Use a treadmill for pace training, says sub three hour marathoner Gordon Lim

Physiotherapy student Gordon Lim started running because he was bored.

Said Gordon, 24, “I picked up running when I was in the army. That was in late 2012. Before that, I was more into ball and racquet games like soccer, basketball and badminton.”

He continued, “But in the army, I was quite free because of an injury. I had been downgraded to a clerk so I had an 8am-5pm job. I was not really doing anything else. So I had lots of time on my hands as all my friends were in camps and had to stay in. So I took up running as I had nothing else to do. That was the catalyst as I was so bored.”

Began to love running

Gradually Gordon began to love running though and he started to realise that running was fun. Said Gordon, “I took part in different races with my friends and I realised that it was fun. It was also something I could do pretty well, so I pursued running after that.”

Today he continues to run for “practical reasons.” Said Gordon, “I run to stay healthy and it also gives me the license to eat whatever I want.”

Picked up a few podium placings

Nowadays, Gordon has become so good at running that he has picked up a few podium positions, including one at his first ever marathon, which had been the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore in 2013. He had finished the 42.195km race in 2 hours 58 minutes.

Said Gordon, “It was really a run that I just wanted to finish because I never set targets. I trained for it because running a marathon is no joke. But I never really wanted to compete; I ended up with a fourth position finish. From then on, it was a really life changing moment. I realised that I am good at running, so why not continue to pursue it further?”

Gordon has also picked up podium placings at a few of the team events at Sundown Marathon, Income Eco Run and POSB Passion Run.

He said, “I like team effort runs because I feel that running with a team is incredible and more rewarding.”

Trains by himself 

To train for his runs, Gordon does not have any running club. He trains by himself most of the time.

He makes it a point to hit 100km in terms of weekly mileage, training six days a week.

Said Gordon, “My daily mileage depends because by the end of the week, if I have already hit 100km and let’s say I still have a day of running left, I will do a slow jog to flush out the lactic acid.”

He does hard interval sessions on the track once a week with friends. He said, “I try and really train speed once a week. My speed sessions are not very long but are tiring, so I try and avoid them whenever I can.”

But when it comes to speed sessions, Gordon urges runners not to do them too often. He said, “If runners run too hard too often, it can lead to mental and physical fatigue. If you are feeling fatigued from running, I suggest to take a break but don’t stop completely. Just chill and let your mind recover by running slowly.”

When he prepares for marathons, such as the recent Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon which took place on 3 December, Gordon also adds long runs to his training programme.

Said Gordon, “I run by myself so long runs are not really my thing. I find them lonely and boring. But you have to do what is necessary, so for the past few months leading to the marathon, I had been doing 30 – 32km for my long runs.”

Train on the treadmill

To get faster at running, Gordon personally feels that training on the treadmill may help. He said, “I don’t know if it applies to others, but I find that running on the treadmill helps because you set a pace and stick to it, and somehow when it comes to the race, you can replicate that pace for a certain duration.”

Continued Gordon, “It is a mental thing. If you can run at target pace on the treadmill, you can do it anywhere. Of course though, you must want it enough.”

Does not believe in cross training

Gordon generally does not believe in cross training and he doesn’t do it unless he is injured. Said Gordon, “When I am injured, I will cross train by doing cycling, but otherwise, no.”

He added, “I used to do weights though, but I felt that it put on too much muscle and this made it very heavy to run.”

Have to love running 

Ultimately though, Gordon urges runners that they need to love running. He said, “You have got to love running especially if you want to be able to run fast.”

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