OPINIONS: Of Paralympics and Post Olympics Thoughts by Team SingaSports

Perhaps some of you might not be aware but the Paralympics Games 2012 is happening right now – 29 August to 9 September in London! It might not have gotten much fanfare from most media but I feel that such athletes should deserve as much coverage and perhaps even greater respect.

Putting their perceived limitations aside, they perform the impossible. Running, swimming, BJJ, cycling and even picking up archery, these abled bodied men and women certainly get my utmost respect for their courage, perseverance and determination. They have indeed shown that Sport doesn’t care who you are – Everyone can take part.

Check out the games and support these athletes here: http://www.london2012.com/paralympics/sports/

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GEAR HYPE: Nike+ Innovation Arsenal

In conjunction with the London Olympics 2012, NIKE is firing on all cylinders. From head to toe, NIKE is suiting up their athletes (and those who aspires) with superior performance. Pushing technology to the limit. From dynamic cable strings, knitted fibres, breathable kicks, aero-dynamic compression suits-you name it, NIKE aims to beat it.

From the recent Sports Innovation Exibition @ Peranakan Place (you can read that story here), Matt Nordstrom, Senior Designer/Apparel Innovation, guided us through the series of innovations up for the this season of sporting excellence.

Matt Nordstrom, Senior Designer/Apparel Innovation

Here is the complete rundown of the gears out in stores soon. (Heads up – pictures galore!):

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EVENT: The Nike+ Innovation Space

26th July 2012 – In a celebration of sport, youth and human potential, Nike showcased its latest sports innovations, inviting visitors to experience its revolutionary products and engaging events at Peranakan Place (opposite Orchard Central & 313 Somerset).

The Nike+ Summer Innovations: Featured at this year’s greatest sporting event, the London Olympics, Nike has come up with a whole arsenal of performance innovations to better equip their athletes as they go for gold.

1) Nike Flyknit:

The Nike “Swag” Flyknit

Rethinking shoe construction from the ground up, and listening to the voice of the athlete, Nike has come up with the Flyknit, a racer that is designed to be as lightweight and formfitting as possible, all while providing adequate support and structure.

Employing a new proprietary technology with precisely engineering yarn and fabric variations, a size 9 shoe only weighs 160g:19% lighter than the Nike Zoom Streak 3 (worn by top 3 placing men’s marathon athletes at the 2011 world championships).

For non-professionals, fret not, for there is the Nike Flyknit Trainer+, which is an everyday running shoe which provides the benefits of the Nike Flyknit to runners of all levels.

2) Nike Lunarlon

Nike LunarGlide+4

Utilizing foam which is 30% lighter than the standard phylon, Nike Lunarlon technology spreads force out more evenly across the foot with its ultra-lightweight springy cushioning.

Providing protection while improving stability and comfort for enhanced running and workout experience, this technology can be found in this season’s Nike Lunarglide+ 4. Combined with firmer carrier foam and a dynamic support system from a two part midsole made out of opposing wedges of soft Lunarlon foam and firmer carrier foam, the shoe helps move the runner from soft to stable as the heel lands and the foot flexes down.

3) Nike Pro Turbospeed:

Nike Turbo Speed

The lightest, fastest track uniform that Nike has ever built, the Nike Pro Turbospeed suit is the result of incorporating over 1000 hours of wind tunnel testing for the past 12 years, and is up to 0.023 seconds faster over 100m than Nike’s previous track uniform.

It utilizes a concept similar to the “sharkskin swim suits”, by combining individually customized body part pieces, with different textures that mimics that of a golf ball to maximize velocity for users. Focusing on sustainability, the suit uses an average of 82% recycled polyester fabric and up to 13 recycled plastic bottles.

At this year’s Olympic track events, be sure to look out for the Nike Pro Turbospeed as athletes sprint their way to glory.

4) Nike Ecosystem

The Nike GPS SportWatch! LOVE IT! But its retailing at ard $270.

Expanding into a multi-sport eco system, athletes of any level can now find a variety of devices in a range of colors in the form of the Nike+ Sportwatch, FuelBand, Sportband and running apps.

This will allow for enhanced training experience as users will be able to monitor and tailor their trainings more effectively, record and log their routes and various running speed and times. Users can also enter into a more interactive training community, by recording mileage for events for their schools, countries and various interest groups in upcoming and ongoing Nike events.

