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Tales of a Triathlete #6 – Work, Life and Sport

Work Ready

Benjamin Ooi – “I don’t have time to train!”, goes the common refrain for a working adult in Singapore. It’s a fair statement, and something I’m receiving first-hand experience with since I started work and (to) pay my bills. Attaining serious fitness and skill requires dedicated effort and extended commitment. This is clearly so for endurance sports, but just applicable if you were to be learning dance or a new language.

The following tips are drawn from my experiences as a competitive amateur athlete:

Goals and Planning

Whether you are an experienced athlete or not, I cannot overstate the value of setting a target and laying out the plan to get there. Our demanding lives and matrix of priorities often present significant obstacles to achieving regular, effective training.

Overcome ambiguity by setting out your training plan and sticking to it. It can be as simple as a commitment to exercise 60 minutes every other day, or a target weekly mileage. It can also come from a coach, online, or from Ben Moreau’s weekly #STRun Column. A simple plan works much much better than no plan at all!

Managing Routine with Agility

Post-Work Views

Next, we all know building a routine helps but we often hate to schedule our life around training! That’s fine, life is better with balance and flexibility. When juggling multiple workouts (and life) it’s important to grasp whatever chunk of available time and do something with it.

For example, when building up for my Ironman while on exchange in Sao Paulo: I had numerous planned and easy runs, a couple gym sessions, bike rides, swim / water polo sessions each week. Concurrent with that, I had classes, cooking, chores of living independently. Top all these up with social drinks and BBQs, 2 AM parties, travelling and a month-long Carnival (read: street party) — things that don’t seem to mesh well with athlete requirements.

A mix of flexibility and routine allowed me to utilise my time fully, meet my training goals — all while enjoying my time on exchange. So, understand the big picture of your training plans and adapt from there. Start spending less time thinking about logistics, and get right into the work!

Focused Efforts

Run and Run Some More

Finally, however you plan, there are only 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week and so on. As above, I have many contrasting priorities and I cannot satisfy them all. We all want to, have to, find the balance of effort, achievements, and sacrifices that is suitable abd appropriate for us individually – and that is difficult.

Focus your efforts on the most productive areas. For me, in triathlon, that has been running with its minimal logistical barriers, more time-efficient workouts. Hence, swimming and cycling have to take a backseat and reduced emphasis during parts of my training cycle although I’m committed to performing in a triathlon. I make my reduced workouts count (and not as junk miles); compensate with more functional strength and core workouts.

However, of course, one can’t simply neglect the other disciplines as not all fitness is transferable! Exercise sensible judgement!

Ben Ooi is an Ironman Triathlete and younger sibling to two national water polo sisters. He qualified to compete in the World Ironman – World Championships 2017 in Kona, Hawaii. The SMU alumnus is currently working in the private sector and would love a South American holiday, anytime.

For inspiring stories related to running and sports, as well as discounts to local races, subscribe to ‘RunONE’ by adding +6588347638 to your Whatsapp contacts. Then send us the words, “Run With Me.”

Having a great night sleep!

This article was published on Young Living EDM.

What does quality sleep mean to you? Are you getting enough of a good night’s rest? One of the invited guest speaker, Ashley Liew, will be providing tips on improving sleep quality and ways to keep your energy levels up at the 25 Years Young Essential Oil Summit!

Sleep is an essential part of our lives, and quality sleep is the foundation for good health and a productive day. But, what does quality sleep mean? Sleep quality refers to how well you sleep. However, due to our fast-paced lifestyles and busy work schedules, we might not be getting enough sleep for our body to rest and recuperate.

Rest usually ends up as the lowest priority in our daily routine owing to overwhelming responsibilities, multi-tasking and information overload, not forgetting increasing usage of electronic devices. Getting the right amount of sleep and rest is vital to recover, recharge and restore the mind and body. It is one of the most effective ways to improve your energy levels and fight fatigue.

Sink into facts about sleep during Ashley’s session – “Recover, Recharge and Restore Your Mind & Body”, as he deep dives into the benefits of B vitamins and how they help us to maintain healthy energy levels, cognitive functions and much more! 

About Ashley Liew

A Doctor of Chiropractic at Family Health Chiropractic Clinic, as well as a Team Singapore national marathoner with a personal best of 2h32m12s. An ONEathlete, his “why” in life is to help fulfill the optimum health and athletic potential of others through a functioning nervous system. He also serves the community by actively educating about achieving a lifestyle of vitality.

Bringing Families Together to Train & Dine!

Core Collective set the tone for making collaboration cool when it opened its ambitiously large maiden branch on Anson Road in 2018. It brought together a plethora of instructors – specialising in Muay Thai, Aerial Yoga and HIIT workouts, to name a few – for the benefit of officer workers in the CBD.

