Mok Ying Ren at the launch of Start Your Impossible, Toyota's initiative launch. Photo credits: ONEathlete

Start Your Impossible

13 September 2018 – In typical Japanese innovative fashion, the unveiling of Toyota’s first global corporate initiative #StartYourImpossible (SYI) towards its transformation from a car company to a mobility company, was simply jaw-locking! The initiative celebrates the Olympic and Paralympic spirit.

 

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Mok Ying Ren (extreme left) and other Team Toyota key opinion leaders, made up of national athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Photo credits: ONEathlete

Toyota also announced its region-wide partnership with 12 Olympic and Paralympic aspirants from Asia, including Singapore swimmers and golden water boys, Joseph Schooling and Toh Wei Soong.  Both will support the initiative by championing their hero projects. Various other national athletes (from the likes of, Double SEA Games Gold Medalist & #ONEathlete, Mok Ying Ren, and Olympian-Sprinter, 叶劲维 Timothee Yap) and fitness enthusiasts (from the likes of Race Driver Claire Jedrek, Ironman Triathlete Cheryl Tay, Rhythm cycling instructor Jia En, actress Ase Wang, etc) were also part of the larger ensemble.

 

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Mr Susumu Matsuda announcing the 12 Team Toyota Hero Athletes. Photo credits: ONEathlete

Other Olympic and Paralympic Heroes from the region, Marcus Fernaldi Gideon (Badminton, Indonesia), Ni Nengah Widiasih (Para Powerlifting, Indonesia), Anchaya Ketkeaw (Para Swimming, Thailand), Panipak Wongpattanakit (Taekwondo, Thailand) were also in attendance.

 

Inspired by Toyota’s worldwide partnership with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), it also marks Toyota’s support of the creation of a more sustainable, inclusive and mobile society. Three different mobility devices were launched:

  • The Toyota Human Support Robot created to support the long-term for elderly care and health care, served the President of Toyota Motor Asia Pacific, Mr. Susumu Matuda, a bottle of water amidst his opening speech!
  • They displayed the Toyota Welcab (assistive vehicle) that has an electrically-powered ‘side lift-up tilt seat’ which rotates, tilts and comes down out of the vehicle.
  • Mok Ying Ren’s personal favorite was the Toyota i-Road. It is an exciting ultra-compact three-wheeled electric vehicle that combines the ease of motorcycle + the comfort/stability of a car. He also test-drove and commented on its excellent maneuverability.

 

The pompous launch event held in Infinite Studio Singapore was hosted by Toyota Motor Asia Pacific and its distributor Borneo Motors (Singapore). The event was emcee-ed by a very familiar and beautiful fair lady in the sporting scene, Kelly Latimer.

 


 

Catch up on Mok Ying Ren’s involvement in the #StartYourImpossible Campaign right here! Don’t forget to visit www.startyourimpossible.asia!

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Mok Ying Ren at the entrance of Start Your Impossible, Toyota’s initiative launch. Photo credits: ONEathlete

 

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I booked out of my medical officers’ course in army, and flew into Myanmar one day before the race. I was still trying to get over a dry cough and strain on my hip muscles. As a underdog, and given my conditions, it was near impossible for me to win the race. Even at the final stretch, i trailed behind in the 4th position. I ran into the stadium, as my family and Singaporeans roared to spur me on, closing the gaps to finish in 2:28:36. Later, It was my honor to hear the Singapore national anthem on the podium, for Singapore’s first SEA Games Marathon Male Gold Medal in 2013 #StartYourImpossible Read more via link in bio https://runone.co/startyourimpossible #RunWithMok #RunONE #ONEathlete www.startyourimpossible.asia 📸: SSC / ONE

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ST: Back in the days

This article was first published in The Sunday Times on 09 Sep 2018

PROF LOW CHENG HOCK – My friends from primary and secondary school still meet up frequently to catch up and stay active by going for walks together. While we talk about anything and everything under the sun, a large part of our conversations revolves around nostalgic memories of our younger days spent outdoors.

In fact, when we look back, the only vivid memories for me are often of my experience doing sports, or just being out there in the great outdoors, in general. Looking back at my younger self, I could describe myself as a ‘jack of all trades’ because I would readily take on the challenge in any sports, even though I was never quite proficient in any. It is still a fond part of my memory that I’m glad to share with readers of our #RunWithMok column.

Memories of enjoying life

Running or just merely being outdoors has always been a big part of my life. During my time in primary school, our teacher would bring us running at 5.30am. Unfortunately (or fortunately), children nowadays are so busy studying around the clock that they no longer can afford the luxury of time for such simple ‘pleasures’ of life.) At that time, running was totally voluntary and, judging from the turnout, we all simply enjoyed it! In fact, our teacher and his wife were inspirational figures who led by example They coached us to run, motivated us to train, and rallied us to do our part for society and raise funds for charity (through running, of course).

