Saturday, October 10, 2015

Munich and Chicago Marathon 2015, 11th Oct 2015 (Sunday)

By Saranniya

Tomorrow, we will be having Erich who will be running in the Munich Marathon 2015. He has done a sub-3hr in the past and he hoping to do a better time. 

Dr Stephen and Ashley Liew will be running in the Chicago Marathon 2015. We wish them all the best for the race. 

Coach Rameshon told," If they can do a personal best, that is good enough, anything better is a bonus."" If the time is right, one may be able to excel in timing." " The most important thing is to achieve what has been planned long-term." " So this is not the end, I guess."

A message to from our Team Captain Thow Wee to Erich and Ashley Liew.
Go Ashley go, in Chicago! Show the tenacity you have shown in June! Do us proud once again! Flexifitness are supporting you here in Singapore.

All the best, Erich. You have shown great attitude in training and massive improvement. May you do the PB you have been striving fotomorrow in Munich!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Specialist Dental Group - Active Running Group

By Rameshon

The Specialist Dental Group

Dr Ansgar Cheng, 49, a dentist, has not done a sub-1hr 30min for a half-marathon in the past and he became very determined to relentlessly go for it. He joined our group and wanted to improve so that he could do a sub-1hr 30min. In the earlier time trials, he was always going out in front and was not able to hold the pace. As for me, I realised that if a person goes out fast, they usually will not be able to run in a steady state, all the way. Over time, he realised that running a steady state pace throughout the time trial or race was a good decision to make in order to do well or see improvements in one's timing.

In the Brooks Marina Half- Marathon race, in February, he completed the half-marathon event in 1hr 32min 25sec. Dr Ansgar felt good about the time. However, he was in a way disappointed with the race as he missed the sub-1hr 30min. He shared that even a 1hr 29min 59sec would have made him very happy. The whole Flexifitness Team, those who train alongside in our training were very happy with his performance. 

Dr Ansgar - an exemplary of discipline in training

With a new personal best time of 30min 26sec, Dr Ansgar and I felt that he was ready to do a sub-1hr 30min. In the 2XU Run, held on 2nd August 2015, finally, he completed the Half-marathon event in a time of 1hr 28min 59sec and was 10th in the Men Open category. 

(left-right) Dr Ansgar, myself and Tan Eng Howe

Two weeks after the 2XU Run, he ran in the 10km Straits Times Run and did a 37min 37sec for the race. Many of us were very surprised at the time as he did better than what was predicted. The thing that Dr Ansgar has is that he has this firm determination to do well. He also has started to run patiently and in a clever manner such that he is able to kick towards the last part of the race.

Dr Ansgar - 10km run in The Straits Times Run

Also, I would like to share that, he encouraged his Specialist Dental Group colleagues team to participate in the 5km, 10km, and Half-Marathon categories of the 2XU Run. This is good because as a Specialist Dental Group director, he is encouraging his group to run as well, for health and fitness. 

Dr Ansgar's Family

As such, I told him that in the future, I was thinking of featuring his clinic Specialist Dental Group as an active running group so that this can serve as role model group for other firms and companies to follow. Dr Ansgar is a perfect example of work/life balance. Not only that, he also ensures that his kids are most of the time active in sports. This makes him a special person. 

Dr Ansgar (left) and Moonlake (right)

In the past, I have been looking for companies that are active. I realised that, it would be a good idea to write about this company, as usually I see them in races 

More than that, we also have his wife, Moonlake, 46, who also runs and supports Dr Ansgar in his passion - running.

Hence, I shall write about The Specialist Dental Group in the next blog post. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Haze - Skipping For Long Distance Training (Part 2)

By Rameshon

Skipping - You just need a skipping rope, that is all.

Skipping is a good form of exercise for the whole body, the hand and leg, and including the core area as well. One will need to balance at all the time. The calve and feet will get stronger over time.

Skipping 20min is equivalent to 1 hour of running, according to experts and researchers, using heart-rate as an indicator. Compared to other exercises, skipping is as good as hill workouts in running. In Loughborough University, in the past, when I was in England as a University cross-country runner, we do circuits that has subtle skipping exercises, but we did this without a skipping rope.

