training has taken things to a whole other level! I’m more in-tune with my body and learned it’s crucial to listen the body, otherwise you suffer the consequences. Because my mind sometimes likes to jump ahead a bit too far and a bit too quickly. And through this experience I’ve learned to bring the mind and body, together as one.

What’s the next physical challenge?
I’ve always been a health and fitness nut and an avid runner. Having said that, training for the Tokyo Marathon given me a whole new perspective of running, which I’m totally loving!

I’m so into it now that I was actually contemplating on signing up for the New York Marathon. Then the blinker goes off in my head reminding me – Slow Down Steph, One Step at a Time. So after the Tokyo Marathon, who knows? I may sign up for all sorts of marathons. I’m even thinking of trying out a duathlon one day!