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

Running Triathlon

How To Train Around A COVID-19 Vaccination Or Booster Shot

I’ve had my COVID-19 vaccinations, and I recently took my booster shot.

Fortunately, my response to the vaccinations and the booster has been very mild. I know that’s not the case for many people.

With booster shots currently rolling out in Singapore, I have been getting many questions from our athletes about managing their training after a booster.

This article is my attempt to answer that for everyone.

Firstly, I am not a doctor, and you should never take this advice over something a doctor has specifically told you to do – or not do as the case may be.

That said, many doctors, particularly general practitioners, are very conservative regarding their advice to athletes. Most of the generic guidelines are developed for the general population. A population that, sadly, eats junk food and is mainly sedentary.

The general population are not athletes and, I argue, are not as resilient as people who eat cleanly and exercise regularly.

Here’s my advice.

Cut Race Times, Not Corners.

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

Before Your Vaccination

In the days before vaccination or a booster, I encourage our athletes to focus on recovery. The immunisation will stress your immune system, so you want to avoid compromising your immune strength in the days leading up.

That doesn’t mean you can’t train hard leading in; it just means that you must pay special attention to your recovery and the things outside of training that impact your overall health. 

In the week of your vaccination, focus on your sleep, aiming for eight or more hours each night. Eat minimally processed whole foods and increase your intake of vegetables, particularly green leafy vegetables. Drink water regularly throughout the week to ensure you take your vaccine or booster optimally hydrated. Avoid stress. 

If you feel fatigued, consider stripping the intensity from your training in the last three to four days before your shot and training exclusively aerobically.

You will take your shot in your best condition to recover quickly afterwards if you follow this advice.

After Your Vaccination

Everyone’s response to the shots are different, so it’s hard to offer a fixed protocol that will work for all. You will need to observe your symptoms, listen to your body, and adjust your approach accordingly.

If you suffer significant symptoms, you may need to take some days off training. That’s ok and recommended if you feel awful. If symptoms are mild, I encourage you to adjust your training and continue. Consistency is the ultimate performance enhancer.

You can pull two levers to adjust your overall training load. 

  1. Intensity
  2. Volume

The recommendations in Singapore are to avoid strenuous exercise, although many doctors advise people to completely abstain from exercise for two weeks. Abstinence seems like overkill to me, but I agree that you should avoid strenuous exercise in favour of low-intensity training following your vaccination or booster.

During the first couple of days, I recommend that you pull on both levers and significantly lower the volume and intensity of your training. You don’t want to push anything until the full extent of your symptoms has shown themselves. 

After a couple of days, as symptoms start to disappear, increase your volume back to your pre-immunisation levels keeping intensity low. If you begin to feel worse, cut back again.

Use a heart rate monitor to guide your training during this time, and stay below the middle of zone two. You may notice that your pace is significantly slower at these heart rates than before your shot. That’s quite normal and is feedback that your body is still under stress. 

Monitoring heart rate at rest (resting heart rate or heart rate variability) and during training is excellent in this situation because it will ensure you don’t overdo things and build your training back up at an appropriate level. 

Outside of training, continue to follow the pre-immunisation advice of sleeping a lot, eating clean and hydrating properly. 

You need to listen to your body and apply some common sense at the end of the day. Don’t rush things. Focus on what you can control and do your best with those things. 

I hope that helps, and I wish you a speedy recovery.

Inside Coached

How We Work: Training Plans

This article is the second in a new series I’m calling How We Work. I’ll post these periodically to share how we work with our athletes and run our business. I hope you enjoy these. 


Ten years ago, I used to write training plans manually. They’d take an hour or so each to craft, which significantly limited the number of athletes I could help, which was a bummer. 

Most coaches use some form of template system when they create training plans – volume tables or workout libraries – which they customise to suit the requirements of each athlete.

After several years of programming for athletes and testing hundreds of runners and triathletes in our lab, I realised that we had enough data and experience to create a software programme that could automate that process even further, to build a high-quality training plan in a matter of minutes. 

This approach has several advantages for a coach. 

