Thursday, 14 August 2014

Free Multisports (or generally sports) Tips : Jun Shen

I was attracted with the “life hack” pictures I saw in Instagram, so I thought of sharing some multisport hack that I practise. Hopefully it helps our blog readers to save money, or get things done easier, faster and more efficiently.

Hack 1.  I believe all cyclists face this problem when changing a new pedal cleat. If you’re not changing new cleat position, use a pencil to draw around the shape of yr old cleat position instead of writing down the scale you saw on the carbon sole. This method is more accurate and saves you from re-doing your bike fit all over again.

Hack 2.   Participating in a race that doesn't provide luggage deposit and have to keep all your stuff in the car? Need to carry car key but compression shorts doesn't have pocket? Here is the solution. If you’re wearing lock laces, you can secure your car key to it diagonally. It stays with u til the end of your race no matter how many thousand times you pound on the ground. I do it this way for all my running races, including full marathons.

Hack 3.  Running a 10km race with a compression shorts and want to carry one or may be two gels? Tuck it under your compression shorts. Make good use of the compression to hold your gels. 

Hack 4.  You find bike cleaning a tough task? Tie a strap onto your saddle and secure it to a strong structure on top. You can turn the bike 360 degrees and easily access to any part of the bike. You can spin the pedal and brush the cassette easily too. This makes cleaning much easier. Instead of buying a stand which costs more than RM200, you can recycle any unused strap or chord as long as it can support the weight of yr bike. 

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Garmin FR620 Review of Cadence and Connectivity : Deo

As part of the collaboration between Garmin Malaysia and Team 2ndSkin, we were given the opportunity to test out one of Garmin's latest model in its running series, the FR620. While the detailed unboxing review of the watch has been done by team mate, Roy Yeow, which you can read here, a further review on the technical and functional aspects of the watch was done by Tri Stupe, which you can read here
So, I would like to review on a couple of FR620 functions that I like the most about this FR620 watch and other new generation of Garmin running watches.

1. Analysis of cadence 
One of things that is important for a runner is to analyze the cadence. Just like the rpm for a car, cadence (measured in stride per minute of simply spm) is a number of full cycles taken within a minute, by the pair of feet. As you need to clock more spm for better performance, higher spm will also helps to adjust a runner's form and technique (foot landing, arm swing, length of strides) and in turn may lead to fewer injuries. (note: I've written a blog entry on cadence which you can read here).

Cadence analysis feature
The beauty with FR620 is that you don't need to have an external footpod to pair with the watch to measure cadence. While additional gadget means additional weight and additional stuff to carry around, having the watch being able to track cadence on itself, is a cool thing about the watch. However, other running dynamic functions like vertical oscillation and ground contact times still require the usage of heart rate monitor, which I hope one day can also be stand alone just like cadence tracking.  

2. Connectivity to Garmin Connect mobile application.
After you have installed Garmin Connect mobile application in your mobile device/phone, you would be able to upload your activity/workout as soon as you've completed it, in a jiffy. This works really well especially when you are not anywhere near your computer of laptop when you need to transfer the activity/workout data via ANT+ sensor. You can do this in the gym while waiting for shower or waiting for the sweat to dry up or even while walking to the car park after each workout. And while you're having post-workout dinner or commuting in public transport on the way home, you can already view and analyze your workout data from your mobile device. 
Viewing your activity/workout right after you've done with it
The Garmin Connect mobile application gives you enough data to analyze on-the-go. It allows you to view summary of your workout including map, as well as the details of the workout such as splits, graphs for the pace, elevation, heart rate, cadence, etc. It also allows you to do simple editing on your workout like the title of the workout, activity type and notes/comments on the activity. 
Other details of your activity/workouts that can be viewed from Garmin Connect mobile application: 

Liking/commenting your friends' activities as well as replying to friends' comments are also made possible, just like facebook-ing. 
Friends' activities/workouts screen...
Another function that I think maybe interesting to use is the Live Track feature whereby we allow our connections in Garmin Connect to follow our activities in real time. For those who doesn't mind for their workout activities to be 'live-tracked', which is the main reason why I didn't use this feature, this should be a great feature. In addition, to use the feature, your phone is required to be around with you during your workout as the watch and the mobile app is connected via bluetooth. 

