Friday, April 11, 2014

Lim Thow Wee - 2hr 48min 49sec Paris Marathon 2014 (6th March 2014) Interview

By Miss Rajendran

Picture 1 - Lucky Running vest of Lim Thow Wee

Lim Thow Wee, in the past, ran 3hr 49min 52sec in year 2007. Then, by getting coaching guidance from Coach Rameshon, he ran in a time of 3hr 10min in 2008 Singapore Standard Chartered Marathon. In 2009, he did 3hr 09min. Subsequently, in 2010, he did 3hr 02min. 

Between year 2011 and 2012, he was fluctuating with his timing as he was not able to go below 3hrs. 

With resilience, he came back to Flexifitness Group training last year, a month before the Seoul Marathon 2013 and he did a personal best time of 2hr 55min. 

Coach Rameshon strongly recommended him to do the Gold Coast Marathon 2013 in July as the former was also going there to race. Thow Wee followed the direction and did a 2hr 53min there. 

In the recently held Paris Marathon 2014, Lim Thow Wee did an impressive time of 2hr 48min 49sec. It was the first time that he was doing a sub- 2hr 50min. It was a long wait for him to do this time and eventually he has done it. 

Coach Rameshon feels that Thow Wee is capable of going under 2hr 40min if everything goes well in training and racing for the latter. 

Let us know from his interview on how he ran the race and his future plans in marathon. I believe that this he has been a motivational figure for me as he is also our training group member and it would inspire many to persevere in running.  

Picture 2 - (From left to right) Kenneth Lai, Lim thow Wee, Jennifer Quek and Coach Rameshon

An Interview With Lim Thow Wee.

Why did you choose this marathon?
I wanted to choose a race with the following criteria:
1. 1st half of 2014
2. A country I have not been to (as I would usually spend some time to travel after a marathon)
3. A gold label race. 

London n Paris marathon fit the criteria. But it was tough getting a slot for London marathon's balloting system, thus I chose Paris marathon.

Any problems that you faced before running this marathon?
After a confidence-crushing knee injury in Sep 2013 (when I put on 8kg the next 3 months!), I didn't train seriously with some easy runs 3-4 times a week. I started proper training on 31 Dec 2013 when Saranniya invited me to attend Mr Rameshon's surprise birthday celebration, with a pre-condition of a 3k steady-state run before food! Imagine doing steady-state on New Year's Eve! Haha. That was a start of the build-up to last Sun's marathon. 

How do you find the route?
The 1st half of the race was flat. The 2nd half consists of many short rolling slopes as we had to go through a few tunnels. The route was scenic as we ran past Eiffel Tower, many palaces and museums, and ended with Arch De Triumph. Some parts of the ground were made of  clobbered stones, thus I had to keep looking on the ground in case of tripping.

What was your targeted time that you aimed months before the race?
As I was injured from Sep to Dec 2013, I did not any expectation or target for the race till March when I realized that my 10k (37m56s) and 15k (56m39s) timings were faster than 2013. Thus I began to target a sub 2h50m or at least a PB.

What was your time in this race?
My time was 2h48m49s.

Are you happy with the time?
Yes, I was happy as I broke the mental barrier of sub 2 hours 50 minutes. Also, I did 4:00 min per K which was another mental barrier for me. I struggled to imagine doing 4:00m per kilometres in marathon previously.

How long did it take to do this time?
I was trying for sub 2hr 50min for the 1st time last July in Gold Coast Marathon but did 2h53m. 

How was the weather as you ran the route?
The weather was hovering between 15-20 deg. The sun was a bit glaring in the beginning and during parts of the race but I didn't feel very warm. 

How was the organisation of the race?
The distance markers were accurate, the start pen was easy to get in (though I heard Jennifer's pen was flagged off later which resulted in her being stuck behind slower runners) and the field was quality (enough runners to pace/follow regardless of our targeted time). The negative was that they served high-class mineral water throughout the race instead of isotonic drink!

