55 days of running daily may not be a cup of kopi-o for the average runner. Injuries aside, discipline - or the lack thereof - may be a key reason for runners not being able to complete this routine. But once formalised with clear objectives and set running distances, and with the patriotic spirit to celebrate Singapore’s 55th year of independence, it does motivate these worthy winners to complete the challenges they have set for themselves.
RUN Singapore got in touch with the following category winners to get inspired by their 55-day running journey of the concluded Maju Lah! Virtual Run 2020. The Maju Lah! Virtual Run 2020 challenged runners to run over a period of 55 days to celebrate the independence of Singapore.
There were two challenges for this virtual run. The Solidarity Challenge was a test of who could go the distance, with the winner being the one who accumulated the longest distance.
The Resilience Challenge tested runners’ resilience and consistency. Participants chose a distance of 2.4km, 5.5km, 10km or 20km and attempted to run that distance daily. At the end of the race period, the runner who ran the most number of days in his or her category would win. Where two or more runners clocked the same number of days, the fastest one would be declared the winner.
Alex Ang “AA”, Solidarity winner
Ran 2,946km for 55 days, pace 06:37
I set a rather ambitious goal of doing a minimum of 50 km a day for the Maju Lah! Virtual Run. The duration of 55 days was a sure test of perseverance, commitment and endurance! It is no easy feat and what a splendid way to celebrate our Nation's 55th year of independence!
To achieve my daily mileage, I split my runs into 2 parts on weekdays to suit my daily schedule: once in the early morning and once in the evening. On weekends and public holidays, I will do the entire distance at one go.
As I stay in the east, I do most of my runs along East Coast Park and parts of Coastal Road. I ventured further during the weekends when I have more time and run across parts of Singapore, including to MacRitchie Reservoir, Bukit Timah, and Sengkang.
Rest, recovery and nutrition
Well, I still have my ongoing daily activities including preparing meals so I sneak in some rest whenever I can and try to get to bed early.
Managing my nutrition and hydration successfully played a critical role in completing such a gruelling running event over a prolonged period of time (55 days!). Nutrition takes 3 essential forms in this event: daily nutrition intake from meals, nutrition during the daily runs, and nutrition after the runs.
I paid good attention to my nutrition during the period of 55 days, consuming enough food to fuel and recover properly and have sufficient rest. The most important aspect to get right is to meet the daily calorie demands I needed to perform.
As the daily distance placed a huge stress on my body, and this is exacerbated by our climate - hot and humid mostly with the occasional storms - I took Tailwind Rebuild after my runs to replenish glycogen stores, rebuild muscle, rehydrate and restore electrolytes so that I would be all ready for the challenge the next day. I also ensured that I consumed sufficient protein in my meals to aid muscle recovery. During the runs, I used Tailwind Endurance Fuel for the needed calories, electrolytes and hydration.
Injury prevention measures
I am a big believer of efficient running and when done correctly, it reduces the chances of injuries. I have been lucky to have gone through the 55 days with no injuries. In addition, to further prevent injuries, I used my trusty massage gun to release stubborn knots and applied magnesium gels and lotions for muscle tightness. I was fortunate to have a good friend who lent me his recovery systems to aid my recovery when he heard of my 55 days challenge.
As I do my runs along East Coast Park, I am a regular fixture in the park and am recognised by many. I have made lots of friends during this period; from the cleaners who kept our -parks and beaches clean to the staff at Aloha beach club, to the dog walkers, regular runners and NParks staff. It is really motivating and comforting when I see familiar faces during my daily long runs, sure kept my spirits up!
"Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn't matter whether you're the lion or a gazelle – when the sun comes up, you'd better be running." Christopher McDougall, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
55 days of being in the wild, trying to outrun the lion and raking up the miles - day in, day out. Through the extreme heat, humidity, rain and thunderstorms. And I am really elated to have accomplished it! It finally came to an end on 8 August, just as our country started to celebrate 55 years of independence. A journey of perseverance, patience, commitment, and discipline. One that will be brazenly etched into the memories of 2020. What a journey! And I ended day 55 with a 55km run to mark our country's 55th year of independence. Majulah Singapura!