  1. It significantly increases the number of athletes a coach can work with.
  2. It frees the coach up to spend time on other things such as communication, reading or attending courses to learn more about their craft, creating content, or coaching in-person sessions. 
  3. The plans can still be adjusted manually to address use cases with unique requirements. Ultrarunning is an excellent example of this where the distance and terrain vary significantly between events and are hard to automate fully. Our coaches always make manual changes to our automated plans for the ultrarunners on our team.

This approach also has benefits for the athlete.

  1. It allows an athlete to access and benefit from the experience of a renowned coach at a fraction of the price of the traditional coaching model.  
  2. It gives athletes more control over their training because they can easily edit or modify their training without input from a coach (although it is always available if they need help). 

After investing significant time and money, we developed the Coached training platform that we use today. 

At the heart of Coached training platform is the training plan. The training plan provides the day-to-day structure our athletes need to achieve their goals. 

Cut Race Times, Not Corners.

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

Training Plan Types

Inside Coached, we offer our runners and triathletes two types of training plans.

  1. Performance plans 
  2. Fitness plans 

Performance plans are progressive, polarised, and designed to bring an athlete into peak shape on a specific date. Volume and intensity increase over time, and the training moves from a general focus before becoming more race-specific and tapering down into the race. 

Fitness plans are not progressive. Instead, they’re a repeatable weekly volume that includes a mix of aerobic and anaerobic training. These programmes are great for anyone who wants to train effectively but without a race goal. They’re also fantastic in-between race training cycles.

Athletes Build Their Training Plans

After working with a coach to determine a season plan and map out the training cycles, the athlete then builds the recommended training plan inside Coached themselves. 

Building a training plan in Coached is a straightforward process. The athlete answers a series of questions that allows Coached to determine their goals, profile their training history and current fitness level, and recommend a weekly schedule that they can further refine to suit their lifestyle. 

Once done, our coaches review it and make any necessary manual changes.

Computer screen displaying training plan builder

The Training Plan

Once built, the training plan provides everything our athletes need to know to execute their training with control and purpose. 

All our training plans specify session volumes, intensities and specifics. We also add coach notes for each session, linking supporting videos, articles, and other resources.

Our training plans are simple yet comprehensive.

How Coached Athletes Feel About Our Training Plans in 2021

Towards the end of each year, we send out an annual survey to our athletes to ask for feedback about our services and how we work. Below are some of the responses to the questions relating to our training plans from our completed 2021 survey.


As you can see, Coached athletes are happy athletes.

Get Coached For 2022

We’ve been doing this for a long time and are confident we can help you achieve your goals.

If you’re interested in trying Coached, we offer a 14-day free trial to all our online coaching services.

If you use the code HELLO2022 when signing up for an annual membership, you’ll only pay for nine months and receive twelve months of coaching.

It’s a great deal.


Skills That Parenting And Endurance Sport Have In Common

On 7 December 2015, I became a dad. That’s six years ago today.

Our little girl Freya arrived in the early evening, followed by her twin brother, Noah, one minute later.


What a way to start a parenting journey.

Parenting reminds me a lot of my years racing professionally. It’s challenging, fun, hard, stressful, rewarding, and I don’t know how it will go – even after all of the planning, work and sacrifice I put into it.

You just have to do the work, be consistent and hope it will work out for the best.

Over the years, I have noticed a considerable overlap between the skills necessary to race at a high level and to raise kids who will hopefully be kind and add value to this world.  

Here are a few …

Poise Under Pressure

Racing is stressful, intense and hard. So is parenting. There are plenty of times in both where you just want to curl up and disappear, but you can’t. You must maintain your composure and stay focused on what you’re trying to achieve.

The more poise you can demonstrate, the better your outcome.

Planning Matters

Success is often determined by the quality of your plan and your ability to execute the plan. This is true in endurance sport, where following a well-structured training plan will help you balance load and recovery to build your fitness and bring you to a peak on race day.

It’s also true in parenting. You need to plan your time carefully to get everything done and avoid making poor decisions under stress. If you don’t plan well, it’s very easy to live on takeaways, forget homework, or a playdate that’s scheduled.

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

Cut Race Times, Not Corners.

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


Even the best-laid plans can run amok. In racing, you need to go with the flow and adapt to new and changing race conditions, blisters, crashes, and anything else that throws you off equilibrium.

