Category Archives: Training

Compression Garment – Does it work?

Hello my fellow readers! Sorry for the lack of posts/updates. Just a tad bit busy! TIME needs to SLOW down. We’re already into our 11th month of the year! WHAT?!

I am trying my best to juice out more informative articles for you guys. Do let me know if you have anything specific that you would like me to talk about/share.

Ok, time to cut to the point of this article – Compression Garment

Think: 2XU, Skins, Compresssport, RecoFit etc.

These are a few of the big names in the compression garment industry. If you thought they were just fashionable, you may be right. But they happen to be FUNCTIONAL too.IMG_9490

There’s nothing new about the compression garment technology. It is widely used in the medical field. Back at the plastic surgery clinic where I used to work, compression garments were sold along with major surgical procedures (liposuction, breast augmentation). Compression garments are worn to prevent excessive swelling, promote blood circulation, prevent seroma, and to a certain extent, provide comfort and support.

What Happens to Your Muscles after Exercise

Physical activity induces muscle damage in the form of micro-tears that can lead to delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), impaired muscle function, increase in circulating muscle proteins and possibly hindering exercise performance.

These are transient natural processes that occur whenever you place some level of stress on your muscles. Muscle repair follows muscle damage, healing it and making it more resilient to future stressors.

The Problem

Pain and swelling is common place during this time.

There is no real ‘problem’. In fact, you probably enjoy the PAIN and feel accomplished because PAIN means GAIN, right? But the discomfort we feel may interfere with our daily life or even our next workout session.

Enhanced recovery has become one of the top priorities for most athletes and crazy runners like YOU.

How Does Compression Garment Work

Garments with specific compressive qualities have made their way into athletic populations. No surprise there because it works. Although there are many conflicting conclusions from various studies (you have to take into account the design, biasness, type of workout etc), the overall review is positive.

For Recovery

As mentioned, compression garments promote blood circulation, enhancing muscle oxygenation and reduce venous pooling and oedema. Compression garments have the ability to alter local haemodynamics and expedite the removal of cellular debris and improve the swelling that comes along with it. It also provides mechanical support, resulting in faster recovery following muscle damaging exercises. Many studies have also found that compression garment reduces perceived post exercise muscle soreness, further managing the detrimental symptoms [1].IMG_9496

If you happen to wear them during your activity (like running), it helps to hold the muscle in place, controlling the amount of oscillation and movement that could aggravate the healing process [2].

Psychological Effect

“The body achieves what the mind believes”

I ALWAYS say this – YOUR MIND is SO POWERFUL! As the Bible says in 1 Peter 1vs13, GIRD your mind!

If you think you’re going to fail, chances are YOU WILL!

Studies have shown that there is the psychological feel-good aspect of wearing compression garment for recovery! Even if it doesn’t work, your mind is at ease knowing that you are recovering well.

Less worry = overall positive effects on your well-beingIMG_9495

What am I slipping into the sleeve of my RecoFit calf sleeve? Review coming up! 🙂

Fashion? Functional? Or nothing at all?

Still undecided? OK la, let me help you out.

BUY/use compression garment if:

-you are an elite athlete and recovery is necessary to maintain high training loads

-you are not an elite athlete but want to feel good/recovery faster

-you follow a strict workout plan that requires you to recover ASAP

-you think it looks fashionable

If none of the above applies to you then just REST LAH!REST-DAYYour next hard workout is going to be as good as the quality of your recovery.

REMEMBER THAT!

Preparing For Your First 10KM – The Dos and Don’ts

These are some of the questions that I answered for Puma Malaysia.

If you’re preparing to run your first 10KM, I hope you find this useful!IMG_9210


 

1. The running programs are divided into two categories, the pacers, and the runners. Who are these pacers and what are their roles? 

The Puma Night Running Club is run by 11 dedicated and capable pacers. We come from all ends of the spectrum in terms of experience, speed and knowledge. Every week, the pacers are tasked to help the members reach their respective running goals. The pacers will pace the members according to their pace groups, guide, motivate, support and bring an element of fun to the running club. The pacers are basically a bunch of very passionate runners and we aim to create a space where we can share what we love – RUNNING!IMG_5423

#throwback: Puma Night Run Pacers 2014!