For the duration of exercise and training, it is important to do it with skipping rope, as it will take at least 20min to finish the training. One could do 1 minute skipping and 1 minute of  rest and cover the entire 40min like this. A fit person can do a moderate speed during skipping. For 1 minute, one could do moderate intensity and one could rest for a while or slow down the speed for a minute, and then continue the training. It is good to cover 40min of this activity. If one is very fit and he or she could not get an intensity workout done, one could do a hard 1min skipping and 1min of slow skipping or rest 1min in between sets and do the whole 40min of the time. If the rope touches the leg and one's skipping stops, one should just continue the training or keep the flow going. I hope that you enjoy this kind of optimum training. You can choose your training to your fitness. 

If one is old, and also for a young man who is not fit enough, it is a good idea to do 1 minute  of skipping, taking one's time to rest for a minute and then continue like this for the whole 20 minute of the total time taken.

Take note that skipping increases one's cadence and including stride length as well. If one is supervised and monitored to get the optimum result that is also good. If you can't find someone to help, you could actually do it by yourself.

Haze - Step-Ups For Long Distance Training (Part 1)

Haze - So far the worst that we have experience in years

By Rameshon

Haze - Inactivity is not an option for goal-oriented athletes

The Standard Chartered Marathon runners will be seeing a disadvantage that have never seen before, especially this year. With the haze, at a level, where exercise is discouraged, one will find limitation to training due to this adverse situation that is going on here in Singapore. A number of athletes may end up at home doing nothing and wait for the haze to go down. Especially on Sundays, I could see this going on. The other reason for them not to train is because of the fact that they feel that the gym facilities are all crowded. They are also limited to do only 20min aerobic activity. This is not really good news for many aspiring athletes. Hence, unless you are living in a condominium, with a good gym facility, one should think out of the box on how to carry out one's training using alternative methods which does not compromise training, eventually.

Hence, the reason for me to write this Blogpost is to make one aware that there are alternative training methods out there that one can do in order to continue training, if one wants to train consistently, and achieve continuous, progressive results. I shall also offer some solutions to the haze condition that is going on here, instead of seeing any form of inactivity going on. This is to ensure one can attain one's goal, sub-goals and long-term goal.

The earliest researchers who found that Maximum Oxygen Uptake will be reduced to sedentary level, even if one has been fit, in the past, were Bengt Saltin and co-workers (1968). They found that if one does not train for 21 days and more, they will lose all the benefits that they have achieved through training.

In Indonesia, the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) has gone to as high as 1900 and above. I shall not discuss the PSI level,  as it is beyond the scope of this topic. Thus, simply said, it means that in Singapore the PSI will be also higher than our usual PSI. The PSI has gone as high as 300 plus, which has made many schools to stop physical activities, and even close down school for a day.

Even today, the PSI is fluctuating between 120 plus to 200 plus. Steps ups, other aerobic dancing, skipping, jogging on the spot or around the room, boxing punches etc are there to ensure that activity continues, especially for those who want to complete the Standard Chartered Marathon 2015 in a reasonable time. Having said that, I shall discuss one exercise at a time so that athletes out there may get some understanding on how to do the activity. 

One such exercise that is good to do is called step-ups. It was one of my favourite exercise, in the past, and I usually put it, in my training regimen. The height is important for doing step-ups. If it is too high, it may not make your exercise effective. If it is too low 6 to 10cm, it will not be good either. An acceptable height is around 20-30cm. You can see in YouTube on how it is done and there are many videos available out there on the net on this. If the height is about 20cm, one could do for 20sec and then change the leg. Keep doing this for 10min and then take about 1-5min rest, in between sets. If you are fit, you can take a minute rest, and if you not that fit, then, take about 5min rest. Keep doing this so that the time taken is about 40min, in terms of total activity done. Take note that doing at least twenty minute of total activity is better than being inactive. For athletes who are aiming for sub-3hr 30min and below for the marathon, they should do for 1hour instead, if it is possible. 

Doing step-ups, I found that the heart can go to as high as what we see in running. I hope that you enjoy the step-ups training. If you find that it is hard to see a box like structure, just go to a stair, and do on two stairs instead of one. For those who are old, it is good to do at least one stair. That is enough. 

Take note that step-ups activity can increase stamina, and it is even used as a stamina test, in research, just like the 2.4km test, is used as well. Step-ups makes the quadriceps strong that will enable one to run fast. Step-ups also prevents one from getting injured, especially at the knee area. The most important thing is the technique. It is imperative to do it properly. Doing too fast should be avoided and doing too slow also will not make the exercise effective. Doing a medium speed will do achieve great success. 

