Fitness

Three takeaways to go a long way

Mok Ying Ren, double SEA Games gold medallist and seven-time Singapore Marathon local champion, has reached the finish line for his #RunWithMok column this year and wishes to thank all readers who have followed this series.
Mok Ying Ren, double SEA Games gold medallist and seven-time Singapore Marathon local champion, has reached the finish line for his #RunWithMok column this year and wishes to thank all readers who have followed this series.PHOTO: ONEATHLETE
Runners at the finish line of the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon on Dec 9, 2018.
Runners at the finish line of the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon on Dec 9, 2018. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Be consistent in training, know your limits & choose the right programme to be successful

A huge congratulations to all who completed last week's Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, especially those who finished the arduous 42.195km distance.

In the blink of an eye, 2018 has come to an end and so has this year's #RunWithMok column, which was in partnership with The Straits Times Run and the Singapore Marathon.

It feels like only yesterday when we embarked on this journey together to train for two major races in Singapore.

Over the span of a few months, my fellow contributors and I have touched on a myriad of running-related topics. Many of these had also piqued my curiosity when I first started on my running journey. I hope that we have been able to address your doubts and queries adequately, as you #LearnWithMok.

Those of you who diligently followed the RunONE training programme and our Sunday columns for 30 weeks deserve a pat on the back.

To conclude this series, here are three takeaways that can be applied to your running journey henceforth:

BE CONSISTENT

Consistency is essential to any life pursuit, be it relationships, studies, work and, of course, running. Consistency means maintaining a certain level of frequency over an extended period of time.

We have placed great emphasis on each runner's individuality. This applies not only to training programmes and routines but also to smaller details like hydration and nutritional needs. One man's meat is another man's poison...

This is not to say that you cannot draw inspiration from the best athletes or should not adopt practices that others have recommended - you can and you should.

Consistency in your running journey would mean, for example, running at least twice a week, regardless of whether you are training for a specific event.

This will prevent your fitness and muscular adaptations from degenerating and allow you to bounce back to high-quality training within a shorter time.

It will also reduce your risk of injury when you step up for your next training programme.

BE CONSERVATIVE

Always adopt a conservative approach to your training programme. It is very easy, and almost natural, to allow haste and impatience to hijack our plans.

On days when we feel good, we tend to want to do more or push ourselves that bit harder. Sometimes, it is wiser to rein in your enthusiasm and allow your body to adapt and enjoy the fitness it has achieved at a methodical pace.

As you progress in your training, you should aim to increase your training volume and intensity incrementally. Take baby steps and avoid a sudden ramp-up. Doing too much, too soon, is really a recipe for disaster. As the saying goes, more haste, less speed.

BE YOURSELF

Throughout this series, we have placed great emphasis on each runner's individuality. This applies not only to training programmes and routines but also to smaller details like hydration and nutritional needs. One man's meat is another man's poison.

 
 

I myself am guilty of having committed the cardinal mistake of replicating and religiously following training programmes of top runners in the world, only to be saddled with injuries and disappointment.

This is not to say that you cannot draw inspiration from the best athletes or should not adopt practices that others have recommended - you can and you should.

However, you should first put some thought into what you have read or heard and then make a considered decision on whether to follow through, embrace the information and adopt it as a practice. Blindly following the group may do you more harm than good.

This is an opportune time for me to thank the ST sports desk for their support and input, fellow columnists who were generous with their experience and expertise, readers and race participants who wrote to #AskMok and attended the various talks and run clinics.

With this, the RunONE team and I are signing off. We wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

• The #LearnWithMok series is available at runone.co/learnwithmok

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 16, 2018, with the headline 'Three takeaways to go a long way'. Print Edition | Subscribe