What is your next goal in running a marathon?
Like what Mr Rameshon says, "Aim higher, reach high". I'll go for sub-2h40m in the 2nd half of the year, which will definitely be a stretch but hope I'll reach near there! Like everyone in our group, be it a race, weight or fitness goal, our targets are all so much bigger than ourselves. But it is through this striving that makes us come together and work hard together. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

An Interview With Mr Leong Hong Yew - A new PB of 3hr 35min 25sec (Tokyo Marathon 2014)

 An Interview on new personal best by Leong Hong Yew in Tokyo Marathon 2014
By Rajendran

Why did you choose Tokyo Marathon?
I heard many good comments about it, so I wanted to experience it.
Are you happy with the recent personal best times in your 10km 12km and 15km time trails before the marathon?
Yes, I see the improvement over time.
Did Flexifitness Time Trials really help you obtain your personal best timing in the marathon. ? 
Yes, many pals encouraged and paced me. Thanks!!!

Are you happy with the timing of the marathon race today?
I am contented, based on this training cycle.

 How was the climate there?
Personally I felt very cold. For some parts of the route it was snowing.
How was the route there?
It was downhill initially, flat throughout, and several slopes towards the end.
How was the organisation of the race ?
Impeccable, 9 out of 10.
How was the people's support while you were running?
How much will you grade this race if it is upon 10 ?
Any problems that you had encountered during the run?
Towards the end, many slopes.
Any regrets or learning point?
This period has too many holidays/festive breaks..always yearning for yummy festive goodies but need to exercise some discipline.

What was your previous personal best time?
3hr 47minutes plus.

What is your next goal?
I'll take a break first.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Mr Leong Hong Yew - (24/02/2014) Tokyo Marathon (3hr 35min 25sec)

Picture 1 - Standing Men (left to right) Kenneth Lai, Coach Rameshon, Marcel Sng, Hong Yew Leong, Lim Szer Khee and Andrew Chang. Front Girls (left to right) Jennifer Quek, Tarandeep Kaur, myself, Divya.

Leong Hong Yew -  Personal best time in 10km, 12km, 15km and in Today's Tokyo Marathon

By Miss Rajendran

I have given interviews to Mr Leong, 43, an avid athlete, in the past. He comes for our Flexifitness training consistently. 

In the past, as I have known him, I used to see him running quite fast. Right now, I have noticed that there is a shift, that is, he is running much faster now. 

I am amazed with his recent 10km (44min plus), 12km (54min plus) and 15.4km (67min 30sec) improvements in time trials, which was done around a month's time, just before the Tokyo Marathon. 

In today's Tokyo International Marathon, he is happy to have done his new personal best time of 3hr 35min 25sec, which is a 12 mins plus improvement. He has always believed in Flexifitness training to improve in his running.

He will share with us on his marathon run today in Tokyo, tomorrow.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Coach Tan - A personal best fime of 55min plus.

Zoo (2.8km Dash and 6km/12km) Run2014

By Saranniya R

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We took a group photo after the run. It was good to see, Coach Tan, doing a 55min plus and Coach Rameshon doing a sub-50min. Earlier on, Coach Tan told Coach Rameshon that the former was aiming for a 60min 12km, if possible a 59min plus, a sub-60min for the first time, after reaching 40 plus years of age.

I knew that he did not train much as he wanted and the mileage was very low. In fact, I didn't think that he trained for the past 3 weeks as he has been going for a course. I used to see him coming down for 2 times per week with us. It was good to see that he did his personal best time for the 12km run. 

Coach Tan, after the race, went to the zoo with his daughter and his wife. It was a good family outing for them. As for me, I was very tired and I went back home after the race to take a some sleep.

We were happy to see Mr Nitin and his son doing an average of 14min run for the 2.8km run. The results, as a whole is not out yet. 

In terms of enjoyment, the children, as a whole had a wonderful time.

