Race Review: 8th YOMA Yangon International Marathon, Myanmar 2020 (by ALCE)

This marathon had many great reviews. My curiosity got the better of me and I just had to visit Yangon to experience this race for myself.

Booked a flight on Jetstar on 17th Jan and off we go!

Race pack collection was a breeze and hassle-free. I do not have any special mention on the race pack collection because it was truly quiet and no activities going on at all if you would even consider it as an expo. =(

Efficient Race Pack Collection
Simple Race Expo

On 19th Jan morning, I joined in the warm up with the full marathon runners although I signed up for the half marathon (which started 30 mins later). The half marathon race starts at 5.30am in the morning and weather was surprisingly cool and pleasant at 17 – 18 degrees.

Warm up session starting

Start line was simple and race was flagged off on time. The race route brings you to most parts of Yangon city, including running past the Shwedagon Pagoda and Yangon Zoo just to name a few places.

Start line
A view of Shwedagon Pagoda on the running route

Runners eventually merged between the 10.5km and 21km running route. This created a bit of a bottleneck that made me slow down quite significantly as there were many walkers for the 10.5km race.

But eventually when I got to the finish line, things were all good and everyone was happy to collect their after-race entitlements and medal.

Finish line

Race village was filled with finishers and it was a very enjoyable run to say the least. The running route was also scenic and not monotonous. Highly recommend this race if you want to experience a runcation that is something different.

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Review: UltraTrail Panoramic in Pai (by healthobeing)

Four more minutest to starting

Organised by one of the Thai trail organisers, Teelakow, it was also the organiser who did the trail race in Koh Chang.  Signed up for this race because I thought every year, I should do a decent ultra at least, just to keep up.  The race was year-end and also been to Pai before, I felt more at ease in the town.

After signing up, I found out that some Singaporeans were going to this race too, so we all signed up separately and went together.  Came to realise that most of the folks were doing 100 miles instead of 100K.  But glad that one running photographer, Tan Kim Lai was doing the 100 K.

Like PYT, I wanted to take Silk Air to directly go Chiang Mai from Singapore, unfortunately, they don’t operate it now.  We had to go by Thai Airways as I also had check-in bags, fortunately, the price was very good but the down is that we need to transfer in Bangkok.

Pai is a very small town, practically reachable to all the restaurants and hotels by foot.  The town is peaceful and quite nice for a laid back vacation, it is also a pit stop for travellers going further North.  I stayed at the TTK Guest house, it was only 200m away from the race point in the Pai District office.

Room in TTK Guest House

The race start and race end are all at the Pai district office, there was a small field outside the office building.  This is where the organiser set up the tentages for collection of race pack and mandatory items check.  I reached Pai a day before my race while the folks doing the 100 miles will start on the night itself. After doing the admin stuff, walked around town, did some shopping as I thought I would not be able to move much after the race.  The race briefing started at 4:30pm and after that I hang around the “mini bar” which has loads of refreshments like noddles, snacks and hot drinks ( no alcohol though).

Race Start Point

The 100 miles flag off was at 6pm.  I stayed on the cheer the running friends, Kim Song, Jeric off.  While me and Kim Lai have 8 more hours to our 100Km start time.  We also met the Malaysian Ultra Runner group there.  Met more familiar faces like Sally whom we did the TMBT together.

This bar is opened for all the participants throughout the event.  There are many interesting Issan snacks in Pai and the night walking street is a good place to savour them all.

Mini bar

Race Start

Dragging myself up at 2:30 am, I did some small last preparations and finally move off to start line to be flagged off at 4am.  There were not many 100km participants, I guess most of the folks went for the 100 miles as to speak the truth, it is not that a killer race.  The scenery was nice only the weather was cold.  Seems like we had a cold year and night can go as low as 8 degrees.

Four more minutest to starting

To cut the long story short, total of 12 checkpoints ( CPs) among them one is like a water point in the forest.  Covering actually 105Km with elevation of 5500m.  This is the longest I had ever done, but judging its less technical terrain and also cut off time of 32 hours makes it more manageable.

At the first check point it was still dark

The scenery is really nice, and 80% of the trail is mainly on dust trail and road.  Which I am really glad as I have been very tired from Chicago Marathon.  I also have not been practicing must in the trails.  The check points are very well stocked with mostly rose syrup water, tailwind and also water.  I hardly drink other things on the trails except water and coffee.  But after trying the rose syrup, I am kinda hooked.  There were 2 hot food stations which served fried egg with stew and rice.  Although they might not be some Michelin star food, cooked by the school and villagers makes the food taste really good.

Dirt trail is a common scene

There were some forest parts which can be quite challenging, and also I experienced 2 river crossings.  This time was better as I wore proper socks and did not experience the trench foot.  My most memorable CP was Nam Pla Mung school, it was perched on the hill top.  While running to it , you can see the beautiful mountain range.  This was also the drop bag point where you get the hot food and also you can get a change of clothes. There were many runners sleeping and resting in the classroom of the school.  Most of them were the 100miles runners.  The weather was also very sunny, so there were many picture moments.  It was indeed very panoramic.

Check points manned by locals.

As I was moving towards the water point in the forest,  I stopped a while because the water point does not seemed to be at the stipulated area.  So I waited for the 3 Malaysia pact team doing the 100miles, and as they caught up we realise that the water point has no one manning it. It was simply bottles of water left in the forest for all to take.

Typical fare!

We started moving off together the four of us to the second last check point.  I got to know that one of them was called Kok Fei.  They had joined all the 4 trails organised by Teelakow.  We chatted and really it was good to have them in the forest as I was really getting lonely after 22 hours all by myself.  They were very chatty too and like to joke.  I could see the 3 of them are very experienced runners and one of them was not using a pole at all!

Finishing it off

Finisher medal and tee shirt

Finally at the last check point, we sat by the bon fire, I am amazed that they had done already 140 plus km and still able to move fast.  Reluctant to leave the check point which also served hot food.  We moved off in different directions.  I was alone again, this time even more windy and cold as it was near to 4am in the morning.  The rest of the 7 km was all roads.  As I winded through Pai, I realised that the town has many other unexplored places.  The Z monster has got to me this time and I had to fight sleepiness and feeling cold.

Finally at 4:26am the next day, I managed to finish the race and gosh was I tired.  However, I was kinda happy that I did it in 24hours plus.  Cutting off yet another 3 hours from the PYT race.

Overall

Finishing look

Setting back to Chiang Mai the very afternoon. I felt happy and good with the end of this race, managed to come in 7th position. Which I thought I was lucky as not many people joined this category and the power houses all did the 100miles.  Now to the most enjoyable part.  The rest and relax at the ChiangMai night market.

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My Standard Chartered Taipei Marathon 2020 [FM]

It’s my first full marathon in Taipei! 😍 Had been wanting to run a full marathon in Taipei for a few years and finally did it this year. Maybe will run again a marathons in Taiwan but in other areas outside of Taipei. Last year I had many races in Malaysia, but now, I may want to run Taiwan more if I can get reasonable cheap air tickets! I guess it just makes more sense for me to pay $200 to go Taiwan than pay about $150 to go Malaysia. And what’s better is that during certain period in Taiwan, the weather will be cooling to run in! 😍

Every time while doing a 42.195km run I felt crazy that I’m doing it over again but here I am, done with my 10th marathon 💪 Jio-ed my friends to run with me but they wanted to run half marathon category and I was contemplating on doing a half marathon or a full marathon. Decided might as well run the full marathon so I can collect the series of Standard Chartered Marathon medals from the different countries though I have plenty of question marks where’s Jersey, Nairobi and Falkland Island 😆 Had already done the full marathon category in Singapore, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur, so might as well do the 42.195km right? I registered for Willis before asking him whether he wants to run or not 😆 Luckily there isn’t any huge complaint from him. Just that he gotten ill a few days before the race and still haven’t recover in time. Don’t know what sorcery he have, even though he’s sick and even though his running mileage was maybe just about twenty percent of mine, he can run better than me 😂

During registration, I purposely keyed in my traditional Chinese name as its so cool! Although my English language, read/write/speak CMI, my Chinese language is quite good and it had been my favourite subject since primary school. Though we were only taught simplified Chinese in school, I am able to recognised traditional Chinese characters quite well. So tadaaaa, such a nice bib with traditional Chinese characters! 😍

It was a very short touch and go trip with my friends as it’s my 6th time to Taipei. Need to save up my annual leaves for other runcations also leh 😏 Though I had been to other areas than Taipei such as Hualien and Yilan, but mostly I frequent places nearer to Taipei such Jiufen, Shifen, Tamsui, Yangmingshan and I’d been to these attractions so many times! OMG sia, and March I will be going Taipei again for a Women’s Run 😂 I must get out of Taipei and explore Taiwan!

There’s no need to ballot for SCTPM and I paid NT$1093 which was approximately SGD50, quite cheap if to compare with the registration fee for the full marathon category of SCSM which may go as high as SGD$110 during late registration.