To me, as an amateur athlete who still holds a daytime job, all this connectivity function which you can access the data and information right from your mobile device, view/like/comment your friends' activities, allows this watch to be the go-to watch to be worn from dawn (the moment you wake up and get ready for work until dusk when you're all settled with your works, workouts, nightlife and just getting ready to hit the bed. 

The sleek and trendy design of the watch does not make it looks like any other sports watch. I've worn the watch to high level meetings in office (instead of wearing the a more formal chain strap analog watch) but it doesn't makes me feel awkward the way I would feel if I wear my other bulky, rubber-strap sports watch. In fact, I did receive praises from my colleagues admiring the design of the watch. And it is a good motivation for you to work out when your sports watch is already wrapped around your wrist than neatly placed in your gym back - it's like an obligation to work out when you look at the watch. 
Wearing FR620 indoor and during non-workout time (at one of the Team 2ndSkin Running Workshops)
I've worn it for my casual activities during weekend and I even wore it during my engagement day and still, it didn't feel like I was wearing a sports rubber watch, but more as casual watch. Only that the 'colored screen' or theme feature of the watch where you can choose different colors as your watch theme is either unnecessary or can be further improved by adding more 'colored' functions in the watch. And if you just use the watch as a normal watch (without activating GPS), the battery can last for more than two days without the needs to recharge.
...FR620 on my casual days too!
As FR620 is purposely designed and built to cater those into running (you can also use it for cycling but will have to edit the type of activity manually in Garmin Connect), those who are into multiple sports other than just running, FR620 may not be the ideal watch for you. But for runners, overall, FR620 serves the purpose of a running watch very well, marrying those technical features with the casual look and the social connectivity function which is the trend these days. 

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Team 2ndskin Running Workshop - Introduction to Trail Running

Skechers GoBionic Trail. Review at
Hey hey hey!!!!

We're doing it a bit different this time around with an introduction to trail/offroad running this weekend!

Team 2ndskin will be conducting the next running workshop and it will be an introduction to trail running as per below details:

Date: 26th July (Saturday)
Time: 0715 - 0900
Location: Taman Rekreasi Lembah Kiara (Jalan Abang Haji Openg opposite the SK TTDI(2)) - we will meet up outside the toilet building within the park
Registration: email your details to to book your slot (first come, first get a slot)

Using Waze to get here? Click Here
Using Google Map to get here: Click Here
(we strongly advise you not to use your phone while driving, please set the destination prior to driving and utilise voice-guidance. ARRIVE SAFE so you can RUN!)

Please bring your own water/hydration and come in running attire and running shoes. Trail shoes are preferred but not a must. Punctuality is of utmost importance!

See you there!!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Wear Pattern of Your Running Shoes : Jun Shen

I used to be a heel striker when I started running at the age of 15, I couldn’t run more than 7km due to my knee pain. I’ve always thought that runners with bigger stride run faster so I overstride without me realizing. My leading foot will be too far in front of my body and foot slightly rotated in the air before landing on my heel to absorb the impact. Because of my overstriding running style, I needed extra cushioning to minimize the impact in my knees. I didn’t know that I ran wrongly. My shoes wore out pretty fast; I just got rid of my old running shoes without even observing the wear pattern.

