Friday, June 28, 2013

Oakley Radar Lock

My new Oakley Radar Lock
I received an early incentive to get better quickly so I can ride my bike and run again after my bike accident.

I got a present today - The Oakley Radar Lock, thanks to Oakley Singapore (many thanks to Joey). The Radar Lock was actually released last year, however I only got mine today. Oakley thought I already received one, but I haven't. Well, better late than never.

Given that I've only worn it walking to the bank and supermarket today and not while cycling/running, this is not exactly a fair review.

Here are my first impressions. The nose piece seems to be slightly smaller but the fit seems to be slightly more snug compared to the Radar. Smaller should also mean less visible while cycling/ running - I'll verify this after I am able to get on my bike and ride and also after running again.
Here's another look
The biggest difference from the Radar is of course the ease of changing your lenses. There's a pull back catch on the inside of the left ear stem which releases the lens easily, no need to "yank" the lens out when you want to change your lenses.

 The ear pieces are also slimmer than the Radar's and seemed more like the Jawbone's. As with all other Oakley sunglasses, the peripheral vision is excellent and I'm sure my vented lenses will help prevent fogging.

Hmmm, now when did my doctor say I can get back on my bike again?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Are Female Runners Less Competitive Than Male?

Are you a female runner? Do you agree with the above? That female runners are on average, less competitive than their male counterparts. Is it easier to win a prize in running races in the female category compared to the male category? Please read on to find out.

Researchers studied data from the New York City marathon over a period of 31 years seem to think so. The timings of the first 10 positions of both male and female runners between 20 and 79 years (in 5 year age brackets) were analysed between 1980-2010.

The authors were not saying the female runners were not fast, rather the women who finished in say 7th, 8th, 20th etc behind the female race winner were often farther back compared to the 7th, 8th and 20th place male finisher. In short, the 10th place female may be 15 percent behind the female winner as compared to 10 percent for the 10th placed male runner compared the male winner.

The researchers found that a big reason could be due to lower participation rates of women. In the older age groups, there were a lot more male racers compared to females. When more women participate, it gets harder to place and the top 10 women get more competitive.

It is also interesting to note that exercise physiologists agree that physiological attributes like VO2 max, lactate threshold and running threshold do not play a part..

A psychologist, Robert O Deaner (who runs marathons) has published many articles on why female runners are less competitive than male. He suggests that male runners are more motivated than female runners to chalk up high training volumes and intensive training for elite performances.

His views probably won't win him any popularity votes I guess. You can access some of his papers here.

So, what about you? Why do you think on average female runners are less competitive than males? Is it really easier to win a prize in the local female category as compared to the male category?  Let's hear your views.

Hunter SK and Stevens AA (2013). Sex Difference in Marathon running with Advanced Age: Physiology or Participation? Med Sci Sports Exerc. Jan 45(1) : 148-156.

* Picture by richseow in

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Who Came For Hydrotherapy Today?

Who's that jumping?
I've been going to the pool fairly regularly (especially since that's the safest exercise/ rehabilitation I can do after my bike accident and often alone too.

Occasionally I get Ronald Susilo (former Olympian, Sportsman of the Year) joining me. Recently he was actually planning to play in the current ongoing Li Ning Singapore Super Series Badminton Open and he requested joining me at hydrotherapy to do some conditioning. (Alas, he did not get his chance, but that's a different story).

Now, Ronald and I go back a long way, I've been treating Ronald since the late 1990's, way before he became a household name in badminton. We've done hydrotherapy previously while he and the rest of the Singapore Badminton team were preparing for the Olympics.

And, surprise surprise, he showed up with 2 of his young charges today at the pool for some conditioning with him, with me taking charge - just like the old days.
Ronald taking a rest
Now, it was with dismay that I read in the papers today that all 3 of our male local shuttlers were knocked in the qualifiers yesterday and so Singapore will not have any representation in the main draw of the Men Singles today.

So hopefully, with today's session and more, Ronald's young players will do well enough to do us proud at subsequent Singapore Open's and more.