Furthermore, Nike Running also has an initiative called RUN TO GIVE – where for every 20km logged on the Nike+ online community from this event, Nike will donate a brand new pair of shoes to AG Home. Would you like to come down to run for charity?

For athletes looking to obtain a competitive edge or improve their training, to sports enthusiasts looking to enhance their experience, below are the new products offered, so head down to Peranakan place (nearest MRT station: Somerset) to check them out!

WE RUN SG 10K is back! Reserve your entry to the race at Nike@Peranakan Place from 3 -12 August 2012! Open daily 11am – 9pm.

(Event coverage by our fitness junkie CJ)

HYPE: This Season’s New Running Shoes & Gears

Its the new season and as usual, all the major sporting apparels and brands are coming out with their latest gadgets, gizmos and gears! With really exciting major races coming up such as the Adidas KOTR, Nike We Run Singapore (happening in September-October period), Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore and also the likes of Singapore G1,  NEA 10th Anniversary Charity Run/Walkathon and the National Day Run, one can expect to don on new gears to boost your running experience.

Add flava, add colour, add style. 

Well scroll down below to check out my Top 6 shoes and gears coming your way this season.

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HEALTH & FITNESS: Training Even When Fasting

With just DAYS away from the Muslim fasting month of Ramadhan, I still remember around this time last year, both Haffiz and I were interviewed about our training runs and preparations for the upcoming, then Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2011. I was prepping up to run a half-marathon (21km) and Haffiz is running the full 42km. Was I excited? Hell yeah, I  was stoked.

One of the challenges that we and many other active Muslim people face during this period, is the fasting month of Ramadhan. Despite the required change of training programme, I would not say it is a burden. Mainly because one can always train at a later part of the day nearing to break fast timing (adaptive) OR simply that fasting keeps my body lean too.

We both have different styles of training. His mainly focused on more runs while mine was more a balanced between short runs and high-intensity workouts with weights. I opted for endurance, speed and muscle. Anyways, here are some of the “tips” of my half-marathon  training regime during fasting month. 🙂

1. When did you start preparing for the year-end Standard Chartered marathon? What is your routine training programme?

Mentally, i started prepping myself last year during the SCSM 2010 when i was covering the event from a spectator’s point of view.

Physically, i started going for short distance runs (eg. 2XU 12km race and my own 4km short runs in my neighbourhood) as well as to build a better physique by training with the SG Titans (a non-profit Strongman team, http://www.sgtitans.com/) once or twice a week back then, coupled with my own workouts.

2. For the month of Ramadan, how have you tailored your training?

The month of Ramadhan coincides with the start of my new school’s semester so schedule wise, its very hectic. Thus my runs are minimized to running in the school gym (where i work PT) on its treadmills. I tailor my training very differently now. I am more focused on developing a stronger core and focus on high intensity training / endurance workouts to boost BOTH muscular development as well as improve my cardiovascular system. Training period on the other hand is limited to 1 hour before break fast or at night, 2 hours after my break fast.

3. How much does the new programme (in the month of Ramadhan) affect your preparation?

With lesser time to train, I have to make the best out of each individual session/training. Personally in my opinion, as long as you maintain that level of activity / training for your body, it would not affect much of one’s performance for your runs. I had always been a believer of stronger core leads to better, faster runs. And of course coupled with cardio workouts, it will keep you in shape for the runs/races to come.

4. Why is it important that you continue to train during Ramadan? 

To feel good, be healthy, maintain a decent fitness level at least and most importantly, look good for hari raya! 😛

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Buy a baju kurung that you like BUT you cannot fit well in it yet. And that will motivate you to run! 😛

For more info on this year’s Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2012 run, check out: http://www.marathonsingapore.com/

2012 Gold Coast Airport Marathon: The Interview With Endrew!

Thw 2012 Gold Coast Airport Marathon might have ended recently. And like most of you, i did not manage to fly myself to down under to catch the action or run it. I’ve heard loads of record breaking and fun stories happening there – the cool weather, the pre and post race day, the run itself and not forgetting many Personal Bests were “created” there too! Even for a newbie runner like me, its sooooo tempting to head down to GCAM and give it a go!