Race pack collection was located near to Taipei 101 but rather inconvenient as after we alight at the nearest MRT station, we still need to do a 10-15 minutes walk before we can reach the race pack collection site. But what’s 10-15 minutes what when I’ll be doing 42.195km right? 😅 There are other categories such as 21.095km, 13km, 3km kids dash and 3km leisure run.

There was no queue when we arrived as we were early on a Friday morning. All the entitlements items are picked and put in a brown envelope consists of the event singlet, timing chip and race bib. Love the event singlet colour and design, it has all the different places with Standard Chartered races printed on it!

We bought the official bag for baggage deposit, it can be used for all other races for baggage deposits in Taiwan. It’s a must to purchase their bag if we want to deposit our items. There were 2 different types of bag, a waterproof and non-waterproof version. The waterproof cost NT$200, whereas the other one cost NT$100.

There was nothing much available on site, there’s no Expo just the collection of race pack and a counter selling past year’s SCTPM race singlets/tees and towels. It’s very cheap and selling only at NT$50 per piece, the money for the sale items also goes to charity. As the venue is very near to Taipei 101, we proceed to Taipei 101 after that to have a great view of the entire Taipei 😍 This was my third time there. The elevator was on the Guinness World Record as the fastest elevator a few years ago, some other place must’ve come up with a more powerful elevator in recent years.

On race day, it was only about 14 degrees, the sky was dark and the weather forecast predicted 40% chances of rain. Wore a raincoat to keep me warm and in case it rains, the raincoat would be well utilised. Luckily it was just very slight drizzle that we couldn’t even feel the rain at all. Heard from the locals that these few days were the coldest days compared with the past few weeks. It doesn’t feel cold while we walked to the race site but during the later part of the race, it starts to feel colder. Now I wonder how did I survive that 4 degrees in Tokyo Marathon last year in just a tee-shirt and raincoat. We walked for about 10 minutes from our hotel in Ximending to the start point near Presidential Palace. We stayed in Inhouse Boutique hotel, it’s a very nice hotel and they allowed us late check out at 2 pm without any additional charges when I explained that we’re running a marathon 👍

Willis and I packed jackets and a few heat pads to put inside the bag for baggage deposit. There are many trucks for baggage deposit, which truck to deposit baggage is but the first number on our bib. Some trucks got no queue but for our truck number 5, there’s quite a queue of about 3 lines x 8 runners long but it was rather fast for the baggage deposit and we part with our friends as they are running half marathons, flagging off 10 minutes after us in different start pen. Flag off for the full marathon was punctually at 6 am.

The first aid station was rather far after 5km. After that, there’s almost one aid station between 2 to 3km away. At about 7km, I stopped and use the portable loo. It’s the squat type and more hygienic 👍 Most of the aid stations offered isotonic drink and water, fruits such as bananas and tomatoes. There were biscuits, waffle biscuits and sour plums as well. Many aid points provided sponges as well.

For the first 15kms, we were running on roads and highways until we entered the riverside parks. It was then a whole stretch of the riverside park, there’s many baseball courts, basketball courts along the riverside parks. The place reminds me of Singapore’s East Coast Park actually, quite torturous as it’s a long stretch running past a few of the same place over and over again and we need to do a few u-turns. I keep a lookout of Taipei 101, sometimes it seems nearer sometimes further, I just keep on wondering when’s the u-turn and looking forward to the u-turn points.

Along the route, there isn’t much entertainment and supporters cheering for runners, but these supporters sure liven up the atmosphere a little!

There are distance marker boards at every km and I noticed at some distance markers, there’s stated cut off time. There are many sweeper buses parked by the side as well. We actually saw quite a lot runners already DNF and waiting in the sweeper buses already though it’s still not yet the COT.


After 30km, many of us alternate between running and walking. Willis is my Doraemon and he carried heat pad on him lah 😍 He offered me his gloves but I didn’t want. My hands were damn cold and this photo captured me clenching tightly two heat pad, one in each hand. A runner jokingly told us that holding hands is breaking the rule as it’s assistance in running 😆

I wasn’t very motivated to run and the best word to describe me was lazy 😂 Though Willis can still run, he waited for me like always ❤ I only aim to complete before the 6 hours cut off time. It’s definitely not easy to complete a marathon under a cut off time of 6 hours but the runners running SCTPM all seem strong. Willis and I were actually the last few to complete 😆

As soon as we crossed the finishing line, collected our finisher medal and towel and after taking a few photos, it started to drizzle and get real cold. We proceed quickly just a little away from the finishing to under the bridge for shelter and to collect goody bag along with some sponsored items such as a huge tube of facial cleanser, a big bottle of shampoo etc 😍 It was quite a generous amount of freebies.

We quickly went to collect our baggage and put on a few layers of clothing to keep us warm as the rain and wind got heavier and stronger. Walked a little further down and there’s a line of buses queueing up at the carpark to fetch the runners back to near the start point. There’s no queue at all and it was a well-organized event and I have added another SCM medal to my collection ❤

So where to next? 😏

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2019 End-of-Year Survey Results: The State of Running in APAC

Throughout December, we invited all of you to take part in our annual survey. The questions covered motives of event participation, virtual running, travelling, exercising and training for races. We are pleased to see 3,994 unique respondents from 17 countries in Asia – Pacific taking our survey, and we happy to share the results with you.

What matters the most to race participants?

We asked you to pick the most important factors that you consider prior to joining an event. We got answers ranging from “Clean toilets”, to “Post-Event Carnival”, and “Food Trucks” to “Attractive Podium Prizes”, and everything in between. Below are the most frequent answers.

It can be seen that the top factor was “Runner’s Entitlements” both in Singapore and Malaysia. Other than that, it seems that the reputation of the organiser is more important as a deciding factor with Malaysians. On the other hand, Singaporeans seem to be more sensitive to pricing, possibly due to the ever-increasing ticket prices.

Favorite type of events

Next, we looked at the different type of events, and how appealing they are to runners of both genders. “Road Runs” are undoubtedly the most popular by far. The second place was “Theme Runs” (which includes walks, costume runs etc) for women but “Trail Runs” for men. “Virtual Runs” were also found to be about 3 times more popular with women compared to men. Other event types that made it into the Top 10 were Triathlons, Duathlons, and Vertical Runs and Tower Climbs.

When it comes to running events, it is clear that most men prefer Half Marathons and 10km races, while women prefer races that are 10km or below. This finding is in agreement with a previous global study which showed that shorter distances are generally preferred in Asia.

Frequency of Participation 

As can be seen from the graph below, more than 60% of runners have joined at least 4 events during 2019, and about 20% of runners joined over 10 events. When broken down by country, however, we can see different trends forming. In Singapore, for example, over 40% of runners only joined 3 or fewer events.

Overseas running

Travelling abroad for a race, often referred to as “runcation”, is an increasingly popular thing to do. We asked our users if they joined any overseas race in 2019, and if so, how much they spent in total on their trip.

When it comes to travelling to run, Singaporeans are at the top of the list, as almost 1 out of 4 Singapore-based runners joined an overseas event in 2019. For comparison, the percentage in Malaysia is only about 16%, while the overall percentage is about 22%. The majority of those who travelled to run has spent less than US$1,000, all expenses included.

Virtual Running

A virtual run is a race that you can complete at your own pace and time. Virtual running works exactly the same as any other type of running but the difference is that the entered race can be run at any location, either outside or inside on a treadmill. All that participants have to do is register for a race and provide evidence that they have done it. The evidence can be a screenshot of a running app, a photo of the treadmill screen etc. A wide variety of virtual runs and challenges can be found on our ticketing platform.

The majority of our respondents have joined at least one virtual run in 2019, and it is evident that, just like the offline races, design of the entitlements matters the most when it comes to deciding factors for joining. In second place of the list came “Value for money” which is indeed one of the value propositions of virtual running.

Training and Exercise

We designed the last section of the survey to help us understand the training habits of our members. The weekly mileage broken by gender that is shown in the figure below clearly indicates that men are clocking more km’s than women, however, the percentage of women who only do non-running exercise, such as zumba, crossfit, spin classes, cycling etc, is more than triple to that of men. Also, 62% of respondents said that they prefer running and training by themselves.

Lastly, when we asked people to tell us what are their top motives for exercise, we received the following answers in order of popularity:

  • Health ~ 32%
  • Weight loss ~ 18%
  • Wellbeing ~ 18%
  • Mental health ~ 14%
  • Socialising / Exercise with friends ~ 9%
  • Training for an event ~ 9%

Who is Who

Demographics of the survey participants

Winners of our Giveaway

Congratulations to the following 50 winners of our lucky draw! We will be contacting all of them via email over the next days, and their prizes will be shipped by the first week of February.

