Lolita Fong started running regularly to train her cardio fitness, among other benefits. Little did she expect her eczema condition to improve as well.
Playing basketball occasionally used to be all Lolita Fong did for fitness. But after taking part in races – 10km, followed by a half marathon (21km) in a bid to challenge herself, Lolita got inspired to start running regularly. Without a proper training regime, she completed her first 10km race in 1.5 hours, and her first half marathon in 3 hours.
These days, the 26-year-old laboratory officer runs thrice a week with Asics Running Club.
Her discipline has paid off. Since embarking on this running journey four years ago, Lolita has experienced a host of benefits, from losing weight to seeing an improvement in her eczema condition. We find out more.
What’s your fitness routine like?
My fitness routine now usually includes two strength sessions and three runs a week.
What sort of runs do you do?
My runs consists of hill repeats, mainly to strengthen the muscles that seldom get activated when running on flat ground. These sessions last for 25 to 30 minutes.
Another run that I do is intervals, which sharpens the muscles and makes them more nimble. Also, these runs would be able to train the body to hold an intense effort which betters the anaerobic capacity of the body. These sessions usually consists of many repeated sets of short sessions to ensure sufficient recovery time, for example 10 x 400m sprints in 2 minutes per set, with 2 minutes rest between each set.
I also do tempo runs weekly to simulate race fatigue. This run is carried out at a comfortable hard effort where I’m able to say one or two words instead of being breathless or speaking full sentences. Tempo runs give runners a sense of what it feels like towards the end of the race, and builds muscle memory as their running form will give way when fatigue kicks in. These runs usually last for around 40 to 50 minutes.
The final type of run that I do is aerobic runs, usually on the weekend. It focuses on building aerobic capacity to sustain a longer duration of more than 90 minutes. The duration of the runs can be increased progressively for the body to adapt to a heavier load. Depending on the schedule of upcoming races, the intensity of the long runs can be adjusted too.
What keeps you motivated to run?
My main motivation is to manage my fitness as I used to have childhood asthma. Through running, I learn how to regulate my breathing better. I also love running because it allows me to clear my mind whenever I get into a mental block or feel restless. Usually after a run, I am able to think more clearly.
Lastly, being in a supportive environment where like-minded people gather to do the same sport keeps me going as well. I feel that surrounding yourself with humble people who seek to improve is important as they encourage you whenever you feel unmotivated.
How did running help with your eczema condition?
Since I started running, my eczema symptoms have reduced greatly. I believe it’s partly due to perspiration, which helps to open up clogged pores and release the dirt and bacteria that’s trapped in them. Having clogged pores is known to trigger itching. Before I started running, I used to get flare-ups every other day. Now, I get them only occasionally. The itching is confined to smaller areas, and is much more tolerable.
What other benefits have you experienced from running regularly?
I’ve lost 3kg so far, and have become more conscious of my diet. I used to eat fried food like fried carrot cake, fried kway teow and fried Hokkien mee frequently, but I’ve cut down on my intake of oily food. I usually aim to have half a plate of veggies, a quarter plate of carbs, and a quarter plate of protein. Also, I fall sick less often now.
Where are your favourite running spots?
I love running around the scenic Marina Bay area. Also, East Coast Park is a good place to run with the beach side view and windy surroundings, which makes running more enjoyable.
What’s your proudest running-related achievement so far?
I completed a half-marathon under 2 hours, with the help of fellow runners around me.
Do you have any running goals?
I hope to be able to complete a full marathon in less than 4 hours 30 minutes.
How does being in a running group like Asics Running Club benefit you as a runner?
A running community is a platform for me to make friends with like-minded people. I look forward to having a meal with them where we chat and catch up after completing a workout together. Through this community, I’ve learnt many tips as to how I can better carry out my trainings in order to achieve my running goals.
Asics Running Club does group runs every Wednesday (except bad weather conditions and public holidays) at 7pm. The meeting point is at Asics store in Suntec City (#02-476, Tower 2). To find out more, go to their Facebook page, Asics Running Club (Singapore).