All the best at the tournament, Team Singapore.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Minimalist Running Shoe Fad Over? Or Not Quite...

Minimalist running shoes from

Headlines for the running community that you runners may want to know. Despite running shoes sales growing 8 % for the first quarter of 2013, sales of minimalist shoes declined more than 10 % during the same period.

This is in contrast to past few years' quarterly reports where the minimalist shoe category had the highest growth while sales in the motion control and stability segment stagnated or fell.

What drove sales of running shoes this past quarter surprisingly was motion control and stability shoes which grew > 25 % and 10 % respectively. A real reversal of sorts it seems.

An running shoe industry observer even commented that the "minimalist shoe fad is pretty much over."

So, do we take the report as the headlines suggest? That there are decreasing number of runners buying and wearing minimalist running shoes and perhaps even reverting back to the more chunky counterparts?

Well, my personal take on this is, hold your horses. A line from the running report said that "Lightweight, which remains the largest sub category, grew in the low teens." This minimalist (or barefoot) trend has definitely influenced and even resulted in running shoes becoming lighter across the board. Other design elements like low or zero drop midsoles, wide toeboxes etc have been transferred to other shoe categories. The whole running shoe market has shifted toward lighter, simpler shoes to give you, the runner a much wider choice than before.

If you recall, it wasn't that long ago when you went to a running shoe store and your options were pretty much limited to relatively heavy and chunky (> 12mm drop) shoes from brands that was classified as neutral, stability or motion control. Those days are long gone (although many medical professionals here in Singapore who have not kept in touch still insist on those categories) and the market has shifted and studies have shown that the previous model of fitting shoes were not effective.

Probably the most important issue now is how to choose your running shoes given the wide variety you now have.

By the way, I just got a minimalist/ barefoot running inspired shoe for my wife. She loves her new running shoes. A clue that "the fad" is not quite dead yet perhaps?
A pair of Merrell's for my wife

Those of you who work in the Singapore running shoe retail stores may have the latest trends probably, some comments here would be appreciated.

 * Footnote - Nike Free running shoes were not included in the minimalist shoe category as SportsOneSource (the company doing the statistics, SportsOneSource) felt that a lot of people buying Nike Free shoes are not real runners.

* Some numbers for those of you keen on statistics, most of the core running brands all had strong sales increases. Brooks and Mizuno improved about 40 %, Asics about 25 %, Saucony in the low teens and Nike in the high teens.  Under Armour running (not common here in Singapore) doubled for the year so far.

 To buck the trend, both Adidas and Reebok declined sharply in their share of running shoe sales.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Down But Definitely Not Out

Down but not out
I only managed to catch the last quarter of the 2013 NBA finals Game 1 this morning. It was a real cracker to say the least, especially Tony Parker during the closing moments of the game.

Now, I wasn't a big fan of Tony Parker or the San Antonio Spurs (or coach Gregg Popovich - I'm a big fan of Dennis Rodman and Michael Jordan) previously, but now Parker is definitely my favourite player in this finals.

Let me try and describe what happened in the last 31.3 seconds of the game. Parker tried to run the clock down so as to leave as little time as possible for Miami while giving his side a chance to extend their lead. He almost lost the ball a few times, then he slipped and went on one knee on the court (picture above).

He managed to keep the ball, eluded Lebron James' defences and even managed to double-pump the ball and released his shot just as the clock ran out. Multiple replays were needed to show that he got his shot off before the shot clock expired.

Got his shot off before clock expired
Now this is despite home ground advantage for Miami, losing control of the ball, swarmed by Lebron James (who's in the All-Defensive First Team), shot clock below a second to expiry and Parker still managed to bank his shot in. Chapeau to Tony Parker.

Now, that is perseverance and persistence in the highest order. Something for me to remember and follow as I am recovering from my accident.

Something for you to think about after your injury or rehabilitation after surgery.If you work at it, you'll definitely get better. And we'll be helping you at Physio and Sports Solutions.

*Pictures from