Many of us know that Soo is a super runner and has many feathers in her running hat.
However, recently she has been strength training with the same passion and discipline that she brings to her running training. Her new love for strength training intrigued us and we asked her some questions. Let us see what strength training insights she can decode for us.
Why did you start strength training?
My initial goals were simply to prevent injuries. I had my fair share of ITBS, sprains and tendonitis. Strength training really helped me prevent knee pain (ITBS) and lower back injury. Running brings me so much joy! I quickly learnt different ways to stay healthy so I can run consistently.
What about your goals now?
In the last couple of years, I notice that my gait is getting a bit awkward. I didn’t like what I was seeing on my race photos or when I run pass a reflective mirror – slouching shoulders, bent at the hips and heavy feet. It’s something I must fix if I want to run faster. I mean, just look at the elites, they don’t run like that!
What type of strength training do you practice?
I work with a personal trainer at Mad Fitness Market. We use free weights, TRX, kettlebell and some plyometric exercises. I am a complete newbie when it comes to free weights, so I am grateful to have a good trainer. I had to learn how to activate the right muscles for each exercise. It is like learning a new language to communicate with the muscles. I love weighted squats, lunges and pelvic thrusts – these are all classic strength training exercises for runners.
Have you seen results?
I used to get terribly sore calves from trail running. However, in the last two trail races, I had finally used my glutes to climb. It has saved me from excruciating sessions with a certain sports massage therapist, the infamous Boon in RD. I also feel better about my posture in my daily life. I haven’t started marathon training for a big race, but I’m looking forward to faster racing results.
How does one get started on strength training?
If you have never done any strength training, you can learn a lot from the conditioning workouts that RD conducts on Wednesdays. However, once a week is not enough, so learn the exercises and be sure to do them at home. There are many ways – find a PT, pick up a book or join a bootcamp! Have fun and do it consistently!
3 things I learnt in the last couple of months:
The first few sessions were brutal. I felt sore all over the body and cut back on the running. I questioned if it was the right thing to do. Will I be able to continue strength training when I need to prepare for the marathon? Start strength training in the off-peak season if you don’t want it to impact your running.
- The body adapts!
It took three to four weeks before I learnt to cope with the soreness. It’s been more than two months. I am starting to enjoy these sessions although they are still challenging.
- Some exercises are quite technical
It is important to practice good form and progress safely. I was surprised by how important it is to have good breathing technique for weightlifting. There are lots of skills to master for safe progression. My trainer always says, “everybody can lift heavy, but very few do it with good form”.
Thank you Soo, for sharing your wisdom and knowledge with us.