It’s the same with parenting kids. Kids can be unpredictable and challenging when you least want them to. Like racing, you must remain calm and adapt your plan to stay in control.

Shit happens! It’s how you wipe it up that matters.

Hard Work

The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary. Endurance sport and parenting require incredibly hard work if you wish to excel. You can choose to put the hard work off or go easy on yourself, but sadly, it will show in your results.

Consistency Is Key

You won’t get fat by eating at McDonald’s once, and you won’t get fit by running for 10-hours. You are what you repeatedly do. If you want to perform well in endurance sport or raise great kids, you need to be consistent and keep showing up to do the work required.

Delayed Gratification

Success in endurance sport and parenting usually comes down to choosing the pain of discipline over the ease of distraction. And that’s exactly what delayed gratification is all about.

Suppose you delay the gratification of finishing your session early and invest time to stretch or use a foam roller afterwards. In that case, you’ll be stronger and lower your risk of suffering an injury.

If you delay the gratification of delicious takeaway foods, you and your kids will be healthier, more energetic, and focused.

Always be in service of your future self.

Emotional Control

Racing and parenting are emotional roller coasters that take emotional control to put forward your best effort. You can have the race of your life only to get injured soon after. Likewise, you can have an incredible experience with your child only for them to get tired and throw a tantrum when you say, “we’re going home”.

Emotional control has never been my strong point, but parenting has improved mine.

When a tired toddler throws a tantrum you can’t blow up, you must pause, calm yourself and return to neutral.

So there you have it. 

Several skills that I think parenting and high-performance sport have in common. If you’re an athlete planning a family, you may be able to bring some of these skills over into your parenting quite naturally. 

If you’re already a parent like me, I am sure you are probably already using some if not all of these skills.

Freya and Noah

To Freya and Noah, if you read this in future; thanks for teaching me and helping me to become a better person. I love you very much.


A Punctured Tire

As I sat and watched a cyclist sitting in the sun changing a tire, it reminded me of two things. 1. How much I used to despise flat tires and the frustration they caused me. And 2. The fable that helped me change my perspective.

The fable goes like this …

A farmer had only one horse. One day, his horse ran away.

His neighbours said, “I’m so sorry. This is such bad news. You must be so upset.”

The man just said, “We’ll see.”

A few days later, his horse came back with twenty wild horses following. The man and his son corralled all twenty-one horses.

His neighbours said, “Congratulations! This is such good news. You must be so happy!”

The man just said, “We’ll see.”

One of the wild horses kicked the man’s only son, breaking both his legs.

His neighbours said, “I’m so sorry. This is such bad news. You must be so upset.”

The man just said, “We’ll see.”

The country went to war, and every non-disabled young man was drafted to fight. The battle was terrible and killed every young man, but the farmer’s son was spared since his broken legs prevented him from being drafted.

His neighbours said, “Congratulations! This is such good news. You must be so happy!”

The man just said, “We’ll see.”

Maybe the punctured tire saved the cyclist from being hit by a car. Timing is everything. Maybe it prevented dehydration or a bonk from setting in. Perhaps it didn’t.

You’ll never know.

Cut Race Times, Not Corners.

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

Inside Coached

Coached Race 4.0 – A Summary

Since the pandemic hit, we’ve organised small internal races for Coached athletes. These races have several benefits.

  1. They provide motivation and focus for our athletes.
  2. They offer the opportunity to practise the skill of racing. 
  3. They offer the chance to benchmark fitness.
  4. They’re fun!

These races are part of a bigger picture, a stepping stone, to bigger and better things for most. 

With racing slowly returning around the world and our athletes running in real races, this event was a little smaller and less of a priority than previous editions.

Still, our runners gave their best effort and ran well. They were rewarded for their effort with some great prizes kindly sponsored by our friends at Hydragun, Under Armour, Oakley and The Foot Practice.

The Results

Post-race, we asked our runners to answer a short survey to share their results and experience. I’ve plucked out some of the non-personal results, and here they are. You can also read runner Priscilla’s account of the event in her latest blog post.

Here’s how the race went …


A little over half the athletes who ran decided on the longer, half marathon option.