However, sometimes the greatest stories and lessons learnt come not from finishing the race. But its when you hit a brick wall, you pick yourself up and move on. I managed to catch up with a runner friend of ours, Endrew, who had the opportunity to travel to Gold Coast for the run. And here’s the exclusive interview. Enjoy!

1.        Tell us a bit about yourself (eg. Hobbies, Occupation etc)
Hi I’m Endrew and I’m a Retail Sales Executive. My hobbies are Running and Sleeping. 😛

2.        When did you pick up running/keeping fit and why?
I started my running just about a year ago. My first was race was the 12km Energizer Night Trail 2011 with two of my friends. I signed up just for fun! From that day onwards, I started to go for more and more runs and races. Plus point about these races – you will also get to know more friends! 🙂

3.        What’s your training/running regime like?
I have been running 3 times a week (at least 10km each time) for my first year. As for now, I don’t really run or train that much. I use the running events as a training session so as to not make the race so stressful. Running to me, is not just about how fast you can run or securing your personal best. To me, what is important is to enjoy and have fun with all the runners. Race-Train-Fun.

4.        Thats a nice tagline! Hahaha! Anyways, how was your experience in this year’s GC Marathon? Did you participate in the previous year’s?
This was my first time in Gold Coast (GC). Mixed feeling for me, as I got DNF at the 22km mark. I felt dizzy and had low blood pressure thus I was sent to the hospital. One week before GC I did my Standard Chartered KL marathon at a time of 5 hours 50min eventhough I suffered an early cramp at the 23km mark. Obviously I was disappointed and gave myself a lot of hope in GC for a better timing. But I failed to do so. Many thanks to Mohan though, for the encouraging words he gave to me.

Overall GC marathon was SUPERB! Love the weather, the people & their support and the view! But do remember to drink more water days before the race day itself! I guess this was my mistake for not drinking enough water and it caused my dehydration, dizziness and low blood pressure on the day itself. 😦

 5.        How different was it compared to previous GC Marathon OR Marathons in Singapore? 
It is very different I must say. I’m sorry to say that local races are getting more and more expensive. And personally, I feel that the standard is not there at all. The supporters, the  people along the road side, cheering you on. Its something which you can’t find in Singapore. Although the route and the view is very normal for Singaporean to say “Siao eh so hot run what marathon!” but in GC you can actually feel its different because of those supporters!

6.        The atmosphere is certainly very different aye! Quick question: Would you run the GC Marathon next year? 
I’ll be back for SURE!

 7.        If theres one thing that you could improve on about the GC Marathon, what would it be?
I will say its the BANANAS! Maybe I was too hungry that morning that is why I was looking for something which I can eat while running. Hahaha! But I heard there were oranges given out nearing to the end of the race which I had no chance to try them (because of the DNF). 😦

 8.        Many people are picking up running as a sport be it competitive or leisure, what do u think is the reason for this sudden surge of runners?
I guess running is an “IN” thing now. Too many reasons – some run for health, to lose weight, or even for charitable causes. It is good because this “IN thing” enables you to meet lots of friends and also get to know many new ones in this small world!

 9.        How do you think Singapore can better manage its sporting/running scene?
Singapore is trying very hard to build its sporting community, which is great idea. But there are too many companies out there trying to use this as a platform to earn from events, charging exorbitant prices for registrations…which is actually a  bad thing. For example, running a FULL marathon in Singapore can cost about $80! This is a little too much given the standard I have been experiencing in Singapore. At this price I can fly to Malaysia for a Full marathon too and with a better experience over there.

Running is a cheap sport but in Singapore, its different now.

 10.      Lastly, any inspiring words for runners out there who just started picking up the sport or thinking of picking up the sport?
Drink more water before your runs and do rest well before the race too. Running is meant to be fun so don’t feel stress if you can’t run. Run and get know more friends. Slowly you will get better and better. 😉

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 Words of wisdom there from the Gold Coast! Till next time, Guten Tag!

P.S, if you wanna read what our running friend Su Ann had to say about the 2011 Gold Coast Airport Marathon, do check out: 2011 Gold Coast Airport Marathon: The interview with Su Ann!