With the opening of its Dempsey branch, Core Collective looks set to conquer another – dare we say it? – core group. Located in the midst of lush greenery, Core Collective at Dempsey seems almost perfect for families seeking retreat and renewal.

Michelle Yong, Founder of Core Collective, giving her opening address.
Baker & Cook’s beautiful new branch, on the premises of Core Collective Dempsey.

Guests at the launch party were first plied with fresh sandwiches and tarts by Baker & Cook, which were a treat for their eyes and on their palate. Dean Brettschneider, Baker & Cook’s founder, has expanded with their new branch in collaboration with Core Collective Dempsey. He was one of several key partners who were present at the launch, along with SWISH! Swim School founder Kristen Romain, Jasmine Chong and Betty Kong from Yoga Lab. All were quick to share how the choice to work with Core Collective was a natural one, as they all saw the potential in coming together to create a multi-faceted experience in the neighborhood.

The subsequent parts of the programme included a tour and free “Treat & Train” sessions. Three sessions could be selected, with “Treat” sessions featuring wellness sessions with Core Collective’s in-house professionals, and “Train” sessions featuring various fitness activities.

During the tour, we had a chance to tour the pool on the sunny deck, where SWISH! will hold lessons for children. Brightly-coloured visuals on posters around the pool depicted games tailored to make physical exercise not just targeted but also fun. Indoors and up the stairs, you can find a studio with a barre and floor-to-ceiling window that overlooks the entire first floor. The latter features a weights area, aerial hoops and silks, and Pilates equipment.

One can just imagine mum swinging in for a good stretch at a Barre Lab class, and dad hitting Boot Camp, while the kids head to the pool for a lesson with SWISH! Swimming. Everyone then gathers backs at Baker and Cook for a bite and drink and to wind down. I can hardly think of any better way to spend the weekend.

District Race Singapore 2019 @ The Meadow

Experience the world’s greatest urban exploration race and see Singapore come to life. Start and finish at the District Base and navigate through a series of virtual checkpoints and challenges with the District Race app in your hand. Play to your strengths and strategise to plan your journey. Join as an individual or round up a team of four. Promo code DRSGxR1 for RunONE followers to get an 15% off any of your tickets.

Promo code DRSGxR1 for RunONE followers to get an 15% off any of your tickets

The city is your playground and you choose how you want to explore. Whether you’re a beginner or a hardcore athlete, there’s a grid for you.

Run your city now.

For more information: https://exploredistrict.com/en/events/singapore19

SPH35 – Panasonic Schools Challenge

The Straits Times like to invite your school to join us in the ALL NEW category of The Straits Times Run – SPH 35 – Panasonic Schools Challenge happening on September 29. 2019. The Schools Challenge which is open to both local and international schools from all over Singapore is set to bring on some friendly competition in the 3.5km competitive run. 

Each school must register at least 10 students, who will compete individually while attempting to win the team titles – fastest school (based on top 10 fastest student runners from each school) and longest distance (total distance run by all registered students and staff from each school) in their division. 

Bring glory to the school and win attractive prizes such as Panasonic 43” Ultra HD 4K HDR TV and New Balance sponsorship. Rally your school and race on. Registration fee for the Schools Challenge is $20 per participant. 

E-mail your completed registration form (as attached) to info@straitstimesrun.com. Please feel free to call 6246 5777 for more information. 

How Do You Run?

Banjamin Quek – Running is a simple sport – all you need is a pair of shoes and off you go! Yet, it is not an easy sport to master especially if you are not aware of the different types of training that a runner can use to achieve his/her goals and improve their performance. Besides, learning various skills of running can make you a better all-rounded runner, allowing you to benefit the most from your training while avoiding potential injuries at the same time.

Being a seasoned runner, I’ve come across, and used personally, a number of different training approaches. This include several types of training runs, such as Fartlek, Intervals, Tempo runs, Long runs, Recovery runs, and last but not least, Cross training. Yet, keeping in mind the busy lives of Singaporeans’, my personal take is that greater focus should be placed on the intervals and long runs

Let’s start with intervals. Intervals are essentially speed work done on a track to allow runners to experience and get used to the exertion and effort of running at a certain (fast) pace. During my training with the ActiveSG team, my Monday Interval workouts on Monday would be based on my 10,000m pace, with a dynamic changing interval workout depending on how rested I am and my condition on that day. A typical workout could be 15 sets of 1km repeats at 3:20 min/km pace, with a minute of rest in between.