2. What are the types of training done to help all running enthusiast improve or complete their first 10KM?

Anybody can complete their first 10KM just by dedicating 3-4 days of running per week. But if you aim to improve your time, you need targeted workouts. Throwing in intervals, tempo runs, hill training and some mileage will help you run that much faster!

3. Is there a specific training programme that the pacers have set?

We just completed our 10KM training programme in July. In the weeks left before the Puma Night Run, we will be doing a lot of speed work and tempo runs to prepare the runners.

4. What are the importance of training before a 10KM run? 

Training prepares both the body and the mind. It ensures that you are able to complete the run smoothly and injury free. Running 10KM without training puts your body in a state of shock as it is not adapted to the distance and the speed. You are likely to finish the race in pain (if you push) and you are not likely to sign up for the next one!

IMG_9470

5. What are the dos and don’ts during the preparation of a 10KM run?  

What To Do:

  • Test your running gear/attire

 

What you wear on race day should have already gone through a period of “testing” during your training runs. The GOLDEN RULE is to not try anything new on race day, from what you wear to what you eat. Make sure you have proper running shoes and Dri-Fit clothing that wicks sweat away from your skin.

  • Eat Well and Drink Up!

 

It is important that you eat well-balanced meals with a good mix of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. You need these nutrients to recover from tough workouts during training. Remember to drink plenty of water too!

  • Listen to Your Body

We like to do and listen to what other people say. We tend to disregard how WE feel. Listen to your body! Nobody knows you better than you. Try not to do more than what your body can cope with. Push when you can and rest when you should. You don’t want to overtrain and burn out before race day!

  • Keep a log

 

It is a good habit to keep a training log. That way, you can see your progress through the weeks and make the necessary adjustments to your training. Also, you can keep a record of what you eat to make sure that you are refuelling after your workouts.

  • Set a goal

 

The best thing about running your first 10K is that there wouldn’t be a past record for comparison. Whatever time you complete it in will be your Personal Best. You can still set some goals based on your training. It can be as simple as simply completing the race or maybe you have a set time to complete it. Whatever the goal, make sure that it is realistic and achievable. If you have done it before, aim to beat your best time!

What Not To Do:

  • Don’t Over Train

 

If this is your first 10KM, take it slow and easy. Build up a good base and keep it consistent. We know how excited you are to start training! The last thing you want is to be pushing the pace (beyond your capability) only to end up getting side lined by injury!

  • Don’t Do Anything New On Race Day

 

Practice what you will do on race day. Eat the same breakfast, wear the same clothes and shoes and go with what you have tested during your training. When you feel prepared, you will be more confident!

  • Don’t Carbo Load

 

You often hear people carbo loading before a race. Contrary to what you might have read or heard, you don’t need to carbo load for a 10KM race! We are not running a marathon. Stick to your normal routine on the days leading up to race day. Just make sure you are not under eating!

All the best for the run! Remember, HAVE FUN!

Keep Running! 🙂

 

 

Taper Week – Dos and Don’ts

Some say taper week brings out the worst in runners. They get grumpy, agitated, angry and frustrated because they are required to cut down on mileage (which means running a lot less than usual).

I don’t know where they come from but TAPER WEEK IS THE BEST!

Less running and more food, what’s not to like? I’ve been waiting for this week to come, since the beginning of training. It feels like a tonne of weight has been lifted off my shoulders.FullSizeRender

Taper week/s is just as important as your other heavy training weeks. Do it wrongly and you risk performing well on race day.

Want to do it right? Here are the dos and don’ts:

Dos

1. Get Enough Sleep!

These days, sleep is considered luxury! We’d be lucky to get in at least 7 hours of good sleep. But to perform at your best, the body needs rest!

As you’ll most probably be too jittery to fall asleep the night before race day, sleep and rest 4-5 days before is crucial!

Aim for some consistency in terms of bed time and sleeping hours.

2. Massage and Foam Rolling

Go for a nice body massage during taper week. This will help loosen up your muscles. It will also relieve your mind of any pre-race STRESS!IMG_4970

Aim to foam roll and stretch every other day to release any tension and tight knots in your muscles. I like to stretch before bed time because it helps me to sleep better!