HEALTH & FITNESS: Physical Activity Brings Benefits to Those With Cancer

As mentioned earlier, this blog is more than just about me or my team’s experiences and more in sports, health and fitness. Its a blog for the people, BY the people. And I’m pleased to share with you this amazing article by one of our readers, David Haas, on tips which would benefit our community as a whole. 🙂

Whether newly diagnosed with cancer, going through treatments, or in remission,
physical fitness can bring you many benefits. Those who have cancer often lose
their strength and energy, experience fatigue and weakness, and may also suffer
mental stress. A program of physical activity can help to improve how you feel
and relieve some of the effects of cancer treatments. It will not only give you a
boost of energy and a positive attitude, but it will also help you to feel mentally
and physically stronger and enable you to regain any of the physical functions
you may have lost.

Cancer patients should start out slowly with their physical fitness routine and
increase intensity as they can. This is especially true for those with certain types
of cancer, such as mesothelioma, which is a rare cancer in the lungs. The type
and amount of physical activity you can pursue also depends on other factors
such as age, treatments received, surgeries, and pain levels.

Go for a light run. No need to be so competitive.

Very little physical activity is better than none. Begin by simply sitting up and
moving your limbs (i.e. leg lifts, arm circles), walking short distances, or by doing
light stretches. Later on, try riding a bicycle, gardening, or swimming. Whatever
you decide, don’t overdo it and cause more harm than good. Your physician will
be able to advise you on what exercise is appropriate at your stage and amount
you should do.

Physical activity will help you recover from the effects of your cancer and cancer
treatment. It will also improve your overall health by reducing your risk of heart
disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, stroke, and more.
Exercise makes you a healthier individual even when in remission and will allow
you to enjoy your life more fully. 😀

Generally, having some great fun physical activity time with friends allows
you to enjoy your life more fully.

This article was written by David Haas. David is a cancer patient advocate who writes and researches for the betterment of others. He often blogs about programs and campaigns underway at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, as well as creative fitness ideas for those dealing with cancer, while creating relationships with similar organizations. Check out his personal blog HERE OR you can follow him on Twitter @HaasBlaag.

GEAR REVIEW: I tried to catch some fog but i mist it with Essilor’s Optifog

Not too sure how many of you got the pun in the title above, but to those who do, you’re awesome! Hahahaha! Anyways, like most doctors out there, I happen to be wearing a pair of spectacles and we all know how that kind of limits one’s movement in sports. Although certain sports (like rugby or BJJ) requires me to wear contact lens. Bo pian.

With my previous pair of spectacles looking like its been through a beating, I got myself a new pair of spectacles. But with a few “upgrades” on its lenses – cause its now equipped with Essilor’s Transition, AirWear AND Optifog technology! Woohoo! One protects your eyes from the glaring sun, one is virtually unbreakable and lastly, one prevents fog from building up and makes the lens hardy to all sorts of weather condition.

Yes, I am indeed wearing a pair spectacles lenses built for leisure, sports…and war.

Not these specs definitely!

More often than not, most of us might have heard or know of Essilor’s Crizal and Transition lenses from TV or print media. I was given the opportunity to equip my lenses with Essilor’s new Optifog technology – the anti-fog lenses suited for office workers or simply people who help put the hot stones in a sauna. All in all coupled with the Transition + Crizal properties, it was superbly nice wearing them for outdoor or indoor use.

Decided to give it a shot for sports use and here’s my take on it:

  1. Running on a hot humid day at times builds up some fog on the lenses. With the Optifog coated lenses, your vision is clear and I did not have to stop to wipe the “cloud” off.
  2. I went into a sauna once after a workout session at Celebrity Fitness Gym and amazingly, coming out of the hot room I was not blinded by the steam-generated fog! Woohoo!
  3. On a side note, the transition lenses worked perfectly. Especially useful for those who are active outdoors and do not like wearing contact lenses.

Transition lenses: All dark when the sun is out!

Of course, one can always choose to wear or use their typical normal lenses without such special properties. And if you’re an outdoor person, most often than not, you might just get a pair of shades. But hey, if you are like me and simply want a “ALL IN ONE” kind of spectacles/lens for both work and play, the Essilor’s Optifog and Transition lenses is a good deal. Minimize the hassle of having many different pairs of shades, contact lenses or spectacles for different usage.

