Lexxus Tan, 42, is well known in the Singapore running scene, for both his podium finishes in running, and his coaching achievements – as a full-time trainer with the F1 Runners Team. A number of his runners have achieved podium finishes in races.
Lexxus is one who definitely lets his feet do the talking – as can be seen by his personal best (PB) timings. For example, his 10km PB is 35:50 minutes, while his best 21km timing is 1:19:47 hours. His full marathon PB is 3:10:53 hours, set at the Penang Bridge International Marathon last year.
Started running competitively in secondary school
Having started running at the tender age of seven, Lexxus began to take the sport more competitively when he was in secondary school. Said Lexxus, “My two elder sisters, who are both runners, had motivated me greatly in my pursuit of sports. When both of my sisters emerged champion in their school’s Cross Country, I thought it would be great if I could also make it into first position at my lower secondary level.”
“I was so motivated and ran my lungs out in that race. I managed to beat the boy who had always been faster than me. This could be the driving power that makes me race so competitive till today,” Lexxus added.
Indeed, the runner has definitely come a long way since then. Some of his recent achievements include winning this year’s Newton Challenge (18km Open Category), the SAFRA Bay Run & Army Half Marathon (21km Veteran Category) and the Energizer Night Trail (18km Open Category).
Out of all his numerous running achievements, what have been some of Lexxus’ most interesting and memorable experiences, in the sport?
According to the runner, one of these had been at the starting line of the Passion North Run this year. Said Lexxus, “When the start horn blew off, the volunteer was still holding onto the starting sash and I could feel runners pulling off the sash. I took off as usual, and about 80m into the run, I tapped on my chest and realized that my race bib was ripped off.”
Continued Lexxus, “So I did a U-turn and ran back to find my lost race bib. I could hear runners shouting out my name and asking me what was happening. With hundreds of runners dashing in the opposite direction, locating my race bib was challenging.”
Fortunately in the end, Lexxus managed to find his race bib on the ground, and then he gave chase after the front-runners. He eventually finished the race in fifth position. Said Lexxus, “What a race, I told myself. But all of these incidents made me stronger each time I run a race.”
Lexxus also fondly remembered the 2011 edition of The North Face 100km DUO – where his calves had cramped very badly at the 25km mark of his 50km run. But with his closest competitor right behind him and also cramping up, Lexxus managed to complete the race – and together with his teammate, came in champion.
He explained, “My competitor was surprised with my sudden change of pace and I knew he would not be able to catch up with me. I completed the race behind my team mate with a time of 4:58 hours and we, as a team, emerged champion for the 4th time.”
Soon running was not enough for him
But after a while, simply running and competing for prizes was no longer a big enough challenge for Lexxus – and he wanted to try something new – and at the same time, fulfil a dream that he had harboured since he was young.
Lexxus explained, “I laid off from running races between 1997 to 2007 to fulfil my dream of running my own business. However during that time, I still did regular running just to maintain fitness.”
F1 Runners Team was born
Thus, the F1 Runners Team was born in April 2008. Explained the trainer, “After running for more than 30 years, I have gained a lot of experience in running through trial and error. Till now, I am still running very competitively and injury-free. So I decided to start coaching and set up the F1 Runners Team – to help all runners fulfil their dreams, not just chase them.”
Indeed, since it started, the team has grown from less than 10 members to its current 108 members today. However, as his running team grew, Lexxus began to realize that success as a coach is a totally different thing to success as a runner – and that it comes with its own set of challenges.
Frustrations of coaching other runners
He explained, “The biggest frustrations when coaching other runners is to teach them how to develop running and achieve their goals in a progressive stage. Many trainees who approached me all wanted to do a marathon with just minimum training.”
To run a marathon well, Lexxus added that an average runner should be able to dedicate at least five days per week to their training regime. If they are unable to, they should focus on the shorter distances instead – until they feel that they are able to find the time and commitment to dedicate to their training.
Explained Lexxus, “I usually have my trainees conditioned in a shorter run, maximum of 10km. Once they are able to achieve a reasonable timing, such as below 55 minutes, they are allowed to go for 21km – and add an additional day to their training. Only by practising such methods, the runner will be stronger and able to run injury-free.”
Focusing on teaching injury-free running
Indeed, Lexxus’ training methods focus on running injury-free, that is, for example, through developing strong lower body strength through core training, hills and circuit training, as well as doing basic running drills to learn how to run light.
He also teaches his trainees to practise correct running form, feet placement, and focuses on trail rather than road running – in fact, he believes that 80 per cent of training should be done on the trails, to reduce chances of injury as the trails are easier on the knees and legs than the road.
Lexxus is so dedicated to teaching injury-free running that he has also recently set cut-off times for all of his F1 runners. If they do not meet these times, they will not be allowed to take part in future Full Marathons. So in order to be eligible for future 42km races, an F1 runner must complete a 21km race in below 2:30 hours or a Full Marathon in below 5:30 hours. He strongly believes that an average runner should be able to achieve these timings – with adequate training.
Leads by example
And the coach definitely leads by example too. By using his own training methods to practise on himself, he is able to remain competitive as a runner. Said Lexxus, “I always set very high standards for myself. I understand that not all coaches can run well and achieve podium finishes. But if I am able to do so, I think that will be a big bonus and this will gain lots of respect from the trainees.”
But as a coach, he admits that it may not always be easy to deliver his own high levels of discipline, determination and passion to his trainees – in order to help them to perform well. He said, “When coaching other runners, I cannot have full control over them. Everyone has different goals and commitment. So I need to always remind them to attend weekly training sessions without fail.”
Satisfaction in helping others to break their PBs
Once his trainees have successfully broken their PBs though, and scaled new heights in terms of their running, Lexxus agrees that the feeling is very satisfying. He explained, “Once the trainee has achieved that, you feel a sense of great satisfaction from their individual facial expressions. Every PB achieved by any runner is a confirmation that my coaching manual is best for all.”
For more information on his training, you can visit Lexxus’ website at f1runnersteam.blogspot.com
Click here to find out about Mizuno CBD Run by Lexxus Tan.
Click here for more about running drills & circuit training by Lexxus Tan.
Click here for an invitational marathon in Singapore, organised by F1 Runners for an Austrian marathon collector in 2014.