Saturday, April 10, 2010

Possibly A New Perspective

I'm starting to rediscover running in a whole different way. It probably started after I first saw this Josh Cox 15-mile tempo training day video forwarded by PC, my triathlete-officemate. I think I've watched the video almost 20 times since then, admiring at how this guy can cruise sub-5:00 per mile pace, mile after mile. I've yet to see a similar training video featuring Geb, Haile, or even Vertek and Rio (do send me a link if you know one). It was impressive to see how an elite runner such as Josh trains. And trains hard.

I'm always left pumped up after watching that video, even if it was just a training tempo run. It wasn't a race but I was still left awed by his performance. Sub-5:00 per mile ba naman.

Moreover, you don't see these guys join races week after week nor even every other week. They're in it for the quality, not quantity of races joined. They really get serious when it comes to training by piling up the miles and pace week after week.

In running-mania Philippines, wherein races are abound every weekend, it's really tempting to register for a race every week. Such was my case last year as I scoured's List Of Races trying to see where I could join. As a newbie then, I would impatiently look for the next race. It started with the 10Ks then the half-marathons. The big races are such a crowd-drawer that I was also pulled into joining. Admit it, you also have been bitten by the race bug too.

But as I'm now looking into joining my first full marathon, my concentration lately has been on not choosing the next race, but on choosing my most preferred marathon training plan. There's this 12-week shortened plan from RunnersWorld, then the SmartCoach training plan from the same website, and then there's this 16-week plan from FIRST. There are also other marathon plans on other websites but I'm down to choosing from the first 3 above. Will it be for Milo Elims this July? I'm not really sure. The mileage base prior to starting these training plans are very demanding (it should be >30km while I'm lately averaging 20-25km only). I might choose to bring up my weekly mileage first then join a marathon later this year (probably QCIM which is in December, I heard).

As expected, I wasn't able to register for next week's big race: Earth Run. Our CEO whom I chanced upon the elevator weeks back told me to join him on the 21k event but I wasn't really keen into joining this one. Training was lacking since my knee had just recovered. My last two long runs, last Good Friday (18k) and yesterday (10miles), told me that I need to build my mileage more as I was left walking in the latter part of the runs. It could be the hot summer sun dwindling my energy or could also be my lack of long run mileage. Either way, those reasons made me decide that I might not be ready for a 21k race soon.

For now, it'll be long runs in the weekends. Actually, I find myself as excited to do a long run as when I'm joining a race. In a long run, you get to act as the organizer and participant. I enjoy plotting out what distance should I run, where I should go, and setup the hydration points. For the latter, I purposely bring my hydration belt plus a bottle of Gatorade. The Gatorade I would leave purposely behind the bushes along km3 of the route so that I can get it after as I'm making the last part of the run. Call it my last hydration stop as I know that my hydration belt, a Nathan Speed 1.5, will not be sufficient for runs more than 10 miles. PC and I are planning to have a long run this month which I've already plotted for about 23km ---my longest run should I complete it.

Eighteen. That's the number of races I registered for last year. If I average the reg-fee at P350.00, that would have been a little over 6,000 pesos. Not really practical so I'll probably have to scale down a bit. There are long runs to look forward to, anyway.

I just have to tell myself constantly: quality (of the race and of my performance), not quantity.


  1. This, by far, has got to be the best post I have read from anyone in quite some time. You have a tremendous talent of writing. The video was phenomenal. Fifteen miles @ sub 5 minutes is something I can not even fathom (right now anyways, lol) That was pretty cool about the gel mixing in with the water. I will have to try that out some time. So, you will be participating in a full marathon soon. Best of wishes to you in your training and efforts. 23k coming right up soon too. Have fun with planning your long runs as they are essential. Before I close out, I must say again....."This was a Kick @$$ post", and that video does make me want to get out and run (sprint). Take care.

  2. I love your take on the situation, you hit the nail on the head. I've been avidly joining virtually ALL the race events at Fort Bonifacio since last year September, and while I do enjoy them, indeed it sometimes feels like too much emphasis on racing not enough on training. Also something I've noticed, especially from a lof of people posting on (I won't name any names hehe) is that they are very quick to "graduate" to a longer distance, even if they haven't "mastered" the shorter ones.

    Of course everyone has their own talents and potential, but in my personal opinion I'd rather keep working on achieving a sub 45 minute 10K than settle for a 55 minute one and just go to 21K. In fact, I'm not allowing myself to do a 21K until I've reached my 10K goal, which is under 44 minutes.

    This does require more targeted training and less racing, and so I must resist the temptation to sign up for every event on the LIST OF RACES hehe.

    On the other hand, the races do give us with a unique opportunity to train without worrying about traffic, and gives us the other runners to pace with. In short, we don't necessarily need to RACE during the race, we can use it as an opportunity to do a fartlek or a tempo run or even an LSD, while enjoying the closed off roads an access to the water stations.

  3. Great views Mark! Yup, to each his own in terms of progressing to longer distances. But I hope you do try to make 1 half-mary soon. It's a whole new different ball game, ika nga. :)

    All the best on your quest for sub-45 sa 10k.

    See you at the races!

  4. Great views! Inspiring and can really motivate other's perspective! Thanks for this one!


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