I was an avid sports fan, just not the spectator-kind. I had an eye for the graceful footwork of badminton and also enjoyed the rigors of a heart-thumping soccer match. I have also cycled to Malaysia with my cycling ‘kakis’. In fact, the bicycle was my go-to choice to commute during medical school. I started exercising and playing sports to keep fit, but the leisure and pleasure of good company kept me going. Being the non-athlete I am, the social undertones of sports took some (not all) pressure off me and allowed me to immerse myself in whatever sports I had chosen as my poison.

Memories of adventures

In my younger days, I liked sailing and would sail in the waters off West Coast Park with my medical school classmates. I remember  Dr. Ben Tan, who introduced the sport to me and taught me the basics. On one such voyage, our rowing boat (with a makeup sail) had capsized somewhere near Pulau Bukom, at a particularly high-traffic part in the middle of (apparently) nowhere! But being young, we were fearless in that situation and just calmly floated in the choppy waters, until rescue came to some 30 mins later.

Some years ago, I went to visit an old friend who was a surgeon-turned-missionary and ran a rural hospital at a dizzying altitude of 5000 feet up in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. During this ‘holiday’, I helped out at the hospital and treated a Masai (local native) patient with several wounds, some of which even needed surgery. I later found out that he had wrestled with a lion that had attacked his cattle. Fortunately, he recovered well enough to return to his hometown up in the mountains. It was a blessing in disguise because I got to accompany this gentleman on an unforgettable long and scenic hike through some of the most breathtaking views and wilderness Mother Earth can offer. I’m glad I had scaled Mount Kinabalu with a group of young doctors, as the experience came in handy too.

Being able to even conquer such challenging terrain at my age, was a blessing, that allowed me to meet fellow explorers who, more often than not, would have adventurous stories to share. I used to tackle the trails at Bukit Timah, starting from the dairy farm side and leading up to the summit. On a good day, this would give me about an hour or so to catch up with my friends. Till today, I still swim, walk and hike whenever possible.

Mok Ying Ren (seen in picture) was inspired by his medical teacher and mentor, Prof Low’s life philosophy, shaped by the latter’s experience with the outdoors and active lifestyle. Photo credits: ONEATHLETE
Mok Ying Ren (seen in picture) was inspired by his medical teacher and mentor, Prof Low’s life philosophy, shaped by the latter’s experience with the outdoors and active lifestyle. Photo credits: ONEATHLETE

Memories of being time efficient

The time we have is for us to decide, but definitely within us to manage As a doctor, I would always try to finish rounds and necessities so that I can have time for exercise. I didn’t want to be too desk-bound and would try, schedule permitting, to slot in a visit to the beach, arrange a picnic or a camping trip over the weekends.

Looking back, it was really about setting priorities. If something was important, then it would only be logical to make time for it. Being physically active is one of these things. But you think you have time and can wait for important things, it will one day become urgent. When you are lying on the hospital bed clutching your chest, suffering from a heart attack, your health becomes an urgent condition that needs to be treated. Taking care of the important things regularly prevents them from becoming urgent.

Memories of running my race

In my years as a doctor, I remember vividly there was once a runner and conquered a marathon 3 months after completing his chemotherapy therapy for leukemia. This despite finishing last, and in visible pain as he crossed that finish line. He did his level best and won HIS race! He taught me that winning the race is not always about coming in first, and we can’t be first all the time.  Finishing the race is also winning the race. It’s just as important!

The story of Rick (who suffers from cerebral palsy) and his ‘triathlon’ dad, Dick Hoyt, is equally inspiring. To fulfill his son’s wishes, Dick had completed a triathlon, his first, while towing Rick along with him. A race completed to the best of his own abilities, no less and the pair were later inducted to the Ironman Hall of Fame in 2008.

In both cases, neither age nor physical ability was a limiting factor in running their race. My experience and belief have shown me that there is no ‘right’ age, but a correct mentality for anything and everything we seek to accomplish and achieve. Every age is the right age, in its own way. Whether one chooses to run, jog or walk, as long as you enjoy ‘running my race’ leisurely and complete or compete, to the best of your abilities, that’s what matters the most.

Conclusion

So you can see how running, sports and the great outdoors can be physically beneficial, as well as memorable in more ways than one. Don’t worry about getting old; worry about thinking old. Regardless of age, the outdoors hold much in its promise, as it is for you, and me.

Professor Low Cheng Hock is an Emeritus Consultant for General Surgery. The 73 year old educator leads an independent and active lifestyle, and is renowned for inspiring many young medical students/professionals, like Mok Ying Ren.
Professor Low Cheng Hock is an Emeritus Consultant for General Surgery. The 73 year old educator leads an independent and active lifestyle, and is renowned for inspiring many young medical students/professionals, like Mok Ying Ren.
The article was scribed by Mok Ying Ren and Jed Senthil for Professor Low Cheng Hock.
The article was scribed by Mok Ying Ren and Jed Senthil for Professor Low Cheng Hock.

Shaheed getting ‘Hydro-fit’ with new SportSG ambassador, Lim Yaoxiang

Officially launched in June 2017, the Sports Singapore Brand Ambassadors network is an online initiative to bring together content creators, social media influencers as well as achieving and aspiring athletes from Singapore’s sporting ecosystem, including national and citizen athletes, media personalities, sports volunteers, and health and fitness practitioners.

