Inside Coached

Coached Race 5.0 – On The Trails

We’re into 2022, and there are still few races happening here in Singapore. We hosted the latest edition of our Coached Race series last weekend to keep our team motivated and consistent in their training.

This run was the fifth edition of the event, so we decided to mix things up and hosted a trail race at MacRitchie Reservoir. This was the first time we have hosted a trail run, and it certainly changed the dynamic and challenges of the event for our runners.

I enjoyed seeing the team struggle with the technical components of the trail and figuring out how to pace on the varied terrain. 

I also enjoyed meeting Coach Steven Quek who was down at the reservoir with his team of runners. Steven has been coaching for decades and has coached many of Singapore’s top runners at one point or another. He’s doing great work with many of the next generation, so I introduced myself, and we chatted while our teams did the hard work. 

Our post-race celebration and prize-giving happened later in the day via Zoom. During the call, we shared the results and awarded the prizes via a lucky draw kindly sponsored by our friends at Hydragun, Omno, The Foot Practice, Under Armour. 

Here’s how the race went …

The Results

We always ask our runners to answer a short survey to share their results and experiences post-race. I’ve plucked out some non-personal results, and here they are.


The course was the well-known loop of MacRitchie Reservoir and runners could choose to do one or two laps. One lap is around 10.8k and two loops is around 21.6k. Most of our runners chose to do one loop.


This race was a B or C-race for most, meaning it was a secondary priority and was of minimal importance. Most runners either trained through the event or had a short taper to freshen up a little.

I am happy to report that the one runner who had this as an A-Race and did a full taper managed to run a personal best time for the loop.


In this case, on a scale of 1 = gutted to 5 = stoked, most of our runners were pretty satisfied with their performance. I know several of our runners were disappointed with their execution on the trail and will be working to improve that in future.


Feelings do not dictate outcomes, but it’s undoubtedly better to feel good rather than bad. On a scale of 1 = terrible to 5 = fantastic, most of our runners felt pretty good throughout the race.


Besides being a source of motivation, our races provide a chance to practice the skill of race execution. Getting fit is one thing, but to maximise that fitness into an optimal performance is another.

Any chance you get to practice the skill of racing will pay dividends over time as you continue to get better at it. 

Overall, most runners executed well. Pacing on the trails, fuelling, and technical skills on the trails are the main areas we need to help our athletes improve, so we’ll continue to work on those areas for future events.


What’s Next?

Until traditional races return or the government change their rules, we’ll continue to host these races for our athletes. Our next one is scheduled for July and will be a road 10k and a half marathon.

If you’re keen to train and race with us, sign up for a 14-day free trial and see if we’re a good fit for you.


What Runners Can Expect When They Start Triathlon

It’s been a long time since I transitioned from running to triathlon. I was ten at the time, so it’s been three decades since the switch. 

While that change in sport is long gone for me, I have guided and watched the transition of many Coached runners as they pursue their goals in triathlon.

While some transition smoothly, others struggle for a variety of reasons. Here’s what you can expect if you plan to transition from running to triathlon.

You’ll Need To Invest More Time And Money

This first point may sound obvious, but many runners underestimate the investment that comes with participating in triathlon – not just in financial terms but in terms of time.

There are three disciplines in triathlon, and each requires training time and unique equipment.

If you don’t budget appropriately in either area, you’ll likely struggle to achieve your goals in the sport. 

Now I’m not advocating that you head out and buy all the latest and greatest equipment from the start or that you should quit your job, kick the kids out, and move to Thanypura to train full time, but you will need to budget your time and money carefully. 

The gear you need to get started are the basics; tinted goggles, tri pants, cycle top, bike, aero bars, helmet, and running shoes with elastic laces. That will see you through your training and first race. A device to monitor your heart rate and pace is also helpful for improving the quality of your training and your race execution.

Once you’ve been training consistently, completed a couple of races, and know you love the sport, you can invest more money for more equipment or upgrade the gear you have.

When it comes to allocating time, you need to be realistic in your expectation when starting. The longer your race is or the more ambitious your performance goals are, the greater the time you’ll need to allocate each week to prepare. 

It’s usually best to be conservative, starting with a Sprint or Olympic distance events that require less conditioning and time. Prove to yourself that you can train consistently for a few months before committing to longer events or more ambitious goals.

A good frequency is two swims, two rides, and two runs with a day off to recover each week. You can scale the duration of each session or increase the frequency with time.

Fuelling Plays A Bigger Role In Training And Racing

Fueling before, during, and after training and racing plays a role in running, but it’s small relative to triathlon. 

Triathlon requires a lot of time and energy, so you need to eat appropriately around your training to recover effectively. You also need to fuel your training and racing well to maximise performance and recovery each time.

Nutrition is often referred to as the fourth triathlon discipline because it plays a significant role in performance, particularly in long course triathlon racing.

Know that you’ll need to learn about nutrition and how to fuel correctly.

Being A Fast Runner Does Not Guarantee You’ll Be A Fast Triathlete

Many good runners come into triathlon expecting to be a good triathletes. While this sometimes happens quickly, it often takes a long time to achieve comparative performance and results in a new sport. 

If you come into triathlon focused on results, it can be incredibly frustrating when progress is slow, and you struggle to learn the technical requirements of swimming and cycling. You may also run poorly off the bike because you’re weak on the bike.

I encourage you to come into the sport with a long term view and a willingness to do the work. When mastery becomes your motivation, you’ll enjoy the journey, and results will take care of themselves. Be kind to yourself.

Cut Race Times, Not Corners.

Racing at your potential and enjoying training is easy when you’re following the right programme.

You May Need Technical Help For Swimming

While there is an obvious technical component to running efficiently, the technical requirement in swimming is more significant – hydrodynamics play an essential role in fast swimming.

If you‘ve never swum before, it is usually wise to invest in some form of technical swim training. 

Learn to feel comfortable in the water and the basics of how to float and breath, and you’ll be in a better place to layer fitness on this foundation that will develop your catch and allow you to generate propulsion.

Transition Runs Help When You’re Starting

When you’re new to running after a bike ride, your legs will often feel like jelly. A quick way to train this is to incorporate transition runs after your long and speed rides.

Transition runs are short runs, five to ten minutes, run straight after your ride to help familiarise your body with what it feels like to run after you have been cycling. Do these at zone two effort, and before long, you’ll run faster off the bike

You Need A Plan

Training for a triathlon is far more complex than training for a running race. Many variables need to be balanced to avoid over or undertraining. 

Having access to an experienced coach and a community of peers who have done it all before will save you a lot of time and money as you start your journey.

I am biased, of course, but I believe our online triathlon coaching is the best value triathlon coaching on the internet. Try it free for 14-days and see for yourself.

Be Patient And Enjoy The Process

I hinted at this earlier, but you need to come into triathlon with a long term view. It’s hard enough to master one sport, let alone three that must harmoniously follow each other. 

Be patient, put in the work, and enjoy the process. The results will follow.

Pic: Run 4 FFWPU