|(left) Chamkaur (the Singaporean who broke Serjit Singh's long standing 1500m national record of 3min 52sec) , standing with me. Chamkaur and I did well in overseas.|
Somebody asked me on why it is important to run in overseas when you are becoming an elite athlete. This was one of the questions usually posed to me by people, even by Chamkaur Singh, our current national record holder for 1500m and a bronze medalist for 2004 Vietnam South East Games, to me, when he was about to go for his studies and training trip in Australia.
It has been donkey years since we got any medals for the middle distance races and this gentleman by the name of Chamkaur Singh delivered it. By going overseas, there are a number of benefits and I shall enumerate the points one by one.
First and foremost, I would discuss on the coach who is training in Singapore. Only if we go overseas with our runner, it is easy to enable our runner to do well. It is difficult for the coach to go overseas and train the athlete for 2 to 4 years etc. The only way to do it is for the coach to go there and it is easier to do well.
It took me 3 years to do a time of 32min 52sec for 10km to drop to 32min 42sec. For me it was a huge task to do this and a lot of hard training was put into to do just the 32min 42sec. I tried everything at my disposal to bring the time down but it was a difficult task to do. Finally, when my former lecturer John Sproule, a Scottish gentleman, told me to go and train in Loughborough, England to do it.
I remembered my training with the Loughborough University Cross-Country team and Athletics team. I had to study and train and it only took about 7 months to do 31min 46sec for the 10km race.
I felt that one of the most important reason for me to go to Loughborough is because of the weather. The weather was one of the main reason for me to do very well. Although, nearly every day the temperature is 10 degrees centigrade to run, the weather was perfect to run. Easy runs, moderate time will be faster.
You will be less tired. Most of the time, I kept doing personal best time all the way from 5km to 16km races during my stay in Loughborough.
I remember of a guy in Singapore doing a time which is the same after 4 years. If you are really good, the most important thing to do as a runner is to source out a way to go to a cooler climate to do well.
In Singapore, you can keep doing well for hot climate and that is going to be your fate. There will not be significant improvement in your running performance if you are an elite runner. However, if you are not an elite runner and if you would like to keep improving, Singapore is a satisfactory choice, and you will still get some improvement here.