Ahmad Asyraf Aslah BuchinJuwis Sarang
Aileen YeapKah Wai Vincent Low
Andrew GohKam Cheong Lau
Ang Kian BoonKeith Nair
Arrow ChanKenneth Loh
Arvin TunasKhai Kong Ng
Bernadette Christina SwynyLillian Sim
Ces OngMariama Ramasamy
Chin Teck TeohMathilda Joyce Maxwell
Chua EddyMin Goh
Clancie NgMuhammad Zaki Mohamad Zainol
Emil IsmailNoorie Safarina
Emily GohNursyazlin Radzali
Glenn See TohPamela Lee
Goh Wei JunPoi Seng Jonathan Lee
Haris HohRidzuan Sukri
Huda MahmudRita Umar
Irene GohRoslyn De Mesa
It Liang LowRyan Tay
Jamie YangShafarizan Senawi
Jane GabineteSiti Anisah Bt Zan
Jenny ChangStephanie Liew
John Patrick AgustinTan Kim Yau
Joshia ManggalaThomas Lee
Juliana JalilVanitha Saigaran

You can find more data in my original post on LinkedIn here.

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7 Common Mistakes when Training for a Half or Full Marathon

I’ve been running races for quite a while now. It’s been 20 years and throughout those years I think I’ve made every conceivable running mistake in the book. Of course, with the benefit of hindsight, I can see how obvious some of those mistakes were. However, in the heat of the moment, especially when I was training hard to achieve my goals, I would sometimes lose sight of the bigger picture. So, through those mistakes, I have learned quite a lot, and I would like to tell you about some of them so you can apply them to your own training. After all, isn’t the best way to gain wisdom to learn from the experience of others?

Don’t overtrain

The first thing you should do is choose a plan that works for you, and then stick to that plan. Whatever you do, do not fall into the trap of trying to copy what other runners are doing thinking you’re going to get the same results. Social media has a bad habit of making us think we’re doing it wrong. Whatever plan you choose, have faith in it. Work on it, every day, and every week, exactly the way you laid it out, and try to avoid injury. Make sure you get to race day whole.

Runners aren’t the same. They’re all different and the kind of mileage that works for another runner will not work for you. The only way you’ll know what’s manageable for your body is by building time for the race. Your body will be the easiest way to know what works for you. It will talk to you. You might achieve your personal record with fewer miles or more miles. It really all depends. Just make sure you experiment as much as possible to understand where your threshold is. Once you find a clear rhythm, stick to that rhythm.

So how do you know that you’re overtraining? There are actually quite a few common signs. Is your pace slowing down? Are you getting injured? Are you getting exhausted faster? Are your emotions running out of control? How is your ability to raise your heart rate? If you’re having trouble with any of these for more than three days at a time, then you need to take some time off, preferably three days. Once you get back, you’ll be feeling like a million bucks.

Training distance

 Sure, not all of your practice sessions need to be as long as the actual race. However, if you want to make any progress, you still need to run something close to the race distance during your run. If you’re doing a half marathon of 13 miles, then at least 3 runs you do during training need to be 10 miles or more. For the three months before the racing event, try to have at least 3 runs of 80% – 90% of the race distance per week.

Running gear

In case you’ve never tried either the half marathon or full marathon then I have to tell you right now: shoes are going to a huge factor in your success. You need to know when it’s time to get yourself a new set of kicks. Experts suggest anywhere between 400 and 500 miles as the limit for wear and tear. However, it really all depends on the runner. Whatever you do, make sure the pair of running shoes have works well with your form and your feet. If you can, have gait analysis done, and then keep replacing your shoes as you need to as you lead up to race day. You can easily get a running analysis done at just about any specialty running analysis. They will then recommend the appropriate shoes.

But it’s not just the shoes. The clothes matter too. Chafing is something some marathoners need to think about. Check the expected weather on race day and wear an outfit that is appropriate for it. Make sure you wear that outfit in your training, at least once. It has to be comfortable and, if there are chafe points, generously apply some glide before you go for the race. Once you have a good outfit, wear that very outfit on for maximum comfort.

Know about the race environment

You should be focused on the distance that you’ll be covering for the race. However, you should also think about the terrain of the course from the start of the race to the finish. Think about hills, crowds, bridges, and other such features of your race course. Research them and prepare for them. Let your training ground be as similar to the race course as possible.

Easy days should be easy

This is one of the hardest lessons I had to learn as I was training for my runs. There are runners out there that will do up to 80% of their training at a slow pace. That’s not easy; it takes courage to do that. You need to have that courage. Run slow and easy when your plan asks you to run slow and easy. Your body and mind will thank you for the break from hard running. It gives you the chance to recover while remaining active. That makes it easier to run hard when it’s time to run hard. Those slow and easy paced runs will make it even easier to run fast and hard when the occasion calls for it.

Pacing

Let’s talk about pacing for a bit. I can’t count how many times I’ve started out too fast from the start line. The greatest mistake I make on such occasions is thinking that I can somehow keep that pace going, despite the fact that I never hold it in training. Such lofty ambitions often lead to a very exhausted runner somewhere in the middle of the race, or even sooner.

When you train for a race, you do at a certain pace because that’s what works for your body. That’s the exact same pace you should maintain for race day. If you’re not planning on executing that pace on the big day, then why are you training for it?

Food and water

Your food and hydration plan should be tested out early in your preparation and often as you work toward the race. Choose lots of runs on your training calendar and eat and drink the night before and also during the run. Use this to find out what kind of hydration and nutrition works for you. You don’t want issues to do with your stomach on race day.

By practicing your eating and drinking before the race, you give your body the chance to get used to it. Once you find something that works for you, stick to it all the way to race day. Don’t try anything new on the actual day.

Conclusion

Don’t take these mistakes lightly. Avoiding them is going to do a lot more for your success than you know. I certainly learned a lot from them, and I hope you do too. One thing’s for sure: successfully completing that race is going to be one of the best feelings of achievement ever. I sincerely wish you all the best!

Guest post: Becky Holton is a journalist and a blogger at best essay writing service uk, Dissertation-today.com. She is interested in education technologies, accounting assignment help and is always ready to support informative speaking at pro essay writing service. Follow her on Twitter.

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All Runners Should Incorporate CrossFit Into Their Training – Here’s Why

Image source: Pixabay

The number of people running has declined over the last few years around the world, but Asia is one of the few places where the number of participants is going up. Running is great for all-round fitness, but runners can up their game to stay ahead of the pack by incorporating CrossFit into their training. CrossFit exercises can improve fitness, strength and stamina in ways that solely running can’t, helping to improve your performance and reduce the risk of injury.

Why solely running can be problematic

Running largely focuses on the legs and cardiovascular system, and is a linear and repetitive movement. This can lead to the rest of the body not getting exercised to the same level as the legs, and can lead to an imbalance, which can then lead to injury. Solely running also has a higher chance of resulting in a plateau, which means as a runner you would need to run further or faster to maintain your current fitness level. This is why it’s important to incorporate other exercises, and CrossFit is an ideal way to do this.

CrossFit perfectly complements running

CrossFit exercises use your entire body by combining strength training, power lifting and gymnastic training, and improving your cardiovascular fitness, whereas running primarily uses only certain muscles and improves your fitness. Strengthening and training muscles in your legs that aren’t primarily used for running can still help to improve your running performance. CrossFit training benefits both the fast-twitch muscles, which are used for sprinting, and the slow-twitch muscles, used for long distances, so offers something for all types of runners. CrossFit will also help you to lose body fat and avoid plateaus, both of which can help to improve your speed and endurance, as well as maintain correct form when running, helping you to avoid injury.

Tips for runners starting CrossFit training

There are several ways to get started with CrossFit. You can buy some of the basic equipment you’ll need, including clothing and equipment, and workout at home, sign up to a class, or go all out and join a dedicated CrossFit gym. Start by learning and mastering basic exercises so that you can avoid injury, and then move onto regular exercises or classes where you can get more involved. You may be able to find gyms or online videos that focus on things like endurance that can help you to reach a specific running goal, so it’s worth looking into these. If you’re training for a race, then it’s a good idea to delay getting into CrossFit until afterwards, as you’ll be working muscles that you don’t usually use, which will cause aches and soreness. Ultimately, be sure to listen to your body.

Doing any exercise alongside running can help to reduce injuries, improve performance, and avoid plateaus, but CrossFit offers an all-round workout, which is why it comes top of the list. Getting into CrossFit is easy, but should be timed to fit in with your current running regime to avoid sore muscles at peak training times.

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Sembawang Hot Spring Park


I guess many Singaporeans don’t even know there’s a Hot Spring in Singapore 😍 The first time I went to Sembawang Hot Spring was many years ago when I was in Primary School. A friend brought me there because he felt bad that I fell when he tompang me on his bicycle. It was a very bad fall, I bled profusely and even vomitted. He brought me there a few weeks later in hope that the hot spring could help lighten my scar. But it’s a hot spring, not magic fountain lah 😂

It was a totally interesting experience as it was my first time to a hot spring as far as I could remember and I thought that there must be some generator underneath the ground that was boiling the water hot and thought what sorcery was that? But it’s science lah 😆

Read about the many negative reviews recently of the park goers experience. But my experience is not that bad actually. It’s just that everyone has to be mindful and considerate to others.

