To prepare runners for the StanChart Marathon Singapore (SCMS) 2015, the organiser (Spectrum WorldWide) is holding a series of workshop clinics – conducted by former New Zealand elite triathlete Ben Pulham – the co-founder of the Journey Fitness Company in Singapore. Helping him was Jon Fong, his co-founder at Journey Fitness.
The clinics are held in each of the five districts – East, North East, Central, North and West – and consisted of running drills, to help runners run faster and make the most out of their training.
I attended the East and the Central running clinic this weekend. Here are the main highlights of what Ben shared with the participants.
Maximise your limited time with high quality training
According to the former elite triathlete, many working athletes – that is, those who hold down day jobs – often train so hard and end up sacrificing their rest time – to make way for some training time. He added, “As a result, they make themselves more and more exhausted. So you should balance between training hard and training smart to give you the conditioning that you will need. Also this will help to build your foundation and make you stronger.”
Ben also stressed that runners should do high quality training sessions – rather than junk miles.
When running and doing these drills, Ben also pointed out that it is important to keep the chin upright and parallel to the ground. He said, “If you drop your chin, you unconsciously drop your hips too when you run, and your stride will shorten. By keeping your chin up, it helps to keep your hips and stride length up.”
To warm up, Ben led us around the track for a couple of laps. However instead of straight out running, we started doing drills such as moving backwards and also sideways like a crab. According to the former triathlete, this is a dynamic form of warm-up and helps to get the blood flow to the muscles in preparation of the exercise session ahead.
For this drill, there are two types – the forwards and backwards arm circles.
Basically they are one of the easier dynamic warm up drills to do because you simply move your arms in a big circle, either forwards or backwards, while also skipping forwards at the same time. This works out the entire shoulder girdle in the upper body and is good because it helps to prevent stiffness in the arm muscles and upper body while running.
This drill, according to Ben, is to improve your stride frequency. (See Video below).
Like Fast Feet, Ben explained that this drill too, helps to improve stride frequency in running. (See Video below).
This drill helps to increase stride length according to Ben. (See Video below).
Like High Knees, this drill is also used to improve a runner’s stride length. (See Video below).
According to Ben, many Singaporean runners have a poor sense of space – and as a result, they are often looking down at the ground whenever they are running. On the other hand he pointed out that many Kenyan runners simply ‘float’ when they run – without having to look where they are going. So this drill will help to improve your sense of space and landing. (See Video below).
Drills amplify running weaknesses
For these drills, Ben says that they amplify your running weaknesses. As such you should only do them as long as you are able to maintain your form. While you can ideally pick a length to perform each drill, such as 20 metres, you should stop after 10 metres if you find that you are losing your form.
Each drill, according to Ben, should also be repeated two to three times and will help runners to maintain their consciousness when they run. Said Ben, “A lot of runners tune out when they are running but you should be aware of yourself and what your feet are doing. So doing these drills help you to be conscious of your pace and effort when you run.”
Following the drills, we then took part in a cool-down session, which was basically one or two simple rounds of the track – to shake the legs out after the drill session.
However, according to Ben, you may also engage in static stretching exercises for the cool down too.
Click here to find out what runners thought of Ben and Jon’s tips.
Click here for my reflections of the Journey Fitness Company training programme.
Click here to find out about Journey Fitness Coach.
Other blog posts
- Runners Gained Useful Tips from SCMS Workshops
- SCMS 2015 Launch
- Marathon Tips on running a race by Ashley Liew
- Be mentally strong, says SEA Games Gold Medallist Soh Rui Yong
- Train for SCMS 2015 with the Official App