Taking pictures of the wear pattern of your running shoes provide important clues for runners to assess running gait if you know how to read them. There are a few sections of the sole for us to observe, which are the heel section, sole and the midsole area. For instance, heel strikers will have more significant heel wear, over pronators have excessive wear along the inner side of the sole, and under pronators have excessive wear along the outer side of the sole. By identifying the wear pattern, you can start to figure out drills and gears needed to minimize the risks of getting running-related-injuries. 
Picture of my Skechers GoRunSpeed.
Here is a simple example of my case. I learned to run midfoot after my first Ironman because I knew the importance of correcting my running gait to last longer in competitive racing. If I keep heel striking, my whole body weight will impact my knees every single stride I make, and the shoes sole will be my evidence. Other than having a camera to record my strides, I can observe the wear pattern to be sure that I land midfoot. Different running shoes brand have different level of sole hardness due the material difference. Softer sole tend to wear faster hence you get the result of this “experiment” faster. This important information will be a good guidance for you to pick your next pair of new running shoes

Friday, 4 July 2014

Training in the month of Ramadhan - Deo AH

This week, Deo share with us his challenge of training during the Ramadhan or fasting month. Waking up early for Sahur, going through the day with lower than expected energy level (until about a week in when things starts to normalise), training nuances and other religious obligation pertaining to the Holy Month. We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our Muslim readers a blessed Ramadhan.

It's the holy month of Ramadhan again. And one of the worries for runners like me is how to train during the month, when we are fasting. In other months, most runs on weekdays are done after work, normally in the late afternoon before sunset while majority of the runners are looking forward for the weekends to come to strike long runs in the morning or hit the trails. 

For me there was not much different in training in the month of Ramadhan and any other months of the year and you don't need to experiment or invent a new training regime. A little adjustment should be enough. 

How is my training different in Ramadhan from other months?

As I normally do my weekday runs at night, it is still going to be the same. Only that in Ramadhan, my runs will start a little late, around 10.30pm after Teraweh prayer. And I will have to cut short my runs from around 10-12km per session to around 7-8km to ensure I would be home no later than midnight, as I need to wake up for my sahor (pre-dawn) meal around 4.30am.

My weekend runs now will be done at night after Teraweh prayer, starting around 10.30pm. As I planned for my long runs to be from 15km to 25km, the sessions will run right past midnight. So, Friday and Saturday nights should be nice as I can catch few extra hours of sleep the next morning. 

With two short runs on weekdays (probably Monday and Wednesday), one 21km run on Friday night and one 15km run on Saturday night, I shall be doing around 50km per week, a slight lower than my normal 60km per week in other months. 

So, I guess training in Ramadhan is not much a different from any other months. The only notable different is doing trail runs. As it is quite not safe to run trails at night (this is what I believe due to the existence of poisonous animals), it is hard to train if you had registered for any trail events after Eid, for example the TMBT Ultra Trail Marathon to be held about two weeks after Eid. This was one of the biggest worries for me in the past two year when I participated in the event. To overcome this, I had to ensure that my trail training were sufficiently covered even before the start of Ramadhan while the month of Ramadhan is just to accumulate mileage to train the foot to be on the course long enough. 

Other things that you need to pay attention during Ramadhan is dehydration. Drink lots of water at night and drink frequently while you go out running even at nights. If before this you can afford not to drink throughout your 5km run, in Ramadhan, make a point to drink even when you're not thirsty. Drink lots of plain water and fresh juices, and as energy for your runs, drink Milo or the likes or simply consume dates. Drink more post runs. Avoid caffeine, sugared water and carbonated drinks. If you plan to run after Teraweh prayer, don't eat too much during Iftar as you'll feel bloated during your runs and will feel like throwing out, and at times you will just feel lazy to even go out for a run. 

Location wise, Putrajaya is the most known place to run at nights in Ramadhan (or in other months). You'll see more runners in Putrajaya on weekend nights this month. My other favorite place to run is in Bukit Jelutong as it is close to my place and less traffic. Shah Alam is nice but be careful of the traffic, they can be annoying even at 2-3am.

I found a good blog entry by Muslim Runner entitled "How to Run in Ramadhan" for you to read, some points/tips may not be applicable for us here in Malaysia but the entry should give us a general idea on the topic. Read here

So, all the best with your training in Ramadhan. Fasting month should not be an excuse for us not to run as when there is a will, there is a way. I wish all Muslim friends and runners a very blessed Ramadhan!