For most, this run was a chance to test their fitness and have some fun. Twenty per cent were treating this as an A-Race (most important race), while the majority were running to benchmark their fitness.


For the most part, runners were satisfied with their results. In this case, on a scale of 1 = gutted to 5 = stoked, most of our runners were content with their performance.


Most runners felt pretty good by the looks of things, with a few of our athletes having a rough day. As I always remind the team, though, feelings don’t dictate outcomes. You can feel poorly and still run fast. Likewise, you can feel great and run slow.


Racing is a skill, and that’s why I like our athletes to practice. Overall, most runners executed well. The pre-race meal and pacing seem to be the two areas we need to help our athletes improve, so we’ll continue to work on those areas.


What’s Next?

Until traditional races return or the government changes its rules, we’ll continue to host these races for our athletes. Coached Race 5.0 happens in February. 

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.

The Race Experience: In Pictures

Thanks to everyone who participated. All pictures courtesy of


How To Warm Up Before You Swim

I don’t swim all that often these days, but I used to swim 15k to 40k a week during my pro days. 

Before every swim, before I even entered the water, I would do a short dynamic warm-up on the side of the pool – or on the beach beside the ocean.

This warm-up did two things for me.

  1. It loosened me up, got the blood flowing, and improved my range of motion.
  2. It mentally prepared me to jump into cold water.

Anyone who has ever swum somewhere cold will know the horrible feeling of jumping into a cold pool in the middle of winter. Anything you can do to improve that experience is a wonderful thing.

What is a Dynamic Warm-Up?

A dynamic warm-up is a series of movement drills used to warm up your body before exercise.

An effective dynamic warm-up increases your range of movement and blood and oxygen flow to your muscles, tendons, and ligaments before they’re called upon to do a serious training session.

These movement drills reduce your risk of injury from increased elasticity in the muscle.

Cut Race Times, Not Corners.

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

How To Do A Dynamic Warm-up

  • Find an area with plenty of space to move within.
  • Make sure you target and activate the same muscle groups you are about to use in training.
  • Simulate a similar movement pattern you will do during training to warm up your tendons and ligaments that support your joints.
  • Ease into each movement and gradually increase your range of motion.
  • Each warm-up that you do should last between 3-10 minutes.

Ready to Warm-Up? Here’s How …

I demonstrated some of my favourite warm-up exercises for swimming in the video above. So watch that and give the exercises a go. They will help you warm up various muscle groups and prep you for your swim.



Five Common Mistakes That Lead To Running Injuries

Running’s a high impact sport.

Almost all runners that have spent any significant length of time training have likely suffered some form of injury – mild or severe.

In fact, I read that up to 79% of people who run each year get injured. 

Bugger me! That’s a lot of people.

While some injuries are unavoidable, and we all have a different predisposition to injury, there are several things that runners commonly do to increase their risk of injury and sabotage their performance.

This article will identify each and recommend what you can do to avoid these costly mistakes.

1. Running Too Fast, Too Often

The intensities you train at throughout the week play an essential role in your development as a runner.

Get them right, and you’ll quickly progress while minimising your chances of injury. Get them wrong, and poor performance and injury will plague your running.

Over the past 13-years I have been a professional coach I have witnessed many thousands of lactate tests conducted in our lab. What these results have continually shown is that most amateur runners are training too hard too often.

It’s the number one training mistake we see, and it’s wreaking havoc on the performance and bodies of many aspiring athletes.

Easy and slow are not the same thing. Neither is hard and fast. You can be running slow and working hard because you’re unfit. Likewise, you can be running fast and easy because you’re incredibly well-conditioned.

Most runners we see in our lab don’t understand this distinction and are running in a grey zone. The grey zone is a pace too fast to train your aerobic system properly but too slow to correctly train your anaerobic system.

The result is a comfortably hard pace that gives you limited improvement and leaves you prone to overtraining and injury.

If you haven’t already determined your training zones, you should. It’s critical. You can do this in many ways, but my preference is to use testing. You can test in a lab like the one we operate here in Singapore or use field testing to approximate your lactate threshold and determine training zones.

Once you have determined your training zones, I recommend training by heart rate (regardless of your pace) for zones one and two and pace for zones three, four and five (irrespective of your heart rate).