One example of being inconsiderate to others:

Didn’t even know the NPark renovated the place and totally forgotten about the place already after so many years till I saw the MP of Nee Soon South GRC posted on her Facebook! So I went immediately on the day after, on Sunday with a few running kakis 😍 And interestingly, saw the exact MP on the exact day hours later while I was eating breakfast at the coffee shop during her walk around and told her that the Hot Spring Park is very nice! ❤

General advise is that not all people is suitable to soak their legs with hot spring water or even generally hot/warm water due to their medical conditions, better to check with doctors first.


Singapore’s only Hot Spring is located along Gambas Avenue between Yishun and Sembawang and opens daily from 7am to 7pm. There’s also a cafe inside the park. There’s no carpark available so park goers have to park their car at the nearby HDB area and walk over. There is bicycle parking bay and the place is very wheelchair/pram friendly. There’s also a bicycle parking bay and water cooler.

We reached the Hot Spring before 8am and the place was already full of people that there wasn’t any space available at foot bath area, there’s quite a few layers of water with the highest level the hottest water and I touched the lowest level and the water and was just a little warm.

It’s interesting to see people bring eggs to cook with the sulphur water. Kok Heng also brought a few eggs with a container to soak the eggs. We got the pails provided shortly for all of us and found some space to sit under a shelter.

Some people even brought containers to fill up the hot spring water to bring back. Some people brought along their own pails and stools as well. Which is a clever idea as there are too many people and not enough pails for everyone. A taller pail would also be better so can soak the knee and calves too as the pails provided were only tall enough just till our ankle. The wooden pails are also not of good quality as well because a lot of the pails cracked and leaked already.

While we expected the eggs to be hard-boiled, the eggs turned out to be like the runny eggs we get from Ya Kun.

It’s a small and very pretty park and many can take many insta-worthy-shots.

It’s a great area to have a picnic too ❤

I’m glad I live in Yishun and now I have a new running spot for me to run to ❤

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Race Report: Runfest Richmond Marathon 2019

Race Report: Runfest Richmond Marathon 2019
Race Report: Runfest Richmond Marathon 2019

Training

It’s been a while since my first HM (May 2019) so I had plenty of time to prepare to the next stage. I committed to quite a high (for me) weekly mileage bar and gradually raised it up to 100-110K, then started descending 6 weeks prior to the race, at the same time making a bit more focus on 1-mile intervals and longer tempo runs to push forward my lactate threshold (LT). I also saved about two weeks to recover just before the race (with little light workouts involved), perhaps I could reserve more for it.

Weekly workouts schedule also included longer 2.5-3h runs to train stamina & practice fueling & hydrating, as I didn’t do such long races before. From my first HM (1:33:31) and intense training, I thought that having a stretch goal of 3:00:00 wouldn’t be unreasonable. My tactics were, to stick to the 3h pacer first half of the race and potentially go a bit faster in the 2nd half, and also to monitor my heart rate to stay in lower 160s, then gradually go up to the LT of ~170 BPM.

Pre-race

I had to commute to London before the race, so it was an early wake-up, then 1.5h of driving and parking, and I had just about an hour before the start for all the routines: toilets, warm-ups and changing clothes.

Beautiful Kew Gardens are Beautiful

Despite that, I felt pretty much excited about the race, and it played a bad joke with me. With 3:00h goal in mind, I took the front pens with all these fast guys in Nike VaporFlys and totally missed the 3h pacemaker (mistake 1).

Race

So I stuck to the front-ish group and maintained their pace pretty well (to my personal opinion at that moment). Then roughly after 5k, I realised that my HR is slightly more than planned, and there’s still no pacemaker I was looking for. Nevertheless, I decided to continue (mistake 2) and remained in the group. During the race so far, I was fuelling & hydrating myself well and felt pretty much ok, maybe just a bit tough because of staying close to the LT. After about 29k, I realised that my HR started getting into the danger zone, so I slowed down a bit. And quite soon I met the 3h pacer coming from behind (yeah, finally!) With my A goal still in mind, I stuck to this guy (mistake 3) and tried to follow the group for about 3K. This made things way worse and I got oxidised quite quickly. So the end of the race (last 8-9k) was very ungraceful and exhausting, the pace dropped to 4:40-4:50min/km. I still had some time reserves, but of course, it wasn’t enough to finish within the desired time frame.

The race itself was very well organised, a special thanks to course marshalls and volunteers. There were water stations & drinks. The course was very flat, although the surface could be better: some really unwanted trails, grass, old pavements and narrow sidewalks didn’t make life easier in road running shoes (I was in Saucony Freedom ISO).

Post-race

It felt quite tough, mentally and physically. My guess, it’s a lot because of the bad finish, and of course, because of trying such a race for the first time. It took just a few days to recover well and return back to normal workouts.

Just finished Richmond Marathon - This guy is so wasted

Later on, I went through the race a couple of times in my head to analyse what went wrong and why, to avoid them again next time. I’m still not exactly sure about exact reasons for my slowdown (getting beyond LT level is just my best guess), but still hope this experience would help someone!

Race Setup

The location was great, that’s for sure: Kew Gardens are so amazing! The course itself was really flat, as advertised. Plenty of water & fuel stations during the whole race. All necessary markings are in place, special thanks to the course marshalls!

As for the downsides, the course went through some quite narrow roads & sidewalks, not exactly suitable for such a crowd (to be fair, there was information on the official site). Also, some paths included grass/footpath surface, and often big old pavement stones, all being not quite suitable for the road running shoes. The finish line was in the field with little to no shadow at all and very much lacked some tents/cover as it was a hot sunny day. It also took a while to queue & get back to the parking (by the way, very much limited & costly in that area), nevertheless, there was a free of charge shuttle bus.

Goody Bag Reveal!

Runfest Richmond Marathon T-shirt

The goody bag was packed quite well, although some items were a bit questionable, especially washer detergent & washer no-smell granules. Finisher’s t-shirt is quite funky, and the medal is alright. Got some gels and bars as well.

Runfest Richmond Marathon Medal

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5 Tips for Getting Back in Shape After the Holidays

Image credit: 123RF

Winter holidays are known as a period of self-indulgence. Christmas meals are known to be rich and exercising is not as often as you want. You spend Christmas time and New Year’s Eve with your family and friends, chatting and drinking mulled wine. 

But after the winter holiday fever is over, most people realize that they went out of shape. Even though you might feel demotivated and defeated, you should not worry. You still have time to get in your summer body shape. 

But how do you motivate yourself to be committed to your goals? How do you stick to your sports routine without seeing any immediate effects?

Even though looking good comes with social benefits and higher self-esteem, it comes with effort and commitment too. Here are 5 sports tips that will help you get back in shape after the winter holidays. 

Start Slowly

Many people think that their shape maintains over the winter holiday. This is the biggest mistake you can do. During a gym break, your body deconditions itself. This means that it is not ready for the same difficult exercises you were doing before your gym break.

 Take it slowly and be patient. Your body will recover soon and you will be able to increase the difficulty of your sport exercises. But firstly, begin with lighter and shorter exercises. 

Because not being able to face the same exercises can overwhelm you. This can make you feel defeated and your motivation level can decrease considerably. Do not set high expectations. You need a few gym days to get you reused to exercising.

Start with 10 minutes per day and make sure that your exercises include three key aspects. Flexibility, cardiovascular endurance, and resistance training. Start slowly and do your exercises at your own pace. No one is rushing you and nor should you.

Take Care of Your Diet

Sticking to a healthy diet during winter holidays might be difficult. Your grandma for sure will urge you to eat more. It is important to return to a healthy diet when you begin exercising. Your body needs the right nutrients and you need to increase your sports experience.

Add to your diet only good proteins, carbohydrates or fats. Keep in mind that you should stay hydrated to help your body being fit. 

It is important to do everything you can to get back in shape and altering your diet in addition to exercise is the right way to do it. It would be harder for you to get back in shape if you continue to eat fast food or unhealthy nutrients.

Choose the aliments that offer you the nutrients you need in small quantities. For example, avocado, full-fat Greek yogurt, and eggs are perfect when you want to lose weight. Shakes of frozen berries and nuts are the right choice for your morning. 

Set Yourself Goals

The process of setting goals is very important because it helps you maintain your motivation level high. The effects of your diet and exercise are visible after some time, so there is the possibility to become demotivated. Here is the moment when you should set some goals.

Do not think about something huge, but of something simple, time-bounded and realistic. A bigger goal can be broken into smaller goals that can help you attain what you want.

And when you achieve a goal, take a moment and reward yourself. It does not have to be something big, but something that will help you make you feel more satisfied and prouder of yourself. 

Take a One Month Challenge 

Getting back in shape might seem harder at the beginning. After a holiday of self-indulgence, your motivation level might be low. If you want to make exercising a routine again, you can start with a one-month challenge.

There are a lot of yoga studios and gyms that offer one-month fitness programs that can help you regain your motivation and shape. They put your perseverance to test while not being overwhelming.

Because if you want to attain your goals, you can do this by breaking them into smaller time frames. You will feel better when you will see that you managed to do it and you will feel like it. 