I hope to come with them next year for this race.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Zoo Run 2014 - 12km in 48min 08sec

 By Rameshon
About 8,000 runners took part in Safari Zoo Run 2014 today. The race consisted of run through the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari route. One loop was about 6km.

The event was started six years ago in memory of the zoo's orangutan Ah Meng. Ah Meng died of old age in February 2008. Wildlife Reserves Singapore said a portion of the proceeds from this year's race will go towards the care of endangered animals in Night Safari and Singapore Zoo.

For the sake of fund raising and to enjoy the competition of the race, 45 of Flexifitness athletes took part in the race, which has 2.8km for children, 6km competitive run and 12km run for older children and adults. 

I was there at the Zoo at 6 45am. It was crowded but it was orderly. Immediately, I was able to get a car-park lot.

I was focused on running my race.My target to run today is to do a steady state run and not really bother about time. Between last Wednesday to Saturday, I did not do any form of running training. I was feeling tired throughout the week.

Hence, I decided to do a sub - 50min for the 12km Men Open race. There was no Men Veteran section.

We were allowed to go in at 7 15am to the start line. There was no pushing to go in front of the starting point. At 7 30am, the race started. I realised that the race kicked off with some dashing and speeding up by runners who were in the front during the early portion of the race.

Throughout the run, I was composed not to push too hard and go easier. At 4km mark, I did 15min 10sec. At 5km mark, my time stood at 19min 10sec. My friend Christian Stauffer cheered me on during the race. 

I mistook the race for 10km instead of 12km as I was pacing myself during the race. Only when I ran half-way did I know that I have just completed 6km and there was another 6km loop to go. At the 6.5km mark, I was dog tired. 

The route was full of gradual upslopes and downslopes. Later on, at most part of the race, I was simply enjoying the route. It was lovely to run and it was nice to see the animals while I was running. At certain parts, I did not have time to see the animals. The animals I saw, if I am not wrong, were hyenas, giraff and elephants.

As soon as I reached the 8km mark, the time stood at 32min 05sec. I was very happy to see this time.

At 9km mark, I realised that I might do a sub - 48min for the 12km route. Most parts of the route, I had to zig-zag myself throughout the route as the 6km runners were still running along the route. 

Towards the last 1km, I sped and did a 48min 08sec for the 12km race. I was happy to see this time. This is an unofficial timing and I am waiting for the official timing which will be out in the net soon.

I was also happy to see that 4 of our athletes did a sub-50min for the 12km race. Two of them did 46min plus while another did 49min plus. 

Last year's fastest girl in our group did 1hr 08min for the 12km. This year our fastest girl did 47min plus at the 10km mark and 55min at the 12km mark.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Long Runs on Sunday (Part 2) - Should be scenic as possible.

Long Runs - It is an important part of a runner. 

Picture 1 - A scene at Upper Pierce.

Sunday runs are important for long distance runners. It can range from 10km to 20km. For elite runners it can range between 20 to 35km. Paul Tergat, 5 times World Cross-Country Championships winner did 38km in his prime days for one longest run of the week.

Careful guidance is needed to increase the long run to improve in running. An important thing to do is to use one's common sense to gradually increase the run's distance progressively.

It is stated in the Runners'  World that we should do the longest run on a Sunday as a workout itself.  It means that it is not a speed workout but a stamina workout, instead. One should, at all cost, avoid all forms of training of other components of fitness, like strength training, agility training etc as it can be very tiring and it can affect one's training in the future.

However, one could do a long bout of stretching after a run, especially after the run to recover fast. One must have the discipline to do this. 

During the longest run on weekend, Saturday or Sunday, it is good to go slower than moderate pace. One should enjoy the run. One way to test that you are enjoying is to check whether you are able to talk to your friend or not.

If you are not able to do that, it is good to slow down a bit. Experience in running showed me that compared to flat course and hilly course, it is wise to choose a flat course instead.

One should be able to draft out a plan so that there is not much of a repetition in running the same place, unless you have to do the repeated terrain with no choice. The terrain should be easy to run on. 

