Work to Live, Live to Run


by Simon Ong

It is difficult to fit every part of effective training—mileage, strength work, recovery, and nutrition—into our busy lives. There are many things that are out of your control, so the best approach is to take charge of things you can control right now. For example, you could cut back on your weekly mileage in order to balance your work schedule, get more sleep so your body can handle the training load, or adjust your goal to reflect your current work demands and family obligations.

With social media platforms like Facebook and apps like Strava, we are able to see the training runs our friends are doing. This can be motivating, but it becomes a problem if we start to compete or follow others’ weekly totals too closely. This may lead us to become obsessed with hitting certain targets, which can cause burnout or injury. Instead, learn to be your own runner and focus on your personal training plan. This may mean taking a few rest days to get your other stuff done, which will help you to come back to running feeling fresh. I am a “working runner” and have encountered these kinds of roadblocks in my running. Here are some of the strategies that have worked for me to maintain a consistent running routine:

  • Work with the body, and not against it. Listen to what your body is telling you. If it’s too sore, then consider taking a rest day and not worrying about your total mileage.
  • Incorporate the Running Room 10:1 run/walk system. Adding walk breaks to your run helps loosen stiff muscles and reduce the risk of injuries.
  • Go when you can, whenever that may be. Many of my training runs happen in the late evening or at night, so I frequently run while wearing a headlamp (especially during the winter).
  • Make friends with the treadmill. I find that the shock-absorbent treadmill causes less impact on my legs and joints. In addition, the incline settings on the treadmill can mimic going uphill, which allows me to do my hill workout.
  • Join in on a free Running Room Run Club group run. Running in a group
    provides great motivation, and you will appreciate the support through the tough speed and hill workouts.

I have learned that success in running is more than putting up high numbers in mileage or pace. It is about listening to our bodies, being patient with ourselves and adjusting our training based on how we feel. It is when we stay injury-free and healthy doing this sport that we are able to enjoy the lifelong benefits of running.



Simon runs out of the Country Hills Running Room in Calgary. In a dream event, he would be paced by World Marathon Record holder, Eliud Kipchoge, on a course dotted with live gospel music and pizza stations every 10K. Besides running, he enjoys dragon boat racing, hiking, badminton, and floor hockey. He is a nurse by profession and is currently working towards his Master’s Degree in Public Health, greatly anticipating being able to help others on their wellness journeys. 

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