Moving on to long runs, which were the bread and butter of my training program in Kenya when I was clocking an average weekly mileage of close to 140km. Despite its importance, many runners tend to have the misconception that long runs need to be fast. Yet, I’ve learned that long runs are more beneficial when they are done at a pace that feels relaxed and comfortable, yet challenging enough without pushing the body too hard.

Last but not least, runners should also invest time into strengthening their body through conditioning workouts to prevent injuries. If you are tired of pounding the roads and pavements, try doing alternative exercises such as cross training or hopping onto the elliptical in the gym.

As a parting note, one should always aim to enjoy running in spirit of the sport! As much as it is important to explore a multitude of training methods, it is also equally important to keep the flame and passion for running alive by switching up your running routine every now and then! !

Banjamin Quek is a ONEathlete and Under Armour Ambassador. The mid-distance runner majored in business, and is passionate about the environment.

For inspiring stories related to running and sports, as well as discounts to local races, subscribe to ‘RunONE’ by adding +6588347638 to your Whatsapp contacts. Then send us the words, “Run With Me.”

Match Day – Game On!

SHAHEED ALAM – People have compared a tennis match to a game of chess while running a marathon. An intense match-up could take around 2 hours to complete, with strategy and tactics vital in getting that win over your opponent. Therefore, it is very important to ensure that you head into every match with a good game plan in mind. Most importantly, decide on a game plan that has previously worked for you – one that you’re confident and comfortable with. In today’s article, I will be sharing 3 ways on how to have a good game plan. Take note that this is just a base for you to build on because the entire game plan can only be decided by you, and only you, because no one knows your game better than yourself

Playing To Your Strengths

Rafael Nadal using his Forehand to dictate the point

It is very important to understand your strengths. Understanding your strengths means having the ability to know what gives you the best chance of winning the point.  For example, if playing a hard and fast forehand is your strength, you would want to hit the first ball after your serve (assuming you’re serving). Rafael Nadal averages about 85% of the time he hits a forehand after his serve. Hence, if this is how you want to approach your game, you would want to plan beforehand on how you are going to use the forehand, especially on the first shot after your serve, to start dictating the points.

Defending Your Weakness

Just like how everyone has a weakest subject in school, everyone has a weakness in tennis too. Even the very best, like Roger Federer or Nadal. However, it is how efficiently they defend their weakness that makes them so good. For example, Roger Federer has been known for having a weak backhand against Nadal’s heavy forehand spins but over the years, he has changed his game plan to better defend his weakness. From playing slices to taking a step back, or even stepping into the court and taking it early (the best tactic in my opinion), Federer has changed up his style of playing to have the best chances against Nadal. Therefore, as important as it is to level up your weaker areas, it is almost impossible to escape from it during a match when you go head-to-head with an opponent of matching standards. Therefore, it is much more important to try and defend your weakness to the best of your abilities.

Roger Federer putting the slice to good use

Studying Your Opponent

This may be the toughest to do but if done well, you will (almost definitely) gain an edge over your opponent. For amateur matches, it may be difficult to study your opponent as most of the time you will be playing against someone you’ve never met before. But wherever possible, try to search him/her up. You can also ask your peers if they have seen how your opponent play. I can’t emphasise enough the importance of studying your opponent prior to the match so when you go into the match, you will be fully prepared on what to do. Dig out his/her strengths and weakness and use it to your advantage.

Remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail so always go in every match with a game plan that will give you the best chance of winning the match. Don’t be shy to DM me on Instagram @shaheedalam_ if you have any question, I’ll be more than happy to answer! Till next time, continue to #hititlikeshaheed!

SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE – JUNE 29: Shaheed Alam of Singapore celebrates winning his mens singles play-off match against Hesam Esmail Yazdi of Iran during day four of the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group III at OCBC Arena on June 29, 2019 in Singapore. (Photo by Lionel Ng/Getty Images for Singapore Sports Hub)

Shaheed Alam is a ONEathlete and Ambassador for Asics (Tennis) and Babalot. He is also supported by Grip String Sports and Pro’s Pro. The tennis prodigy had his first match at the age of 5, and progressed to the Singapore Sports School, before becoming the first male Singaporean to win the ITF Junior Singles Title.

For inspiring stories related to running and sports, as well as discounts to local races, subscribe to ‘RunONE’ by adding +6588347638 to your Whatsapp contacts. Then send us the words, “Run With Me.”

Soaking the Sunshine at the Coast!

5 AUG 2019 – One can easily fly into the Brisbane Airport, and take a Con-x-ion shuttle service (costing about AUD$80 for a round trip) to the Mooloolaba Beach area at Sunshine Coast. The 90-mins shuttle ride will also be a scenic and comfortable one in the cool temperatures in August.

