Be consistent in running and do not ramp up mileage too soon, says orthopaedic surgeon & marathoner Dr. Foo Gen Lin

Despite his hectic working schedule, orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Foo Gen Lin has been involved in sports since he was young.

His foray into sports had began when he joined his school swimming team for fun, and one thing led to another. From swimming, he took up cross country running and then dabbled into triathlon for a bit. These days he focuses primarily on running.

Running makes him feel good

Said Dr. Foo, 34, “I used to be a chubby boy at school so I started swimming and running to lose weight. I have never looked back since my cross country days at school.”

He added, “These days I find running to be the easiest sport to do as you need a good pair of running shoes and you are good to go. I love running because it makes me feel good. At my age, I find exercise keeps me motivated and healthy and I can eat whatever I want when I am running so much!”

But Dr. Foo feels that despite initially picking up the sport at an early age, the point when he fell in love with running though, was when he started work.

He said, “I realised that I was hooked to running after starting work because when things got busier, I needed a channel to de-stress and running was something I had really enjoyed, and a great way to relieve stress too. It has kept me physically and mentally healthy too.”

Memorable races

One of Dr. Foo’s most memorable running races had been the 2015 edition of the Pocari Sweat Run, which he had won.

He said, “I came in 1st and my wife was heavily pregnant; we were close friends with the organisers and so my wife came on stage with me and we celebrated the moment. I really enjoyed that.”

He also came third position in the Singapore Airlines Charity Run last Sunday, which he finished in 33 minutes and 09 seconds.

His Training 

To train for his runs and continue to clock his fast timings, Dr. Foo runs consistently. He said, “I run about 10km per day and with a long run thrown in on weekends.”

His long runs are about 20km long. Said Dr. Foo, “My long runs are not very long; I am embarrassed to say that.”

He also does speed work and intervals on the track, though, and clocks an average of 80km of mileage per week.

Tips on how to run faster

What tips does Dr. Foo have to runners who want to run faster? He said, “To run fast you need to be consistent and do not ramp up the mileage too fast. Throw in speed work too; that helps to keep things sharp.”

He added, “Most runners tend to ramp up their mileage too quickly too fast and that is when injuries occur. In fact I had a hamstring injury that bugged me for ages after training for the Tokyo Marathon a few years back.”

Believes cross training is good

Dr. Foo also believes strongly in cross training. He said “Cross training is a great form of exercise. I used to do triathlons and when I was doing them, besides the falls from bikes, I was pretty much injury free. I have stopped doing full triathlons but I do triathlon relays; I am hoping to go back into triathlon racing again though.”

During his triathlon racing days, Dr. Foo used to do a weekend long run, two tempo runs and spent the rest of his time swimming and biking. His swim sessions had been about two hours per week and his bike rides were about 1 hour per session, with a long ride of about 2-3 hours on the weekend.

He added, “Weights are useful too for improvements in speed and form. I do not do as much weights as I want to.”

Final words of advice

What final words of advice does Dr. Foo have to share then, for all of the runners out there?

He said, “Do not get too absorbed into competitive nature of running. Just enjoy running for what it is and keep on running. Keep the passion burning.”

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