 

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SportSG Ambassador, national tennis player, and ONEathlete Shaheed Alam. Photo credits: SportSG

Back in Jun 2017, ONEathlete Shaheed Alam (@shaheedalam98), national tennis player, was encouraged by what he saw as an opportunity to, “motivate them (next-gen student-athletes) so they won’t back down from their sports. I want to show them that sports are a viable career” when he decided to join the pioneer batch of SportSG Ambassadors. The initiative has since played an important role in reaching out to the national audience during the 2017 SEA Games and ASEAN Para Games period, as well as supporting the GetActive! Singapore campaign in 2018.

 

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SportSG Ambassadors (From R to L): Shaheed, Kerstin, Lim Yaoxiang, John Yeong and Samantha. Photo credits: SportSG

Being one of the pioneer SportSG ambassadors, Shaheed recently hosted an ‘initiation’ ceremony which included, among other games, a Hydrofit Gladiator competition, to welcome the latest member of the group and former national water polo player, Lim Yaoxiang. Watch his interview right here.

 

But at his natural habitat? How is that fair? (hur hur) Well, that’s cos he had plans for the seniors to ‘fight it out’ right there! and our Shaheed wasn’t too shabby (except for the occasional thrashing by Kerstin and Samantha!) 

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Growing from strength to strength, the SportSG ambassadorship has expanded into its current group of 24 diverse and unique personalities whose common goal is to inspire a more active and healthier community, ignite sporting dreams and excellence, and forge social resilience through sport.

 

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New ambassador Lim Yaoxiang (behind). Photo credits: SportSG

 

For more on these sports ambassadors, do check out their various online profiles, social media handles and kick-start your active, healthy journey today!

 

ST: Not an uphill task!

This article was first published in The Sunday Times on 02 Sep 2018.

#AskMok

  1. Do we really need to do slope training? My coach wants us to do this often but I’m wondering if it might cause injuries. – Anonymous
  2. In what way is slope training beneficial? Or how can we use this to our benefit? –  Yulin

Champion of the 1972 Olympic marathon, Frank Shorter, once said,“Hills are speedwork in disguise”. Hills training was introduced to me by my training partner, Jason Lawrence, early in my running journey. Since then, we would then integrate hills into our weekly training programme without fail.

Some of the more “memorable” hills I have tackled –” in terms of the pain level – are Mount Faber, Vigilante Drive (a small slip of road off South Buona Vista Road), and just about every other corner within the National University of Singapore.

I was once told, “When you are fit, every hill is flat”. Truth be said, no hill has ever felt flat to me, not even when I had just won the 2013 SEA Games marathon. So, either I was never truly fit enough, or that statement was meant more to encourage than motivate. Regardless, hill training does greatly benefit runners. Here’s how:

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1. Increases your speed

Running on short hills between 50 to 80 meters long allows you to work on your power and speed. For this kind of workout, begin by leaning in, and then sprint up the hill at your maximum speed. You may walk back down the hill slowly until you feel ready to repeat the sprint. Repeat them for 5 to 10 times as you progress over the weeks.

Do note that this workout may be rather intensive and, to avoid muscle injury, should only be tackled after completing a thorough warm up.

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2. Enhances your form

Running on hills forces you to focus on your running form in a natural manner. When running uphill, your body’s natural response is to lean forward and run “into” the hill – it is quite impossible to run uphill with your body leaning backward. Over time, this optimal natural running form may be adopted and carry over to your regular runs on flat surfaces.

For this workout, find a hill between 100 to 200 meters long and practice running smoothly uphill with your body leaning slightly forward. Focus on running tall, while driving your knees forwards and swinging your arms. Do not worry about your speed!

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3. Builds your endurance

Hill training builds great muscular endurance in your legs and boosts your overall physical fitness levels, as you are required to work against gravity. Gradually, these improvements will become apparent in your runs on flatter routes. s.

My preferred hill to perform this type of workout would be  Mount Faber. I usually start from the bottom of the hill at Morse Road, and run all the way up to the peak of Mount Faber, before jogging back down slowly. This cycle is repeated 3 to 8 times, depending on my training stage.

Do expect to experience some soreness after each of your first few workouts! But fret not – by your 5th visit to the hill, you should not feel as much fatigue after the session.  However, do not get your hopes up (too quickly) and expect each run up the hill to feel easier within a short period of time – it took me a while and even then I still had a healthy respect (and fear) of hills! Your progression can be measured against the amount the time taken to tackle the slope or hill, all while running at the same level of intensity.

Safety Tips : Its a double-edged sword!
Despite its immense benefits, hill workouts may result in onset of injuries if not executed sensibly, most commonly strains to the muscles and tendons.

It is key to ensure adequate recovery between each hill workout session. I would strongly advise that you engage in intensive hill training only once every fortnight.

All that said, it’s evident that hill training injects variety into your training programme and causes less trauma and stress to the joints with its upward motion. Do it wisely and you will reap great benefits from the arduous workout sessions!