Around eighty per cent of your training should be in zones one and two. The remaining twenty per cent should be in zones three, four, and five.

Cut Race Times, Not Corners.

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

2. Running Too Long

Another common mistake I see among amateur runners is running too long in single runs. So often, runners think that they must run 30km, or more, in preparation for a marathon irrespective of the time it takes.

The longest runs professional runners do in their preparation for a marathon is 2:20 – 2:30. Yes, they cover a significant distance in that time, but that is not the point. It’s the time that matters. Esteemed running coach, Jack Daniels, explains this idea well in this short video.

An elite runner like Eliud Kipchoge may cover 40k in a 2:30 long run, but you have to understand that his intensity is relatively low – he’s just supremely conditioned. 

You also have to understand that the number of steps he takes in that 2:20 is probably similar to what you would take in 2:20. 

If you’re running for more than three hours, you’re likely taking significantly more steps than him and putting your muscles and connective tissue under significant strain. Add to that that you’re probably far less technically efficient than him, and you can understand why your risk of injury is so high.

I recommend that you cap your long run to a ceiling of 3-hours. For most Coached runners, we usually schedule significantly less than that, and it works.

If you want to run more volume, do it through frequency, not longer single runs.

3. Running Too Much

If you’re just starting and motivation is high, it’s not uncommon to want to run a lot, but you must be careful. As you begin your running journey, your heart and lungs will typically respond pretty quickly with improvements in fitness.

Unfortunately, your connective tissues don’t often develop at the same rate as your cardiovascular system. You’ll usually start to have niggles or suffer injuries if you ramp up your training load too quickly.

For each individual, there’s a sweet-spot weekly distance, above which you’re far more likely to get hurt. For me, during my pro days, that threshold was around 80km per week. It may be less or more for you. 

Either way, learn from your mistakes and don’t copy other athletes’ training just because it works for them.

Be progressive in your approach and seek out the advice of experienced runners or coaches to help guide you.

4. Always Running On Hard Surfaces

If you live in a city, as I do here in Singapore, it’s common to do most of your running on hard surfaces. Surfaces like concrete put significant stress on your legs, and the impact over time can cause harm.

Just because concrete is accessible and convenient doesn’t mean you should do all your running on it. Instead, I recommend you seek out a variety of terrains and surfaces to run on. The softer surfaces will put less stress on your muscles, joints and connective tissues while helping to make you stronger.

5. Poor Lifestyle Habits

Most runners only have 30-minutes to 2-hours to run each day. That leaves 22 – 23.5-hours every day to make decisions that can positively or negatively impact your training recovery and performance.

When you’re not training, you need to consider what you can do to impact your health and performance positively.

The obvious ones are getting plenty of sleep and eating whole foods that are minimally processed.

The less obvious but also important ones are:

  • Mobility training. Do some stretching, foam rolling or strength training.
  • Massage. Get a regular massage or use a massage gun to help keep your muscles in good condition.
  • Meditate or spend time offline in silence. Your brain uses roughly twenty per cent of your total daily energy. Let your brain rest
  • Move. There are plenty of sedentary athletes. Outside of training, they barely move from their desk or the couch. Don’t be a sedentary athlete. Move frequently to increase blood flow and help clear byproducts produced during training.

While injury is common among runners, it’s not a full-blown conclusion. There are many things you can do to minimise your risk of getting hurt. 

Start implementing the advice above into your training – I am confident it will help. If you’re struggling with niggles or training in general, we’d love to help.

Inside Coached

How We Work: Season Planning

This article is the first in a new series I’m calling How We Work. I’ll post these periodically to share how we work with our athletes and run our business. I hope you enjoy these. 


When athletes sign up for Coached, we first want to understand their goals and what they hope to achieve. 

Most athletes join Coached to improve their performance. Some come to reduce their likelihood of suffering injuries. Some want to lose weight, and others are just looking for structure.

Structured training is essential if you want to make any meaningful long-term progress. Without it, many athletes race too often, progress their training too quickly or don’t get enough rest. The end result is poor performance, injury or illness and usually, a drop in motivation.

Regardless of the goal, we do season planning.

Season planning at Coached is where we discuss and define the big picture objectives. Here, we structure the training cycles and recovery periods that our athletes will follow throughout the year. We also set a testing schedule at this point to determine training zones and track progress. 

