SGPT Interviews Istanbul Marathoner Sadettin Yağız Osma

No matter where you find yourself on the globe – we all have something in common. We love to get outside and test ourselves against the obstacles and elements.

That is where real growth occurs when you are pushing yourself to the outer limits.

Sadettin “Yagiz” Osma lives in Istanbul, Turkey where he trains for the marathon.

Yagiz is a family man and he set out to answer this question.

How was I going to set a good balance between my family-work-social and sports life?

SGPT checks in with Yagiz as he gives us his recipe for knocking out big gnarly goals and staying committed to family and a balanced life.

SGPT: Tell us about yourself?

YAGIZ: My name is Yağız. I’m 35 years old. I live in Istanbul, Turkey. I’m married since 2013 and have a son at the age of 7. I work as a white-collar worker in a media company. Since the beginning of pandemic, I’m working remotely from home. I’m also level 1 fitness instructor and currently studying for upgrading my certificate to level 2. I am a goal-oriented person. I fall apart when I don’t have a goal.

There should always be a target that I can hit, I should feel the sense of accomplishment and move on to the next one. This is exactly what feeds my soul. Most of my behaviors are driven by intrinsic motivations. I don’t care about extrinsic rewards like medals, praises, kudos etc. I just want to get to my genetic limitations and see if I can do more or not. I’m currently training for 10k PB (sub 45 minutes) and waiting for this year’s marathon trainings to start.

SGPT: Did you have an athletic background growing up?

YAGIZ: My running age is about 5 years and overall fitness age is about 15 years. I was 16 when I did my first set of dumbbell bench press. Some days you skip school and go somewhere else. That substitute place has always been gym for me. You know how it feels like making those dumbbells touch each other in front of your eyes. I was fascinated already. Since then, strength training is part of my life.

For some time, due to the lack of equipment and gym subscription, I headed towards Crossfit WODs. Burpees, lunges, jumping jacks, push-ups, mountain climbers… I believe that those crazy HIIT workouts built a strong aerobic base, improved my mental strength and ability to resist despite blood lactate accumulation. I’m telling this because running felt really easy when I started my first outdoor running workouts.

SGPT: How did you train for the marathon?

YAGIZ: I knew someday I was going to run a marathon but wasn’t sure about the exact time. I had some questions and second thoughts about the process. I used to run 2 days in a week. Training plans for a marathon require minimum 3 or 4 days. How was I going to set a good balance between my family-work-social and sports life? It just took me a year to think about it. When I found an achievable target like 04:30:00, I pushed the button and signed up for a race.

A friend of mine gave me 12 weeks program. To briefly summarize: – 1st Month: Build aerobic base with mostly long and short easy runs. – 2nd Month: Work on your 10k personal best (PB), lots of speed work and intervals, progression runs at the weekends. – 3rd Month: Work on your aerobic base again.

Here is the mantra of this program: If you can perform 32k easy run right before taper, on the race day you will be able to execute the last 10k by waving to the people on the sidelines, enjoy the moment and make it to the finish line with good health.

SGPT: Tell us a little about your marathon run? Where was it? Why did you want to finish it?

YAGIZ: I have a record of solo 56k run on Strava in 2022. The most part of that was walking. It took 8 hours 25 minutes. That day, at least, I had a good understanding of what 42 kilometers looks like. Istanbul Marathon 2023 is my actual marathon debut. The one and only cross-continental marathon in the world. You start in Asia and finish line is in Europe. Istanbul is my hometown. I just wanted to do this in my own city before participating in distant races.

SGPT: What was hardest part of the marathon?

YAGIZ: Around 28th kilometer, pain in my calves came in without knocking the door. That was an unexpected situation for me. I ran last 14 kilometers with increasing pain. I did so many mistakes during the whole process. And those mistakes happened to be a huge, unbearable cramp in my entire right leg.