3. Eat Enough

For most of us, we fear the weight gain by eating the same amount (If not more) and decreasing mileage.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Just eat as you normally would. Eating the same amount but not running as much will help you fill glycogen stores that have been depleted during training.

Remember not to go to either extremes of eating too much or too little. Both will have an impact on your performance.

4. Carbo Load

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Do carbo load 3 days before race day. You can read more about it here.

5. Keep Your Body and Legs Fresh

It is a fine balance between doing too much and too little during the final week of taper. You don’t want to be doing too much that your body cannot recover and you don’t want to be doing too little that your legs feel stiff.

IMG_6835During the final week, do one short speed session and go easy the rest of the days. You can do a combination of strides, 100s, 200s and 400s. Keep reps to a minimum if you do them at max pace but you can do a little more if you’re going at interval pace. This should get your heart racing, blood flowing and legs feeling fresh.

You should feel strong after the session and not drained. Everyone is different so see what works best for you!

6. Stick to Your Routine

The final week is not the time to introduce anything new. Try not to eat anything new even though it may be seemingly healthy. You never know how your stomach or body might react.

Just stick with what you know and what you normally do.


 

Don’ts

1. No Last Minute Cramming

Unlike when you’re sitting for an exam, last minute cramming WILL NOT WORK!

During taper week, less is always more. Now is not the time to put in last minute lost mileage during training or any sort of key workouts. These will put you at risk for injury and fatigued muscles before race day. Weekly mileage is recommended to be reduced to at least 40% of your usual training week.

IMG_6350

It does require some effort but try to decrease overall volume and duration while maintaining intensity. For example, you can use the same effort for your 200m repeats but instead of doing 10 reps, do 5.

A key thing to remember is that any physiological adaptations require at least 4-6 weeks. Last minute training is not going to improve your performance. In fact, it will probably do more harm than good!

2. No Unnecessary Activities

This is not the time to be trying a new sport or workout. Anything from hiking to a spin class is out of the question. Do those AFTER the race.

At this point, you want to be well rested. Reducing overall stress on your body will help your body to function optimally. This includes keeping hormone levels in check which are responsible for many physiological activities in the body including sleep!

3. Don’t Overanalyse

During the final days, you want everything to be perfect! From the food you eat to the amount of sleep that you get. It can be pretty stressful!

FullSizeRender(1)Just relax. What is supposed to be done has already been done. No amount of worrying is going to get you to run any faster.

Even after putting in all the hard work, you cannot predict what happens on race day. A good performance is never guaranteed to anyone. Just smile and be happy that you’ve managed to put in all the crazy amount of running that is required of marathon training.

Have some confidence by knowing that you have given yourself the best possible chance of achieving your race day goals.


Tapering is serious business. It allows your body to rest and recover from the gruelling hours of training that you’ve put it through. Bodily functions from muscle glycogen stores, hormones, enzymes, the immune system and anything that have gone out of whack during training will return to optimal conditions. Any micro tears in your muscles or connective tissues (tendons and ligaments) will also have a chance to repair and strengthen.

Tapering prepares your body for peak performance on race day. So, TAPER AWAY!

All the best!

5 Haze Day Solutions For The Active Person

It’s that season again – Haze Season! Yep, Malaysia has 3 seasons – Rain, Shine and Haze. The haze situation is an annual episode, usually making its grand entrance around this time of the year. For healthy and active individuals, it stops us in our tracks. To make things worse, haze season almost always clashes with the Malaysian Marathon season.

It somehow manages to hit right at the peak of our training, blocking us from reaching the ultimate climax. Of course, there are many other concerns (that are more crucial) in regards to the haze such as our respiratory health. But for now, we will focus on how you can make the most of this hazy situation.


 

1. The Gym

I guess this is every runner’s nightmare. We chose running to avoid the gym. But now, we’re forced back in.

The gym would be one of the best options if you really need to continue your training. You can hop onto the dreamill, I mean treadmill, to clock in your mileage. For distance runners, you will look like a lifeless hamster on its wheel for a few hours. You can kill time by listening to some music, watch TV, play games, read news etc OR you can take this time to work on your mental strength. The mental aspect plays a huge role when running a marathon. IMG_4648

Reminder: If you frequent your local gym, make sure it is during off peak hours and that you don’t hog the machine. Be considerate! I can see some of my friends clocking in 20-30KM on the treadmill. WHAT?!?!