Just remember, that doing something is better than doing nothing. At the same time, step-ups could get for you a good personal best if it is done properly. Happy training!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Haile Gabrselassie - More Tips On Running

By Rameshon

Shoe and Injury

Clinic given by Haile for a handful few athletes at Kallang Practice Track. 

One of our Flexifitness runners had sent me a message where there was a question that he asked about tapering shoes, which I have written about it in my previous Blogspot. He wanted an elaboration of the point. This was brought up to me as one of the most important point of running, to be free of injury, by Haile Gebrselassie. I shall answer this question and, at the same time, include, those points that I have not mentioned, the vital tips that Haile has given me, which are crucial for long distance runners to do well. Haile also mentioned about qualities that runners should have to attain their goals and targets during the question and answer session. At the same time, he also talked about having gratitude to the environment, especially of Singapore's environment. He said that we have a great environment. 

With regards to tapering of shoes, if the tapering is found outward, he said that, it simply means that one is running in a supination fashion The leg could become bow legged over time, as found in some of them. (I saw this one of the marathon runner that I have trained and one may get meniscus problem, or even ligament problems, at a later stage of life or training). One can be out of running due to injury for a long period of time. MRI scan etc can be costly. Usually, one can also get ITB problem from running in a supernation fashion. 

If the tapering is found inward of the shoe, then a runner should know that they are running in a pronation manner and they will need to do something about it. Pronation of the feet could lead one to ankle, shin, knee and hip problem. 

However, if the taper is found right in front and back and it is at the center of the shoe, then one should know that he or she may not injury easily. The running style is also found to be good, judging from the this. One will run straight, instead.

One way to overcome this is to buy a new shoe. A new shoe will provide cushion and that could solve the problem. 

The first thing that Haile uttered out of his mouth was about discipline. He said that with very firm discipline of getting up at 4am to run and at the same time train in the evening, which allowed him to do well in running. He also told that he has one day of easy and he does not have any form of rest day. 

Men Open and Veteran Race
Haile told us that he has been getting injuries lately and is hoping to run veteran section of the races. He said that he gets injured at the knee area.  

Difference between Ethiopia and Singapore
Haile told that he is hoping that people in Ethiopia can be employed like the Singaporeans as unemployment is rampant in the former state. He said that Singaporeans have everything and that in Ethiopia there is nothing there. He told that if we have good facilities, it is good that we make good use of it. There is not much facilities in Ethiopia. However, he told that if one wants to excel, it is a good idea to train in Ethiopia to improve to expedite performance in running. 

There is a kind of bread that the Ethiopians eat and it is very healthy for the body. Diet, he said, plays a dominant role in doing well in running.


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Haile Gabreselassie's Running Clinic in Singapore on Dec 2014.

By Rameshon

Haile Gabreselassie's Talk on Excellence

Dec 2014, I met Haile at Sports Hub

There are adages from many civilisation - Indian, Chinese and also our western counterparts - that it is good to gain knowledge from a wise person rather than to read voluminous of books. One will become well informed then on any knowledge that they are after.

I told that it is a must to see Haile, one of the greatest runners on planet earth, so that I can learn from him. Else, we have to keep taking a trip to Kenya and Ethiopia for knowledge in order to run faster.

When Haile was here in Singapore during December 2014, he met the coaches and athletes. He spoke on some important things during his stay.

Haile told us that it is important to run with proper technique

I shall enumerate some points that I perceive as important to do well in running. Some of the points came from a conference that he was having with the press and some from the clinic that he gave at Kallang Practice Track.

Dynamic stretching is important for running

Haile told that it is important to change the running technique as it can be disadvantageous to the runner himself. However, he told that changes must be made step by step and it should be done gradually in a smooth fashion. It should not be done abruptly.

He also mentioned that if the running technique is not easy to correct, he said that there are runners like Belayneh Densamo (Ethiopia) who ran a 2hr 06min 50sec and broke the world record.  He said that Densamo was not running with a proper running style, especially with the hand technique. It was very hard to change.

My realisation is that it is vital to change the technique when a child is as young as 6 year old as the Central Nervous System will get connected with the muscle to form muscle memory. The technique can get corrected with 3 years or so. .Early intervention is of utmost importance.