William Leow, Resilience 2.4 winner
Ran 2.4km for 55 days, pace 04:06
Strategy and routine
My strategy was to do something bitesize which I could commit for 55 days consecutively taking into account my current fitness condition, current and future commitments. The 2.4km category turned out perfect!
I had no fixed time of the day to run. I did so when I found pockets of available time. However, I ran the same route everyday for 55 days, so that I could monitor my progress.
Embarrassing moments more like it – other people must be wondering why is this guy panting so hard after the run!
Chen Wende, Resilience 5.5 winner
Ran 5.5km for 55 days, pace 04:07
Motivation and routine
This is the first time I joined a virtual race; it required my commitment for a continuous 55 days. Every completion of a day is a motivation to the next run. For every run, I had targeted to complete with an average speed of 4 min/km. I would usually run in the mornings during my free time, with one off day a week. And anywhere convenient would be my next run route.
Every night before going to bed, I would check on the weather forecast and plan how I can complete the next 5.5km run.
Shawn Tan “GakiShawn”, Resilience 10 winner
Ran 10km for 55 days, pace 03:48
Routine, discipline, motivation
Even before the Maju Lah! Virtual Run, I would always run on a daily basis. As much as possible, I would try to wake up as early as 6am to go for my runs but sometimes I might run during the late evenings due to internship and school workload.
For Resilience 10, I had set myself a personal challenge; I wanted to see how far I can push myself!
My mindset is that I wake up to a morning believing that today will be a better day than yesterday, that I cannot start my day proper without my daily runs. And to have that strong active mindset, as well as to keep fit so that I can pass my annual IPPT.
All of the Maju Lah! Virtual Run participants also motivated me; to see them clocking their runs on a daily basis inspired me further to continue the journey till the end.
Proud and interesting moments
Proud that I did not gain much weight during the whole Circuit Breaker phase. Proud to have the mental strength to remain resilient and consistent throughout the experience.
Winning the category is just a bonus. I am proud that I am able to show others that running 10km on a daily basis is a possible task. I might gun for the 20km category next year.
I remembered once I was running along NTU and witnessed a group of wild boars. They chased after me;that might explain why I was quite fast on that day.
Firstly, I would like to thank my lovely parents for taking good care of me. Especially my diet and all the vitamin drinks they got for me to replenish my body. Thank you for ensuring that I am healthy and safe.
Secondly, to my friends from Running Department for helping me to build up this running habit. Finally, to everyone who believed in me from Day 1. Especially Share Yearn! Thanks babe! Thank you all for sticking with me through thick and thin. Blessed. Feels good!
Sean Tan Say Huat, Resilience 20 winner
Ran 20km for 55 days, pace 04:54
Discpline and routine
Maju Lah! Virtual Run was one of the toughest challenge I had undertaken, in term of distance, recovery time, and managing work and family time.
Basically, I did almost all my daily runs along a familiar PCN near my neighbourhood. Running on familiar routes allowed me to control my pace more easily, to achieve my set targets, knowing the distance covered without having to ever check on my GPS watch. That familiarity also helps in minimising injuries as my body learnt and adjusted after days of similar workouts.
All my daily runs were done in the late evenings to fit my work schedules. The first few days were tough; it took about 1 to 2 weeks for my body to adjust to the daily grind.
There were many obstacles along the way to overcome: nutrition, rest and recovery, and especially managing injuries. I kept Sundays as my long awaited rest days, so that I have more time for stretching and recovery. It was only about a week into the final day that I started to struggle as I encountered unusual pain on the calf muscle. But thankfully, I managed to complete the challenge without major injuries.
I would not have completed this challenge without my wife's support, who had never failed to accompany me on almost every run along the PCN.
I am also thankful to my group of running kakis who had given me full encouragement, including Ms.Neo Lay Peng, who placed third in this same challenge. We shared our runs and motivated each other. Indeed, I am really happy to run with them on Day 55 to celebrate our completion of the Maju Lah! Virtual Run.
Finally, I would like to thank Run Crew for organising the event, to make NDP 2020 a memorable year for me!
Inspired by our winners with their 55-day run challenges? Let’s lace up and get healthy. Onward, Singapore!