Inside the DM Talk 3 and 4 Q&A

David and Melvin answer your questions regarding tracking progress, injury and motivation.



We have come to the end of the Inside the DM Talk Series. From our sign-up forms, we have received an overwhelming amount of questions and David and Melvin may have the time to address them. 

Here are some of the questions they have not covered. Do also check out Inside the DM Talk 1 and 2 Q&A

Session 3 Questions 

How do you measure progress if the training is not done on the same terrain (e.g. running through different neighborhoods during circuit breaker) or if different races are on different terrains? 
David: At the beginning, I would want to focus on the effort and how I feel for each one of them then advance to logging in the timing. I will designate each route to be done on different days so that I will have a compilation of those workouts.

Melvin: You could control one of the variables such as distance or time and then use the rate of perceived exertion (RPE) as a gauge of your effort. The idea is really to compare a similar effort to the outcome achieved between 2 sessions to have an effective measurement of progress.

How frequent should we have a sports massage?
Once/week or fortnightly.

I would like to hear the advice and experience of the speakers on this important topic.
David: From my experience, I would incorporate time trial or participate in a race to gauge my progress and re-evaluate what went right or wrong during the execution of the race. For the injury side, I had multiple injuries ranging from severe plantar fasciitis to meniscus issue on my left knees. I would step-back and withhold my training plans. Allows for full recovery and work on core training to maintain fitness, muscle mass and avoid loss of strength 

Melvin: I would add on to David’s comments and that tracking progress would require 3 main components: Training prep, Race/Time-Trial execution and Reflections. Ideally, you will need to identify a start point basis for your training, design a program that would ultimately achieve your goal and execute an effort to determine fitness, thereafter, reflecting upon the good / bad and incorporating into your next training cycle.

How to reduce vertical oscillation?
Reduce upright running by leaning forward from the ankle which creates an angle between the ground and body. The leaning forward motion will allow for the feet to leave the ground efficiently. This will eliminate bounce and to cut energy waste. Meanwhile, do work on our flexibility that may allow us to extend and work on our hips flexors.

Do running daily help to improve individual fitness and prevent injury?
Yes, it will improve on cardiovascular fitness but will not prevent injury. Running is moderate to high-impact exercise and overtraining may lead to minor to major injuries such as stress fractures and shin splints or strain soft tissues. The amount of daily training depends on your goals and physical fitness levels. Daily training will need to include the cross, interval, tempo, long runs and strength training. Rest should also be included in the training plan.

How to plan which stage (like one marathon preparation period is 16 weeks) to concentrate on which kind of run or core muscle?
Most typical marathon training plans are 16 to 20 weeks. A typical 3 to 5 times a week. There are 4 stages of marathon training. There are base (aerobic pace and one interval session), strength (Increase speed over a long period and long interval such as 1k or 1.2k), speed (short interval with increase speed) and taper (recovery and gain energy). Understanding the role of each stage will be helpful to chart a training plan. Core training to be done every other week to maintain stability and strength. This way we can improve both your weaknesses and strengths.

If you are already injured, e.g. knee pain. How can we manage training and progress, or should we stop training altogether?
David: From my experience, I injured my knees and found out that it was a meniscus issue. 3 months of total lay-off from running but incorporated a daily 90 minute of training program to maintain muscle mass and eliminate loss of strength

With more workouts and training, do they automatically mean more injuries?  
Generally, it will lead us to it if we let it. I would say, a muscle strain as the 1st indicator and may need to monitor as my training progresses on. However, do watch out for tell-tale signs of body breaking down from feeling lethargic in the morning and throughout the day as well as sore muscles. It could be a sign of burnout from over training or loading too much too soon.

How to prevent ITB from getting injured constantly during long runs?
Regular foam rolling, stretching of the legs by lying on floor and stretch the leg across the body.

I aim to reduce my weight through running. How can I track my progress and is there any guideline like a running schedule?
Focus on low heart rate training which allows for safe training and not straining the cardiovascular system. Training may vary from one person to another. You may consider getting a heart rate monitor watch to track progress. On the other hand, do have an individual scale capacity of 1-20 where 20 is working out too hard. Start with a slow run of 30 mins and constantly monitor the effort and strain.

