5 Things I’m grateful for on my running journey in 2020

2020 was safe to say, not a very good year to most. Our lives were disrupted severely, we had to embrace new means of interacting with friends and family, and we lost the freedom to explore the world. For running, we lost a significant part of being able to participate in road races — and to many in the world, limited mobility to en exercise outside (thankfully we could still do this in Singapore). Anyhow, December is the season for some introspection before the new year comes about, and I shall recount the 5 things that I’m grateful for on my running journey in 2020.

#1: Progress is made by putting in hard work. Consistency pays off.

Other than the bouts of my injuries, I’ve managed to keep to mostly 50km weeks, which is honestly quite a feat because I’ve never done this before in all my years of running. The little bit of consistent training has allowed me to pull out PBs in 2.4km, 5km and 10km by significant margins.

Cumulative distance at Dec 16 2020. Well to be fair 2000km is nothing really to boast for a marathoner, but it’s the most i’ve ever run in a year. so i guess baby steps!

#2 Running is about the community

Most of my running life thus far has been done relatively independently. Although I did join the running clubs at Berkeley and Yale, school work often meant that I couldn’t go for regular training sessions. Furthermore, without a proper training plan, my runs were not targeted to improve my performance.

(L) After Shufflers 5k TT in Sep 2020 — socially distanced and in groups of 5, (R) Pocari SG Run Crew Team Family!

#3 Knowing how to deal with the downs (a.k.a. injuries)

Unfortunately, training is not always smooth, and fitness doesn’t only always goes up. This is particularly so when the body is overwhelmed and is injured. Unfortunately, I have had to deal with that twice this year — calf strains on left and right, each of which had put me out of productive action for ~2 months or so.

discovering the importance of cross training (biking), and doing more squats to fire up the leg muscles. eventually the first runs post recovery were also aided by the calf guard that helped to stabilize. a note though, definitely do not try to be overreliant on it!
(L) never regularly came to the town area for runs, the marina bay views are just so photogenic! (R) a new place nearish house that I enjoy is the Pandan Reservoir loops where i often get good pacing help by friends like Yik Siong
Rediscovering the Macritchie Reservoir (MR) loop during one of our Pocari SG missions
After 6 years, back to the Punggol Waterway region for a run!
CSC Run 2020, renamed Run as One 2020. Participants had to run the same loop at their own time throughout the 1.5 weeks.
Inaugural Standard Chartered Virtual Club, with weekly missions to incentivize people to go running regularly. Ended off with an AR race of the Singapore downtown which I did the 10km version on a treadmill in an ActiveSG gym!

So what’s next?

As much as we are hopeful of the efficacy of the vaccine, I unfortunately don’t think that borders would open quick enough for travel to resume by the time New Taipei Wanjinshi marathon would happen on Mar 21 2021 (which was the last marathon that I had signed up for in 2020, deferred entry to 2021).

Policy Analyst, Economist, Marathon Runner Based in 🇸🇬 IG: @hansenorun