Get an Exercise Buddy

Sometimes having a buddy with the same goals as yours can help you be more motivated. You can lift each other when you do not feel like exercising. This way you stick to your exercises routine while making it fun. 

It is also important to not be harsh on yourself and think only about the gym. It is not only about the gym because there are a lot of exercises that can be done at home. Keep in mind that you should do sports for at least 30 minutes per day.

So, you can also walk the dogs or do a yoga session to stretch your muscles. Alternate more types of sports to regain your shape and keep fit. 

Conclusion

Even though winter holidays are a period of self-indulgence, traditional foods and a decrease in exercising, some sports tips can help you get back in shape. Do not be harsh on yourself and think only about the gym. Some exercises can be done at home and if you find an exercise buddy it would be easier.

Stick to your exercising routine and take one-month challenges to gradually build your motivation. Set small goals and reward yourself. Start with shorter and lighter exercises and you will soon get back in shape. 

Guest author: Becky Holton is a journalist and a blogger at college paper writing services, essay writing service. She is interested in education technologies and is always ready to support informative speaking at academic writing services uk. Follow her on Twitter.

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How Much to Join a Race in Singapore in 2019, and How it has Changed Since 5 Years Ago

In 2019, about 110 pay-to-participate running events took place in Singapore including road races, trail runs, walks, multi-sport events and obstacle races (source: JustRunLah!’s Race Database).

As the year is coming to an end, let us have a look at the pricing trends and make a comparison with five years ago.

Average ticket prices in 2019

Pricing structures for running events can be rather complex, and usually come in different tiers (Early Bird / Normal / Late). Further, discounts and special perks might apply for club members, loyal customers or holders of certain credit cards. For the sake of comparison, we will consider the prices available to the general public (open categories) at the highest tier, for each event.

We grouped events into four clusters, based on the distance: (a) Full Marathons, (b) 20-40km events (including Half Marathons), (c) 10-19km events and (d) 5-9km events. Timed and non-timed events are included in the study. On the other hand, ultra-marathons, duration-based runs, multi-sports, and events shorter than 5km have been excluded. No further separation between trail, road or themed events was done.

A comparison with 2014

Looking at 47 events from 2014 that fit the same criteria, we found that the biggest price hikes occurred in the longer-distance categories. The largest change was seen in the Full Marathon category, at about +27.76% (+$22). The 20-40km event group followed next, with a +17.00% hike, while prices for the shorter-distance events did not have very dramatic changes (+5.68% for the 10-19km events and +3.70% for the 5-9km event group).

A shortcoming of grouping different events when looking at the ticket prices by distance alone is that different events might provide different entitlements or take place in very different venues. For example, events that require road closure would generally be expected by pricier than those done in parks, due to the organisational costs alone.

To correct for such discrepancies, we anonymised and compared nine recurring events of various distances at a one-to-one basis, as shown in the following chart. These events have been taking place since 2014 at comparable venues and with comparable entitlements. On average, the ticket price of recurring events has increased by 23.50% during the last five years, when compared individually.

Runner’s entitlements

Lastly, we had a look at the entitlements given out in events of different categories, and how they compare with 2014. Below are the most important points:

  • 100% of Singapore events, despite the category, gave a participation t-shirt to their runners in 2019. Five years ago, only about 82% of events did so.
  • Across all categories, about 35% of events gave out a finisher t-shirt, a percentage that is consistent with 2014. Interestingly, in the 10-19km group, the number of events giving a finisher t-shirt increased to 30% from about 7%. A drop, on the other hand, was seen in the 5-9km event group.
  • In regards to issuing a finisher medal, the share of events rose to 87% in 2019 from 82% back in 2014, and the largest increase was in the shorter distance group.

How do you feel about the ticket prices and value for money? What would you like to see in 2020? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Stand out from the Crowd with These Cool Running Caps

Caps have many uses when it comes to running. Ventilation, hair control, aerodynamics, narrowing of vision to enhance focus and protection from the external environment are just some of them. Style and fashion is another use of a running cap but if you want to really stand out from your running peers, wear a cap that looks good, fits your specification requirements and at the same time, one that reflects your personality, ideals and passion for running. There are loads of choices out there but here are just 6 recommendations for you to get started on your running cap choosing journey!

SOAR Running

SOAR running is a company from the UK that focusses on creating performance gear for ambitious amateur runners looking to hit their fitness goals. Its style and branding gives SOAR a unique twist and offers runners something different from the conventional. This all- weather purpose cap has laser cut ventilation holes for air flow, a single elastic lock cord at the back to adjust the size and a reflective logo in the front. It is made from 100% polyester and the fabric wicks sweat and dries quickly.

Salomon XA Cap

The Saloman XA unisex running cap functions well in changing weather conditions. It’s mesh side vents let your head breathe as you heat up while wind-resistant fabric blocks the chilly breeze. It is 100% polyester and has reflective details on the back to add visibility. Enjoy the convenience that it gives because of its thin and lightweight material that makes it easy to store and also fit into your luggage when you travel to your next run-cation destination. Saloman delivers on its promise of style once again with its Fjord blue (shown in picture) design that looks awesome and is easy to match with other running gear.

Patagonia Duckbill


 

Patagonia’s history dates back to 1953 and is a brand that strives to be environmentally and socially responsible. This cap in particular, is fair trade certified and made of lightweight 100% recycled nylon. The brim is made from foam that folds easily and fits into your pocket. It’s open mesh design on the rest of the cap dissipates heat and is ideal for ultra- runners who require a high level of ventilation. Weighing only 43g, it has an adjustable rear buckle and a dark underbill that reduces glare.

Fractel Running Cap Autumn/Winter ’19 Collection


 

This unisex cap from Fractel is part of its Kaptiva collection. Designed in Australia, it was built to survive the harsh Australian elements without sacrificing on style. Its vintage looks are accentuated by the embroidered logo at the front and rear portions of the cap and is worn by the new age runner who dares to take the path less travelled. Fractel prides itself as a brand whose style promotes adventure and uniqueness, for a community that loves to get outside, run and enjoy the outdoors.

Buff Pro Run Cap



Stick out like a sore thumb as the camera snaps a shot of everyone at the start line of your next charity run. Not only does the Buff Pro Run cap come in many striking colors and designs, it is built for high-intensity usage and strikes a balance pretty well between comfort and performance. It has laser cut ventilation holes to keep your head cool during those long runs and the cap even has a multi-directional sunglass holder for you to keep your sporty eyewear firmly in place while you are running.

NRG Tailwind Convertible Camouflage-Print Nylon Cap


Nike’s subsidiary, ‘ACG’ (All Conditions Gear) started in the 1980s. It created a wide range of products one of them being this, ‘tailwind’ cap that gives you the option of two styles in one, as the top half zips off to convert into a visor. With the option of black and blue, it boasts an appliquéd designer emblem with a camouflage design and is made from 91% polyester and 9% elastane. Not just functional but stylish as well!

Are there any ideas popping out in your mind after reading this article? Comment down below and share your ideas!

This disclaimer informs readers that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed belong solely to the author and do not represent the views of the brands and/or companies mentioned in the text of this article.

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Gear Review: ASICS GlideRide for Easy Mileage Building in Long Runs

ASICS GlideRide review

Here it is, ASICS GlideRide — a consumer-friendly version of the truly innovative ASICS MetaRide, a result of more than two years of R&D from the famous Japanese brand. With the little sacrificed on the high-end components, they managed to make these innovations available for the wider audience of runners, but they still share a lot in common with the original prototype. Extreme curvature, Flytefoam and Guidesole technologies, together with ASICS Gel pretend to let you run longer and save energy as you go. To figure out what all the hype is about, let’s put them on and take for a test drive!

A shorter and post-processed version of the video review for shoes review platform is available

Appearance

The pair I’ve got comes in the eye-catching cherry red colour with inserts of black plastic & rubber elements all around. One could disagree but they look exceptionally stunning and eye-catching, especially with that extremely high stack of roughly 30mm at the heel and 25mm at the forepart.

Asics GlideRide review - high stack profile
Asics GlideRide review - thick heels Asics GlideRide review - lifted up foreshoe

With a high stack, GlideRide still has a low heel to toe drop of about 5mm

The shoe upper is made of a breathable fabric, it looks and feels quite strong and solid — the brand is well-known for producing a quality mesh, and this pair doesn’t seem to disappoint. You can see ASICS logo made of a black rubber: quite neat, way better than just a sticker. The tongue is made of very well padded material, again with the plastic/rubber thingy on top. Though I was tempted to tear these two off wondering about how much does it weigh… But let’s move on.

The midsole, this is the heart of these shoes and where the innovation actually happens. I didn’t cut them like this merciless dude, but generally, it’s a shaky combination of the top-notch foam (Flytefoam) and something more solid, perhaps EVA-like material (Guidesole). Altogether, it should bring an extra stiffness into the forepart and facilitate the rolling movement that propels your feet forward. We will touch this a little bit later in the Performance section. And since it’s ASICS shoes, you can surely find an ASICS Gel insert in the heel part, so heel strikers are covered.

