Just when you think you're tough enough


Pacer Chai Yee Kuan unveils secret to running faster

Chai Yee Kuan (2nd from right) feels motivated and inspired by the comradeship at the ASICS Running club!

Too often we hear stories of runners first taking up the sport for fun, either to socialise or support friends and family. They progress from a 5km fun run, to 10km, a 21km half-marathon, before achieving the full marathon, 42km.

Clocking mileage after mileage, these runners desire to improve on their Personal Best (PB) timings but soon “hit the wall”, and lose their motivation to run. They might seek answers, but from where and how?

Those answers may come with some help from Chai Yee Kuan and her fellow pacers at ASICS Running Club. First, let’s get to know Yee Kuan, a 28-year old marketeer who hails from Kuala Lumpur. She has been running for sometime and has taken part in numerous races, and achieved her full marathon PB at 4:32 hours last year.

At this year’s Twincity marathon, despite being unwell a week prior, she bettered her PB to 4:09 hours. Luck? Perhaps, but more rationally, it can be attributed to the consistent training and strategy since she took on the pacer role.

From a “let’s just go out and run” mindset, Yee Kuan now adheres to the running structure instilled at ASICS Running Club which includes techniques, running forms and training menus.

Consistency and discipline are two attributes required of pacing, literally. Pacing enables runners to run better and be injury free, so that they can enjoy this sport for a long time. Overall, runners will improve their speed and performance. Therefore, it is important for pacers to motivate and communicate with the other runners.

The motto “you run fast alone, but you run further together ” binds Yee Kuan and her fellow club members.

If you observe the pacers at races, they may seem slow at the start, but are always steady throughout the race.  Some of us may have planned a slow start, but get too excited and burn ourselves out midway, get cramps or injury, and then our race becomes messed up. It looks simple, but pacing requires lots of discipline, as what Yee Kuan can attest to.

Next year, she got lucky in her ballot registration of Tokyo Marathon, which is part of the World Marathon Majors. Weather is expected to be cold and perhaps wet during the race too, a stark difference from our tropical weather in Malaysia. Pacing strategies aside, Yee Kuan has also familiarised racing in Japan by taking part in the Nagoya Marathon earlier this year.

Let’s cheer for this young lass who’s motto is “Attitude is everything ” to get a new PB soon!