I fell down in the last 100 meters. My right ankle was locked in plantar flexion, knee was locked in 0° and hip was locked in abduction about 45°. Two runners tried to lift me up, they were showing me the finish line, but I could not make it. The vastus medialis of my right leg was beating like a heart muscle, completely involuntarily.

That’s how the maximum effort looks like, and I believe nobody wants to see that during such an event. You know what they say: ‘Give it your all in every challenge but sometimes your all is not enough.’ In a minute, medic arrived, and I crossed the finish line by wheelchair. (My lower extremity was still locked by the way. The cramp ice on my legs started to thaw after I sat in the first aid tent for about 5 minutes). A real nightmare. Race management did not disqualified me but the next morning I was crying in front of mirror in a total exhaustion and sadness. The emotional pressure was at its zenith. I signed up for the same race again the day registrations were opened.

SGPT: What is one thing you wish you would have done to get ready for your marathon?

YAGIZ: I ran my last 35k long run at my marathon pace. That was one of the biggest mistakes I made. I had not enough time for taper and could not recover properly until race day. I wish I would have ran slower and shorter that day.

SGPT: Any tips for up and coming athletes that want to do marathon run event?

YAGIZ: – Before event: 1- Run your easy runs ‘easy’. Don’t even care about pace in those days, just focus on time on feet. Run your hard runs ‘really hard’. Keep the volume relatively lower those days to prevent fatigue and overuse symptoms. 2- Nutrition. Put complex carbohydrates into the most important place of your diet. Last 3 days are critical for glycogen storage. Make sure you got enough magazines. 3- You are going to feel great as you get closer to the race day. Do not revise your target closer to race day. (My deadliest mistake was revising my target as sub 4 hours. Last two of my long runs fooled me like I was ready for that.

But I wasn’t.) – During event: 1- Don’t do anything you did not experienced before. That’s a stereotype but let me give you an example. If you did not perform tempo runs at even pace (like 10k or HM at your goal marathon pace) don’t run even pace next to the pacer throughout the entirety of the race. (Like I did). Chose a wise pacing strategy. If you ran negative splits and experienced it in your progression runs, run the race negative. 2- Never say things like: ‘it’s done’, ‘it’s in my pocket now’, ‘after this it’s a piece of cake’ This event is all about surprising you.

SGPT: What kind of running shoes did you use for the marathon event?

YAGIZ: For my long runs and races my choice is Nike Zoom Fly 5. If you are an overpronator runner you should try these. I also use Adidas Ultrabost Light for intervals and tempo runs. However, even it’s my regular foot size, Ultraboost has not enough toe box so I’m having some problem with it. I think I should start trying shoes one size bigger for my long runs.

SGPT: Did you use double socks or body glide on your feet to prevent blisters?

YAGIZ: I did not use any kind of those socks or body glide, and I did not have any problem with my feet.

SGPT: What book are you reading now? Do you have a good podcast or audiobook you have been listening to?

YAGIZ: Thomas W. Rowland – The Athlete’s Clock – Stride length – Stride frequency – Central pattern generator – Breathing techniques while running – Pacing strategy – Circadian rhythm – Aging and sport performance This book is a real treasure. Second Book: Judith Schalansky – Atlas of Remote Islands: Fifty Islands I Have Never Set Foot On and Never Will.

Podcast: Arnold’s Pump Club Audiobook: Marcus Luttrell – Lone Survivor

SGPT: How did you find SEALgrinderPT?

SYO: I used to do some ‘hero workouts’ which you dedicate your fallen soldiers. I deep dive that wods and found your webpage… I was really impressed by how you remember those fallen ones… It’s been a long time like 3-4 years…

SGPT: Many thanks for the interview Yagiz. We love your commitment to family and life balance while pursuing big gnarly goals. Thanks for your inspiration!

YAGIZ: Thank you very much for giving me this chance. It was an honor to answer your questions. I hope my experiences will help other runners. With love from Turkey.

About the Author:

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