How do you train for a marathon in Singapore’s hot, humid climate? Is all the training advice online relevant to our weather and lifestyle?
Steven Quek’s latest book addresses this challenge.
“Many of our endurance runners attain knowledge by reading books, magazines and articles on the internet. However, this information is not contextualised to Singapore,” said Coach Quek.
“The athletes that the information focus on come from very different backgrounds, operate on a very different performance level, and train in very different climatic conditions. Singapore is unique in many ways, such as having a hot and humid equatorial climate, extremely hectic work-life schedules and limited space. As a result, what they have learnt may not be the most suitable.”
Coach Quek is currently the head coach of the ActiveSG (Distance) Athletics Club and the Hwa Chong Institution cross-country team. He is also the track and field co-ordinator at the National Youth Sports Institute and is an adjunct lecturer at the National Institute of Education.
In the works since late 2016, distance running coach Steven Quek’s latest publication, Training Smart – a practical guide to the questions you may have about Marathon Training, draws on his 30 years of coaching experience to address commonly asked questions regarding marathon training, race day preparation and strategy, nutrition, rest and recovery, injury prevention and treatment, the use of gadgets and alternative training methods.
Over the course of his work, such as conducting clinics and workshops for marathoners, Mr Quek observed that many local runners hold certain misconceptions or doubts about preparing for the marathon. One reason, he suspects, is confusion from reading a multitude of sources whose advice may not suit the specific needs of Singaporean runners.
Five Singapore-based runners are featured in the book: Lawrence Lim (president of the MacRitchie Runners 25 club, Ong Teck Ming (senior producer and presenter at 96.3FM), Neo Jieshi (2016 Olympic Marathoner), Soh Rui Yong (double SEA Games marathon champion and national record holder in the 10,000m, half-marathon and marathon), and Tan Weijie (a research scholar at the Nanyang Technological University).
Coming from different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives, their input and responses offer nuances and practical insights that readers of different abilities and aspirations can relate to.
Adopting a Q&A format, Coach Quek addresses common questions such as, “How frequent should I be training weekly?”, “Do I need gels for my races?”, “How long before training should I eat and how much?”, “What must I eat to refuel after training?”, “How can I prevent injury?”, “What are the pros and cons of treadmill training?” and “How can I stay motivated?”.
Additionally, an appendix explains basic training principles with the aid of diagrams and illustrations, and also includes photographs and instructions for stretches, drills and conditioning exercises.
Coach Quek has authored books including ‘Excel in Sports and Studies – You Can Do It!’, a student-athlete handbook; ‘Physical Education for Upper Secondary’, a textbook for GCE O-Level Physical Education; ‘C Kunalan – Singapore’s Greatest Track and Field Athlete, a biography of the track and field icon’; and ‘The EW Barker Institute of Sports Student-Athlete’s Handbook’.
Unlike his previous publications, however, ‘Marathon: Training Smart’ is not available in bookstores.
Instead, it is available exclusively through the ‘Training Smart with a Caring Heart’ charity campaign, where donors who give $30 or more will receive a copy of the book.
The campaign aims to raise funds for HCA Hospice Care, now in its 30th year of serving the community.
“As we pursue personal interests and overcome challenges, let us also remember the less fortunate. This book is a collection of my experiences acquired over 30 years in training endurance athletes. While it has been an enjoyable and meaningful pursuit for me, I hope to help bring much joy and care to those who are facing life-limiting illnesses. In this regard, I would like to extend my invitation to have you join me on this journey,” said Mr Quek.
To support ‘Training Smart with a Caring Heart’ and obtain a copy of ‘Marathon: Training Smart’, click on the link here.