If the machine can accommodate your sprints/faster paced workouts, you can get key workouts (tempo, intervals, fartlek etc) done too. Just make sure you get the speed right and don’t fall off the machine!

If you are just looking for ways to stay active, join a class! Most gyms offer a wide variety of classes and activities from power yoga to body pump! There will be something for you.

2. Indoor HIIT circuits

If you are like me and you dread the dreadmill (I can barely survive 10KM), create your own mini HIIT circuit to do at home! It may or may not be running specific, but at least is gets your heart rate up! You can work on your VO2 Max. If you are not training for anything in particular, this is a great and effective way to torch some calories!

IMG_7938An example of a HIIT circuit:

Circuit 1:

-100 skips

-50 mountain climbers

-10 burpees

-20 air bikes

Set the timer for 5 minutes and do as many rounds as possible. Repeat!IMG_7949

Circuit 2:

-15 weighted squats

-15 push ups

-15 jump lunges

-15 tricep dips

Set the timer for 5 minutes and do as many rounds as possible. Repeat!FullSizeRender

You will have a full body workout done in 20 minutes! Get creative and mix things up!

3. REST lah!

This is probably the last thing that you want to hear!

But if you have been following a training plan diligently, there is no harm in taking a day or two off your feet. Marathon training can be very taxing. Most of us have standard working hours and incorporating marathon training into that schedule can place a lot of stress on our bodies both physically and mentally. IMG_1726

We are not professional athletes in training. We may not have the luxury of extra sleep or access to optimum nutrition to recover from hard workouts. Our energy is stretched to so many other aspects of our lives that running is only a small part of it.

So don’t be too hard on yourself! If you are injured or on the brink of injury, even better! GET OFF YOUR FEET. IMG_5353

I took two days off. In fact, I feel a lot better! The pain in my leg has decreased and I feel so much stronger! Taking time off allows the body to repair micro tears in your muscles. Try not to underestimate sleep and rest. Changes in your body take place AFTER your workout when your body is at rest. If you want to reap the full benefits, make sure you are getting enough REST!

IMG_7951Foam roll, stretch and RELAX!

4. Get other things done!

Take this time off to do the things that you have been putting off! Get your laundry done, do the house chores, a room makeover, organise your to-do list or get out and catch up with your friends! I am guilty of the last one! If I am not running in the evenings, I enjoy staying in for some me-time.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

So, take this opportunity to meet up with your friends. You can also take this time to do some research and reading. There are so many things about running that you can read up on (nutrition, training, injury, recovery etc).

Load up your brain with some running knowledge that you can use in your next run!

5. Be THAT #hazerunner

Ok, if you are that stubborn runner that refuses to do any of the above, join the #hazerunner club. *AT YOUR OWN RISK!*IMG_8006

If you really want to run in the haze, take extra precaution. It is difficult to predict the long term effects of the haze on the body.

Drink a lot of water and try not to stay out for too long. Monitor daily API values and decide wisely. You can try wearing the N95 mask to run. They are effective in blocking out smaller dust particles and having something is certainly better than nothing!

But remember, your health comes first. I know many of you are not running to be healthy per se (we like to torture ourselves). Sometimes, we are too focused on getting our best times that we disregard our health!

Hope this helps!

What are YOU guys getting up too during this hazy season? Share them with me!

Keep Running 🙂

 

 

 

Review: Mio Watch

explore_mio_products_product_lineup_v1Source: www.mioglobal.com

If you know me well enough, you’d know that I am probably the most low tech person, EVER! Of course, I am talking about running gadgets and running gear.

I bought my very first pair of running shoes 2 years after running around in my “shopping-trainers” (the equivalent of Converse). And I got my first running outfit a year later.

GPS watch? Don’t even go there, I am not there yet. I own a G-Shock which tells me the time. I ONLY started using the TIMER function after being pressured by my friends who kept pestering me about my finishing time (after EVERY race!). Previously, I would just take the difference between the flag off time and the time when I arrived at the finish line. And that was it. Ask me down to the very second and I wouldn’t have been able to give you an answer (that’s what timing chips are for, right?).

