Four Weeks

4 09 2015

I did not realize that I’ve been through with four weeks of my training since I’ve started for the 2015-16 Ultra Trail Running Season. I started my training on August 3, 2015 and the first day was a Rest Day with some stretching exercises.

I am still following a training schedule program which I’ve been using for the past two years with a little adjustment on my weekly training volume which I’ve increased within the range of 5-10 miles per week which are mostly done in my weekend LSDs. Before, I was doing an average of 50-55 miles per week but for the past weeks, I’ve have reached a peak of 66-67 miles per week. I feel okey, healthy, and pain-free from my knees and legs and had no bouts of leg cramps or “bonking”. I guess, there must a lot of good reasons why at my age of 63, my knees are still holding up and I could still hike some steep mountains.

Surprisingly, the bottle of Aleve that I bought lately have not been opened yet and for the past four months, I’ve never taken any pain-killer tablet in my races and trail running workouts.

My past failures to finish a 100-mile mountain trail run were caused by nutritional and hydration problems on my part. It took me two or more years to experiment what is good for my body. I really don’t have any problems with 50Ks, 50-milers, and 100K trail races with regards to nutrition but when I join 100-milers in higher elevations, my nutrition just put me down on the last 30 miles of the race. Following my experiences in the 100Ks that I’ve finished, I would only take in Energy Gels and Water and some solid foods offered at the Aid Stations and I would finish the course without any problem. I bought some nutrition books for endurance athletes and made some researches on the Internet. In addition, I was able to get some suggestions and advise from the Filipino veteran ultra runners residing in the United States. These suggestions from them confirms the studies and researches that I’ve read on books and on the Internet.

On this new training season, I’ve concentrated on my nutrition, not only before during, after my workout, but completely observed my daily nutritional intake to my body. I don’t count the calories of the food that I ingest but I make sure that I have Carbohydrates, Fats, Proteins, and Vegetables/Fruits in my 3 meals a day. Snacks in between meals would be anything, whether it is a fruit juice, milk, fruits, yogurt, or snack bars. I’ve never drink milk when I was in the military up to 2 months ago. Lately, by accident, I found out that Organic Fresh Milk does not give me stomach trouble caused by lactose intolerance. I’ve indulged myself in eating avocado as part of my meal or snacks and ate more foods rich in fats.

On my nutrition before my runs, I would have a breakfast of coffee, oatmeal or cereal with milk, avocado with milk & sugar, yogurt or fruit juice.

During my runs, I would hydrate every time my GPS watch would beep to indicate that I’ve covered a mile and have to strictly do the said “drill” every time I hear a beep. For my runs less than 8-9 miles, I would just drink water and ingest one 1 capsule of S’Cap every hour and after the workout. But for my LSDs on weekends which are more than 9 miles, I would carry with me a Tailwind Mixed with water in two bottles and purely Water in my 1.5-liter hydrapak on my backpack. I would alternately, drink Tailwind and water every other mile. I would also ingest 1 capsule of S’Caps every hour. At the turn-around or after finishing the first half of my run, I would eat any solid food I brought with me like, boiled potatoes, power bars, dried fruits, and some baby foods (fruit/vegetable).

I’ve stopped using Energy Gels in my runs since the start of this training but I still carry at least two packs just in case of emergency. I’ve have observed in my past races that Gels, after ingesting about 10 pieces, I would end up throwing up even if I use different flavors and flavors that I liked that didn’t give nauseated feeling in my past ultra runs.

My post-nutrition intake would be immediately after the workout——lots of water, one can of coke or one bottle of Ensure and a Power Bar. Once I arrive home, I would eat a complete meal. For the rest of the day, I would continuously hydrate myself with water, sometime consuming 1.5 gallons of water, and strictly adhering to my complete meals—carbohydrates, fats, protein, vegetable and fruits.

I have also incorporated “speed” workouts in my weekly program. Wednesday is usually my “speed” day where I do it on a flatter ground and paved road. This is the only time that I don’t go to the trails and mountains. Since there is no oval track near my place, I would go to a Public Park (Echo Lake Park) where the streets that surround it has a total loop distance of exactly one mile. I would do 1 mile X 5-6 repetitions or 2 miles X 3 repetitions with at least 5-6 minutes rest/jog intervals in between repetitions. In the mountains/trails, I usually do some “strides” or fast & quick leg-turn-overs on flatter portions within a distance of 50-100 meters just to give some “wake-up” drill to my tired leg muscles.

