Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Sufferfest Running Video Review: Revolver

I have been using The Sufferfest's cycling videos for almost 6 months now, as prescribed by my Coach to aid me in training. They are as challenging as they can be, leaving your living room floor with a pool of sweat after an hour's ride on the indoor trainer for the glory of Sufferlandria. These workouts will push you to ride harder, and better, as they are structured to, well, beat the living crap outta you. It is always a punishing experience, but you get that sense of fulfillment (and relief) after your workout is done. I love it so much that I prefer to do these video workouts vs riding out on weekdays.

When I read that the makers of The Sufferfest are coming out with videos for running I said to myself, "Now THIS is something worth a try!" Fortunately, I was privileged by the Sufferlandrian  government to review one of their latest work: Revolver. Now there is also a cycling version with the same title so I had a good idea what this 30 minute video will be like.

So I put on a copy on my Note3, went to the gym, hopped onto the treadmill, and prayed for dear life as I clicked Play with my earphones plugged in.

Compared to the cycling version, there's a huge improvement in terms of video and info quality on this one. It looks a lot better, basically, with the intention of telling the runner the change of effort and grade as clear as possible. The video excerpts from the Milan Marathon and Diamond League Track and Field were good as well. However, for this particular workout wherein you need to concentrate on your (full) effort for several times, you have little chance to look at these videos (as my Note3 was below chest height laying down on the treadmill dashboard) as I hanged on at ridiculously fast paces (why was I doing that to myself?). Nevertheless, I really appreciated the new screen graphics.

The taunting to push you during the heavy intervals are coupled with famous quotes on pain and suffering, as if hoping that they could help while your mentally screaming "please let it stop let it stop!!!" when you know that it is all up to you to get this workout done. I like it when the trainer(?) part of the workout tells you to push more of the effort on the hard intervals, which I gladly did. At the latter intervals I was at 13+kph, which was the FASTEST that I've ever ran on a treadmill (or on the road for that matter). The treadmill even displayed a warning that I may have exceeded the recommended pace (to avoid injury). Of course, being a Sufferlandrian has taught me NOT to adhere to the tradmill's warning, even if it meant certain death by treadmill catapult.

At the end of the (short) workout, I felt great (of the effort I put in and the relief that it's all over). All I can say to myself as I walked away from the treadmill was, "THAT. WAS. FUCKING. AMAZING!"

Yup, running on the treadmill will NEVER be the same. Thank you The Sufferfest!

Here are some more details mentioned by the people of The Sufferfest:
  • Our videos feature Officially Licensed footage from Diamond League Track & Field and prestigious marathons from around the world 
  • Workouts were designed by elite coach Neal Henderson of Apex Coaching. He also designed several of our most popular cycling workouts. 
  • Videos will be released on 31st July 2014 at - The Machine (38 minutes) will cost $10.99. The other two videos are Steamroller (45 minutes and $11.99) and Revolver (30 minutes and $9.99). They will be available as a bundle for $28 for a limited time. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Thank You, Alpha Training Systems!

For the past 6 months I’ve benefited greatly from Coach Andy Leuterio, head of Alpha Training Systems, which specializes in triathlon coaching but was kind enough to put me under his wing for duathlon specific training. As mentioned in my past posts, I got a coach months after my miserable 2013 National Dua Championships performance. 6 months later after signing up, I’m glad I did.

The Alpha way of training is not for the weak, as the 6-day workout a week will surely put any normal age-grouper (such as myself) into a whole new level of looking at training. The scientific approach, using Andy’s vast coaching experience combined with and (TP),  helped me get a visual on how I am improving (or not) in terms of the output from the workouts that Andy provides regularly.

The use of training cycles (micro, macro, and mesocycles) are well considered in the Alpha Training Systems coaching method. Thus, like the only way to mold steel into a sword is by fire, Andy’s coaching technique will require subjecting the athlete into medium to high volume and intense workouts, including some surprises that you will only find out once you enroll. ;-) This level of intensity and volume FURTHER INCREASES if he sees the athlete’s TP performance not improving from his current level of fitness. Yup, you're not allowed to sit on your laurels for long.

The result? I’m running 10k on weekdays like it was nobody’s business. I’ve ridden 100km thrice. 400 situps (even if my tummy doesn’t show it) is done with ease. I feel more fit than ever, even though my race times don’t show it (yet). Progress is slowly but surely getting better.

Sadly, after 6 months, I’ve decided to part ways (for the meantime?) with Coach Andy. Reason being is that life gets in the way of training most of the time that I can’t seem to get the full benefit of the 6-day a week workout. Workouts had to be cut short at times, since family and work needs to be prioritized. Family time has taken a backseat, specifically on Saturdays when I need to ride long. Waking up very early in the morning is not possible for me at this point, as I often sleep late and I need all the sleep I can get to get me by the next day, especially at work.

So, starting August I’m back to self-coaching but this time armed with the right tools from my short experience under Coach Andy. My A and B races are coming up soon (I’ve already signed up for my B-race, the SCTEX Duathlon for September 7th), so I hope to put into practice what I’ve learned from now until then, with careful consideration to balance it with my family and work priorities.

Do I recommend the Alpha Training Systems? A resounding “YES!” as it helped me a lot. It pushed me further from where I was 6 months ago. If there was a chance for my Jan2014 self to race against my July2014 version, the former will lose….immensely. Be prepared to suck it up, for the phrase “I cannot do this workout” is not in Coach Andy’s dictionary. I guarantee that you'll benefit from it greatly.

If you’re interested, you may contact Alpha Training Systems via FB (search for “Alpha Training Systems”) or Twitter (@alpha_tri).

Monday, July 14, 2014

A pleasant Strava surprise at Raceway, Subic

So I spent the weekend at Subic, one of many destinations that my family and I like to be whenever short weekend getaways come to mind. There's Baguio, Nasugbu, Tagaytay, and Rizal among the rotation, but Subic is special for me as I get to train in the bike/run course of the National Dua Championships ---my A-race.

Last year's race performance was forgettable that at the start of this year I decided to hire a coach. The workouts are very intense as I've never reached such weekly training volumes before (6 days a week!?!!!).

So yesterday (Sunday), I geared up and rode the bike course that is from Remy Field all the way to Raceway and back....several times.

I was pleasantly surprised when I uploaded my ride to Strava and was able to compare yesterday's ride vs my past recorded rides on the Raceway segment, including the 2013 Natl Dua C'ships (brown box below):

A 51 second PR achieved, on a training day at that.

I rode the same bike (2012 Argon Radon) with the same setup (CNC 50mm wheels, Ultegra 6800) and same gear (Bontrager road bike helmet). Exceptions would be the aero bars that I removed yesterday vs 2013 (which should mean that last year should've been faster aero-wise) and that my weight is even heavier than last year. I have not been using the aero bars since I started being coached.

I guess that coaching thing is really working for me alright.

51 seconds may not be enough now but that will count a lot on race day. The 2014 version of this race is 4 months away. Hopefully I'll be in top shape by then.

And yeah, I really need to do something about my fluctuating weight which I can't seem to bring down to my normal BMI.

No rice? Hmmm, let me think about that.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Training Update: Some Progress Made

For the past two Sundays, I was able to run 15km. This is considered a big feat for me lately since I've never ran that long for quite a looooong while, the last one probably being the Rexona 21km last November(?) 2013. 

My dashboard is showing good progress. CTL, Elevation gain per week, TSS per week, and peak HR for 60mins have shown some improvement.

This is definitely better after that training slump last May. 

Volume-wise I'm starting to get better on taking the load but I'm not sure pace-wise.

Hmmm, I need a race.