Pocari Sweat Run: Tips on Long Distance & Aerobic Running by Dr Lim Baoying

To prepare runners for the Pocari Sweat Run which takes place on 23 July this year, Pocari Sweat Singapore, together with the official race pacers from ASICS Running Club, organised a series of running clinics.

The last one took place last evening at Suntec City and Dr Lim Baoying, medical doctor working at the Changi Sports Medical Centre, was there to share with runners, tips on long distance & aerobic running, before we then embarked on a 10km run with the ASICS pacers.

The final running clinic took place yesterday.

The final running clinic took place yesterday.

Besides a doctor, Dr Lim is also a seasoned marathon runner and triathlete with several podium finishes to her name such as the winning the Sundown Marathon 2010 (42km Women’s Open) and coming 4th in the Great Eastern Women’s Run (10km Women’s Local) the following year. She was also the National Age Group Champion for OCBC Cycle Singapore from 2009 to 2011.

According to Dr Lim, a 10km run, such as in the Pocari Sweat Run, is a distance that is neither too long nor too short and therefore suitable for beginner runners. She said, “It is a good distance to start with, for those who are keen to take up longer distance running.”

But while it is possible to train for the entire distance for a 10km run though, this may not be the case for longer runs such as the full marathon (42.195km).

Said the doctor, “For long running races, you would generally take the approach to run 70 – 80 per cent of the full distance, but up to half marathon (21.1km) it is possible to train for the entire distance though.”

Participants listening to Dr Lim (left, in black) share tips. [Photo by ASICS running club]

Participants listening to Dr Lim Baoying (left, in black) sharing running tips.
[Photo by ASICS running club]

Managing long training runs

To manage your long training runs without suffering boredom and time constraints, Dr Lim also said that it may be useful to split up your long run into two running sessions.

She said, “One run in the morning and another in the evening, means that you can keep your workouts short so that for instance you can squeeze it in on a weekday morning before rushing to work. It will be possible to keep the first run to 1hour long and then in the evening, follow it up with another 1hour run. Like that you can get in a total of 2hours running time plus getting some speed training, as you will have the energy to push the pace too.”

Dr Lim advises runners to manage their long training runs. [Photo by ASICS running club]

Dr Lim advises runners to manage their long training runs.
[Photo by ASICS running club]

She also added that for the second run, you will be running on tired legs due to the first run in the morning, so this is great training for coping in the latter stages of a marathon when you will be suffering from fatigue.

Training strength & speed

To train strength & speed in your long runs, Dr Lim adds that throwing interval sets into your training run will help. She said, “If you are targeting a 16km run, break that 16km up into a 5km warm-up, then do 5 sets of 2km at race pace, with a 400m recovery jog in between each. This builds up strength and makes the long run less boring.”

She continued, “And you can aim to do the run in negative splits, which is to do the 1st half slower than the 2nd half.”

Rest is just as important as training

To Dr Lim (in black), rest is just as important as training. [Photo by ASICS running club]

To Dr Lim (in black), rest is just as important as training.
[Photo by ASICS running club]

But even though training is important, Dr Lim stressed that rest is equally important. She said, “People tend to be fixated on running and they may forget to rest. While training strength and endurance is important, resting is just as important.”

One way to rest the body, advises the marathoner, who has a personal best of 3 hours 13 minutes and 55 seconds, is to break your training into blocks of four or six. She said, “For instance, for a four-week block, increase the distance and intensity from weeks one to three and then drop the distance for the fourth week, then in the fifth week, start a new block of training, with a slightly longer distance than week one, and then drop it again in the eighth week. This gives the body some time to recuperate.”

While running more than 100km per week is seen as the golden standard for many elite runners, the doctor stresses that not many people can do this. She said “Some people can run daily till they get injured. There is a difference in running to hit a personal best versus running till you wind up with an overuse injury.”

Doing active training is also another way of resting the body from running, according to Dr Lim. She said, “Some people can’t keep still and simply do nothing on their rest days. In that regard, then you can do non-running sports that preferably do not use much leg muscles, like swimming or perhaps some upper body weights exercises.”

Training Run

Participants being briefed by ASICS running club before the run. [Photo by ASICS running club]

Participants being briefed by ASICS running club before the run.
[Photo by ASICS running club]

After the doctor had finished talking, we then went on a training run and were divided into three pace groups of 5.30, 6.00 and 7.00 mins/km. I joined the 6.00 pace group and we did a 10km run from Suntec City through Raffles Place and to the Marina Barrage before looping back to Suntec City, the same way that we came.

As it had been raining throughout the whole afternoon prior to the run, it felt quite humid and sticky. It was not the best conditions for running. But fortunately though, due to the early evening starting time, at least we did not have to grapple with the heat at the same time.

But I am hoping that the weather will be kinder to us on race day at the Pocari Sweat Run.

And free flow of ice-cold Pocari Sweat was also given to us after the run and feeling extremely thirsty and parched after the run, I drank probably three 500ml bottles – and had never realised that Pocari Sweat tasted so good!

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