Once or twice a week, I would go to a mountain which has an “up and down” route where I have measured on each way (2.5 miles up & 2.5 miles down). I would wear my hydration vest full of 2 water bottles and 1.5-liter of hydra pack on my back with solid foods. I would practice “power-hiking” on the UP portion of the course and never attempt to do any run or jog. I would register the time from the start up to the time I reach the peak of the mountain. I have observed that I had been improving my time to reach the peak every week. The 2.5-mile distance has a vertical distance of 1,280 feet and my best time so far is 43 minutes for the power hiking in the UP direction.

On the ridge of the mountain, I would continue jogging and hiking for about 2 to 3 miles. On my way back, I would start my fast “downhill run” on the measured portion where I had my “power-hiking” workout. My attitude here in the fast downhill run is a “go for broke” one! A fast and continuous downhill hill run for 2.5 miles would “thrash” my legs! I am surprised that my old knees can still withstand the hard pounding of my feet on the ground. Every week, I would improve on my time on this downhill run! My fastest time for the downhill run is 20 minutes!

Power Hiking and Fast Downhill Running made me register a faster pace and speed for my daily runs!

Two years ago when I shifted to trail running, I did not give any attention to the vertical distance (total ascent/descent) in my workouts but it was later last year that I have concentrated more on the vertical distance of the trails I’ve been into. However, since I’ve started this new training season, I made sure that my weekly totals on the vertical distance will not be lower than 6,000 feet.

On Mondays and Fridays, I would do some stretching and calisthenics/core strengthening exercises. I would also do “foam rolling” to my legs for about an hour with more concentration to my calves, hamstrings, quads, and butt muscles. I stopped my lap swimming for the past weeks and by the end of the 7th or 8th week, I would incorporate (stationary) cycling in my weekly workouts.

On my weekend LSDs, I don’t eat a heavy breakfast (ingesting only coffee) as I want to simulate how I would apply my nutrition and hydration strategy when I am about to reach my “bonking” period which is about 1-2 hours after the start of my run. This is where I would observe how my body would react to any food or fluids that I take in, whether it is water, Tailwind, S’Caps, solid foods (power bars/baby foods/power bars/dried fruits), electrolyte mix, or Clif Bloks. So far, my maximum LSD distance was 20 miles in 6 hours, carrying a heavy load of water in my hydration vest (2-20 oz of water bottle & 1.5-liter hydrapak on my backpack + solid foods). However, if I use my 2-16 oz Simple Hydration bottles (tucked in my race belt with power bars) and one hand-held 12 oz handheld water, that same distance of 20 miles is usually done in 5 hours or less!

On the technical aspect and the monitoring of my body’s feedback on my performance every workout, my Suunto Ambit 3 Peak GPS Watch, had been very useful in monitoring my Heart Rate, VO2, Cadence, Calories Consumed/Burned, and Recovery Period. From these data, I would be able to know on what to do for my rest and recovery for the next workout. My daily workouts are properly recorded in a notebook/journal that I would religiously write every time I finish a workout, to include, what I feel before, during , and after the workout.

In summary, I attribute my faster and better performance in my 4 weeks of trail running due to the following: (1) Better nutrition before, during , and after every workout; (2) Constant hydration with water every mile with Tailwind every other mile; (3) Speed workouts on Wednesdays and incorporation of “strides” in my daily runs; (4) Adapting my body to ingest S’Caps/Salt Sticks during the run on hotter days without any negative reaction to my body; (5) More vertical distance and higher altitude hiking/downhill running would acclimatize my respiratory system; and (6) “Foam Rolling” & Stretching with Core Exercises twice a week.

I’ve been using my Hoka One One “Speedgoat” Trail Shoes for my LSDs and most of my daily runs while my Inov-8 Race Ultra 270 Trail Shoes and Hoka One One Challenger ATR would be used in my recovery and tempo runs.

Monthly Mileage (August 2015): 238.65 Miles or 381.84 Kilometers

Monthly Vertical Distance (August 2015): 41,605 feet

"Leave No Trace"

“Leave No Trace”

“4-Minute” Workout

26 12 2012

For those who are in the know of this kind of workout, it is simply called “Tabata” Interval Workout. It is an intense workout created and studied by a Japanese Sports Scientist Izumi Tabata whose duration is only FOUR MINUTES! According to his studies, exposing this workout to athletes, on a regular basis, had greatly improved their aerobic and anaerobic capabilities.

It is simply done by doing the exercise (of choice) in 20 seconds and then resting for another 10 seconds. This repetition (of exercise and rest) is done for eight (8) times, totalling to 240 seconds or 4 minutes. The intensity of the selected exercise could be fast/hard, moderate, or easy, depending on one’s capability.

