Andreas Toh Yan Hao initially began running because of his mother.
Said the 25 year old InfoComm engineer, “My mother brought me to the track to run when I was about seven or eight years old, as she thought it was good for my health.”
Loves the friendship and bonding that running brings
Andreas fell in love with running soon after that. He said, “I like the friendship and bonding that running brings. You train with your team mates, and then you go for food after the run – that is the most important part.”
Some of his more memorable races include the AUG (ASEAN University Games) where Andreas represented Singapore in the 3,000m steeplechase event. He had finished fourth but he expressed some disappointment about narrowly missing out on the podium.
He generally specialises in the shorter running distances, that is, 5km and 10km. Andreas has a 5km personal best of 16min 50sec as well as a 10km personal best of about 38min.
However he did take on a full marathon once though, just for the experience, and was disappointed with his 3hr 30min timing. Said Andreas, “I’m not good at the marathon distance.”
How Andreas trains
To prepare for his races, Andreas does intervals with the Active SG Athletics club at Bukit Gombak on Monday and Thursday evenings. During these track interval sessions he does sets ranging from about 400m to 1,000m with an average of about one minute of rest in between each set. He does 10 reps in total.
In addition to that, Andreas also does a long run at MacRitchie Reservoir on Saturdays, clocking between 16 – 24km. For those training for marathons though, he pointed out that they can run up to 30km.
He also does a couple of short runs per week on his own, of about 10km each run. HIs weekly mileage is about 40 – 50km. Said Andreas, “My weekly mileage is considered as quite low. I do about four to five sessions a week, and have two rest days.”
Enjoy your runs and train consistently
To Andreas, consistency is the most important thing in running. He said, “You need to be consistent and keep training. Rest well too, and eat healthy food to help you digestion.”
He added, “But first and foremost though, enjoy your running. If you do not enjoy it, you will not do well. My team mates and I run hard at training but we also bond afterwards. We do two hard run a week, and the rest are slower runs. Too many hard runs will get you injured.”
Family time is important too
Andreas however, also stressed that family time is important in addition to running, and that runners should not neglect other aspects of their life too.
In fact, he makes it a point to spend his weekends with his family; this is how he balances out his week, between his job, running and family time.
Does the occasional triathlon event
Besides running though, Andreas also does the occasional cycling or triathlon event, including a full Ironman race in Taiwan with his former team mates from the Nanyang Technological University as well as the recent City 60 bike-run challenge that took place in Singapore recently.
But to Andreas, his triathlon and multi-sports events are more of cross training for his running though.
He said, “When I do triathlon, I cross train; if I have a cycling race or duathlon coming up, I add cycle and swim to my training schedule. But for the time being, I am focusing on my running. I was more involved in triathlon when I was studying.”
Cross training to him, is also a good way to keep running injuries at bay, and improve cardio fitness without stressing out the muscles that are used for running.
Keep the passion for running burning
Finally, Andreas urges runners to keep their passion for running strong. He said, “Enjoy what running gives you. There is pain, friends and health benefits to it. Look on the positive side and keep doing it. And keep the passion burning.”