Sporty mama

Ms Finna Huang

Age: 37

Height: 1.67m

Weight: 55kg

Running is in her blood and nothing is going to stop her, not even her pregnancy.

Now into her fifth month, Ms Huang, who founded and manages The Jakarta Women and Children Clinic, continues to run. Since she got pregnant, she has completed four races, including the Bali half-marathon in September and more recently, the 10km Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore last month.

But she did decide to quit the 42km Chicago Marathon in October, although she had already spent four months training for it.

"I cannot deny that I am slower because I am pregnant," said Ms Huang.

"But I am pleased that I could complete a couple of 10km runs in under one hour recently."

When she discovered she was pregnant, Ms Huang turned to the Internet for advice on running for pregnant women.

"People will tell you not to run. I am surprised that the awareness is quite low here, given that so many people run," said the Indonesian-based Singaporean, who also helps out with her family's food industry business.

She has three sons from a previous marriage, aged 14, 12 and seven, and exercises in the morning while the children are in school.

"I am a very busy mother as I commute to Singapore almost every week," said Ms Huang, who is engaged.

"The key is good time management, having quality time and a personal assistant who helps me manage my work schedules as well as my children's."

What do you do to keep fit?

I mainly run and take part in one marathon a year, plus numerous other races.

I also do triathlons to cross-train and for fun.

I usually exercise six days a week.

My regimen, though, depends a lot on what I am training for.

When I am training for a marathon, I will run at least five times a week.

Each session will be done for a different purpose, such as for recovery and endurance building.

What's your typical training schedule like?

I do not go by the number of hours, but rather, by the volume and intensity.

For example, a couple of months before my marathon, my training schedule for a particular week may look like this: Monday, weights training; Tuesday, three rounds of 3km runs, with an 800m recovery run on the track; Wednesday, a 6km recovery run and a recovery swim of 1.2km to 1.5km; Thursday, eight repetitions of 400m runs, ending with a 400m fast-paced run to build speed; Friday, 8km recovery run; Saturday, 25km long run; and Sunday, 6km recovery run.

During triathlon season, I swim, bike and run three times a week.

This means I have to exercise both in the mornings and evenings on some days.

How has your exercise regimen changed now that you're pregnant?

I still try to run four times a week, and swim and bike when I have free time.

But I no longer pay as much attention to my speed, and will slow down when I am tired.

Do you plan to stop soon?

I plan to continue exercising until I no longer feel comfortable doing it.

From the books I have read, I gather that it is best not to try a new exercise during a pregnancy if one has not done it before.

I've found that it is possible to continue running if you have a normal pregnancy.

The most important thing is to listen to your body and to scale back the distance and intensity.

Just run to keep yourself happy and fit.

When did you pick up running?

I started running to lose weight after my youngest child was born about seven years ago, and I got hooked.

What is your secret to looking so fabulous?

I just try to be who I am, do what I love to do and live a full life.

Has there ever been a time when you were not fit and fab?

Yes, in 2012, when I fell during a skiing session in Japan, just three weeks before I was due to take part in a marathon in France.

I tore two ligaments and could not run for six months.

After three months of physiotherapy, I moved on to light exercises.

At first, I could not even do a full pedal on a stationary bike.

What is your diet like?

I eat a lot although I try to avoid unhealthy food, such as processed food or deep-fried items.

Pregnancy has encouraged me to live a healthier lifestyle. I now pay more attention to what I eat, as I feel that the baby also eats what I eat.

What are your indulgences?

Champagne, wine and cheese.

But now that I am pregnant, I have to avoid alcohol.

How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?

Apart from my training, I like to read. Occasionally, I attend social functions or gatherings.

I used to attend many social functions to network. However, I have tried to cut down in recent years as I do not have enough hours to split between my work, my training and my children.

What are the three most important things in your life?

My family, career and running.

Would you go for plastic surgery?

Not for vanity reasons.

However, a woman who has to go through a mastectomy because of breast cancer can have her breasts reconstructed.

In these instance, I think plastic surgery can be helpful.

Do you think you're sexy?

Sexy is a very relative term.

As someone who loves sport, keeping in shape through sport and being on top of the game is very sexy.

A six-pack and toned calves come with hard work and discipline, so I find that sexy too.

A great personality and a high level of confidence also make one sexy.

This article was first published on January 1, 2015.
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