Week 14 Giveaway:

Running on short hills between _____ meters long allows you to work on your power and speed. 

Submit your answer to the question on #LearnWithMok and stand to win a race slot for ST Run, happening on 23 Sep 2018!

ONE @ AHM 2018

Running a race of any distance calls for a commitment that starts weeks, if not months before we reach the starting line. That in itself may sound daunting. But amongst the various sports and disciplines out there, running is actually the simplest! In the sense that it belies the challenge of performing at one’s best, and outperforming others, at a sport which puts one foot ahead of the other.

As we head into peak racing season in Singapore, which tends to start in the latter half of the year (usually August) with the SAFRA Bay Run and Army Half Marathon (SSBR & AHM), it is timely for those who are looking to maintain their fitness or improve upon their Personal Bests to look ahead and hit their strides.

Here’s how the ONE family went full swing into the AHM and race seasons, this quarter:

 

Training plan on NSMAN Magazine – Mok Ying Ren

Thank you SPH, NSMAN Magazine, SAFRA and AHM 2018 for the opportunity and feature as well! Photos and articles reproduced with permission from SPH.

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100PLUS Race Clinic – Mok Ying Ren 

IMG_9878Besides helping runners prepare for their upcoming races, the 100PLUS race clinic had also hoped to provide a lively platform for both seasoned and new runners to come together, get to know one another, and learn and grow as one running community. As Mok shared his experiences and tips on hydration and pacing strategies, and it was exciting to see a wide range of questions from diet and training to recovery and injury prevention. The vibrancy and life in today’s running scene are vastly different from a few yesteryears, and that is an encouraging sign!

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Race Pacing Strategies – Just as dress rehearsals are important for performing artists before the actual-day event, such shorter races would be beneficial in easing the nerves and allow runners to test out and be comfortable with their race pacing. This confidence-building measure could make or break the difference between a Personal Best and Worst, especially when the stakes are high on a major race like SSBR & AHM.

Hydration and Fuelling – When it comes to race hydration, too little is just as bad as too much. Reaching the right balance for your body will aid in optimal performance in a race. During a 2hour 30min marathon, Mok recommended taking in about 200ml of isotonic sports drinks every 20-30 minutes. Mok also shared that as a 100PLUS ambassador, his go-to drink would be the non-carbonated 100PLUS Active when he is training and running. This drink is formulated to help rehydrate and replenish electrolytes and minerals.

 

D-day @ SSBR-AHM 2018!

Amongst various athletes that joined their formation in this signature event for the armed forces, Banjamin Quek stood out with his 7th position with a timing of 1:18! It was his 5th year representing his division, and the camaraderie and team spirit that kept him going, despite feeling under the weather on race day. The full-time tutor, who trained 4-5 days a week has been handling an exceptionally challenging year with workload and health. Thus, he was even more delighted that 6th Div was in the 2nd place amongst the formation challenge!

What a lead up, it has been to the SSBR-AHM 2018!! A big thanks to the partners, SAFRA, SPH, 100PLUS, and all that contributed towards our participation in this local-focused run! and made all of the above possible!
Till the next race, and AHM 2019! Run ONE!
Evan during his Gold Coast Marathon in July 2018. Photo credits: ONEATHLETE / CHEW JEE KENG

ST: Master running as you age

This article was first published in The Sunday Times on 26 Aug 2018

EVAN CHEE – Running for me is a sport and a journey that started in 1990. Changi Airport Terminal 2 had only started operations that year, and our East-West MRT line was just completed. That also happened to be the year I raced with my Primary 4 class 4x100m relay team, in what felt like a lifetime ago.

Fast forward 28 years later, I still put on my racing shoes and compete regularly in both local and overseas races, taking on distances which include the fabled 42.195km marathon. At this age, it is natural to ask whether one can be too old to run a marathon, or do better results await in the days (and miles) ahead? Unfortunately for those young-at-heart, existing literature and research seem to suggest the former. Seize the moment. Time and tide wait for no man, let alone an athlete. While a runner’s aerobic capacity, muscles mass, and recovery inevitably decline with age, not all is lost. At least that’s how my story would read.

Believe that it’s possible

At the age of 35, I clocked my (then) personal best marathon timing of 2:56 at the 2015 Singapore Marathon and placed 3rd in the local men’s open category. Barely 12 months ago, I lowered that mark by 14 mins to attain my current personal best record of 2:42 at the 2017 Berlin Marathon. Today, my passion for running still burns strongly as ever. Just as I am clocking faster timings across all race distances, than my legs ever did in their youth, I’m looking forward eagerly towards sub 2:40. Benjamin Button is real, as it would appear.

My sister, Yvonne Chee, similarly ran her personal best marathon (3:23) last year at the age of 37. I recall that she was visibly pregnant during the Straits Times Run 2017. Even after giving birth to my niece this year, she is becoming fitter than ever and even ran the 2018 London marathon 5 months postpartum.