Asics GlideRide - minimalist outsole with thin rubberThe outsole features quite a minimalist pattern

Moving on, the outsole. This is basically just a thin layer of rubber, implemented in a way of a band that goes on the left & right parts. It feels extremely thin, especially for the long-distance running shoe and I would just hope it lasts long enough. With little diamond-shaped clits, it has maybe 2-3mm thickness and a bit more on the heel part. From the very first look, it becomes apparent that these shoes are only for the road running, and you should better stay away from the trail or pathways — literally, anything apart from the good flat surface.

Fit & Comfort

ASICS GlideRide fits quite well when you put them on. They are not too tight, you can feel enough space in the toe box. The upper shoe fabric doesn’t stretch much, it’s not of a sock-fit kind of the shoe. There is also a protective element in the toe box: a few thin plastic inserts guard you against sudden hits and also help to keep the toe box wide enough.

Asics GlideRide review - extra guards for your toeboxThe toe box is guarded with a thin plastic “shield” under the fabric

The lacing of the shoe make makes a very good impression: it stays on exactly how you made it and doesn’t stretch at all during the run. Laces are also of high quality and don’t seem to loosen at all as you go. Importantly, the lacing rows leave enough space for the tongue, so it pops up in front of your ankle and doesn’t put any pressure during the run.

The back part of the shoe is very stiff and keeps your feet in an upright position very well. I was barely able to bend it left to the right with hands. At the same time, there is enough of soft cushioning inside, they feel quite plush and comfy. You would expect them to give a good level of comfort in longer runs and marathons. However, don’t expect any extra support for your pronation: they are still on the neutral side. This also pairs well with a quite low heel to toe drop (about 5mm), which makes them quite good for the forefoot running style, but can take you a while to get used to the higher shoe stack.

I actually tried them on longer distances: after a single 20K run, I didn’t feel any soreness in the feet area and no blisters at all. Again, they felt very soft inside, but stiff outside, just what I would like to have in longer runs. Be cautious though, and don’t jump into your next long run straight after unboxing: the trainers’ geometry is a bit special and YMMV. Instead, start slowly with shorter runs, as it is recommended for the new shoes.

On the contrary, there is one thing that concerns me most and makes this pair a bit controversial: the weight. So mine were about 308g a shoe in 10.5US size, which is… well, noticeably more than other top models would have. It wasn’t a point to compare them with Nike Vaporfly or similar, but still, I would love to see them just a bit lighter (was it really worth to put those rubber & plastic decorations on the upper?)

Asics GlideRide - 300g is a lot for top notch modelOver 300g per shoe in US10.5 size is quite a lot for today’s top models

Despite that fact, they feel quite balanced, with the weight evenly distributed. They force you to lean forward and start moving immediately, even if you are just standing still. So enough rambling, and let’s get to the road to give them some test!

On the Road

To figure out how these shoes actually perform on the road, I made two separate tests in them. For the first one, I made a couple of 400m sprint repetitions, mainly, to understand if there is a little chance you could do any kind of speed training. Good news, it’s not that bad. Of course, they still stay on the heavy side, but they don’t feel anyhow bulky or huge. It can take some time to get used to the high profile of 3cm, but 70-75sec per 400m is perfectly doable and GlideRide doesn’t stop you going even faster than that. Overall, it was a rather positive experience with just two concerns: a bit of extra weight and lack of stability on the uneven surface because of the high stack, meaning that your feet can go a little wiggling when you hit the pothole edges or cracks in asphalt.

For another test, I took them for a longer run, and in the 20K I was aiming for a negative split as I usually do, also doing some occasional sprints in between. Running with GlideRide feels very smooth from the beginning, they don’t feel big or bulky at all. Compared to the speed strides, this extra weight is not so noticeable. Shoes also respond really well when I want to go faster, and I’m not trapped by the shoes’ extra weight. In the end, I did a couple of tempo intervals during the run, reaching my half-marathon pace, and it was quite easy to sustain it.

Another thing that I noticed was, the feet movement feels a bit different compared to how it was in my regular shoes. In particular, I was running on the forepart with seemingly no heel involved at all. It was even more prominent than I usually do with my natural running style. So I decided to dig a bit deeper into how these shoes actually work.

Asics GlideRide - High curvatiure profile helps your feet propelling forward Asics GlideRide - High curvatiure profile helps your feet propelling forward
Asics GlideRide - High curvatiure profile helps your feet propelling forward Asics GlideRide - High curvatiure profile helps your feet propelling forward

The front part of a stiffer midsole is lifted up to help your feet rolling

I made a few more tests to figure out what’s going on with my feet when I run ASICS GlideRide. So here is what I figured out: when you run in common low profile shoes, you are bending the forepart of a midsole. Just look at any running analysis video in slow motion. With the high stack and the stiffer midsole, you don’t have to bend the midsole during your Gait cycle transition, when you land and pass the centre of mass. In fact, you’re kind of rolling from the middle part to the front, which is handled by the shoe’s structure.

So here is an interesting consequence: because of this rolling motion, your ankles now need to flex less, which typically means you save more energy in the muscles. This should be especially valuable for the longer runs like half or full marathons and beyond. The only remaining concern would be an extra weight to carry — that’s the pay-off what actually facilitates this glide running movement. Altogether, this can sound a bit controversial, but personally I would be quite excited to test ASICS GlideRide in the actual marathon race.

Durability

To the date of writing this review, I made about 90 miles in these shoes and they seem to have a few marks of wear and tear. While the upper of the shoe looks completely fine, there are some stains and marks on the midsole sides. In practice, it’s quite often for the light-coloured foam, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see more of such stains after doing more miles.

The outsole remains in pretty good shape, although the most stressed parts have scratches and started erasing slowly, especially the smaller clits on the sides and hills. I’m still quite concerned about the outsole rubber layer being too thin for the long-distance running shoe, and therefore not sure if it won’t erase down to the foam after next few hundred miles.

Asics GlideRide - Wear and tear spots start appearing after around 50 miles Asics GlideRide - Wear and tear spots start appearing after around 50 miles

The outsole rubber started erasing slowly on the forepart and the heel

Speaking of weather resistance, I made some runs when it was pouring outside and it was… well, as expected. There’s a slight feeling of having some water repellent properties in the beginning, however, please don’t expect any real water protection. The good news here is that the water is unlikely to be getting inside just because of you running through the little puddles or generally wet surface, mainly thanks to the shoe’s profile.

Asics GlideRide - little to no traction forces you to stick to the hard surface

GlideRide has nothing to do with anything apart from asphalt or other hard flat surfaces

As for mud or grass… well, again, these are just road running shoes, so you’d better stay away from any muddy roads or wild pathways. Otherwise, if you do some occasional trails, be ready for the loss of traction & your feet slippering all the way through. There’s little to no spikes or anything for good traction away from the asphalt. After all, you were not supposed to go there, right?

Blitz

A quick recap of the review in five short questions:

  • Which terrain are they for? Road only, hard surface.
  • What distance? Long-distance running.
  • Training or racing? Training, because of excessive weight. Though GlideRide certainly have the potential to be racing shoes and I would like to give them a chance in my next marathon.
  • Shoe profile? High profile, low heel to toe drop, nicely cushioned.
  • What’s so special? Glider profile & stiff hi-tech midsole that keeps your ankles lazy, nice and responsive foam and, of course, impressive look.

Conclusion

Simply put, ASICS GlideRide is your comfy mileage builder. The trainers certainly share a lot of common with their prototype-like model MetaRide, in terms of technologies and overall design, although GlideRide turned out to be on the heavier side. Whilst it leaves a bit sad feeling that they could do more, I generally like that companies are getting more and more involved into real research & development, and trying to bring new innovation into the running sport. It’s hard to say if this pair from Japanese brand could be a real competitor to, for example, Nike Vaporfly series or similar top-performing shoes, but it’s definitely a step forward. Some people have already got used to the high profile of Hoka One One or On Running Cloud series, so I would expect GlideRide to be also quite appreciated among road runners.

Do not climb on benches

Author’s running profile

  • Weight: 69kg, height: 185cm
  • Avg. distance weekly: 80-100km
  • PB: 1:26 HM and 3:05 FM
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Gear Review: Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 (by Bryan Hoo)

Named for HOKA Athlete Karl “Speedgoat” Meltzer, the Speedgoat is designed to tackle the toughest terrain. Now in its 4th iteration, the Speedgoat 4 continues to impress with improvements from its predecessors. 

Some background on my experience with the Speedgoat 3; I have two pairs clocking mileages over 600km and more than 300km respectively. I never had any issues with the Speedgoat considering that I have slightly wider feet and often pair it with thicker socks such as the Injinjis. Speedgoat is known to be narrower as compared to its counterpart models.

In my personal opinion, a good pair of trail running shoes should encompass a good grip while providing sufficient protection for the feet. Having to run through various terrains in trail running including unpaved rocky, muddy or slippery grounds during rainy days. I spend most of my time training between Macritchie Reservoir and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and there is a wide variation of trails in just 10 – 20 kilometres.