Is it important to monitor heart rate while running? I find it hard to keep the heart rate in the below 160.
It is crucial to monitor HR while running so that we do not feel the burnout at any stage of our training. Start with brisk walking and gradually switch to walk-run-walk. Lower HR allows for more calories burned. If you are unsure how hard you’re working. If you can’t talk during your exercise, you’re likely working at high and vigorous levels. If you’re slightly out of breath, but can maintain a conversation, you’re likely to be in the fat burning zone.

What is the correct breathing technique while running?
There are no correct breathing techniques, it is more of what works for an individual. For my case, I will do 2-in (nose) -2 - out (mouth). This will also help me to regulate and sync my running gait and steps per minute. 

Any cross training recommendation, given this period of stay-home? 
Well, if you are within the home compound, staircase and floor exercise would be great to start with and gradually advance to rope skipping and dynamic strength training using resistance band and weighted medicine ball.

What are the typical methods/exercised we can do to prevent recurring injuries from appearing in muscles we've already done rehabilitation work on?  
We would want to focus on the once injured area by identifying those muscle groups that are related to it and chart out a strength development training program. This way, we are able to eliminate and avoid potential impact on the joints by getting the muscles to do the intended work

Session 4 Questions 

How do you motivate yourself while injured? 
I allow myself a short period of time (eg 7 days) to feel sorry for myself but I have to pick up the pieces and seek professional help. Started to find possible ways to recover and rehab as well as re-develop my overall fitness leaving the injured area

I am a 17 year old who started running for 1 year on his own and just join the poly track team. I want to become good at it to win competitions, do you have any tips? 
Excellent, you are a very motivated young man. Adhere to your coach’s program and both of you will need to have 2-way communication to optimize performance. 3 key areas to lookout for a) telltale sign of incoming injury b) Be aware of the gap between current performance and 3rd placing timing for your chosen event c)  Discipline (food intake, rest and time management)The key is not the 'will to win'… everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.

How do we get motivated when you feel lazy or tired for a run on a specific day? Especially times like this where you only can train alone and not with friends or running kakis.  
a) I set reachable goals as well as challenges b) Set up a running club/group and organize a predetermined distance virtual race among friends or kakis d) I will do visualization on my training b) View videos (YouTube) of past races e) Read reviews of new gears, different workout programs. 

To both, what are your strongest motivation quotes that will boost your spirit high? 
David: While running: I don’t stop because I'm tired, I stop when I’m done.  Before running: Nobody will do it for you. 

How do the coaches maintain their motivation to keep up with their running training and goals during this period when all the runs and marathons have been cancelled? 
Generally, coaches or runners will have to adapt and be flexible with training program. Adjustment will be needed to replicate the training program.

I was motivated by some runners who run quite fast on Strava and it feels great. But how to keep this empathy but do not try to match their pace( run at your own pace) to minimize injury? 
Have them in mind and as a guide and enjoy the ‘feel good’ feeling. However, you will run based on your current capacity and performance. Work with a coach on a training program and allow yourself to train and adapt with the training program. Run your own pace. 

Could you share nutrition management for running? 
It varies from one individual to another. I will need to understand my nutrition intake during heavy training days where the demand of carbs increases to fuel the longer runs. On the other hand, protein is much needed for repair of micro tears after the run.   

What does motivation mean to you?
David: It is a strong desire to do and achieve within a stipulated period of time

This is the end of our Q&A, we hope your questions were answered! Thank you for participating and asking your questions. Look forward to more content in the future from RUN Singapore!

About the speakers:

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David is a certified running coach and sports therapist with over 15 years of experience working with running enthusiasts. He is passionate in understanding the uniqueness in every runner and helping all to achieve a healthy and sporting lifestyle. His determination to turn his running experience into information for sharing has led to his most recent work with physically and intellectually challenged athletes in the quest to perform their very best.

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Melvin started sports participation when he was 21 years old and went on to represent Singapore as a triathlete and long distance runner in the 5,000m and 10,000m events. He was the fastest Singapore in both events in 2015, qualifying for the 2015 SEA Games. Juggling his day job and his young family, Melvin continues to compete as a sub-elite distance runner in local and international marathons. He looks forward to extend his longevity in the sport and inspiring others.


RUN Singapore aims to be a complete resource for Singaporean runners and marathoners of all ages and abilities. With its continuing efforts, the website seeks to uncover the latest news, information and expert advice to motivate runners to run efficiently, train intelligently and lead a balance life. If you have enjoyed a good read with RUN Singapore magazine, be enticed further as we unleash more running content to feed your running needs.



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