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The Chee Siblings, Evan, and Yvonne. Photo credits: ONEATHLETE

Be aware of potential challenges

As we age, our muscles and tendons become more injury-prone due to accumulated wear and tear. Recognising this helped me manage the issue before it gets out of hand. I would always allow time for my body to be conditioned during the start of any training cycle before ramping up the intensity. It also helps if you can build up a strong aerobic base with 3 months of easy runs (conversational pace) under your belt. Here are some of the key training principles that have guided me along the way:

  • Progressive – Increase your weekly mileage progressively till you reach your target peak training mileage. Rule of thumb for weekly increment – about 10%. The ceiling to which you increase your mileage to will be dependant on your fitness and experience level. It will be wise to seek help from a coach if in doubt.
  • Effective – 80% of training should be easy runs. Mix in good quality speed sessions with enjoyable easy runs. You don’t have to always run hard.
  • Variety – Vary the terrain you run on and don’t stick to the same type of running surface. Adding gravel, trails, and grass to your list is good for training and also helps with fitness maintenance.
  • Consistency – Make regular running a part of your lifestyle. This is key to improving and building up fitness. Find time to run, not excuses.

As Dr. Malcolm Mahadevan had mentioned in his earlier article, an aged body is less forgiving to intensive training and therefore it is important to know your body and not overstrain it. Here are some training safety tips, especially for masters/senior runners in the box insert, by Associate Consultant of NUH Sports Centre, Dr. Wang Mingchang.

SAFETY TIPS FOR SENIOR RUNNERS

  • Undergo Pre-participation Screening

Atherosclerotic coronary artery disease is more common in older athletes, especially if there is a preexisting family history. It is recommended for older endurance athletes to undergo pre-participation cardiac screening. They are also advised to seek medical help if they develop exertional chest pains, unexplained breathlessness or fainting spells during exercise.

  • Tweak your running volume

Degeneration of articular cartilage(e.g. in the knee joint) occurs with age and is the most common cause of musculoskeletal pain and disability in senior runners. Running can still be done with adjustments in running volume depending on symptoms. By strengthening the hip and core muscles, improving running biomechanics and reducing stresses to the knee joint, physical therapy may also help to alleviate and/or address the symptoms.

  • Maintain muscle strength

Tendons, such as the Achilles’ tendon in the heel, tend to become stiffer with age and are therefore more prone to injury. Older endurance athletes are encouraged to maintain muscular strength through resistance training and flexibility routines (e.g. stretching after runs) to reduce the risk of tendon injury.
Dr. Wang Mingchang

Associate Consultant, NUH Sports Centre

Be conscious of recovery

Over the years, I have come to realize that my recovery has become slower while taking up more time and mindful attention. What has greatly benefited me is a keen knowledge of my body, and its limits, and the clockwork-like recovery sessions in my training regime. For as long as I can remember, there would always be a rest day (usually Monday) after an entire week of training. On occasions, I have also replaced training runs with cross training sessions such as cycling or core strengthening exercises when I have felt the need to afford more rest for my fatigued body. In triathlon, there’s a saying that besides swim, bike, and run, recovery is the 4th and most important discipline. Having a regular recovery maintenance regime is definitely an integral, and important, part of training. Let’s not forget – your body also needs to be ‘pampered’ regularly and this is why I make it a point to arrange for a sports massage session fortnightly.

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Evan during a training run with the Adidas Runners. Photo credits: AIK SOON / Adidas Singapore

Make time for personal commitments

As we grow and mature, our lives are hardly run single-mindedly with a child-like insistence and innocence (much as some of us would have preferred). Instead, we have come to realize, and for reasons good and bad, that there is more to our lives that exist outside of the track, like friends, family, food, and work (unfortunately). For me, I have a habit of scheduling most of my runs first thing in the morning before everyone else is awake. This way, I allow myself quality time during later parts of the day to bond and socialize with family, attend to work commitments, or simply to relax and unwind.

If this story of one (mine) is of any encouragement, there is still a light at the end of the tunnel for runners to keep chasing, whether you are 35 years old, or young! In fact, hitting the tracks and roads regularly might just help to slow down your body clock or even wind back time. Age is nothing but a number. Someone once told me that running is a game of mind over matter – if you don’t mind, then it doesn’t matter. So lace up and run on!

Evan during a training run in July 2018. Photo credits: ONEATHLETE / LIM SHU ZHEN
Evan Chee is a National Marathoner and was the 2nd Runner-up at SCSM 2018. He works as an engineering manager. The 37 year old runner has a personal best of 2:42 hrs and is managed by ONEathlete.

Week 13 Question:

“Barely 12 months ago, I lowered that mark by ___ mins to attain my current personal best record of 2:42 at the 2017 Berlin Marathon.”

Submit your answer to the question on #LearnWithMok and stand to win a race slot for ST Run, happening on 23 Sep 2018!

ST: Getting into the right kicks!

This article was first published in The Sunday Times on 19 Aug 2018.

#AskMok

  1. Why does buying a suitable running shoe seem to be so hard? any tips? – Alice Lee
  2. What’s your favorite running shoes brand and model? – @wayne_wcw

Dear Alice and Wayne, thank you for the question.

