Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dutamas Runners : Michelle Looi

Michelle recently won the Intermark Charity Tower Run held on 7th July 2012, conquering 1200 steps (59 levels) in about 11 minutes.

She is regularly seen as one of the podium finishers for many running events, escalating her into the level of 'elite' runners. Well, for humble runners like myself and many beginners, she IS definitely considered an elite! =))

1. What was the first running event you participated in, signaling the beginning of your 'running' career? ;D 
I’m a late starter and I started off with a goal to race in a triathlon which became IRONMAN. Running is part of it. Officially, I started running in the year 2008 and the first event I participated was Great Eastern's 20km. 

2. You have achieved so much since then. Do share with us your usual weekly training schedule! 
I run at least 5 times a week with a variation of speed work, speed endurance, LSD and trail running. I begin my week with an easy run or swimming on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday I will be at Kg Pandan track for speed work or speed endurance. Friday or Saturday is usually reserved for trail running as I have more time to do it. Sunday is for LSD or a race day for me. 

If Sunday is a race day, Monday is usually my rest day. 

3. Who is more competitive, you or Tomatoman? 
 Depending on the race, I would say both of us are equally competitive. However we don’t race with each other. :D 

4. You have a knack for altering or modifying your running vests and t-shirts. Please show us a picture.
 Oh well, first of all I would say this t-shirt has a sentimental value to me. I joined the race and I would like to wear it as I’m really proud of it. Unfortunately most of the time I get an oversize t-shirt, it is dull and boring to wear and can’t bring out the femininity. That’s the first reason why I'd alter it. Another reason is, it is FREE and I’m more daring to cut it. 

5. Some say that women shouldn't run too much (for health reasons), but what's your take on this? 
 Women tend to have differences in muscular and skeletal structure than men; we are more prone to injury. It is important for women to do some weight training. Easier said than done - I’m still procrastinating on this matter. 

Another thing that I would like to highlight is that it is harder for us to run at certain times of our cycle. As for me I notice my heart rate is higher a few days before my menstruation and I tend to breath harder too. Good thing about it is that if you monitor it for few months, you can adjust your training based on your cycle. Example 3 weeks hard and 1 week easy. You can also plan your race base on your cycle. Tips from me, I will usually choose races that require speed during the beginning of my cycle as my heart rate is lower and breathing is easier. 

6. Is there a major event this year which you are currently focusing on? 
 It will be Penang Half Marathon as I’m aiming to go below 1 hour 49 minutes which is my current half marathon record. 

7. If you could change one thing about you, what would it be? 
I’m quite happy with what I have now and haven’t thought of what I want to change. 

8. When injury prevents you from training too hard, how do you work out? 
I will rest or change my training to swimming or cycling. If things are getting better, usually I will start again with 30 minutes easy run. 

9. Any dietary tips for us to be as lean and mean as you? ;D 
Emm.. Less meat ,more vege and eat less carbo at night. I would love to advice ppl to eat more fruits, unfortunately I don’t like to eat fruits except durian and banana.

Michelle is also the top female runner for the mixed category of last year's KL Rat Race, completing 4.5km in about 22 minutes! 

I was hoping to dig out some secret tips from her (in order to be a faster runner) but alas, it seems like there's no secret to it - all you have to do is train and train and train. Don't stop running!

To know her better, you can follow her blog. ;)

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