This June, national athlete Melvin Wong, 31, will be representing Singapore in the 5,000m and 10,000m track events at the 2015 Sea Games – taking place on home soil for the first time since 1993.
And Wong, a Sales Associate, is happy about being selected to take part in the SEA Games. He said, “While it hasn’t been the smoothest of journeys, this was one milestone that I could look back with massive satisfaction.”
Did not initially plan to qualify for the SEA Games
But he admitted that qualifying for the SEA Games 2015 had never actually been on the cards. Said Wong, “Personally, my coach and I did not plan for me to qualify for the SEA Games. Earlier, both of us agreed that my level of fitness was not at the level to compete for a medal in both events. Hence, the talk of a medal never crossed our minds.”
But added the national runner, “Now that I have qualified, what is most important and realistic, is how to utilise the fitness that I would have gained from my SEA Games training, to build upon a stronger campaign in years to come. I see myself as an inspirational model to lead the next generation of athletes into maximising their work-sports balance.”
Had used the Singapore Open and the Malaysian Open track events to gauge his performances
Wong had used both the Singapore Open in April as well as the Malaysia Open in March this year, to gauge his performances over the 5,000m and 10,000m distances. Said Wong, “The main goal had been for me to run at both events at any race, and my taking part in the Malaysia Open especially, was to lower my personal best. I strongly believe in managing what you can control, so the time is the only thing I can control within my means. The selection criteria was never in my mind before and even after this meet.”
For this national runner, the 10,000m event – which he had completed at the Malaysia Open, in 33 minutes and 40 seconds, had been tough for him though. Explained Wong, “It was because of the sheer 25-lap concentration and being the first event of the meet, I can’t help but feel a little nervous at the same time. The 5,000m event was more of a formality as I did not exert any pressure.”
Wong added, “It was the 5,000m events that really boosted my confidence as I raced away from the bulk of the state runners – to clinch Silver and a personal best of 15 minutes and 53 seconds. The pursuit of a sub 16-minute 5km took more than two years, but it was so sweet when I finally achieved that goal.”
Sees the 10,000m event at the SEA Games as being more challenging for him
Likewise, at the SEA Games, Wong is anticipating that the 10,000 metre event to be tougher. He explained, “It provides a duration long enough that any small mistake or loss in concentration could leave you struggling at the home stretch.” This comes as no surprise, as he admitted that the 5km event is his favourite distance – not the 10km one.
Combines easy runs, long runs and track workouts into his training regime
Wong’s running training generally comprises of a mixture of easy runs, long runs and event-specific track workouts. He said “The constant in the programme is the consistency of effort I have been putting into it. The distances and intensities vary along the way.”
Had started running more seriously in 2012
The runner had initially started running in 2004, but he spent the next eight years following that, as a competitive age grouper in triathlons. He added, “So I only started running seriously in 2012 after getting married.”
Taking up running again – and competing on a national level, has not been easy for Wong and he has faced several challenges trying to juggle work, family and running all at once. He explained, “During my running journey, I have needed to balance excelling in work and running – that is, making sure that I am there for my team and colleagues at work, while still maintaining that running routine.”
“Also, while everyone sees running as perhaps an hour or 1.5 hours activity, many overlook the fact that runners need to travel to the running point (and back) and most importantly, they need a little rest, especially after a long run,” Wong added.
Tips to run further and faster
What are some tips, that Wong has for runners – on how to run faster and further?
Said Wong, “Runners are routine creatures and once you have a structure and routine, commit to sticking to that structure. Your commitment will surely yield results faster than you expect.”
“Also, while many are looking at short cuts to running fast and building the body to run fast, a lot of us overlook the fact that the body needs time to absorb the training and adapt to the stimulus. As such, be patient with running slowly and steadily in the beginning. I am sure that it will prepare you to run faster and further at the end of the training cycle. I am a big advocate of this value,” Wong added.
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- Sea Games Marathon Runner Ashley Liew
- Sea Games Cyclist Low Ji Wen
- Sea Games 10,000m Runner Mok Ying Rong