Running shoes serve the primary purpose of protecting your feet while you run. Of course, with the myriad of aesthetically-pleasing shoes on the market nowadays, running shoes can also be used to make a fashion statement!

In any case, shoe selection is highly dependent on each individual, but it is not a difficult process. A shoe is comprised of a few key components and each component should play a role in your shoe selection.

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Google image on the anatomy of running shoe.

Upper

The upper of the shoe is the material which completely covers over and around your foot. With its distinct colour and design, it is probably what attracts you to a particular shoe the most.

However, pay attention to the design and mould of the upper. Many current shoe models, such as the New Balance Fuel Cell Impulse model uses a “bootie construction” fit, which caters to your foot’s curvature and gives a more snug fit. These days, uppers are also made using mesh materials which allow greater airflow. This reduces the weight of the shoe and, from a practical perspective, allows the shoe to dry faster after washing!

Midsole

The midsole of the shoe is where you will find the cushion for your foot. Different shoe brands have different cushioning materials and systems for runners to achieve different experiences while running.

For example, New Balance’s latest Fresh Foam Beacon model adopts the brand’s signature Fresh Foam cushioning technology for its midsole, providing its wearers a “soft pillow” type of cushion. In contrast, the New Balance FuelCore 5000 model features the REVlite foam for its midsole, to provide a more responsive and “fast” feel for its wearers.

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New Balance’s new line of running shoes. Photo: RunONE

Which midsole is the best? This depends on your preference.

One key feature of the midsole is the heel-to-toe drop or offset of the shoe. This refers to the difference in height between the heel and the forefoot of the shoe. Most shoes have an offset of 6mm to 1.2cm, although some go as low as 0mm to simulate running on a flat surface. Wearing a shoe with a low offset requires you to activate your calves more while wearing a shoe with a high offset encourages you to land on your heels more. Generally, shoes with a 6 to 8mm offset will suit most.

Another aspect to consider for the midsole is whether a neutral cushioned or a stability shoe would be more suitable. Stability shoes typically have some stiffer material on the inner side of the sole (usually coloured grey), which theoretically prevents overpronation (arches which collapse inwardly). However, the effectiveness of using stability shoes to address overpronation is not strongly supported by scientific evidence. If you find that such shoes help you with your injuries, stick to them. Otherwise, you may base your decision on your comfort level.

Outsole

The outsole of the shoe is the most bottom part of the shoe which makes direct contact with the ground. It is, admittedly, rather difficult to test the outsole in the store. Personally, it is important for my shoes to be able to handle slippery conditions, such as mud and wet drain covers.

You may through experience find that certain shoe brands are more slip-resistant than others. This is particularly important if you are looking for shoes which can handle trails and mud.

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Mok Ying Ren trying out New Balance’s new line of running shoes on an in-store treadmill. Photo credits: ONEATHLETE

Comfort above all

Notwithstanding the above, recent medical studies have found that when an athlete selects a shoe based on his level of comfort, it appears to naturally reduce the risk of injury. This interesting observation removes a lot of (unnecessary) stress associated with shoe selection.

My recommendation would be to purchase your shoes at a running specialty store with a treadmill for you to test your shoes on. For myself, I head down to the New Balance store at Kallang Wave Mall, where I can run and test the shoe on the treadmill. As weird as it may seem or sound, try going shopping for shoes in your running attire so that you can get on the treadmill for a test run! If it feels comfortable, then this may just be the shoe for you.

With The Straits Times Run approaching, it is my sincere advice that you do not wear any new shoes on race day – I have made this mistake before and paid the price dearly! Start wearing your new kicks now so that you would have had at least 1 month to break into them. If you need to buy a pair of new running shoes, New Balance (the Official Sportswear) offers a one-time 25% discount to purchase NB products, which you can leverage on as a participant of #STrun2018!


Week 12 Giveaway:

Mok Ying Ren goes to the NB store at ________ to try out the shoes on an in-store treadmill before buying.   

Submit your answer to the question on #LearnWithMok and stand to win a race slot for ST Run, happening on 23 Sep 2018!

ST: Shaheed serves and sweeps ’em all!

04 Aug 2018 – At the recently concluded Singapore National Games – STA Open Pesta Sukan Tennis Championship 2018, ONEathlete and national tennis player, Shaheed Alam, secured a clean sweep across all 3 categories by winning the Men’s Singles (6-0, 6-3), Men’s Doubles (7-5, 6-4) and Mixed Doubles.

This was also covered on The Straits Times on 18 Aug 2018.

Shaheed bettered his results from the last STA Open Tennis C’ship in 2016, when he won the Men’s Singles and Mixed Doubles but lost in the Men’s Doubles finals to narrowly miss out on the hat-trick.

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2018 Singapore National Games Tennis at Kallang Tennis Centre on 2nd Aug 2018 6pm match on Court 3 between Shaheed Alam vs. Arbaquez Israel Jr. Shaheed Alam hits a forehand return. Photo by AndrewJKTan/ SportSG & ONEathlete

Earlier this year, Shaheed had won the Davis Cup Group 4 match with TeamSG Tennis and his victory at the Pesta Sukan C’ship shows again why Shaheed is a note-worthy rising star on our local tennis scene. Driven by the same motivation to do his family proud, Shaheed commits himself to put in his best during every training, rain or shine. That mentality proved to be the difference when he had to play 3 Finals matches back-to-back in a 5-hour ‘marathon’ which included a tie-breaker in the first set of the Men’s Doubles.

