Longest SEA Games preparation yet for marathon queen Tabal
MANILA, Philippines—Olympian marathoner Mary Joy Tabal has buckled down in her buildup for the Southeast Asian Games which will be held here later this year.
Tabal is maximizing all the help she’s getting in her bid to defend her SEA Games title.
Guiding her through her preparations are two Japanese coaches Yuhei and Akio Usami aside from her personal coach John Duenas.
“We’re currently in the thick of our preparations, which means mileage is getting higher, track workouts are getting harder, legs are getting heavier, miles per miles per week, long runs, long intervals, being able to run on tired legs, mind over matter going to our peak period,” said Tabal.
“I have never been this focused and motivated to train harder for this was my longest SEA Games’ preparation,” added Tabal, who is aiming to replicate her dominant SEA Games win in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tabal won the gold two years ago by a mile with second-placer Hoang Thi Thanh of Vietnam finishing seven minutes later. She was also nearly 10 minutes ahead of Natthaya Thanaronnawat, the 2015 gold winner from Thailand.
“Our daily routine would be, training twice a day but a certain period where we need to spend for a 10-day training camp, we train thrice a day. During this time, we are taught how to overcome fatigues, and discipline for ourselves, discipline for the training program,” said Tabal, who is up as early as 5:30 a.m. to train in a stretch that takes her until 4:15 p.m.
With all the hard work she puts in, Tabal has all the reasons to be confident about keeping the gold at home.
“I have nothing else in mind now than gold. I only have to focus on this event, so I will be giving everything can,” Tabal said.
“For now, I don’t really focus on who’s my biggest opponent, because for me, every representative from each nation is my competitor for the gold. I just focus on getting better, stronger and preparing my body for the action.”