Tag: marathons


By Pris Chew

With 9am-5pm office jobs which require us to simply click noise buttons and tap on keyboards, more and more people these days are becoming sedentary and sadly, this is fast becoming the norm, in today’s highly connected world where everything is easily accessible.
We are meant to move

But the human body is not meant to be sedentary. The body is meant to move. After all, human beings started out as cavemen, hunters and gatherers, fighting for their survival and relying on their instincts to stay alive.

Sadly though, the rapid development of technology has changed all that, and we, as humans, no longer need movement as a means to stay alive, because everything is now available to us so easily.

You can change that though, by changing your mindset and re-thinking about the reasons why you should move, that might help.

Exercise is a gift, not a chore

Do not think of exercise as a chore. Instead, think of it as a gift that you are able to do.

There are many people out there who would love to run or climb, but for instance, due to physical or mental disabilities or deformities, they are not able to.

Yet you have the ability to move your body every day and you have the power to control your body to do what you want it to do.

And by moving your body, it also exercises the mind, too, for example, when we run, we get a boost of endorphins and over time, regular movement, or exercise, translates into a boost of self-confidence, improvement of muscle tone or weight maintenance.

Choose something you enjoy 

When you are picking a type of exercise, make sure that it is one you enjoy. For instance, if you don’t like running, don’t force yourself to run because all of your friends are doing it. There are many other forms of movement out there, such as walking, yoga or dancing.

If the workout happens to be something that you like, you are more likely to stick to it, rather than dragging yourself to do it each time. If it’s the latter, you are more likely to give up on your exercise regime.

Too much of a good thing can turn bad

However too much of a good thing can become bad though. Even if you exercise daily, the moment that you know that something is not right, for example, aches and pains happening in places where they should not be, these are signals that are being sent to your body that something is wrong.

So when this happens, see a doctor or try to dial back on the intensity of your exercise routine, such as taking it easy even though your training schedule says that you are meant to be doing a hard workout session that day.

 

About the author:

Priscilla Chew is the winner of Best Health & Wellness Blog at the 2015 Singapore Blog Awards. Pris is Astavita’s sports ambassador. She attributes her stamina to cope with her running lifestyle with the help of Astavita’s Sports. She hopes her passion for running and sports will inspire other people to exercise on a regular basis for fitness and health. You may follow her on Instagram: prisgooner

By Pris Chew

To train for a race, many triathletes focus hard on their swimming, biking and running. But many of them tend to neglect thinking about the transitions and usually do not worry about these till race day.

But the transitions too, are an important part of your entire triathlon experience and this can be the key difference between whether you get a personal best overall timing or not.

Pack your bags the night before

Do not wait till race morning to pack your stuff. Regardless of whether you are a newbie or an experienced triathlete, everyone forgets things. Even though you know what you need, something will surely slip your mind if you are packing at the last minute. The worst scenario, is realising that something important is still at home, when you get to the race site.

So make a checklist several days before the race and make sure that you pack everything the night before. Go through the checklist once again in the morning to ensure that you have not forgotten out on anything, and then you will be good to go.

Bring as little things as possible

Golden packing rule: Just keep to your essentials!

For example, there is no need to bring three clothing changes as well as that underwater GoPro camera that you can’t wait to show off to everyone. This may be exaggerating, but it makes the point: Just bring the bare minimum that will get you through the race in one piece.

Turn up early

It is important to get to the race early to get a good spot in the transition pen and stake your claim to your space. You will need somewhere to rack your bike and lay out your transition items below it.

The last thing you want to do, is to swagger in like a VIP less than 20 minutes before the start of your wave and start demanding that other people move their things and make space for you. This will not only irritate others, but will also leave you in a panicked state, if you can’t set up your things in time.

As well, if you find yourself having to toss your things in a messy pile on the ground simply because you were late in arriving to the race site, this will make the transitions harder, as you will waste precious time sorting everything out – don’t forget that the transition times count as part of your race time too.

Count the number of rows

You should count the number of rows between the swim exit and the bike entrance when you are making your way out of the transition pen for the first time. This will help you when you are coming out of the water in a disoriented state and are panicking to get onto the bike as quickly as possible.

There you have it, these tips will leave you in a good state.  A smooth, quick transition can make a big difference in a race that comes down to the wire. Hence, do bear in mind these tips.

 

About the author:

Priscilla Chew is the winner of Best Health & Wellness Blog at the 2015 Singapore Blog Awards. Pris is Astavita’s sports ambassador. She attributes her stamina to cope with her running lifestyle with the help of Astavita’s Sports. She hopes her passion for running and sports will inspire other people to exercise on a regular basis for fitness and health. You may follow her on Instagram: prisgooner

Photo credit: Pris Chew

By Pris Chew

I have taken part in several running races since I began running in 2012. As a running rookie, I made countless mistakes over and over again, and I am currently still learning from many of them. To avoid the same mistakes that I used to make, here are some of the most common race day mistakes that runners tend to make, and what you can do to rectify these.

