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Sep 24, 2013

DNS - First Half Marathon Long Run

Saturday Run Entry 

It was raining heavily. I had no business running against the strong winds and the heavy rains, yet the uncontainable urge within me to run 10Km prevailed. I was well warned not to run, less I succumb to flu and fever. I did not heed the warning and paid the price for my stubbornness.

I completed the 10K run under Habagat's fury.

Later that day, I got sick. First with the flu, and then later I was shivering with high fever. I was proud and fallen.

My hard-headed confidence cost me to miss the following-day long run.


Whereas I do not believe in 'blessing in disguise', for I now trust that all things happen for a purpose under the watchful eyes of the Divine Power (and that all things work together for the good of those who love God), I missed my first 21K long run of 2013.

Then I also missed Monday's family-business appointment. We were suppose to buy a few cattle calves in Alfonso, Cavite. We are to expand our current herd of 18 cattle.

In hindsight, it still rained a lot on Sunday and Monday. Had I ran on Sunday, I will be more sick. For if running 10K in the rain gave me high fever, what can running 21K in the rain do to me? Also, had we purchased the calves early Monday morning, they will just get sick with cold under Habagat's fury (Poor little calves).

 Try Again Another Day

We just have to roll with the punches sometimes. You get hit hard, you just try to minimize the impact of the blow and learn from it. In my case, that's not letting my stubbornness get the better part of me.

This Sunday, Lord willing, I will be running my very first 21K run of 2013.
I was knocked down hard last weekend, but not knocked out.
I have a hard stubborn head after all.

Sep 16, 2013

Training Run Repeats


I once read how Ryan Hall, an American marathoner, likes to train with repeats. He described it as having two successive weeks of the same training run schedule. For example if Week One consists of

  • 10Km Easy Run on Day 1
  • 10 Km Easy Run on Day 4
  • 16 Km Long Run on Day 7
then Week Two will be consisted of the exact same type of training run, route, distance and training days.

What are the Benefits?
The key idea is to have a point of comparison.

  • Is your training plan working or not?
  • Are you achieving your training goals?
  • Is your plan effective?

How do you know without data to support your claims? Using Training Run Repeats, it is relatively easy to track and compare your training performance.

I have this training plan for Weeks Five and Six of my personal marathon training plan:

  • 7Km Easy Run on Day 2
  • 5Km Easy Run on Day 4
  • 7Km Easy Run on Day 5
  • 17Km Long Run on Day 7

I ran the 17Km Long Run of Week Five, in 2 hours and 7 minutes (7:30 minutes per kilometer, mpk, pace).
Last Sunday, I ran the 17Km repeat in 1 hour and 56 minutes (6:50 mpk).

I can at least say, that comparing my last two long runs of the same distance, I am progressing positively. My body is responding to the training runs and I am able to run faster. There is an exact same point of comparison.

In contrast with a different training plan, say 15Km Long Run followed by 17Km Long Run on the following Long Run day, the comparison is skewed. You can run the 17Km on a slower pace, but you can defend that it is okay since you ran a longer distance. You can run with the same pace as with the previous 15Km distance, but you cannot decisively say you progressed positively. You can run faster with pace as compared with the shorter distace from the previous week, and that's about the only time you can definitely feel that you improved.

Still, it is better to have your data taken on the same route and distance for basis of comparisons to eliminate other intervening factors in the comparison.

Weak and Strong Weeks

The training run repeats also allows us runners to have a weak performance followed by a stronger performance the next week. It builds confidence. We do not necessarily purposely run slower on the first week, but the idea is to run better on the following week. Based on experience, having run the exact same route and distance before, your mind and body knows what to expect and what to prepare for. Your body tends to adopt to these experiences and help you run better. Example: Knowing that a difficult hill waits on the last 3 kilometers of the route, I would conserve energy and then attack the hill with conserved power. Experience is a great teacher.

Another interesting fact is that when you've already run the exact same distance and route previously, you become more confident of running it again. With the training run repeat, that knowledge is still fresh and the experience is still alive in your memory, as you are just one week removed from running it.

Confidence Builder

It builds my confidence knowing I am able to run faster as the training weeks unfold. And I need it. I will now run 21 kilometers on my next long runs. With confidence, I will be running at least half of the marathon distance every Sunday morning from now on until the December marathon. I plan to run 21 kilometers this coming Sunday, followed by a repeat on the following Sunday after that.