We use a Google spreadsheet for season planning. Athletes add any races, challenges, or goals into the corresponding week in the season plan template. In the focus column, they set their race priority – A-Race, B-Race or C-Race – so we know how important each race is to them.

A-Races are most important, and we recommend two to three A-Races per year. B-Races are somewhat important, and C-Races are not important and are often used as training.

Computer screen displaying a season plan template in a Google spreadsheet

Athletes can easily add comments to provide additional context and information.

Computer screen displaying a comment in a Google spreadsheet

Once the athlete has added their races and goals, a coach reviews it and defines what type of training plans to build and when. We have two types of training plans inside Coached – race and fitness plans. Each comes in a variety of distances.

Computer screen displaying a season plan template in a Google spreadsheet

Our training plans are fully automated, so athletes can quickly create their training plans by answering a series of questions. We’ll talk about this in a future article.

After the athlete has answered the questions, Coached has profiled them, and they have set their schedule and saved their training plan; our coaches review the plan.

Most of the time, the training plan is good to go. 

Sometimes, we make manual tweaks. The tweaks to the automated training plan are necessary when a race has unique requirements, like ultrarunning, where the distances and elevation profiles vary considerably between events. If an athlete is racing many back-to-back events, manual changes may also be necessary.

Whenever races are postponed or cancelled (thank you, Covid) or goals change in any way, we revisit the season plan and adjust things. While we don’t like to make sweeping changes once we have set the original plan, this document is fluid, and we do look at it frequently when answering athlete questions or thinking about training strategy.

With goals set and objectives clear, the athlete is now able to execute their training with confidence.


A Coached Triathlon

It’s been a long time since many of our triathletes could participate in a real triathlon. 

While some races are now happening worldwide, and we recently had athletes participating in Ironman events in Spain, the UK and the USA, there are no significant race opportunities for our athletes here in Singapore to tackle.

That’s a shame, so we decided to host a small triathlon for the triathletes we coach. We’ve been hosting small running events for our runners since Covid started, and we thought, why not do one for the triathletes?

The Details


Half Ironman: 1,900 m swim, 90 km ride, 21.1 km run.
Half Half: 1,000 m swim, 45 km ride, 10.5 km run.

Start Time

7:00 am


East Coast Park, Singapore

The Focus

A Sense Of Purpose

With no events to target, many of our athletes have been struggling for motivation. Despite its tiny stature, this event was enough to offer some athletes a purpose to focus on and structure their training towards.

Cut Race Times, Not Corners.

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

The Skill Of Racing

Racing is a skill, and like any skill, it takes practice to master. While this was a low-key ‘race’, it still required our athletes to go through the racing process, and we tried to instil a small race vibe to the event.

Practice Pacing
The ability to pace yourself correctly in each discipline – swim, bike and run – is critical for any athlete looking to perform at the highest level of their competency. Push too hard too early, and your race performance will suffer. You’ll recover more slowly too.

This triathlon was a chance to practice the skill of pacing.

Practice Fueling
To achieve the best outcome in any race, you need to fuel correctly throughout the event. Training is a great place to practice fueling, but a low-key event like this one is an even better opportunity to determine a race fuelling strategy and practice it at race intensity. 

This triathlon was a chance to practice the skill of fueling.

Practice Mental Skills
Swimming, cycling and running at race intensity, especially for hours, is challenging, requiring mental skill and resilience. 

This triathlon was a chance to practice the skills of focus, grit and resilience.

Practice Technical Skills
We made each course a short loop, and athletes swam, cycled, and ran multiple loops. We did this for several reasons, like safety, and for athletes to practise their technical skills. Loop courses have more turns and to manage them well, you must practise.

This triathlon was a chance to practice technical skills in each of the disciplines.


While the government social distancing rules certainly limited us, it was still an opportunity to participate alongside teammates and interact with each other. 

Athletes always thrive in the company of their peers, and it was nice to see our team supporting and pushing each other to do their best.


We’re wrapped with how the event went, and judging by the feedback we got from our athletes, they were too.

With the success of this triathlon under our belt, we’re planning more for our athletes in the coming months.