Friday, January 21, 2011

Condura Preparations: How am I doing?


Preparations for my 2nd full-mary on Feb6 began as early as August last year with the conscious effort of racking up the weekly mileage with the recommended 10% weekly increase. This was a lesson learned from my 1st full (Milo Manila elims) wherein I tried to do the impossible of squeezing a 12-week training program from F.I.R.S.T. which I can conclude, on personal experience, that it’s not recommended for virgin marathoners. The result then? Plantar fasciitis on my left foot, left knee patellar tendinitis, dipped in disappointment sauce. Thus, the need for building up my mileage from zero-mileage post-Milo (since I needed to recover physically and mentally) starting from August was a must in order to have a good mileage base and be injury-free prior to the actual 16-week training phase.

The mileage increase went well from August to Sept (peaked at 42km on the last week of Sept) but then skidded in the 1st half of October due to a bout with the flu. Fortunately, the half-marathon season was into full swing so I was able to get the needed mileage by the time the 16-week training started (Adidas KOTR 21km).

It was generally all rosy from there (did my longest training run via RunRio3 32km as a highlight) until post Milo Finals (mid-December) when the weekly mileage dropped again. The culprit was an injury I sustained on my right knee after playing basketball with old college friends. This resulted into two weeks of no weekend long run. I recovered during the 1st week of Jan 2011 (highlighted by a 12km easy run I did while on vacation in Subic which was a welcome respite from my city runs) but then got sidelined again since last Sunday when I scrapped my planned last long run (32km on my sked) due to stomach issues. I’ll spare you the details of that worst run of my life (resulting only to 11km) but let’s just say that I painted Lawton Avenue with the food I ate from the night before. Yup, chalk that one to gluttony.

I’ve been recovering these past few days since that Sunday run, opting to do VMO strengthening exercises for my knees and stretching as well. I’ve managed a measly 5k this week, so I hope to redeem myself by reattempting that lost 20-miler this coming weekend. After that, it’s only two weeks until Feb6 so I hope it’s still enough time to taper.


Overall, I’m better off in my training this time around compared to Milo. If I compare that 12-week training for Milo versus the 1st 12 weeks of training for Condura, I have more mileage under my belt this time (495km now versus 401km for Milo 2010). Further, I’ve learned to ease off when I don’t feel good after a run, not minding the extra recovery day since I’ve learned that it’s part of the training as well.

The weather throughout the duration of this training has been cool overall versus the time I was training for Milo which was the summer months (April to June). This allowed me to finish my long runs with less walking in the end.

Speedwork, particularly intervals, have been put into my training this time to complement tempo and long runs. The discovery as well of quick leg turnover, or QLT, has helped me a lot too although based on the 180 steps/minute recommendations I’m about 16 steps short ---still not that bad. Another discovery of wearing lighter shoes, particularly gateway minimalist shoes like the Newtons and Adidias Adios, has helped me refrain from heel-striking which I believe has improved my running gait ---that and a lot of reading to be specific.


My short-term goal now is to be able to complete that 20-miler this weekend. It’ll help me gauge my overall condition (and goal) entering Condura. Long term, a sub-5:00 is a hopeful goal but if I were to assess my current fitness level, a 5:20-5:30 finish is more realistic. A 5:45 finish, for me, would be disastrous (unless the race runs out of water like last time in Milo) since I’d feel that a 5:45 time is not deserved will all the hard work I’ve put in since August.

Well, let’s just see how it all plays out come Feb6.

See you at the Skyway!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Joke time

In the Philippines, what's common between Kenyan runners who reap the top prizes and ridiculously expensive race-registration fees?

ANSWER: They're both here to stay.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Quest for 152

152lbs is my ideal weight based on ideal BMI for my height (5'6"). I've been stuck with 165lbs for over a year now and there's been not much improvement as the graph below would show (yes, I've been monitoring my weight since 2009. Nerd huh?).

The green arrow was when I first started running (Condura 2009 5km). There was dramatic improvement since then up to around Oct 2009 (purple arrow) when I started training for my first half-marathon (EcoDash 2009) since runs longer than 10k were introduced into my weekly training. Except for the 163.6lbs that I achieved after my first full marathon (July Milo Manila Elims, orange arrow), it was all upward in weight from there. I have to give credit to running ---it really helped me lose the weight.

However, for the past 6 months my weight has been playing between the 164-167lb range. Even with the long runs included for my Condura 2011 training, the weight has not dropped below said range.

The answer to this riddle is easy: my eating habits have not changed. I'm still eating a lot of rice, softdrinks, bottomless iced tea, junk food, etc. That article I read in a Runner's World mag is right. No matter how long/hard you run, if the food intake is still the same, then weight loss will not be achieved. Exercise can only take you too far. It has to be complemented with good (controlled) eating habits.

I really need to work on this in 2011. Hopefully at least a stable 160lbs by middle of this year.

In the meantime, I'm off for lunch. Can I have another hit of KFC pleeeeease?


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Book Review: RUN by Matt Fitzgerald

This is a very comprehensive book on how to run by feel. It is revolutionary in the sense that it forgoes the use of Garmins/Polars, heart-rate monitors, and even how to find the right shoe based on foot type. All these things will prove useless once you get to know how to run by feel.

Matt's approach is most often covered by scientific research studies that I, a low comprehension type of reader, gets to doze off easily. It's like that boring Chemistry or Physics teacher when you were in college. It's like hitting the marathon wall, hehe. But if you keep going (turning the pages), it gets quite interesting in the long run.

The most useful point that this book covered that I'm now using as part of my marathon training for Condura 2011 is the daily logging of "how you feel" after every run. You rate your run if 1=felt lousy, 2=felt alright, 3=felt great. I think uses this same concept. I've actually made an Excel table for this, color-coding my runs according to how I felt during/after the run. When I see that there are two many rate=1, then I back off and take a few days rest. Then, once I resume training, I feel alright/great again.

There is also a discussion on picking the right shoe which, according to Matt, essentially boils down to getting the "lightest, most comfortable" shoe that you can find. Pretty simple, huh?

There are a lot more points covered by this book. I highly recommend it for those who've been running already (not for newbies since most topics might not be appreciated at such an early stage). Think of it as a way to iron out your training towards better race performances in the future.

A good read.