It is a happy feeling to be looking forward to run 21 kilometers, having difficulties at the start of this training schedule running only 3 kilometers. At the start of this training, I am just running 500 meters then walk a few hundred meters, and then try to run another 500 meters. I was definitely not considering a marathon comeback at that stage of my training. Lately though, I am able to run seven to eight kilometers straight without walk breaks.

I am still building. But I am happy where I am in my fitness level now. I am still far away from my marathon form (not to mention speed), but I thank the Lord God Almighty, that at least I am back at the road and still running. That, my friends, is a blessing I used to take for granted.


Sep 13, 2013

Training Run Hurdles

I planned to run the following morning.
I set the alarm and sleep early.
The alarm rings, it is raining.
I sleep again for there is no remedy.

The next night, I planned to run again.
So I set the alarm and I sleep early.
The alarm comes and so does the rain.
What to do then, it's not even funny.

I just hurried to my dumbbells, and lift.
I may not be running, yet I've got to exercise.
Redeeming the day and trying to get fit.
Being flexible is both productive and wise.

Thank You Lord, when it rains or it's bright.
I thank You again with what I have today.
Thank You Lord, for what is there in life.
Even when I feel excitement or dismay.

I have said a lot and ran none.
I'll write again as soon as Monday comes.
Pardon me for the ramblings and then some.
Have a great weekend and enjoy your upcoming runs.

Sep 9, 2013

My First True Long Run of 2013

I started hopeful, believing the 17-km long run to be another small step to my marathon comeback.
I ended up respecting the long distance all the more. I expected to take the run slow and easy and ended up running slower and hard.

Remembering the Route:
    I used to run the Aguinaldo highway up to Tagaytay to prepare for my marathons. And just being back to that route brings back all the memories. (It used to be a lot more fun then though, as this run was more of a reminder of how hard it is to run long distances).
    The hills look the same, just a lot tougher to climb.
    The speeding buses, jeepneys, motorbikes and private vehicles still dominate much of the road.
    The occassional cattle feeding on grasslands and the vast agricultural farms of Silang still fills my head with my hacienda dreams. I just love running on my municipal hometown every Sunday mornings.

Buko Stop:
    Gone are the days when I will buy energy drinks and hot pandesal in the middle of my long runs. No chocolates on the pockets either. And no backpack to carry home bread for the family.
    There is a better and more refreshing alternative - fresh buko (young coconut) juice along Silang Bypass Road. Manong would pick a buko from a large pile of coconuts while I breathe heavily after running 7+ kilometers.
    Buko is heavy on the stomach, though. And so it gives me a lot of time (or excuse) to just enjoy the beautiful plants and flowers for sale on the gardens on the sides of the Bypass Road while walking a few hundred meters.

Hard Part of the Long Run:
    After 11 kilometers, and running my way back down to Silang (coming from the uphills), I felt the fatigue and the body aches. It was over an hour of running and my knees, legs and calves started to complain.
    When you're heavy as I am (187 pounds lately), the legs just could not support the body as much as you'd like it to. The lungs are breathing hard, but still manages to do its part. The arms still sway like it could still handle the next kilometers. But the legs and knees are not too cooperative.
    I decided not to force the run and just inserted a few more walk-breaks into it. Even when running a full marathon, the hardest part is when you're just 5-10 kilometers away and you're legs are too tired. You just have to take the pain, get over it and find ways to push yourself forward. It's less fun and is physically taxing, but these portions of the run strengthens the mind and prepares you for the next battles. Slowly, I'm getting nearer and nearer back to our house and the mental and physical battle are starting to tilt in my favor. Just a little bit more and it'll be over.

After and Next:
    I came to church afterwards, still feeling the weak and fatigued knees. It's hard to stand and offer praises and worship unto the Lord Jesus Christ, but it's manageable.
    Wife massaged the aching shoulders, legs and calves from the 2-hour run. (Thanks a lot!) She makes my running so much more bearable, and still fun.
    Next week, I'll go with a 17-kilometer repeat. The plan is still to pile up mileage while rebuilding my aerobic base. Hang on with me on these tough times. And after a few more months, we would be running another marathon, prayerfully!