Design & Comfort

With the Speedgoat 4, it continues to boast the strength of the previous iterations with the perfect amount of cushioning, amazing traction (Vibram Megagrip) and a newly improved breathable mesh upper. 

Hoka has moulded the Speedgoat 4 for an improved toebox for a wider and more comfortable fit. The midsole also now contains a lighter weight foam for a more responsive ride and packs the same amount of cushioning as the previous iteration. I used to avoid running through rocky surfaces with lower drop shoes. Now, I can run right through knowing the cushion and reinforced toe bumper is sufficient to protect my feet.

Good news for runners with wider feet or prefers roomier toe boxes, the Speedgoat 4 is now available in various widths including a 2E (Wide) version!

Performance

For grip, the Speedgoat 4 continues to have a Vibram MegaGrip outsole developed specifically for wet and slippery surfaces. A shoe with good grip also gives you much confidence in descending! The Speedgoat 4 also sports an updated mesh upper, improved gusseted tongue featuring strategic cutouts which all in all provides more breathability.

Conclusion

All in all, the Speedgoat 4 welcome distinct improvements in the toebox and upper layer. I have personally worn the Speedgoat for days in the mountains without many setbacks. The only drawback for this shoe is that runners who prefer to have more ‘feel’ for the trails might not get comfortable with the Speedgoat due to it’s much cushioning.

Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 is available in Singapore at Running Lab and LIV ACTIV stores for S$259.

Some features of the Speedgoat 4 include:

  • Updated mesh upper provides breathability
  • 3D printed overlays provide additional midfoot support and lockdown for a more secure feel
  • Gusseted tongue features strategic cutouts for breathability
  • Lacing eye-rows contain a small winged component to ensure a secure fit
  • Midsole features a new lightweight foam for a more responsive ride
  • Wider forefoot offers a more stable ride and accommodating fit
  • Vibram® Megagrip rubber outsole provides grip in wet and dry conditions
  • 5mm “stepped” lugs offer additional support and stability
  • Zonal rubber placement adds support and stability

About the author:

Bryan’s interest in trail running started as a means to improve his fitness when he was into competitive Dragonboat racing. He then moved on and finished more than 20 Ultra trail races locally and internationally, some of which emerged in top placings. The world of endurance running has opened plenty of possibilities for him as he frequently travels to compete in races. Recently, he travelled to Italy to participate in one of the world’s toughest races, the Tor des Géants, being the only Singaporean to complete this year. Bryan believes that ultra running not only helps to push himself out of his comfort zone but also to see the world from various perspectives.

* Disclaimer: This review represents the genuine, unbiased views of the author. The author was provided with a trial unit. Hoka One One’s products have been and might currently be advertised on JustRunLah! via different channels, however, these relationships do not influence the editorial content of reviews.
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How To Take Running From a Hobby to a Career by Becoming a Coach

Running, and in particular, themed running events, continues to gain popularity in Singapore. As the country commits to getting more fit and more people to adopt exercise as a part of their daily routine, one of the most popular sports of choice has been running. In addition to the mental health benefits cited, adopting running as a habit can help you disconnect and experience the all common runner’s high. In addition to being a great all-round form of exercise, running can also prove to be a viable career options thanks to its rising popularity and global appeal. As a lover of running, becoming a running coach allows you to do something you’re passionate about in a market where demand is strong. However, like all entrepreneurial ventures, getting started as a running coach takes some preparation to ensure your running business is successful.

The Qualification Side Of It: Do I Need To Get Certified?

Before you make the leap into being a running coach, you need to consider whether you need to get certified. Many runners include coaching certification as one of their criteria when looking for a running coach in Singapore. For some, this could take the form of being trained by professional runners team facilities or physiotherapy and nutritional classes aimed at runners. When choosing a training and certification program, you want to identify your coaching style and opt for a program that supports this (i.e. motivational, beginners, online coaching). You will also want to research any national certifications needed for sports management such as foundational diplomas offered by universities, the Marathon Running Coach Certification Program or the Legacy Running Coach Certification.

The Business Model Side Of It: Do I Need A Workspace?

Once you are certified to be a running coach its time to start thinking about building your business. As an entrepreneur, there are decisions you will have to make about the business model you wish to operate under. Mapping out what a training session would look like, whether it will be outdoors or indoor based and if you will offer home service for training clients. Also, think about whether you will offer nutritional advice as a supplementary service are just some of the decisions you need to make.

In addition, your customer client base will need to be considered. As a coach just starting out you will need a plan to acquire running clients and get the word out about your coaching services. Some rely on past athletic performance or word of mouth while others choose to go the marketing route with digital and print ads. While on the topic of customers, another consideration to keep in mind is the maximum amount of clients you can handle and a client rotation system.

The Financial Protection Of It: Do I Need Liability Insurance?

There are several key insurance policies needed for small businesses like your new training business including professional liability, property and renter’s insurance. As a trainer, you will be providing advice. This can open you up for a liability lawsuit due to injury or dissatisfaction with your running program. Securing a personal trainer insurance policy means you are protected if someone is injured due to your direction. Also, any sporting equipment such as a training arena is protected against theft or damage. Finally and possibly, more importantly, you also want to think about securing an insurance policy that includes income compensation so that any loss of income due to injury on your part is covered.

The Time Commitment Side Of It: Does It Fit Into Your Current Schedule?

Finally, consider how much time you are willing to commit to being a running coach. Some may choose to make it a full-time career while others may opt to use it as an additional income source. In the beginning whilst you are securing clients and getting your running business off the ground, income may be unstable and low. You also need to have a plan for this period. For example, do you have built up savings and a rainy day fund for personal expenses? Alternatively, you could set up passive income streams and be able to dedicate your time to be a running coach without worrying about not meeting payment deadlines.

If you are an avid fan of running, why not take the leap and make it a job that you love? There is certainly a market for running coaches and it gives you the freedom to design your training program to be unique from the bottom up. But before you do that there are a few steps you need to take to make it a viable career. Follow them and you can make your passion your career.

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Review: Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2019 (by healthobeing)

Finisher Medal for HM

Joined this year for the half marathon, actually, it was my first half marathon with SCMS, it was either 10km or FM.  Ever since I stopped running the SCMS full marathon in 2014, I have been doing the 10km with Running Hour buddies and for the first time this year doing a HM.

Somehow SCMS marks the year-end for many runners in Singapore, after all it is the major marathon for Singapore.  Ironman has now taken over as the organizer for this event and it is much anticipated by runners locally and regionally.

Race bib with tee

Race pack goodies

This year is the first time they are organizing it a night on a Saturday.  Race pack collection was at Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre.   I did not manage to go there this time as a running hour guide was kind enough to render his help to collect for all of us.

At the starting Pen in F1 pit

The race itself took place on the evening of 30 November 2019 at 6:00 onwards with different waves. FM ( 42.195 km ) and HM (21KM) flagged off together.  My team had Shu Hao, Claire and one more person were there to guide Ryan, a boy with special needs.

In the beginning it was still okay we managed to run in cadence properly, but after a while , Ryan got restless and we all realise that we forgot to prepare the music that he needed while running!  The rest is history, but to cut the long story short, we did manage to get our mission completed but it was really not easy for me.  One thing I learnt from this event was that when you are guiding someone, it is best that you have done some preparation run with him beforehand, and also find out what are their needs to get prepared for them.

I must say the choice to put the race at night ( but not so late like Sundown Marathon) is quite a good choice, judging that hot sun in the morning will probably kill most on the West Coast Highway.  Also, the timing is just right when you finish, its probably good for supper and some good sleep.

Some supporters on top of Helix bridge

First time running on the West Coast Highway, I really enjoyed this run, although some complained of Humid weather, to me I felt it was breezy enough, maybe I just like a little bit of heat.

Waterpoint support was pretty good, as the table runs very long, but maybe because I am at the really last few waves, the floor got really messy with the smashed paper cups and wet ground.  But I guess that was kinda expected and nothing much we can do since there are so many runners!

Finishing Line

Runners finish their race in the Floating platform after which, they are all directed towards the F1 pit to collect the runners’ entitlements, medals, tee shirts ( for FM), food and refreshments.  Fresh cold towels were also dished out to the runners.  At as we walked out of the long stretch of goodies, the runners get back into the race village where there were distinctive meeting point for them to rest and reunite with their family and friends.

Finisher Medal for HM

Medals

I would say Standard Chartered Marathon has changed pretty much over the years, although no longer in Padang and no longer having the heartbreaking Sheares Bridge.  The race is still a “must do” for many Singaporean runners as they close their running calendar and prepare for another new year of running feats.  The feeling is mixed, but I guess change is inevitable especially for Singapore, where things always change very fast.  But I do hope all runners enjoyed this race and hopefully more PBs.

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Running My 9th Marathon: SCSM2019 (by KenJoe)

This is an account of the 9th marathon which I did with Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2019 and the 10 km race the morning after.  (The event was a well organized one in my opinion.  But I won’t be going into the usual review in this blog.  Perhaps another long discussion on another occasion.)