Of course, with the anti-fog properties, you can enjoy cooking your steamed chicken or pau without having to wipe off that mist off your specs. 😉

You can get your very own Essilor’s Optifog lenses at Intergrated Eye Care Cetre @ Vivocity and all leading spectacle huts. 🙂

EVENT: Adidas KOTR 2012

Last year, I took part in my 1st Adidas run – the Adidas King of the Road (KOTR) 2011 (you can read my review here). It was a gruelling run I must admit. With the event during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadhan, running the 16.8km route was mentally tough. But completing the run WITHOUT consuming any form of liquids or foods made me feel real good. On top of the euphoria and runner’s high of completing yet another run, knowing that I did it while fasting certainly was like placing the icing on the cake. 

I truly felt like a King of The Road. 

Fast forward a year later, the Adidas KOTR will be held on the 28th of October 2012. Held right smack in the middle of the Gardens by the Bay, it would be the final leg of the region’s largest and most colourful race. I mean, the one of its kind 5-leg race spanning over five countries – Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines & Singapore is indeed an exciting race event to go to (if you have the moolah and time to travel overseas). Otherwise, conquering Singapore’s leg of the race is pretty fine enough.

Event: Adidas King Of The Road 2012

When: Sunday, 28th October 2012

Where: Gardens by the Bay

How much: S$50/runner

Link(s): www.adidaskingoftheroad.com.sg (from the beginning of July 2012 onwards) OR you could check out the Main KOTR site at http://www.adidaskingoftheroad.com/

RACE INFO

This year, the race will begin and end at Singapore’s newest iconic landmark, Gardens by the Bay, and will see passionate runners setting paces past iconic sites such as the Flower Dome, Heritage Gardens, Golden & Silver Gardens, Dragonfly Lake and Bay East Garden, the Singapore Flyer and the Floating Platform. This race route will make history as one of the first mass race to be held at the much-anticipated venue of Gardens by the Bay.

SO BRING YOUR CAMERAS PEOPLE! 

With a unique 16.8km route, the city race is targeted at everyone who likes to run – from the social runner, to the serious athlete. One of the objectives of the adidas KOTR is also to encourage runners to take part in all five adidas KOTR events across Southeast Asia, as the total distance completed will be the equivalent of two full marathons (84km).

Another uniqueness about the adidas KOTR is its race theme – ‘Colours’ that is represented through the variety of coloured adidas race t-shirts that participants will don. The multi-colour apparels showcased are meant to represent the vibrancy of the Southeast Asia’s sports scene, making the adidas KOTR the most colourful race in the region!

HEALTH & FITNESS: Cardio Overload

(Article by Nash A.)

I’m sure the feeling of euphoria would have won over the fatigue that grows on you after the 42nd kilometres on the road. Completing a marathon somewhat at times boosts one’s self-esteem and makes us feel good about our accomplishments. Besides, knowing that it is for the development of fitness, we tend to think that the heart is also going to get stronger each time we finish the race so we should go out there and conquer as many marathons and runs as possible. Well, that could be a grave mistake.

A recent study actually measured the vascular functions of avid runners after their runs, the result is really shocking.

By measuring cardiac enzymes and taking ultrasounds, the researchers were able to measure the acute effects of extreme exercise on the heart.

They found that:

  1. Right ventricular (RV) function diminished after races
  2. Blood levels of cardiac enzymes (markers for heart injury) increased
  3. The longer the race, the greater the decrease in RV function
  4. 12 percent of the athletes had scar tissue in their heart muscle detected on MRI scans one week after the race

Although exercise reduces your cardiovascular risk by a factor of three, too much vigorous exercise, such as marathon running, actually increases your cardiac risk by seven, according to a study presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2010 in Montreal. This is a powerful lesson to anyone who engages in large amounts of cardio exercise, because as it turns out, excessive cardio may actually be counterproductive.

The Solution:

1) Mix it up

Do not cancel your runs just yet. Long-distance running should not be stopped totally. Instead, frequency could be reduced, making way for interval training, which allows you to capture peak cardio activities without superficial strains. Right amount of stress, for the right amount of time.

2) Super-Slow Resistance Training

The objective of superslow resistance training is to create more tension in a muscle for a given workload. This is accomplished by decreasing the speed of movement. The amount of force or tension a muscle can develop during a muscle action is substantially affected by the rate of muscle shortening or lengthening.

In Conclusion

As you would diversify your financial portfolio, please do diversify your training portfolio.
Physiological development should be holistically done to ensure a sound and functioning body, with no signs of over exertion.

But of course, go easy on the diversification. 😛