Running gives you discipline, and discipline is a ladder of success in achieving anything.
Both N. Ganesan, former National Record holder of Singapore 5km (14m 57sec) track race, and I, did not really talk about studies during training. Usually, it is all about running,running and more running. It is about how to improve and we strictly discuss on the content of it. In order to attain this kind of high standard of training, one must be intrinsically motivated. We believe that this gave us the discipline and we got over our tertiary education later on in life.
I remember my former cross-country teacher, Mr Joseph Varghese cautioning me, not to be obsessed about running when I was training very hard. He was teaching St Patrick's Secondary and I was teaching Catholic High School. It was in year 1996. After our school' s victory in National Cross-Country race, Catholic High School were under 14 division Champions and under 17 second overall in boys race, he spoke at length on not to be too serious about running. I believe that I took running as a passion and not obsession. That passion made me to know the ingredients on running, and that led me to go to Loughborough University and do research for my degree programme. Running is responsible for making me to finish my further studies in Masters in Education Programme (University of Western Australia, 2005-2008). Hence, running balanced my life in terms of pursuit and education.
In my life, I have seen runner's running and being injured because of the wrong understanding they have on running. Everyday, the so called obsessed had been running. All they talk about is running, running and running. When you talk about diet, recovery etc, the runners tell that they have to go home. Hence, I feel that the obsessed person in running runs without a clear understanding on running.
The runner do not reflect on whether the training programme will make them go forward or not. They are somwhat mad about running, but they are not passionate about running. The key word is passion. Passion leads one to draw out a proper program and also do reflection after a race. I have seen a number of athletes running a race and just don't do any form of reflection. They just say in the mind," This is just another day," and run along. They do not bother about fat percentage of the body and do something about it so that the performance gets better.
For example, in Kenya, a top elite athlete has 3 % fat percentage for the whole body. In Europe one has 4%. According to my former lecturer Sir George Gandy, he says that the fat percentage is enough to determine who is the winner in the end. So particular attention is always taken by the passionate runner. The obsessed person in running does not have a direction.
A passionate person in running does not have only have a diary, but he or she will also does self-reflection, in everyday training and also after a race, always finding for room to keep improving.
That is why I have seen in Hwa Chong Institution some key words for students to imbibe. One must have passion in something and that passion will lead one to knowledge. As for me, there are proverbs in many faiths that knowledge will lead one to wealth.