At the Expo – Start with the End in Mind

I am reminded how I started to run back in 2015 a bit seriously. Although it was very much Forrest Gump style.  Woke up one day and then went running,  wearing the one and only pair of ‘running’ shoes I had then.  Those days, I think my running shoes are supposed to last me a few years.  These days I wore them out in a few months.

I am an ordinary runner and maybe average or below average pace runner depending on how kind you want to be to me.  Past race records showed usually, 10 km was done within 1:10 (hh:mm).  21.1 km was done around 2:38 hr and 42.195 km was more like 6:30 hours.  For the longest time (almost 5 years) I was stuck above 6 hours for marathon, PB was 6:06:07 for an overseas marathon where weather conditions were more conducive.

This year also, a few differences set in as I prepared for my marathon challenge.  In July, after I cleared with the specialists on the lump on my right flank, discovered by the GP, I started to look ahead to the marathon, end of the year.  (Was a miracle of sort as the lump disappeared in 3 months when I ignored it.  Thank God.)

Luckily I caught the National Day discount and so got a special price.   I had collated my own running stats on long run from Strava and Garmin.  I noticed that I will slow down to 10 min pace in the late 30s of the distance.  I usually experienced intense pain on my feet amongst other stuff.  I had stabilized to using Injinji socks which I felt reduce the occurrence of getting black toe nails, the most constant bug for me.

For the numbers, it was easy.  On paper if I kept to an average of 8.5 min per km, then I should complete the marathon in 5 hours 59 min.  This means taking off 7 min from my PB.  I didn’t think it was impossible but it requires efforts because in marathon race each time, I was doing my best already.  So it means going beyond what had been my limit. Can I do it, cutting off almost 10 seconds consistently for each km, 42 times?  Never try, never know.

For this time round too, I incorporated longer runs into my training.  Again that is relative.  I would include a couple of 16 km distance training runs per week.  In the past, I don’t really do more than 10 km or 12.  Largely also because I was having all the back pain due to my bike fall (see old blogs).  And I planned to run at least one 32 km race before this : the SGRun.

Then again, some rocks were thrown onto my path.  I  caught some viral fever somehow. Didn’t feel well at all with each passing day.  After 3 weeks of very short distance runs (I tried to maintain the runs) I suddenly found myself having Plantar Fasciitis (PF) on left foot.  I didn’t give up though.  I went looking for my tennis ball and rolled my soles over it whenever I could.  I also did some stretching of the calf muscles.  Things which I have done in the past episodes of PF.  Luckily they worked again and I was back to almost normal in just above a month’s time.

About the time when I discovered I had PF, my FB friend (TyreLady) invited me to be one of the Low Carbon Zero Waste runners.  I was a bit hesitant as I wasn’t in the same league as fast runners nor low carbon zero waste consciousness.  But I agreed after a days’ thought and she also challenged me to keeping to sub-6 hours for this marathon.  I wasn’t sure then how long I would take to recover from PF.  Pressure was building.  A few days later too, I was given another challenge : whether I want to complete another 10 km race after the marathon.  I accepted too.

I have been wondering if I should still run with a message to fight against cancer at this point.  I decided that they were not mutually exclusive causes so I made my challenge public to race against the clock.  By this time I only had about two months left.  I did two 32 km races, 6 weeks and 4 weeks (Oxfitt2) before the marathon.  I tried out both ‘strategies’ I had thought of.. the first 32 km was done more by feel and the second with a goal of doing a negative split.  Outcome was that the second was done with time improvement.  It gave me some confidence.

I plan to run with the first 32 km of the marathon with the average pace of 8:20 min per km.  That will see me finishing 32 km at 4 hours 27 min and even if I slowed down to 9 min, I should make it – 1.5 hours added.  Again on paper.

That day as I stood at the pen awaiting the flag off, I told myself this was it.  I just have to execute the plan and checked against my Garmin.   When I started to run, I felt it was very very humid.  More so than usual.  For the first 2 km, I had allowed myself to go faster than the pace; idea was to go with the flow as I usually couldn’t slow down too much at beginning.  After the race, when I checked I found it wasn’t as fast as I had thought.

The crowd was thick so it was not as fast as I expected.  In the third km (and subsequent km too), my Garmin went haywire, probably due to the tall buildings or the crossing of the signals from the many runners.  And I knew that I couldn’t take the Garmin readings for the pace – it was registering much faster pace than it should be.  I started looking out for the mileage signposts and was doing mental calculations against time shown, as I went along.  For some reasons I felt I was slower than my usual training runs but I put that thought aside and just focused on keeping my form. (Humidity was high at 90%.)

I stopped at every hydration station and took the drinks.  I made sure I trashed the cups into the bins and even bent to pick up gel tags once when I saw it.  I wish I had a broader back to show the print I had, to remind runners to trash their cups properly.  10 km onwards, the roads were strewn with discarded cups.  The bins were on the left of the road near each hydration station.  But I guessed a number of runners had felt it would be a hassle to just throw the used cups into the bins provided.  I have to confess that it was a bit frustrating to see all the cups lying there, making the road surface a bit hazardous especially when it was still filled with water.

At 22 km or thereabouts, for the first time I felt a stomach ache coming in a marathon race.  This was no good.  I didn’t want to stop.   I thought I would go on and see how things go.  I continued trying to maintain the pace.  But at about this time too, I realized I wasn’t going as fast as I had planned.I knew there were other fellow low carbon zero waste runners running and Tyrelady as well.  But I thought they would be ahead anyway so it was not surprising to me that I didn’t bump into them.  I only saw a familiar back, that of my ‘strava’ friend (he gave kudos to me when I run at the park connector each and every run) and he was a fast and regular runner.  I called his name and he turned back.  He was surprised and said I was sharp to spot him since it was fairly dark then.  I asked him to go on as I knew he was at least 2 min pace ahead of me usually.  (After the race, he had told me he had hit the wall at 30 km and his timing for this race was longer than expected.)

After that, I was pretty focused on keeping my pace.  After 35 km, I knew I still have a slim probability of hitting sub-6.   I knew this race I was better at keeping my pace and I was in better form vs previous years.  My fractured spine had almost completely healed, there were some occasions when I could still feel the old pain. All the thoughts of this last two months’ of more structured approach to training came back.  This goaded me to carry on running.  In the previous races I would have slowed down to 10 plus min pace.  I tried hard to keep to below 9:00 this time at my slowest. Push on.  Go get the sub-6 hour target, I told myself.  By my Garmin it was still close.

I didn’t let up even when we reached the Sheares Bridge towards the end.  Later I found I had a PR on this stretch vs past races.  Up till when I finally crossed the finishing line, I was still fighting to get to my target result.  It was with a lot of disappointment that when I glanced again at my Garmin as I crossed the line, I saw 6:01…

Failed by 1 min 27 seconds.I went on to collect my medal and finisher tee.  I decided to go to the medical tent because I wasn’t feeling too well.  They took my temperature and found I was at 39.5 degrees Celcius.  They placed ice all over my body to try and bring the temperature down.  I was feeling a bit giddy but I thought it was good too as I needed to recover more quickly for me to get back for the 10 km race.  After some minutes I was down to 38.5.

I knew my toe nails were toasted – they felt sticky and painful in their socks. After another few minutes the medical team took the temperature again and declared I was back to 37.  I thanked them and got up slowly and went on my way to get home.  By the time I ate my dinner (two fan choy) and showered, I realized I had two hours before I had to wake up.  In the end I slept for an hour and then started my prep to get to the venue again.I reached there in good time and again the flag off was on time and it was still good weather.  The pressure on me was off.

My legs were alright surprisingly.  My feet didn’t feel good but I was able to still jog.  This time round I even made a detour to the toilet to pee and then got back to the route again.  By this time, the 10 km race was a good recovery for me – to look at it with the proper perspective.

It is a new PB for me with 6:01:27.  Shaved off nearly 5 minutes translating to 8.566 min per km instead of targeted 8.5 min per km.  And I’m still able to jog 10 km the following morning.   Victory would have been sweeter if I hit 5:59.   I set out as ordinary Joe and I had tried my best always to get to the finishing line.  It wasn’t the day for me to get my sub-6 but well, I got my PB on local grounds.  For fast runners this may sound funny.  But a marathon tests individual’s resolve to do one’s best.  This is nowhere near a good time by any measures.  I still remember some folks commenting years ago that it would have been better for me not to run given I took such a long time and I’m not exactly young.  Going on to 57 soon.  If I listened to them perhaps I won’t be improving on my times

Just like the cause I was running for.  To fight on.  To fall is alright.  You just need to pick yourself up and keep on going.  One day you will get what you focus on.  When you give up then that’s the end.  Every runner will have his day, tomorrow if not today if he keeps on going.

So I still hope folks will be generous in donating to the cause (previous blog) though I failed the challenge.  Whatever, cancer patients and their families cannot give up. So till the next blog, run safe, run happy and stay strong.

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