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Celebrating a clutch winner to win the tie-breaker set 7-5 in the Men’s Doubles. Photo by Manoj Banavali/ Sport SG & ONEathlete

Shaheed has certainly proved that he has the heart and lungs to go the distance when he took victory over Israel Arbarquez from Philippines in the Men’s Singles quarterfinals match which lasted over 3-and-half hours.

The hat-trick of wins ultimately took a lot of fitness and mental strength, but it also gave Shaheed the confidence knowing that he is able to hang in there and compete among the best even when the going gets tough. The SNG Pesta Sukan Tennis Championships invites experienced players with professional backgrounds and credentials and is pegged differently from the STA tournament which caters more to the junior level players. Tennis was included as part of the Singapore National Games for the first time in 2016.

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2018 Singapore National Games Tennis at Kallang Tennis Centre on 2nd Aug 2018 6pm match on Court 3 between Shaheed Alam vs. Arbaquez Israel Jr. Shaheed Alam’s Service motion. Photo by AndrewJKTan/SportSG & ONEathlete

While pleased with his performance, having seen that the results of his training paid off, Shaheed knows the honor is not his alone to claim. He is extremely grateful for his teammates, Rohan Kamdar (Men’s Doubles) and Evelina Kontareva (Mixed Doubles), whose support and encouragement carried him mentally and physically through the rough patches in this tournament. “Their support is also crucial as I play these back-to-back categories,” he recalls with humility.

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Shaheed sharing a proud moment on stage with his Mixed Doubles partner, Evelina Kontareva. Photo by Manoj Banavali / SportSG & ONEathlete

He will also like to thank his equipment sponsors, Head and Pro’s Pro, as well as Futuro for their invaluable support,  both on, and off, the court. Much credit is also due to the team of officials and medics, as well as Team Nila supporters and, last but not least, his family and friends, who have been his motivation, advice, and support ever since he embarked on his tennis career.

Asked about his plans and intentions, Shaheed has one eye firmly fixed on the 2019 SEA Games where he hopes to qualify and be a medal contender. For now, he will be starting on his polytechnic industrial internship as he continues working towards bigger dreams in his budding tennis career.

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Shaheed’s bedrock of strength and his pillar(s) of support. Photo by Manoj Banavali / SportSG & ONEathlete

Performance Continues at Bedok TPS 3

5 August 2018 – ONE continues its run of performance as the 2018 race season heads into full steam ahead, with 3 athletes amongst the top 4 Men-Closed 10km category at The Performance Series Race 3, Bedok Reservoir. Banjamin Quek came in 2nd (37:23) while  Evan Chee (38:54) finished in 3rd followed by fourth-placed Ashley Liew (39:19).

 

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Banja, Evan and Prashanth sharing the podium moment together 

The 2-lap race format comprised a mix of terrain – pavement and packed gravel surrounding the scenic Bedok reservoir. It provided runners a refreshing change from the usual tarmac-road race featured in earlier TPS races (Pasir Ris Park and Punggol Waterway). While the weather was relatively cool on this Sunday morning in the midst of an unusually hot mid-year, participants had to contend with a big uphill as part of the race route which added to the uniqueness of this morning’s performance challenge.

 

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For the Under Armour Ambassador, Banjamin Quek, finishing 2nd today was the comeback he had desperately sought, and needed, after a disappointing DNF at the Race Against Cancer 2 weeks ago. Heading into this 10km race, he learnt from the earlier episode and adjusted his pre-race preparation by managing his training and work carefully. While his results today represent a promising step forward in the right direction, Banjamin knows that there is still some more work to be done as he looks ahead towards the Army Half Marathon in 3 weeks’ time.

 

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Looking back at the close finish he had at RAC, Evan was also quietly pleased with his performance as he had taken the effort to work on his weaker areas by sharpening his speed-work over the past 2 weeks. Along with fellow training partner, Ashley Liew who finished in 4th today, today’s race is part of their final tune-up as they will both be running at the Army Half Marathon.

 

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ONE will also be participating in the upcoming fourth and finale TPS race which will be held on 14 October at East Coast Park. Runners can look forward to a blistering fast finish at one of Singapore’s iconic running backyard and its flat-as-pancake route, as we sign off on this exciting (Performance) series. Sign up now and enjoy an additional 5% discount with the promo-code “RUNONE5OFF“. Registration closes 31 August 2018, sign up now on https://www.theperformanceseries.sg/register

 

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ONE and friends at the race village post-run

ST: Outdo yourself with proper hydration!

This article was first published in The Sunday Times on 05 Aug 2018.