Sunshine Coast is a peri-urban area and the third most populated area in the Australian state of Queensland. Located north of the state capital Brisbane, on the Pacific Ocean coastline, its urban area spans approximately 60 km of coastline. The city is also home to the IAAF Bronze Label Sunshine Coast Marathon.

ONEathlete Mok Ying Ren and Evan Chee, together with other prolific Singaporean athletes had gathered in this slightly less-known city. It was not Mok’s first time in the city as he had visited the notable educational institutes at Sunshine Coast in 2018, such as the University of Sunshine Coast (USC) where some Team Singapore athletes go for a training stint.

Mok Ying Ren at USC in April 2018

But this time round, Mok was able to wake up and head out casually for a short jog along the Mooloolaba Beach. Just another typical morning, but Mok was able to see lots of people walking their dogs and playing around the beach with the warm sunshine amidst the cool sea Breeze. Ideal for a beach gateway, away from the buzz of a city life.

With a pretty straight forward race pack collection, and a homely setup with booths to sell race merchadises and tee-shirts, the athletes were all geared for the race (next) day on Sunday, 4 August 2019.

Sunshine Coast Marathon

With a start time of 6am, and a sunrise at 6:30am, it pretty much ensured a good cool weather of about 15-16 degrees at the start, eventually rising up to about 20 degrees towards the end. 

Although the event focuses on the half-marathon event, there were about a total of 588 full marathon runners, with good pacing support with pacers from 3hours to 4hours timing (with a 15mins interval each). The Australians were vying for the Australian Championship.

For Mok Ying Ren, as training was disrupted by a 2 weeks flu episode close to the race, on top of the very tight schedule in medical residency, he decided to start conservatively and aimed to complete the marathon in one piece rather than blow up and have to walk the remaining way. “I decided to start with the 3hour 15mins pacer and it was a small group with only 5 runners.” The pacer was clearly a seasoned and well liked runner in the local community, as he was seen cheered on by both fellow runners and spectators. In the same group, Mok also met (for the first time) another Singaporean, Yep Min, incidentally when the pacer was getting to know his small group.

Mok Ying Ren with fellow Singaporean runner in his group, Yep Min.

Mok describes the 3 loops course, as one with a couple of undulating hills, but overall, pretty flat. “We started on the 3 loop course with our pace right on target. The first loop was a 21.1km loop together with the half marathon runners, thus guaranteeing good company and ambience while the second 2 loops were 2 loops of about 10.5km to complete the 42.195km course.”

Describing his mood during the race, Mok said that, “I went through the first loop feeling fortunately comfortable because just the day before, I felt really smashed during my morning jog and thus was rather worried.” The good thing about running overseas is that the cool weather and nice sunshine that really gets the spectators out of their houses along the way to cheer the runners on throughout the race.

After the second loop, Mok was actually expecting to hit the wall sooner or later. “Just like what we all do in a marathon, we keep our energy expenditure to the minimum and focused on just keeping pace with the pacer.” But going through 30km and his body holding up well, it gave him more confidence to complete the marathon.

As he entered the last 10km loop, he experienced the fatigue setting in. His thigh muscles were tightening and cramping up. “I just wanted to hold on to the pace group as long as I could.” At this point, the group had dwindled down to 3, Mok Ying Ren, Yep Min, and another Australian. But the fatigue was rather overwhelming for Mok, in the final 2km of the race, and he dropped back from the group. “I was thankful to have finished the marathon and also enjoyed the experience thoroughly,” Mok recalls in his usual positive vibe.

ONEathlete(s) Evan Chee and Mok Ying Ren post race

For Evan Chee, who had a personal best of 2:38:58 from the London Marathon in April 2019, he was vying for this last opportunity to qualify for the SEA Games 2019 as the window closed mid-august.

However, he had to miss or stop at a number of the elite water stations (note: the stations were a first time for the race organizers) and felt that he was not able to give his best performance. He is now ranked 6th overall in Singapore based on his personal best timing, and will be preparing his lead up to the Singapore Marathon instead.

Great Beach Drive

The next day, the team of Singaporean runners headed for the great beach drive 4WD tours. This eight-hour, family friendly tour travels more than 70km of iconic beaches with the vehicles travelling right on the sand, so you can soak in the scenery and wildlife, such as dolphins, manta rays, turtles, soldier crabs, birdlife, birds of prey and whales (whale season is June-October). “It was an interesting experience driving down the beach as if it was just a road,” Mok summarized about his experience.

