Running Tips by SEA Games 2013 Marathon Gold Medallist, Mok Ying Ren

Dr Mok Yin Ren shares tips with runners.

Dr Mok Yin Ren shares tips with runners.

At the recent OSIM Sundown Marathon launch event, which was held earlier this month, elite marathon runner, Dr Mok Ying Ren, 26, was there to share some of his thoughts about running. Here are some tips, which the medical doctor gave out.

Running and Recovery

Dr Mok strongly believes in planning out your weekly running regime and doing easy run days in between days of hard running sessions – to help the body recover. To him, this is a form of active recovery and he generally finds this better than passive recovery – so that it helps the running muscles to recover faster.

For example, if Mondays and Thursdays are your hard interval running sessions in the week, Dr Mok advises that you should take Tuesdays and Fridays as your easy effort days. Running at easy effort means that you should run at a pace that you are able to hold a conversation with ease, too.

According to Dr Mok, you can use Wednesdays as your tempo run day, if you are using the above schedule. This would mean running for about 60 to 75 minutes, at a faster pace than your easy running days. For example, it should be a pace that you must be able to complete a Half Marathon at.

For the rest of the week, Dr Mok then recommends a track striding session on Saturdays – as these will help to improve your running form and strengthen your hip flexor muscles. Sundays would then be your long run days where you could run for about two hours or more, advises the medical doctor.

Stretching and Massages

Generally, the elite runner feels that stretching and massages especially, are not as useful as they are made out to be. He said, “I usually stretch my calves and quadriceps after running, but I think that’s pretty over-rated. The muscles of runners will generally be stiffer compared to people who do activities like yoga, but if your range of motion still feels normal, then I think you would be fine.”

While Dr Mok feels that massaging is not actually a necessity for runners, it is quite good to get a massage – generally to unwind and relax after a race or even a hard run.

Power gels

The national runner also recommends that when you consume energy gels for a marathon, the general rule of thumb is to  consume your first gel about 45 to 60 minutes before your run. Then about half an hour prior to the run, you should take another gel.

On the morning of the race, if it is a Full Marathon, Dr Mok would survive the event on about two to three gels. He said, “In the morning I would wake up and take one gel. This is because in the morning, the glucose stored by the liver would have already been used up during the night. So I would have to eat something easily digestible – that is, energy gels – so it can be absorbed quickly by the body and returned to the liver as energy.

“Then later on, I would eat a low Glycemic Index (GI) breakfast so that I will not feel hungry during the race. Have something simple that you are familiar with, such as bread or cereals,” added Dr Mok.

Dr Mok (Right) is deep in thought as he ponders a question.

Dr Mok (Right) is deep in thought as he ponders a question posed by a runner.

Post-race beverages

After you have completed a race or a training run, the doctor recommends that you get something into your system within half an hour. This can be a food item or even a drink, if you are not hungry. Doing so would help the fatigued muscles and the body to recover faster. He explained, “A good post-recovery beverage is chocolate milk because it has both proteins and carbohydrates.”

However, for vegetarians or those who are lactose-intolerant though, he recommends soya-based proteins, such as soya milk or tofu.

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