Altitude Training

May 28, 2009 at 8:45 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
Some trail running to go along with altitude training.

Some trail running to go along with altitude training.

This was a big thing when I was young. The Kenyans and Ethopians had started to dominate the running scene and people attributed their performance to their altitude training. Kenyans and Ethopians would have training camps in high altitudes.

Training in higher altitudes where the air was thinner would tax the respiratory system. The body would adopt by creating more Red Blood Cells (RBC) to boost the oxygen carrying capacity and compensate for the lower level of oxygen in higher altitudes. The athletes would then compete in lower altitudes with their higher RBC and VO2 max.

If you notice many of the american runners would congregate in Bolder Colorado to mimic the Kenyan or Ethopian altitude training practice.

Pine scent, cold weather and great views

Pine scent, cold weather and great views

That was also one reason why the Gintong Alay Training program which produced many great runners was based in Baguio which is our version of the Rift Valley.

The red blood cells in the body are regulated by a naturally occuring drug called EPO. It was rumored that some elite athletes would inject themselves with EPO to boost red blood cells illegally. Others would train in high altitude and would draw RBC enriched blood and put it in storage. As competition comes closer they would have a transfusion with their own RBC enriched blood, otherwise known as blood doping.

The backroads of John Hay are perfect for running!

The backroads of John Hay are perfect for running!

Well before you pack your bags and book a room in Baguio for some altitude training, you should learn the basics. Like any other program the benefits in altitude training acrue over time. I believe you have to train or live in high altitude for 2-4 weeks.

Some athletes lose fitness while training in high altitudes because they are unable to do the same volume of work they are capable of in sea level. Did you ever notice how you sometimes have to rest and catch your breath in Baguio? Some people get around this by living in high altitude and training in low altitude so they get the best of both worlds.

Some experts recommend that you train at least 5,000 feet above sea level to get the maximum benefit of altitude training. Sorry but Tagaytay and Antipolo won’t really qualify as high altitude training.

Running up the hills of Baguio

Running up the hills of Baguio

Happy summer, enjoy the summer holidays and see you at the starting line.

Mother Nature

May 25, 2009 at 10:30 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

The ability to run long distances sometimes makes us feel invincible. We sometimes forget the power of mother nature. Every now and then we receive a reminder to respect the power of mother nature.

I persuaded Tiffin to join the TNF 100 km trail run in Sacobia Pampanga. She opted to do the 10K while I decided to do the 20K. The 100K is still a dream. We checked in to the hotel Saturday afternoon and we decided to inspect the race course since the 100K was ongoing. We would be running similar trails but a lot shorter.

Before the Windstorm!

Before the Windstorm!

It was a hot and sunny day and the 100k runners had started 12 hours earlier.The start/finish line was all setup and it was also the midway point for the 100K who were doing 2 x 50K loops. We took the car and crossed Sacobia bridge and proceeded to some of the aid stations which we accesible by car and spoke with the marshals.

On our way back to the finish line the rain started to pour cats and dogs and I would suspect it was 15-20 minutes of heavy rain. Tiffin was worried as she saw trails of small whirwinds which I did not notice since I was busy driving. You could see the steam rising from the asphalt road as we proceeded back. The first aid station we passed was gone and the tent was lying on the ground upside down 15-20 feet away. I did not think it was serious and I had guessed that the tent was not properly secured. The next aid station was also in shambles and all the volunteers were finding shelter at the concrete guard house. I guess the hot weather and sudden heavy downpours induced a windstorm which swept the race course.

It looked like a post Katrina picture (katrina the hurricane and not the video scandal)

It looked like a post Katrina picture (katrina the hurricane and not the video scandal)

Vince (with his sad face), Run Ma Ting, Tiffin and Mikey Mac surveying the damage (Usiseros)

Vince (with his sad face), Run Ma Ting, Tiffin and Mikey Mac surveying the damage (Usiseros)

We finally saw the true devastation brought about by the wind storm when we got to the start and finish line. The steel scaffoldings had collapsed and the timing unit was on the ground. Almost everything was on the ground.

Rio calling for help and Tiffin trying to bring sunshine to his face!

Rio calling for help and Tiffin trying to bring sunshine to his face!

The organizers were scrambling to get an update on all the 100K competitors in the coures. They gave instructions to hold all participants in the aid stations and they were planning to cancel the event. The safety of participants and volunteers was paramount in their mind.