A pristine stretch of white sand with stunning headland views all the way from Noosa to Double Island Point

The tour boasts of a few key stopovers. Namely, Red Canyon, Great Sandy National Park, Lighthouse, Coloured Sands, Honeymoon Bay and Rainforest:

Red Canyon – Red and yellow sands form a unique canyon in the sand dunes where you will enjoy magnificent views over Teewah Beach.

Great Sandy National Park – A scenic and relaxing picnic ground where you might be visited by camera friendly Lace Monitors (Goannas).

Lighthouse – Double Island Point Lighthouse offers breathtaking 360-degree views across the Pacific Ocean and scenic surrounds of the Great Sandy National Park. It is here once can often spot pods of dolphins, turtles, sharks, manta rays and the majestic Humpback Whales (season is June-October).

Coloured Sands – This world famous attraction has more than 40 different shades of colour. The tour includes a demonstration of the traditional techniques used by the Aboriginal people (with respect to the Gubbi Gubbi people) to create artwork and decorate boomerangs

Honeymoon Bay – This area boasts a saltwater lagoon with some of the most scenic landscapes in Australia. One can swim in the protected waters of the bay, or body surf on the longest right hand breaks in Australia all year round. Or, like Mok, you can catch up on your work and podcasts!

Mok also recalled that the tour guides were thoughtful to personalize the trip, and make things really easy for the “tourists”. They had set up the tents for lunch and everything was catered for including wine and beer for their picnic lunch, against the stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and Fraser Island.

Sandra Runs With Ash

03 Aug 2019 – In a Catholic ceremony held at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, National Marathoner and ONEathlete Ashley Dominic Liew married the love of his life, Sandra Faustina Lee. Ashley had dated Sandra for about 2.5 years before sealing his commitment to the dynamic entrepreneur and dancer.

The bride sewed her own bridal gown, which has the base piece of Ashley’s late mum’s wedding gown extended with a 3D floral skirt.

Beyond that, the bride and her company Free Movement Singapore sewed all the bridesmaids’ gowns and groomsmen’s suits. Waala for effort!

In the evening, the couple held a ‘Beauty and the Beast’ themed Chinese banquet for about 400 guests at Mandarin Oriental.

It was an artistic feast, as the entire dinner was centered around the fairy tale story line, and the bride pulled off a very entertaining costume change on the stage.

Leave your well wishes and messages behind, in the comments section, for Mr & Mrs Liew!

Rock The Naked Truth – Inspiring Body Positivity through Fitness

REBEKAH ONG – Rock The Naked Truth is a body image movement initiated by Singaporean fitness personality and triathlete Cheryl Tay.  Cheryl was not always the image of health and fitness as she had suffered from body image issues for over a decade which she has since recovered from.  Cheryl opened up about her challenges and started a body image movement Rock The Naked Truth in 2016 to inspire and help others seek confidence in their bodies through fitness, as well as encourage them to take better care of their health.

Sports nutrition workshop followed by a Pilates session

As an advocate of healthy methods of getting in shape, Rock The Naked Truth believes in an active lifestyle that embraces inner beauty. Most importantly, one of the main objectives of the movement is to foster a support community that can encourage and motivate one other.

Sounds like an interesting group to be part of? That’s a definite yes personally! I have attended some of their events, which includes gym cardio sessions as well as outdoor runs. Here’s what you can expect!

Group fitness classes

#ROCKTHENAKEDTRUTH EVENTS

Events organised by the Rock The Naked Truth can range from group fitness classes like Pound Fit, Zumba, BodyJam to workshops that teaches self-defence, beginner triathlete sessions, and even sports health and nutrition. Information on their events can also be found on their website events page or Facebook, both of which are regularly updated and current!

ROCKrunners

ROCKrunners Session every Tuesday

ROCKrunners is the official running club of Rock the Naked Truth. The group meets every Tuesday at 7.00pm outside Lululemon Marina Bay Sands store (10 Bayfront Avenue, B2-42, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands).

ROCKrunners is suitable for runners of all levels and fitness – whether you are just a beginner runner or someone eager to challenge and push those limits. The only aim is to have a good time, and workout together, which explains their motto to run happy and ensure no one is left behind!

Do follow them on their Instagram page and their ROCKrunners events page as they have special events from time to time, besides their weekly Tuesday session. These special events are usually organised on weekend mornings where they will explore new run routes in Singapore or conduct workshops that may help you in your training.

Photo credits: Rock The Naked Truth

Rebekah Ong is a fitness junkie and F1 fanatic. The elegant foodie is almost at every run event! She presents all things in fours!

For inspiring stories related to running and sports, as well as discounts to local races, subscribe to ‘RunONE’ by adding +6588347638 to your Whatsapp contacts. Then send us the words, “Run With Me.”