 

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

When Mio approached me to try out and review their new Mio Alpha 2, I did not hesitate. Because, why not? It was good to see effort in numbers. And your heart rate is the best way to measure effort.

Like I said before, you can fool your brain but you cannot fool your heart!


 Mio Alpha 2

135Z_2Source: www.mioglobal.com

NO CHEST STRAP!

Ok, this is actually THE BEST thing about Mio (to me). I own a heart rate watch that came with a chest strap. Let’s just say the chest strap has never seen the outside of the box.

I find chest straps uncomfortable – I just don’t like having a tight strap around my chest. For us women, it is even more of a hassle. We have to attempt to make the chest strap play nice with our sports bras. Too fussy!

Previously, I used a chest strap when I did the VT1 and VT2 test on a treadmill. Just when I was about to hit my max, the chest strap slipped off, and I had to hold it up against my chest to get it to continue recording my heart rate!

With Mio, I don’t have to deal with any chest straps!

How does it measure heart rate?

Mio measures real-time heartbeat with an electro-optical cell and two green LEDs. Together, they detect your pulsing volume of blood flow. This technology is also used in oximeters in hospitals.

IMG_4110

Is it accurate?

Well, Mio Continuous Technology boasts that it is highly comparable to ECG and chest strap readings. If you are interested, you can read the study done here. It is also very accurate at high speeds and performance training with 99% EKG accuracy. You can check out the study here.

IMG_3948This was from my interval training. As you can see, the warm up was done in zones 1-3 (easy); sprinting my heart out in the red zone 5 peaks (MAX) and rest in between zones 3-4 (moderate).

I was skeptical at first but after taking it out for a spin, I found that IT WAS very accurate. I was out on my easy run and my heart rate matched exactly what it should be based on my 10KM race effort.

Keeping Tabs on Your Heart Rate Zone

As mentioned in my previous post, it is important to be training in the right heart rate zone.

The Mio Alpha 2 allows you to do JUST that. You can put in your maximum heart rate (MHR) based on what you know or you can use their formula.

For males: MHR = 214 – (0.8 x your age in years)

For females: MHR = 209 – (0.7 x your age in years)

The heart rate indicator light will flash different colours of light according to the zones that you are training in (real-time). You can choose either the 5-zone training mode or the 1-zone alert mode.

5-zone Training Mode

Light Blue – Rest

Blue – Very Light

Green – Light

Yellow – Moderate

Pink – Hard

Red – Maximum

1-zone Alert Mode

 Blue – Below Target HR Zone

Green – Within Target HR Zone

Red – Above Target HR Zone

Based on your maximum heart rate, the watch automatically sets the heart rate zones. But you can opt to customise them manually. Also, the different zones can be set based on beats per minute or as a percentage of your maximum heart rate.

If you have enabled audio alerts, it will beep whenever you switch between the different zones.

Get Connected

I pair my Mio Alpha 2 with the Mio GO app on my iPhone via the Bluetooth Smart (4.0). You can use it as a GPS device if you pair it with your phone (I don’t really bother much about the distance and pace so I have yet to try this out!). You can also pair it with your GPS watch and/or bike computer and they are compatible with a few popular fitness apps for both Android and iPhone. You can check out http://www.mioglobal.com/apps/ for more information on compatibility.

IMG_3937

Track your progress with the Mio GO app! Training with the Puma Running Club members!

Other Features:

-It has a back-light! I cannot stress how important this is to me! I don’t know how people can survive without a back-light. I’m an evening/night runner so I love this feature. PLUS, the light comes on AUTOMATICALLY! Just position your wrist at an angle and VOILA! Or, you can double tap the screen for the light.

FullSizeRender(1)

BIG buttons! You know how I always fail to press the buttons on my watch? Is it just me or does anyone else have this issue too? But yeah, this definitely comes in handy.

-Built in accelerometer to track distance, speed and pace without the need to connect to your external GPS device (phone, watch). However, I found that the distance was not that accurate. But I am not aiming to track my distance (I use Google Maps for that) so it doesn’t really bother me.

-Gives accurate measures of calories burned after every workout. I am not looking to lose weight but it is always good to see how many calories I managed to torch with each run!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

BURNNNNNNN!