Starting too fast

You are feeling anxious, eager and excited when you hear the emcees pumping up the crowd and are anticipating the starting horn.

When the horn blows, everyone shoots out of the blocks at the speed of a Kenyan elite runner. Later, you will see most of those runners walking, their energy completely spent.

Starting out too fast is one of the most common race day blunders that both novices and experienced runners alike, can make. Instead of allowing yourself to get caught up in the hype and atmosphere of the race, try and remind yourself of your race plan and strategy.

I always recommend starting slowly and conservatively and building your effort as you go. This is what I had been taught by my running coach, Ben Pulham from Coached too. Imagine how good it would feel when you are able to overtake all the “walkers” in the middle of the race and finish strong?

Getting Side Stitches

Many times, stitches happen during a race because of improper race fueling. For a race that is going to be longer than one hour, it is recommended that you consume a meal of approximately 300 to 350 calories about three to four hours beforehand. For evening races such as the Marina Run or the Sundown Marathon, eating a meal three hours before the race is not a problem. Appropriate meals could include oatmeal with milk or yoghurt with toast.

But if it is an early morning race, such as the Singapore Marathon, you may not want to wake up so early to eat. So instead consume a 200 to 250 calorie snack that is easily digestible, that is, relatively low in fat and fiber. This can include a banana or a peanut butter sandwich. Or else if you are not hungry, an isotonic drink about an hour beforehand will do.

Not taking time to adjust to your food before race day
You only need to fuel for races that will last more than an hour. But do note, however, that whatever fuel you would be taking on race day, you need to practise prior to the race on your long training runs – so that you do not end up taking something that does not agree with your body. The last thing you want is to end up with a bad stomachache and the need to go and relieve yourself in the portable toilet at every aid station.

There you have it, some common race day mistakes which I’m sharing from my own experience. Hope you benefited from them. Do feel free to share in the comments below if you have some more tips to share. Otherwise, see you at the next race.

 

About the author:

Priscilla Chew is the winner of Best Health & Wellness Blog at the 2015 Singapore Blog Awards. Pris is Astavita’s sports ambassador. She attributes her stamina to cope with her running lifestyle with the help of Astavita’s Sports. She hopes her passion for running and sports will inspire other people to exercise on a regular basis for fitness and health. You may follow her on Instagram: prisgooner

By Pris Chew

For those who are new to doing triathlons, the open water swim can create some fears. This is because most triathletes complete their swimming training in the comfort of a swimming pool which has lifeguards, walls at the side, lane ropes and a shallow bottom. But these are not there when swimming in open water.

Here are a few quick tips to overcome your fears and conquer the triathlon swim.

Practise in the open water

If you really want to learn to swim in open water, the best way to do so is to practise in the sea. This sounds cliched, but it is true. If you train in the sea, you will start to understand how different it is compared to swimming in a pool; for starters, there is no black line at the bottom of the sea and you won’t even be able to see the bottom. Getting used to these conditions is the best way to train for a triathlon swim.

Train your sighting

You will have to learn to do sighting too, that is, to look in front and see where you are going in the sea or the open water. This is because there is no thick black line at the bottom of the sea. Sometimes new triathletes tend to panic when they realise they can’t see more than a few feet in front of them, in the open water. That is why sighting is so important.

To stay on track and ensure that you know where you are swimming, look out for certain landmarks that you can easily see, such as a tree or a building. During the race, there will be buoys that mark out the race course that you can sight and follow, but you will have to find your own markers during training sessions.

Bring a friend

It is fine to go alone to train in a swimming pool, but swimming in open water is a completely different ball game. At the beginning, you cannot swim alone; you may need to have someone to accompany you, to ensure that you are safe. If anything happens to you, your companion can get help. The open water can be a dangerous beast. There have been plenty of drowning cases in the sea, and you don’t want to become the next statistic.

Having said that as the saying goes “Practice makes perfect”. As long as you keep at it, you’ll get better. Till the next post, train hard and rest well.

 

About the author:

Priscilla Chew is the winner of Best Health & Wellness Blog at the 2015 Singapore Blog Awards. Pris is Astavita’s sports ambassador. She attributes her stamina to cope with her running lifestyle with the help of Astavita’s Sports. She hopes her passion for running and sports will inspire other people to exercise on a regular basis for fitness and health. You may follow her on Instagram: prisgooner

By Pris Chew

Many runners want to continually improve their running times and are constantly challenging themselves to go faster and farther at the same time. And in their quest to improve, some runners might do some things wrong, and end up injured or sick as a result. Here are some of the most common training mistakes or problems in runners, and the solutions they can adopt to reduce or eliminate the problems.

