ST: The Finish Line

This article was first published in The Sunday Times on 16 Dec 2018.

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MOK YING REN A huge congratulations to all who completed last week’s Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, especially those who finished the arduous 42.195km full marathon!

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In the blink of an eye, 2018 has come to an end and so has this year’s #RunWithMok column, which was in partnership with the Straits Times Run and the Singapore Marathon. It feels like only yesterday when we embarked on this journey together to train up for two major races in Singapore.

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Over the span of just a few months, my fellow contributors and I have touched on a myriad of running-related topics. Many of these had also piqued my curiosity when I first started on my running journey. I hope that we have been able to address your doubts and queries adequately, as you #LearnWithMok. (Recap all articles for 2018 HERE!)

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It is also an opportune time for me to thank the ST Sports Desk Team for their support and inputs; fellow columnists who were generous with their experience and expertise; all the readers and race participants who were very forthcoming in writing into #AskMok to ask questions and attending the various talks and run clinics. A big pat on the back for those who diligently followed the RunONE training programme and our Sunday columns for 30 weeks! You have truly made the journey memorable! Thank you!

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Double SEA Games Gold Medalist & 7-time SCMS Local Champion, Mok Ying Ren against a common but scenic backdrop for local races. Photo credits: ONEATHLETE

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To conclude this column, I would like to share 3 takeaways that can be applied to your running journey henceforth, so that you can continue running!

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Be consistent

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Mok Ying Ren, Double SEA Games Gold Medalist & 7-times SCMS Local Champion. Photo credits: ONEathlete 

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Consistency is essential to any life pursuit, be it relationships, studies, work and, of course, running. Consistency means maintaining a certain level of frequency over an extended period of time.

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Consistency in your running journey would mean, for example, running at least twice a week, regardless if you are training for a specific event. This will prevent your fitness and muscular adaptations from degenerating and allow you to bounce back to high-quality training within a shorter time. It will also reduce your risk of injury risk when you step up for your next training programme.

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Be conservative

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Mok Ying Ren, Double SEA Games Gold Medalist & 7-times SCMS Local Champion. Photo credits: ONEathlete 

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Always adopt a conservative approach to your training programme. It is very easy, and almost natural, to allow our haste and impatience to hijack our plans. On days when we feel good, we tend to want to do more or push ourselves that bit harder. Sometimes, it is wiser to hold your horses and allow your body to adapt and enjoy the fitness it has achieved at a methodical pace.

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As you progress in your training, you should aim to increase your training volume and intensity incrementally. Take baby steps and avoid sudden ramp-up. Doing too much, too soon, is really a recipe for disaster. As the saying goes, ‘more haste, less speed’.

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Be unique individually

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Mok Ying Ren, Double SEA Games Gold Medalist & 7-times SCMS Local Champion. Photo credits: ONEathlete 

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You would appreciate that we have placed great emphasis on each runner ’s individuality. This applies, not only to training programmes and routines but also to smaller details like hydration and nutrition needs. Truly, one man’s meat is, and can often be another man’s poison.

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I myself am guilty of having committed the cardinal mistake of replicating and religiously following training programmes of top runners in the world, only to be saddled with injuries and disappointment.

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This is not to say that you cannot draw inspiration from the best athletes or should not adopt practices that your well-intentioned friends have recommended – you can, and you should. However, you should first put some thought into what you have read or heard and then make a considered decision on whether to follow through and embrace them as yours. Blindly following the group may do you more harm than good.

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Photo credits: RunONE

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With this, the RunONE Team and I, are signing off! We would like to wish all of you an early Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Recap all articles for 2018 HERE!

See you again next year on #RunWithMok!

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