Almost everyone was shocked with the sudden turn of events. We stayed to see if we could help or even if it was only moral support. Tiffin and I went back to the hotel expecting the race to be cancelled.

By 6:45 I got a call from Mikey Mac and he told me that the 10K & 20k would proceed as planned. The 100K had restarted and it was all systems go.

Tiffin at the Finish line on Sunday! They did a great job reconstructing the start/finish line.

Tiffin at the Finish line on Sunday! They did a great job reconstructing the start/finish line.

I must commend FinishLine and TNF for a great job in recovering from such a calamity. It is a testament to the professionalism of the team.

post race victory photo; Vince, Jun C and Mariel, Miguel and TBR, Tiffin, Marga, Tackie and Charmaine

post race victory photo; Vince, Jun C and Mariel, Miguel and TBR, Tiffin, Marga, Tackie and Charmaine

Tiffin & Let

Tiffin & Let

This story had a happy ending but I would like to remind all the runners to be ready for anything that mother nature throws at us. Sometimes it is wiser to pull out and seek a safe haven. When it is too hot please do not over extend yourself unless you are truly ready. When it is raining be careful because some drivers may not see you. If there is lighting please take cover. There is no shame in pulling out of a race or shortening a training session when safety is a concern.

Goodbye Lahar, see you next year.

Goodbye Lahar, see you next year.

Running on the lahar (Photo compliments of Jay N.)

Running on the lahar (Photo compliments of Jay N.)

I look forward to the next race and see you all at the starting line.

Weekly Racing Strategy

May 18, 2009 at 7:04 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
X Training by doing a Tri in 2008.

X Training by doing a Tri in 2008.

We have been blessed with a race almost every weekend. In fact we sometimes have more than one race to pick from in a weekend. If you add Triathlons, Duathlons, Biathlons, then you really have a feast of races to pick.

There is a danger in going out and chasing a PR every weekend. Racing for a PR every weekend will not allow you to work on the different ingredients to fast running. You risk overtraining if you put too many hard workouts in between your weekly races or you will remain stagnant because you spend too much time recovering from the weekly races.

Many coaches recommend that you have a reason for each training run. You are either running to improve your V02 Max, running economy, lactate threshold or even running to recover from a hard workout.

Every run should have purpose and it should make sense in your overall development as a runner. Running a race should be treated the same way. Don’t run a race without a goal or a reason and it has to fit your grand plan.

In many cases the veteran runners either limits the number of race they join or they run the race but they do not race.

Picking and choosing to run a limited number of races is quite common. Many elite runners will focus and run only 2-3 major races in a year. The rest of the time they are building up and training.

Running a race but not racing is more common than you think. You can read the numerous blogs and you will find people joining a race and treat it as a long run. Others run races not to go for a PR but to test their fitness level. Not really going all out and sometimes even running extra mileage after the race. A good doctor friend of mine would run some races and do his fartleks during the race. Speeding up and slowing down at regular intervals.

I have also used Triathlons and Duathlons as cross training when I need to spice things up with some variety. The bike and swim help tone muscles which I don’t really use when running and helps me become a better runner.

In the early part of the year, I was so happy to see many 15Km races. That fit right into my training schedule. I was scheduled to do a long run during those weekends and 15K qualifies as a long run for me. I would join and start slowly and start picking up steam at the end. Running a PR was secondary and I tried not to stress my body too much. The bigger prize was the Condura half marathon. It worked, I was able to run my over-40 PR in the last Condura Half Marathon.

I am currently on a six week training schedule that should prepare me for the Mizuno 15K run in June 7. But I will still be running some races in those 6 weeks.

May 24 TNF 20K Long Run
May 31 Earth Run 16K Long Run

After Mizuno I will take a short break and I will go pick a target race to focus on.

See you all at the starting line.

Beginners

May 14, 2009 at 3:33 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments
I think this is her 2nd race.

I think this is her 2nd race and happy to be a finisher.

Do you remember your first run? I know it is usually a painful experience. You usually have the wrong shoes because you want to try it out before investing on a proper pair. You experience all the pain for exercising the first time. The shin splints, tight muscles, side stitches, sweat in your eyes, your thirsty and your mind is thinking “damn, why do people run”.

But if you run long enough you finally get to that second wind. Your adrenalin picks up and running seems a little easier.

My wife hated running. She liked going to the gym and get physical like “Olivia Newton-John”. She absolutely refused to join me in my early morning runs. She thought only loonies would wake up 5:00 am to go and run a race.