Too much too soon

The general rule is to increase your mileage by ten per cent per week. Try not to stretch yourself over that amount because it is a recipe for injury and disaster. By doing too much too soon, you are subjecting your body to additional stress and increasing your risk of sustaining injuries that will keep you out of action for some time.

I know a runner who had increased her mileage from 60km in one week to 100km in the next week; this had been simply a disaster waiting to happen as she could have wound up with injuries.

The last thing that most runners want after all, is to be injured and sidelined during a key race. So, take caution and do not run too much too soon, before your body is ready.

Lack of core training

Many runners think that the only training they need to do is to run but this is not true. To become a stronger and faster runner, it is important to do core exercises such as planks, squats and lunges to strengthen your running related core muscles; that is the hamstrings, glutes, hips, lower back and oblique muscles.  Such strength and core exercises will help you to prevent injures, prolong your running journey and increase your running efficiency too.
Self-Medication

A lot of runners tend to self-medicate with ice or heat packs when they feel slight aches . They tend not to seek treatment until things go seriously wrong, most probably because they have a fear that the doctor will tell them to stop running. However, avoiding the doctor is not a good strategy as it may backfire into serious or chronic conditions.

Instead it is advisable to seek treatment as soon as possible the moment that you feel that something is not right. This is because minor pains, if left untreated, can develop into big problems. For example, I know of a friend who had “shin splints” but she continued running and she didn’t seek any professional treatment until her shin bone gave way and broke in the middle of a race. She was sidelined from running for one year after that.

Lack of sleep

Lack of sleep can affect recovery, immunity, and mental sharpness – all of which can compromise your running ability. However, many runners, especially those who juggle between a full-time job, taking care of family and running at the same time, tend to sacrifice sleep. While some can manage just fine, others will break down after a while or even suffer from burn out. Getting six to eight hours of sleep every night is the recommended amount so do strive to achieve that on a nightly basis.

 

About the author:

Priscilla Chew is the winner of Best Health & Wellness Blog at the 2015 Singapore Blog Awards. Pris is Astavita’s sports ambassador. She attributes her stamina to cope with her running lifestyle with the help of Astavita’s Sports. She hopes her passion for running and sports will inspire other people to exercise on a regular basis for fitness and health. You may follow her on Instagram: prisgooner

By Pris Chew

You have spent the last few months training for and preparing for your key race. Now that the race is almost here, you’ll need to start planning for how you are going to recover from the race. Here are some post-race recovery tips that may be useful to you.

Walk

Immediately after the race, do not sit around. Instead, walk around the race site. This will help to keep the blood flowing, thus reducing leg cramps and the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles. For example, after my Gold Coast Airport Marathon, I spent the rest of the day walking around, doing some light shopping and this really helped with the recovery of my legs.

Get a snack

Immediately after the race, you should also grab a light snack. This should include a mixture of carbohydrates, proteins and fats to refuel your body and replenish your glycogen stores. If you are not hungry, just grab a drink such as isotonic or chocolate milk; these contain nutrition that will serve a similar purpose too.

Wear Compression

I find that it helps to wear compression tights or socks throughout the day and to sleep, immediately after your race because this helps to aid muscle recovery and at the same time, reduces muscle soreness. This will thus help you to get back to normal state sooner rather than later.

Rest

Take a few days off completely after a key race. You’ve earned the rest. There is no need to get back to training too soon. Moreover, going back into training sooner than your body is ready will increase your chances of sustaining injury. You may end up having to rest longer than expected as a result. If you are feeling restless, try going for a walk, swim or light jog. At least these would not stress the body too much as compared to your regular training routine.

Many people don’t realise that post- race recovery is just as important as training. Adequate recovery will help your body get back to tip top condition so you can race again!

 

About the author:

Priscilla Chew is the winner of Best Health & Wellness Blog at the 2015 Singapore Blog Awards. Pris is Astavita’s sports ambassador. She attributes her stamina to cope with her running lifestyle with the help of Astavita’s Sports. She hopes her passion for running and sports will inspire other people to exercise on a regular basis for fitness and health. You may follow her on Instagram: prisgooner

Image credit: http://themilesrunner.com/

By Pris Chew

My first overseas marathon was the Gold Coast Airport Marathon. I learnt a lot from the experience of running overseas. Based on what I went through, I would like to share some simple tips with you.

Check the weather

Find out what the weather conditions including temperature are like, in the country that you are going to run in. This will help you to pack appropriately, for example, to decide if you need to bring additional jackets or thermal wear.

Pack your own gels and nutrition

Do not rely on the gels and race nutrition provided in the race, especially if you have a sensitive stomach and the brand of gels is something that you have never eaten before. Instead, it is safest to pack your own, as you will be familiar with how the gels react to your body. This will help you to run a good timing too.

