ST Run: How to assess your performance

Good times and placings great, but what matters is if you have maximised performance

If you felt absolutely knackered at the end of The Straits Times Run and ran the second half of the race at least as fast as the first half, you would have maximised your performance. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
If you felt absolutely knackered at the end of The Straits Times Run and ran the second half of the race at least as fast as the first half, you would have maximised your performance.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Did you make it to the finish line? I hope so.

With The Straits Times Run now over, I want to wish everyone who ran a hearty congratulations.

Congratulations for setting a goal, doing the training, running the race and finishing what you started. That's not easy to do so kudos to you.

With the race complete, now is the time for reflection.

How did your race go?

What's next?

For my 16th and final column, I thought I'd dive into how to assess your performance and determine what to do next.


To determine whether their race was a success, most runners use their finishing times. If you ran your desired time, you're happy. If you didn't, you're not.

Others use their race placings.

Both are useful but don't always reflect whether you maximised your fitness and achieved your best result.

In my opinion a good finishing time and a high placing are great, but what truly matters is whether you did your best and squeezed every bit of performance out of your body.

I have won races where I didn't perform well and have been significantly beaten in others where I did everything right.

Ideally, you win and get the best of yourself but when that doesn't happen, it's usually the latter that feels more satisfying.

So how do you know if you maximised your performance?

In a flat race like The Straits Times Run, there're two main criteria I look at.

• Did you finish the race absolutely knackered?

• Did you manage to run the second half of the race as fast, or slightly faster than the first half?

If you answered yes to both of these questions, there's probably not much more that you could have done to improve your result. Congratulations, you nailed it!

If you answered no to either of these questions, it's likely you could have achieved a better result - even if you're happy with your finish time or placing.

If you didn't finish the race tired, you probably could have pushed yourself harder.

If you pushed hard but ran a much slower second half, it's likely you started too fast and blew yourself to pieces.

Maximising performance is about finding balance. What is the maximum sustainable pace you can run? When you figure that out, great races will follow.


After 16 weeks of training, it would be a shame to let your fitness go to waste. Now's the perfect time to be thinking about what to do next.

If the ST Run was a long race for you, perhaps you could look to do something shorter and faster?

If you did the 10km, perhaps you could set your sights on an year-end half-marathon or new year marathon?

It doesn't matter what your goal is, what's important is to build on your current momentum and continue to develop your abilities and racing skills.

Thank you for joining me over the past 16 weeks.

• Ben Pulham, the official coach for the 2019 ST Run, is a former professional triathlete and the founder of Coached, a heart-rate training programme.

• Results for 18.45km and 10km can be found here:

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 06, 2019, with the headline 'How to assess your ST Run performance '. Print Edition | Subscribe