by Nicolette Mok
Veteran distance running coach Steven Quek can call upon a wealth of knowledge on training methods, and he is eager to impart them to the community, helping running enthusiasts achieve better efficiency and safety.
Speaking on a panel at the recent ActiveSG Running Clinic, held in conjunction with the Runners Convention 2017, the ActiveSG Athletics Club’s Head Coach (Distance Running) took questions from the floor alongside fellow industry experts like club principal Luis Cunha, the club’s head coach for sprinting Melvin Tan, and winner of The North Face Singapore 50km 2016 Wyan Chow.
ActiveSG Athletics Club coach Steven Quek (centre) speaks to running enthusiasts during an ActiveSG Running Clinic at Singapore Sports Hub. Photo: SportSG
As an authority on endurance running, Quek shared his insights and expertise on the importance of strength training when engaging in this specific area of athletics. Highlighting the importance of balance, he stressed that moderation was key, especially given the extended duration that distance runners typically spend on their chosen activity.
“When we do long-distance running, strength is necessary to help us maintain a nice posture. That’s our main objective. If we don’t, we won’t have the strength to maintain a nice running posture and our body will start collapsing, and our efficiency will be affected. We’ll need more energy to run and we won’t be able to run as well as we should,” he explained.
However, Quek, who coaches various schools and national athletes, was also keen to warn against doing too much strength training, as this might lead to a compromise on the quality of the workout.
He cautioned: “Often, because we try to do more, we may not be maintaining a nice posture anymore and we’ll lose the proper technique of the exercise. As a result, it’s not productive at all. [If the exercises are] not done correctly, or in a fatigued state, it may lead to injury.”
“If we’re doing too much per session, it’ll be very tough for the body to cope. Mentally, it’s very tough too. So depending on what we’re doing for the day, we will space [the strength training] out so that it’s a bit more manageable for the athletes. Doing too many things in one session is very taxing,” he continued.
ActiveSG Athletics Club coach Steven Quek. Photo: SportSG
With this in mind, he has tailored the ActiveSG Athletics Club curriculum to suit the fitness levels and other requirements of his participants. Further elaborating on his work with the Club, he shared that his distance-running programme catered to a wide variety of participants ranging from ages 13 all the way to 47, and also included Team Singapore marathon runner and Olympian Neo Jie Shi.
While elaborating on his training routine, he fished out a colour-coded schedule detailing the different exercises that each participant could expect to do for the week – customised to their respective abilities.
“I place the participants in groups so that they can train together. But they all do different things, depending on their abilities. If someone is fitter, they’ll do more. If they are not so fit, they’ll do less. It’s a lot of work, but we want to give individualised programmes,” Quek, who had been with the Club all the way since its planning stages, remarked.
“At the end of the training, they’ll do some strength training, then some cool-down stretches. In between, when there are opportunities, we’ll engage in discussion. That’s where the issues – questions such as those asked during the panel– will be raised. I’ll give them feedback, advice, and guidance,” he concluded.
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