Sightsee after the race

It can be very tempting to book tours and sightsee the city upon arriving, but try and hold these off until after the race. This is because being on your feet all day, exploring and looking around, can have an impact on you when you run the race. Don’t risk making yourself more fatigue and in turn affect your race timing.

Do a shakeout run

Shaking out your legs with a run soon after you arrive at the destination is usually good. This is because it is a great way to help you to adapt to the weather and know what it would feel like when you are running the race. This will help you to make last minute changes to your race strategy accordingly.

Run with your essentials

You never know what will happen during a long race such as a marathon: You might get injured or your body may act up causing you to pull out of the race. So, make sure that you have your essentials on you, such as your credit card, cash and your mobile phone. You may need these if something goes wrong.

That’s it, some fine-tuning tips for running in a race overseas. Having said these, racing overseas is still an enjoyable experience which I would highly encourage everyone to experience at least once. Till my next post, keep training!

 

About the author:

Priscilla Chew is the winner of Best Health & Wellness Blog at the 2015 Singapore Blog Awards. Pris is Astavita’s sports ambassador. She attributes her stamina to cope with her running lifestyle with the help of Astavita’s Sports. She hopes her passion for running and sports will inspire other people to exercise on a regular basis for fitness and health. You may follow her on Instagram: prisgooner

By Bert Grobben

Happy New Year everybody. Wishing you all the very best for an amazing 2018, in best of health, prosperity, good fortune and surrounded by love from friends and family. The new year is also a brand new opportunity to make a fresh start, or continue with all those resolutions you started some time ago.

During this festive season many of us look back and reflect about the past year. Quite often this leads to new year’s resolution related to things we want to change, things that were not so good and transformations we want to make. In some cases, this is a good thing. We best leave unhealthy and stressful habits behind us. We can only excel when as individuals we take care of ourselves. During a pre-flight safety announcements they say “Please put your own mask on, before helping others” for a reason. If YOU are not fine, you will not be in good shape to support others. So please reflect on how you become a better version of yourself. This little investment in yourself, is actually for the benefit of the people you love too.

Now, reflect on the things from 2017 you enjoyed, that you made some progress with, and maybe something that fueled a passion. Can you do more of that in 2017? How can you get better at what you enjoy? Can you follow your passion, and see where it takes you? Maybe 2018 is more of doing what you love already, and become a passionary for what you believe in.

For me, 2017 has been a year of focus, not new resolutions. All I did was take my resolutions from 2015, and keep focusing on them. When a resolution turns into a small step forward, when that step forward turns into a boost of energy to continue, when that energy changes your lifestyle, then amazing transformations happen. For the past 12 months I focused on work and sport predominantly. On my Ironman journey in particular, my time went into building a better base endurance. In 2016, racing Ironman was suffering. My objective was to finish comfortably. Not fast, just with better ease and a much shorter recovery post-race.

Results? Oh man! This morning I got the best news I could get all year. All small investments have enabled me to achieve what was once a ridiculously remote goal; Ironman All World Athlete ranking – Bronze. Wow, I’m so thrilled! This ranking means I accumulated enough points for my best 3 races to be among the top 10% of all Ironman athletes. And for IM70.3 I even made it to the top 5 in Singapore (and top 10 for both full and half distance Ironman)! What makes this even so much better, is that I can show transformations really work once you want them hard enough. I’m a normal guy, with a very hectic professional life, but with small steps, and small incremental efforts, this is all possible. And it started with a resolution, once upon a time.

2018 will be simple – more of the same. In sport and health I don’t need a new resolution, but deeper resolve to focus on the few things that drive us forward. I will not train more, but I will train better, with more intensity, and better recovery. As we progress towards the goal of qualifying for the IM70.3 World Championships, we will continue to make small steps forward with smarter training, better diet, and the best supplementation and recovery tools. The benefits of Natural Astaxanthin will be central in my recovery program. All the hours spent on aerobic training, and the huge amounts of energy we consume, I need to have my muscles’ energy factories (Mitochondria) work optimally. In addition, adding more strength training to my routine, increases the need for recovery from muscle damage ahead the next aerobic swim/bike/run training. With Astavita Sports I will be able to push harder responsibly. Follow my journey here, or on Instagram, on how Astavita enables me to be a better athlete, professional and consequently as a partner as well.

Have a great year every one! Wishing all of you focus, and a path ahead, that with each little step takes you closer to your dreams.

 

About the author:

Bert Grobben is an Ironman finisher and the founder and CEO of a company, on top of being a full-time father. He leads by example to inspire others to reach their goals. Living by the motto “Anything is Possible”, he believes in putting his mind and take the choices to channel his actions and energy towards his passion and goals. Bert is taking Astavita Sports to aid him in his endurance and recovery. You may follow him on Instagram: bert_im

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