Tuesday, 7 May 2013


We are kicking off a string of Team 2ndskin Athlete Profiling so as to allow you to get to know our Team Athletes better. The way we will be doing this is to make it like an interview so that the athletes can share their points of view as well as let you know what goes on in their minds.
First up on our athlete profile is Steven Yip. Well known in the local running/cycling/triathlon community as a strong racer and within our team as our ‘sifu’, he has a zen-like demeanour and is calm and composed even under race day duress. Steven is a multi-time Ironman Finisher, Powerman podium winner, Adventure Race champion and he was running ultra-marathons even before they got popular here in Malaysia. Here’s what he has to say.
Champ Relay : Lake Kenyir Triathlon 2013
1. First, lets start with you telling us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living and some background about yourself.
Hi, I am Steven Yip. Basically I've done triathlons, and  have competed in many running, & cycling races. I am a software developer by profession, so all these sports is like a getaway from work stuff.

2. Besides running/cycling/swimming, do you partake in other sports activities? Rock-climbing maybe? :)
Done only twice, not worth mentioning.

3. Between cycling and running, which discipline do you prefer and why?
There's no preference. It depends on the races in schedule, and if there's cycling to be done, I'll hit the roads. But actually these days I am keeping cycling to a minimum, as it takes more time (4-5 hours). Running alone could keep the fitness in.

3. Do you think a cyclist will make a good runner, and vice-versa?
I used to think that cycling will help on the cardio on running. In fact it does for many people. But now I believe runners have higher cardio threshold than cycling, if you do it right. Cyclist got to have the power in the legs, more than cardio, but having more cardio will help on the uphill sections.
If you look at the theory of specialization for sports, actually it's better to focus on one discipline, to get it right. It's very hard to be good at both discipline, all the time. Even harder to maintain that. So the challenge is being able to be good at both, and being able to switch between them, depending on upcoming races, in the least possible training hours put in. Each has its' own movement & culture, that you'll need to train many times to get it right. 
Having said that, it's very hard to find a good cyclist, who can run as fast as the pure runners, and vice versa. Hence, if you could do both, and win races, you're pretty good. Bottom line is, don't get too enamoured in one discipline, until you overtrain, and neglect the other.

4. Do you prefer road running or trail running? Reason?
No preferences actually, but I believe trail running will help to increase the number of styles for running on tarmac. The key thing is building more styles in your running form, so when you race, you have more cards to play on hand.

5. Which part of your training program do you dislike the most?
You can't dislike training. Treat it like a job.

Sabah Adventure Challenge - Champ Men Ultra
6. If you could take part in one particular race anywhere in this world, which would it be and why?
Running trail races in the mountains of Nepal. It's very high altitude, cold, and the scenery is awesome. 
8. Altitude would basically be the biggest factor in whether you can perform well in the mountains of Nepal. If you do go, how would you construct your training plan to cater for the altitude factor, knowing well that Malaysia does not have such conditions to train in?

Most of the races, will require some acclimatization walk for 2 or 3 days. I think that will be sufficient. The highest pass will be around 5500meters, which is doable for majority of trekkers. 
I am doing some trekking up mountains around here, to get the technique right, and the fitness to climb.

7. Which has been the hardest or toughest race you have done so far? Tell us about it.
Running 147km to negeri sembilan and back to kuala lumpur. I did it alone, with no support, and having to run the hills in total darkness.
For cycling, probably it's cycling gohtong, then fraser peak, then up to Cameron Brinchang in 16 hours. That's alot of climbing & distance in one day. It's the perfect combination of distance, and coupled with the hardest climbing routes in peninsular Malaysia, that you can do in a single day.

10. Wow! 147km solo run unassisted to NS and back! What made you embark on such a run? 
I've done 100k before that, so it's a matter of finding enough road to get to higher distance. It's more about curiosity and seeing if I could pulled it off. I set very high and hard goals, sometimes full of doubts.  But it's doing something else, that others might have thought impossible, and attaining it, that makes it the most rewarding feeling.

8. If you could give one piece of advice to a newbie runner, what would it be?
Don't buy shoes which are 1 inch thick, with support. Shoes are the only interface with the earth, so it's crucial you can feel the road. I understand there's the barefoot movement, but I kind of disagree with it. If you've got to run, and needing to look where you step, you aren't going to go fast. Yes, there's runners who have won with barefoot, but most races are won with shoes. So get a shoe that is flexible, light, and with some cushioning, but not too thick.
Runners are a consistent bunch. They train, and run the same way, same mileage, same type of training. While it's good that you are running, try to think how to run. Figure out what it needs to be better, in order to run longer, & faster. Don't run for the sake of running. 

With that, we conclude our first Team Athlete Profile interview and we wish Steven all the best in his races for the rest of the year.

Stay tuned for more Team 2ndskin updates.

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