For injuries, he told that it is important to look at the shoe to see where the taper of the shoe is and one can correct ones running style and correct it.

Shoes - Look for where it tapers so that you know your mistake

Haile showed some simple dynamic stretches for running.

People asked him on training and Haile told everyone that he has no off day. That means that he trained everyday, even on Sundays. However, he told that he does only a session on Sunday, instead of 2 to 3 sessions of running per day, on other days. 

As to the question on altitude, he say that it is important to have altitude training. However, he told us not to worry, and told that it is good to do 20km extra to one's running if one wants to equate the altitude effects, to do well in running. This piece of news was very new to me and I appreciated him for this.

To the question on how to run faster, he chucked that one must go to Ethiopia to do it. Luckily,in year 2004 I have been to Kenya, at least, to find out on how real top world elite athletes train.

Although, I have more to write, I believe that these are the most important points that he shared with us. We took photo after the clinic and I went back to my class to do IAAF coaching course.

Friday, October 2, 2015

SWIFT ATHLETES ASSOCIATION - SEA Games Appreciation Dinner For Officials and Athletes

By Rameshon

Haile (right) with me (left)

During IAAF Level One course held last year December, on one of the day, I had the opportunity to meet Haile Gebreselassie. That was the second time meeting Haile. Earlier, I met him at the hotel that I was having an accommodation, for the London Marathon race, in year 2007. 

Clinic conducted by Haile

Haile came to give a talk and to conduct a short clinic on long distance running before Stanchart Marathon 2014. I also met Dr Bala, a lecturer from NIE, famous for developing Physical Education teachers. He is in the Physical Education Unit. Dr Bala has done 31min 36sec while I have done a 31min 46sec for 10km race. I was appalled to hear from Morales Menon that he does not know about Dr Bala's achievement when we discussed about our job scope. 

On one of the day, during the IAAF course, I met Dr Bala with his athletes. We took a photo together with Haile and I continued the course. It was a good surprise that we had to work together during the SEA Games 2015. It was all the Divine's work, I guess. 

Later on, in the South East Games held in Singapore, between 6th and 15th of June 2015, Dr Bala was appointed as the Team Manager for the athletics team for Singapore. I was named as the official to take charge of all middle and long distance athletes. During the SEA Games, Dr Bala and I used to wake up at 5 30am to take our breakfast and later on proceed to do our job. We were working busy together hoping to see that there was no glitch at all. 

Our SEA Games duty came and Dr Bala, Morales and I met together to discuss on our job scope. The topic went to running and I realised that Morales did not know that Dr Bala was in the first place a runner in the past. I also told Morales, since he was not aware, that Dr Bala was an individual champion for one of the age group championships in the 1980s, and that he was the fastest steeplechase runner of the past. Many now do not know about this. I hope that my blog can serve the purpose to bring to light of those who were greats of the past. I believe that it my service to Singapore Athletics to do this. 

Upon immediate completion of the SEA Games, Singapore Athletics decided to give us dinner, in order to acknowledge our contribution to Singapore Sports. It was very grand thing but I did not enjoy much of it, as prefer a simple dinner rather than a pompous one. I also felt that I was not sitting with my friends whom I am supposed to sit with. I did not have the chance to sit with Dr Bala on that very day.

Swift Dinner - Officials and Athletes

However, my enthusiasm came when we were later invited to join the Swift Athletes Association Appreciation Dinner for officials and athletes who took part in the SEA Games 2015. After our chat with some of the people, the climax came when SWIFT Club started to honour us. I was very surprised to see that Dr Bala and I were given some encouraging words, such that we felt humbled by it. Actually I was not in favour of going to the dinner, at first. From now onwards, I think I shall go. Mr Loh Lin Kok, our president gave us a token of appreciation. It was small but it had a lot of positive meaning to spur us to contribute more to Singapore Athletics. Also, despite his busy schedule Mr Loh Lin Kok made it a point to be present and to mix cordially with everyone there. He was very friendly towards me and he spoke to me casually.  

Mr Loh honoured SEA Games gold medalist Zhang Guirong (Shot Put - 14.60metres) and bronze medalist Michelle (High Jump - 1.81m).

After the Swift Athletes Association Appreciation Dinner, I felt elated and was full of energy. We stayed there late and we wanted to stay longer. However, the time was getting late such that we had to go back home. It was yet another day of discussion on athletics.