Picture 2 - One of the scenic view at Upper Pierce

One such route that I used to take is to run from the zig-zag bridge to the northern route. From there, we go to the upper pierce, Gate 1 and Gate 2, routes made of gradual rolling hills, with scenic course and we run back to the northern route and return to the zig zag bridge. There was water point along the route, as there is toilet at Upper Pierce.

It takes about an hour an a half to two hours to run this route. I usually find myself running a bit faster as I could go into a zone of focus as the route is very scenic.

Nowadays, this area is out of bounds for the runners at MacRitchie Reservoir. However, we are allowed to run around the 10.55km run around the reservoir.

Some routes are made of broadwalk, made of wood, and it is flat, usually. The route can cover about 5.6km at the Northern Route side and 2km at the Boys Route area.

One could run to Kheam Hock Road from MacRitchie, and it is linked to CCAB MOE Evans Road. From there we could run to Nasim Road, as an extension, to increase mileage. 

My only suggestion to runners is to avoid running too much on the terrain that links one from MacRitchie to Rifle Range road. My experience shows that one should limit their runs if one wants to run long term. In running here too much, one could get knee pain and, in the long run, knee injury. 

It is important to run you long runs less hilly as possible. This is my advice to runners to enjoy running. Happy running!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Long Runs on Sunday - A reason for former local marathoners to do well

Past and present timing - In the past the timings were faster. 

 1994 Singapore International Marathon - An example of  timings of the past.

Men's Local Open Position
1. 2hr 34min 02sec Murugiah Rameshon 
(PB is 2hr 24min 22sec, 1995), SEA Games) 
2. 2hr 44min 46sec Khoo Chin Poo 
3. 2hr 46min 10sec Tan Choon Ghee 

In the past, the timings of the marathon were much faster. Usually, in the Singapore Marathon races, at least 6 of them will do a sub- 2hr 45min. I remember N. Ganesan, 5000m former National Record holder, doing 2hr 46min, coming in 6th in the marathon, in year 1992. He wrote a letter to me on his race and it was his first marathon race.

Nowadays, I see that the marathon times, especially the overall average timings, for locals to be much slower. Recently, my friend, Tulsidas from Red Hawk Athletics Club, former competitor to me, met me at a temple. He told me that we used to run much faster a few years back.

I also agreed with him. The only thing we were not able to understand is that why are the times slower. 

We know that the first two runner’s times, especially Mok Ying Ren's and Ashley Liew's times, are comparable to the past. However, from 3rd position to 10th position for local men runners, the timings should be much faster now.

The reason for the current runners to obtain a much faster time stems from the fact that in the present world can see that the technology nowadays is more advanced than the past such that we can expedite our performance in running and other sports as well.

In the past, we did not have tights which allows improvement in performance and recovery from workout and long run bouts. We did not have altometer. We did not have proper running shoes as what we have now. 

There is gait analysis and correction in gait to run faster and so on currently. There is GPS watch as well to measure the accuracy of the distance so that one can calculate their mileage and pace oneself well too.

However, somehow, I feel that a reason for us to do well in the past comes from running our very long runs. I believe we were able to achieve this at Macritchie Reservoir in the past.

We  used to do a very long run, about 20km every week, running from northern route to upper Pierce to Gate 1 and Gate 2 and back to MacRitchie. 

Right now, this Gate 1 and Gate 2 is now closed to public. We do not have access to run as there is a fence to ward off runners running there. 

I see runners running about 10 to 15km at MacRitchie Reservoir nowadays.

Now, it is difficult to run at MacRitchie as we have to run repeatedly the same route. This makes us to run shorter for our long runs. 

It is just that we cannot do anything about this position. Some runners are running at East Coast. This is flat and long route but the whole route is made of tarmac and pavement and it may not be good to do long runs there as some of the runners and I had plantar faciitis injury there. 

I believe that a runner should do something about this to expedite performance improvement, especially the Sunday runs.