-Records lap time

-Up to 20 hours (workout time) of battery life. I was able to use mine for close to 2 weeks before needing to charge it again.

IMG_4091-The watch itself can store up to 25 hours of your workout, after which it will overwrite the oldest data. Sync your workouts regularly with your favourite app to track your progress!

-It has a countdown timer, repeat timer and chronograph. But I just use the timer. I like to keep things simple.

-The watch is water resistant up to 30m.

Soft and comfortable silicon strap!

-1-year warranty!

-Comes in 3 different colours (Black, Yellow, Pink!). The Black and Yellow colours have longer straps compared to the Pink (available in June!).


But it doesn’t come with a GPS function!

I have survived my whole running life without a GPS watch.

Do you really need one? Well, I would say not really. Yes, there are many benefits of having a GPS watch which can accurately track distance covered and pace (among many other things!). However, if you are seeking for improvement, having a GPS watch is not as important as having a heart rate monitor. You need to be training at the RIGHT intensity to elicit the necessary training adaptations (Read about it here).

What about judging your effort based on pace? Well, you improve overtime so how would you know that you are doing your best at that particular pace? Again, your heart knows best!

Why do you need a heart rate watch?

-Train smart by training in the right heart rate zone

-Know when to pull back, maintain or push the pace

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetResting Heart Rate

-Prevent fatigue and injury caused by overtraining. Your resting heart rate can give you an insight into overtraining syndrome. An elevated heart rate of more than 5bpm over several days would mean that you need to schedule in REST!


If you think the Mio Alpha 2 is a bit too big and chunky, check out the MIO Fuse!

mio-fuse-hrmSource: www.evanscycles.com

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetSleek!

Mio Fuse is very much the same as Mio Alpha 2 with an added all-day activity tracking (steps, calories, distance) feature. The interface is also a bit different (swipe the screen to change modes instead of having to press any buttons). Also, instead of beeping when you switch between the heart rate zones, it vibrates! It comes in two different colours with different strap length (Aqua – shorter, Crimson – longer).


The good thing about Mio is that it works for anyone who wants to improve their fitness – whether it is performance training, aerobic conditioning, weight loss, anaerobic threshold training or just wanting to maintain general health and fitness.

Ultimately, it tracks your heart rate and your physiological response to ANY type of exercise.


PSSSTTTTT!

Mio was kind enough to offer my readers and friends a 10% discount if you order through me with the code MIO 003!

-Mio Fuse (Crimson – longer strap & Aqua – shorter strap): RM639 (Before discount)

-Mio Alpha 2 (Yellow & Black – longer strap; Pink –  shorter strap): RM799 (Before discount)

Email the following to michelle.tan@distexpress.com.my

  1. Code: MIO 003
  2. Full name
  3. Address (for courier, free shipping
  4. Contact number
  5. Email address
  6. Product, colour & quantity

OR

You can drop me an email at adele.wlp@gmail.com with the above details.

Hurry! The discount is valid for 1 month from this date!


Where can you get Mio?
Connect Stores
– Fahrenheit 88, KL
– KLIA 2, Sepang
– Mid Valley Megamall, KL
– Pavilion, KL
– Sunway Pyramid, Selangor
iStore 
– 1 Mon’t Kiara, KL
– Publika, KLMachines 
– IOI City Mall, Selangor
– Mid Valley, KL
– Sunway Pyramid, Selangor
– Suria KLCC, KL
– The Gardens Mall, KLMac Studio
– Bangsar Shopping Centre, KL
– Jaya Shopping Centre, Selangor
– Paradigm Mall, Selangor

Optiprimus
– Bintang Plaza, Sarawak

The Marathon Shop
– Lot 10, KL (Coming soon)
– Sunway Pyramid, Selangor

– Gurney Plaza, PenangUrban Republic 
– Gurney Plaza, Penang

Baik Shop (Online)
http://baikshop.com/


If you are just getting started on your fitness journey, I highly recommend getting a heart rate monitor. We all start from somewhere. I never knew how important it was to be training in the right heart rate zone. You can learn from my rookie cookie mistake and train smart with a heart rate monitor!

IMG_3860

If you have been training hard but have yet to see any changes, give this a go! It is good to break away from your routine and try something new!

*Drop me a comment or an email for further enquiries!*

Keep Running!