#AskMok

  1. How often should I drink during the race? Should this be different from training? – Michelle
  2. Is there such a thing called ‘drinking too much’ during the race? I’m afraid of being bloated and I don’t drink. – Roger Ng
  1. What type of hydration do you intake every day? Do isotonic drinks really make a difference? – Charles Goh
  • Dear Michelle, Roger, and Charles thank you for the question.

    The gist to the questions is, ‘balance.’ We know that drinking too little is hazardous, but drinking too much is also equally dangerous. Thus, reaching the right balance for your body will aid in optimal performance during the race. But how do we know what are these markers? Here are some markers and some hydration tips I believe in:

    Dehydration

    It is widely accepted that dehydration affects our daily lives. It is not uncommon to experience fatigue if you forget to drink water throughout the day. Water is lost not just when we visit the toilet, but also subconsciously through breathing and perspiration.

    Similarly, dehydration has an adverse effect on performance in endurance sport and may reduce an athlete’s performance during training and racing. The effects are further exacerbated by the hot and humid climate in Singapore. There is thus, a strong emphasis on athletes in both schools and clubs to stay well-hydrated.

    Overhydration

    However, as with all things, consuming fluids in excessive amounts can cause overhydration and lead to dangerous medical conditions. One such medical condition is exercise-associated hyponatremia (EAH), which arises when sodium in the blood is diluted. This, in turn, causes the sodium concentration in the body to drop to dangerously low levels.

    In a medical study involving runners who took part in the 2002 Boston marathon, it was found that 13% of the 488 sampled runners experienced EAH during the race. Runners who experience EAH typically report to the medical tents on-site for symptoms such as giddiness, headache, confusion, and, in severe cases, may even collapse or suffer seizures. Thus, the old adage of “drink as much as possible” does not always apply.

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    Mok Ying Ren during a training run at Sports Hub. 100PLUS is the official hydration partner for The Straits Times Run. (Image by: ONEATHLETE/ 100PLUS)

    1. Optimal Hydration Tips

    At the 2015 International Exercise-Associated Hyponatremia Consensus Development Conference, a panel of international experts recommended that runners use thirst as a real-time guide to monitoring hydration.

    Drinking according to thirst before, during and immediately following exercise is a safe and effective method to gauge hydration. Consuming sports drinks which contain sodium, such as 100PLUS (the official hydration partner for the Straits Times Run), may attenuate the fall in blood sodium concentrations. However, do not be mistaken as this cannot totally eliminate the risks of EAH – the volume of fluids consumed is more important than the type of fluid. So fret not, if you prefer to drink plain water instead!

    2. Behavioral Tips

    When at work in the hospital, I keep a bottle of water with me at all times to remind myself to stay hydrated. When I am in the operating theatre and am unable to drink water, I make a conscious effort to drink at least 500ml of water in between each operation. Just by doing so, I feel better in my evening runs. A good guide would be to drink a sufficient amount of water such that your urine is clear.

    During a marathon, I consume about 200ml of isotonic sports drink every 20 – 30 min during the 2.5 hours race. Slight dehydration is expected during long races and it is normal for your body weight to be reduced by up to 3%. There is no need to replenish every drop of water lost through sweat!

    3. ‘Bonus- Effect’ Tips

    A little-known bonus effect of consuming sports drinks containing sweet carbohydrates is that your sports performance may be boosted!

    An interesting study evaluated whether rinsing the mouth with a carbohydrate solution alters the performance of competitive cyclists. It was found that by merely rinsing the sweet solution in the mouth, the time-trial performance of the cyclists improved by an average of 1.1%. The hypothesis is that the brain responds to glucose in the mouth and mediates emotional and behavioral responses which are associated with rewarding stimuli. This then stimulates one to perform at a higher capacity.

    So, even if you don’t feel like consuming fluids during a race, it would still be a good idea to sip some sports drinks and swirl it in your mouth.

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    Mok Ying Ren armed with his preferred sports hydration drink during his training run at Sports Hub.  (Image by: ONEATHLETE/ 100PLUS)

    4. Practical Tips

    One should get used to consuming sports drinks before a race. I usually stick to one particular brand of sports drink that I like and use it throughout my entire training cycle and the race. This eliminates any potential surprises on race day. If you already know which drinks will be given out at the hydration booths during the race, be sure to try them out in your training runs to avoid having an upset stomach during the race.

    As a 100PLUS Ambassador myself, my preference is for the non-carbonated 100PLUS ACTIVE when I am training and running. The drink is formulated to help rehydrate and replenish electrolytes and minerals. I especially like to enjoy my drink ice-cold for a surge of refreshment during and after my run.

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    Signed up for ST run?

    You too, will be able to enjoy ice-cold 100PLUS at the various water points during The Straits Times Run. Remember to stay hydrated and drink to the point of thirst!


    Week 10 Giveaway:

    Stand a chance to win a 100 PLUS Premium Kit, consisting of a 100PLUS gym bag, 100PLUS shoe bag, and 1 Carton of 100PLUS cans, worth $60!

    Answer a simple question below and post (one of the above 3 images) on Instagram and tag @onemanagementsg ! 5 lucky winners will be chosen by Mok Ying Ren on Saturday, 11 Aug 2018.