Well one day she pulled a muscle in her arm or back and she was told to take it easy on her dance and aerobic workouts in the gym. Since she was an exercise fanatic, she needed some aerobic exercise to burn her calories. She was told to run instead.

So being a good husband, I changed my daily run schedule from morning to afternoon so I can accompany her. We started off walking which she found too easy. We then started with a 1 minute walk – 1 minute run routine. We then moved to a 5 minute run – 1 minute walk routine. In a couple of months she was logging 1 hour workouts. She became leaner but she still refused to join the races.

She finally started joining races 2 years later after our second child was born. She has gone from being an observer who thought runners were loonies to a half-marathon finisher. I know that deep inside she wants to run a marathon but all in good time. In the past the XSmall jersies were too tight, today the Xsmall jersies are too loose.

Lean, Mean and 5th place in the Sunfest 5K (Photo by Bald Runner)

Lean, Mean and 5th place in the Sunfest 5K (Photo by Bald Runner)

See you all at the starting line and keep encouraging the newbies. It’s good for the sport and it’s good for their health.

Tri Racing

May 11, 2009 at 9:39 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments
10K run of Subit 1997

10K run of Subit 1997

I always thought I was a cautious person. I imagined myself to a chess player studying all options and looking at the cause and effect two, three or more moves ahead so I am not surprised.

But the truth is, there is a little daredevil in me. I broke my hand when I was 5 years old because I tried to fly. Yes, I jumped out of a very tall slide and I broke my arm. I’ve broken my arm twice, had a knee operation twice, I almost drowned numerous times because I felt invincible. I think my Mom’s prayers and my guardian angel’s intercession helped avert any major disaster.

But I guess as we age, we mellow. Having two adorable (most of the time) daughters also help temper my daredevil ideas.

Triathlon is a tough but safe sport… if you train properly.

Waiting for the swim start

Waiting for the swim start

I was a try-athlete a long time ago. I would go join with the races with little or no swim or bike training. In fact, I took part in the first two Half Ironman’s in Nasugbu. To this day, those have been my longest bike ride and swims in my life. I have never biked 90K in training and I have never swam 1.9Km in training but I survived. Looking back I would simply say that it was silly and dangerous. I wouldn’t recommend that to anyone.

Going to T1 after my swim (Subit 1996 or 1997)

Going to T1 after my swim (Subit 1996 or 1997)

I don’t know how I completed those races. I only remember that they were painful and long. I was planning on doing the Olympic distance in Subit this year but somehow, other things have come my way. I wanted to at least do a 40K bike ride and a 1 mile swim before doing an Olympic distance Tri. No more silly and dangerous stuff.

100 Plus Duathlon Makati Circa 1991

100 Plus Duathlon Makati Circa 1991

Sometime this year, I will do a Tri, with or without training. (Sprint only)

For now, I will satisfy my craving for adventure by doing the TNF 20Km run in Sacobia.

By the way, good luck to everyone taking part in Subit 2009!

Getting Back on Track After Condura!

May 10, 2009 at 9:16 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I overachieved at the Condura half marathon. A combination of events in my life left me both physically and emotionally drained. I had planned on going on a one month racing sabbatical in March but I decided to run anyway. I guess my training in January and February was more than adequate. I did good time and ran a 1:39 and surprised even myself.

I felt burnt out after Condura and I needed to give my mind and body a rest. The break helped me regroup and now I am ready. I’ve had two month of low mileage training. I am back on the road and building my base for hopefully another assault on my PR’s by the end of the year. As that shoe company would claim… Yes, I have found a new balance in my life.

Based on my past experience I can managed as much as 70-80 Kms in a week but not on a sustained basis otherwise my plantar fascia starts acting up and my IT band starts tightening. Maintaining my mileage at 50 kms a week seems to be workable. I’ve reached this conclusion based on my experience and I would suggest you check all your old running journals to check on your optimum weekly mileage.

Pat C, Tiffin, Sir Ipe, BR, B Banzon

Pat C, Tiffin, Sir Ipe, BR, B Banzon

I tested my fitness in the last two weekends. I raced in the Sun Fest and the Southern Run 10K’s. Both races were short of a 10K but based on my results I am in the sub-50 10K fitness level.

Pooped after the race

Pooped after the race

I used the Runner’s World Smart Coach feature to draw up a 6 week training schedule which should get me ready to run the Mizuno Challenge in June.

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