NTUC Income RUN350: An Earth Runners’ Clinic with Top Runner, Soh Rui Yong

To gear runners up for next year’s NTUC Income RUN350 and other races, Young NTUC’s Earth Runners held a running clinic comprising of a short 5.5km fun run around the Marina Barrage and Gardens by the Bay area.

A running clinic was held, courtesy of Earth Runners and Young NTUC.

A running clinic was held, courtesy of Earth Runners and Young NTUC.

This was led by Soh Rui Yong, 23, the Singapore record-holder for the 10,000m distance and second-fastest local marathoner in Singapore history, with a timing of 2 hours 26 minutes 01 second.

Stretching before the run.

Stretching before the run.

Soh took questions from participants after the run

After the run, Soh took questions from runners on a wide variety of topics, ranging from his preference on morning versus evening workouts to his dietary preferences before a workout.

Soh is a morning runner

Presently studying Business Administration at the University of Oregon in the USA, Soh prefers to do his hard training sessions in the mornings. He said, “Some people may argue that the body isn’t warmed up in the mornings. But races are usually held in the mornings, so you may as well do your hard training in the mornings to get used to it.”

At the same time, Soh said that if he does his workouts in the mornings, then he does not need to think about it for the rest of the day or worry about how his food choices would affect his workout later in the day – and so he would be able to indulge in that laksa later, without a second thought.

Warm-up exercises are in full swing.

Workout time for everyone!


Warm-up exercises are in full swing.

“The mornings are when the body is the freshest too. I hate having to go through a whole hard school day and then have to do a workout later. It will be on my mind the whole time,” Soh added.

Tough intervals in the morning followed by an easy evening jog

His tough morning sessions usually comprise of intervals, for example, 15 times 400m training on the tracks. Then in the evenings, this would be followed by a simple 30 to 40 minute jog if he has the time for it.

He takes Saturdays off, and Sundays are reserved for long runs, of about two and a half hours. So he runs roughly about 11 times per week. And Soh was completing about 160km of running per week, when he was training for the California International Marathon.

Demonstrating the exercises for the participants.

Soh demonstrating some exercises

Does not recommend everyone to adopt his training regime

But even though he runs so often, Soh does not really recommend everyone to take up his intensive training plan in order to get better. He says, “It depends on you and how your body system works. Adjust your training schedule according to your own body and lifestyle and avoid injury. The longer you run without injury, the better chance you have of running well.”

For example, Soh recommends that marathoners who are above 40 years old, can take it easy and run alternate days – in order to give their body time to recover.

Has a simple breakfast of bread

To give him the energy for his intensive workouts, Soh usually has a simple breakfast, normally consisting of bread, to give him the energy for his workouts. Said Soh, “I like a simple Peanut Butter & Jam sandwich on wheat bread, as this provides a good fuel for running. I have this together with a glass of orange juice and a banana.”

On the morning of his debut marathon race earlier this month, he consumed an extra bottle of Gatorade though, to supplement his pre-race morning meal because he felt he would need the extra energy – considering he would be out there running for much longer than usual.

Soh checks his GPS watch.

Soh checking his GPS watch.

And he usually eats about two hours before his exercise session. Said Soh, “I will get up at 6am to eat breakfast and will begin my workout at about 8am. During the warm up, I may still feel slightly full, but the food usually digests soon after, so it’s ok.”

Drink before you get thirsty

During long training session as well as races, Soh also recommends runners to fuel themselves regularly. He said, “Drink before you get thirsty, not when you get thirsty.”

For instance, at a marathon, it is important to drink at almost all of the hydration stations along the route – and consume electrolytes in addition to plain water, to prevent cramps, according to Soh.

The marathoner added, “But when you are taking gels during a long training run or a marathon, consume them with water and not Gatorade, as the body cannot stomach so much sugar at one time. And wait for about 45 minutes between gels, in order to prevent sugar overload.”

He also reminded runners that it is important to test out their nutrition strategy prior to the race too – and never try anything new out on race day itself.

Drink isotonic beverages to replenish electrolytes

As well, after his workouts, Soh makes it a habit to drink Gatorade to replenish his body’s depleted electrolytes. At the same time, he also eats about one to two hours after a workout session and admits that one of his favourite food items is chocolate milk, because of its good carbohydrate to protein ratio of 4:1.

It's time to share some running tips.

It’s time to share some running tips.

Eats healthy foods after a hard run

Said Soh, “Chocolate milk makes it ideal for a distance runner to replenish their stores. Bananas are also great to eat. Get something simple and nothing fancy.”

The marathoner added that he makes sure that he stays away from oily, spicy and fried foods after a run too, because the first two hours immediately following a hard run, is the period of time when food is most easily absorbed by the body – so don’t harm your body by consuming unhealthy foods during this time frame.

Soh still enjoys his running

Despite the rigorous training sessions and the dietary sacrifices that he goes through, Soh still enjoys his running and continues to see the sport as a form of fun.

He said, “Running is my form of relieving stress. It also allows you to go to places and meet new people and have great experiences. The more you enjoy it, the better it will be. I met many of my best friends through running. Chances are that you will perform better too, if you are having fun.”

Sticky and wet, but happy runners.

Sticky and wet, but happy runners.

All photos posted in this article are by Chin CK.

Click here for more running tips by Soh Rui Yong.

Click here to find out about how Soh broke the 10,000m Singapore record.

Click here to learn cooking skills from Soh.

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