This workout can be done indoors or when you feel bored/sleepy in the house or in the office or in the classroom. You can start with a single exercise or combine it with other exercises depending on the duration of your planned workout.

As for me, I usually complete a 4-minute workout for a certain exercise before going to the next exercise that I want. Some athletes would prefer to alternate one exercise to another. There are no strict rules to follow as long as you do one exercise for eight (8) repetitions.

To strengthen my legs, I usually do the following exercises one at a time by following the Tabata Protocol (20 seconds exercise, 10 seconds rest, 8 reps):

Jumping Jacks

Body Weight Squats

“100 Ups”

Forward Lunges

“High Knees”

It will take me 20 minutes to complete these exercises with my shirt and short soaked with my sweat! I usually do this workout at least twice a week inside the house. However, I still do some light stretching before and after my Tabata Workout.

I use my Gymboss or my handheld digital stopwatch to time my workout.

You can devise you own set of exercises depending on what part of your body you want to be strengthened. You can also use some weights or other exercise tools for this workout.

Tabata Workout/Protocol can be applied in your speed training on the oval track, hill repeats or on your “speed bursts” on the road & trails. The possibilities of applying this protocol to your workout/exercises are endless.

Try it and you will be amazed how easy you can heat up your body or see your sweat dropping on the floor or your clothes being damp/wet with your own sweat.

For more information and details, please visit

Getting Back My Speed

22 12 2012

Interval workout in an oval track or in a measured-loop course is one of the best ways to improve one’s speed in running. Whether you are training for the usual long distance runs from 3K to Marathon or even Ultra Marathon Races, a runner needs to incorporate speed workouts to his training program.

Having been absent in local races for the past months and weeks, I continued to do my LSDs on the roads, trails and mountains as I slowly recovered from my running-related injury. But my LSDs and peak-bagging feats made me a slower runner on the roads but made me a stronger runner on the trails.

For the past 3 weeks, I’ve started running again on city roads and I monitored my LSD pace for these runs. I’ve observed that I could run an average of 7.5K per hour speed which I think is an appropriate ultra marathon speed to finish an ultra distance within the prescribed cut-off time. But for a marathon pace, such speed is a “death march” pace to the finish!

I wanted to improve my speed to the range of 8-8.5K per hour and for me to get into that range of speed is to do some interval workout. I started doing my interval workout at the Philippine Army Grandstand/Parade Ground Jogging Lane. The course is flat, paved and it is approximately 1-kilometer loop (actually it lacks 3-5 meters which is very negligible). This is where I started doing my weekly 1K interval repeats in five (5) repetitions with 400-500 meters as walking breaks in between.

What is different and unique in my interval workouts is that I do it after one hour of snorkling/swimming at the Philippine Army Swimming Pool and it is usually done from 11:30-12:30 noon time. Yes, that’s how crazy I am in my present training. That is the reason why my skin is becoming darker everyday! (Note: One-half of the loop is partially shaded with trees)

My first week interval workout data gave me an average of 5:30 minutes/km pace and my average LSD speed increased to 8K per hour. My second week interval workout gave me an average of 5:20 minutes/km pace and my average LSD speed increased to 8.5K per hour. Lately, my third week interval workout gave me an average of 5:10 minutes/km pace and my average LSD speed increased to 9.0K per hour. In my rough estimate, it’s within 10:45 minutes/mile range and if I can sustain such pace, I can run a full marathon in 4:42 to 4:45 hours. Not bad for a Senior Citizen!

Even if I immediately wear my running shoes after coming out of the swimming pool and do my jogging to the Parade Ground, I still do my warm-up easy run for 1K; do some basic stretching to my calf muscles, quads, hamstrings, glutes and ITBs; and do some brief speed drills like “knee-high” or “100-ups”, butt kicks, and bouncing lunges! After my interval workout, I have to do also another 1K “cool-down” jog or brisk walk before I end up with my post-stretching exercises, the same ritual before the workout, except for the speed drills.

Since is it very hot at noon time, I see to it that I have to drink water every time I finish one repetition of the workout. It is only after the workout that I ingest food and drink my sports drinks. (Note: There are water fountains along the jogging lane)

If you want to get faster and more consistent in your training and races, don’t forget to include an interval workout in your training program, at least, once a week. There are other ways and means to make you faster but I’ll have to reserve that in my future posts.

Remember, interval workout is the reason why the runner in front of you is faster and stronger! You can do it, too! And ultimately, beat the runner who had been passing you or the guy in front of you!

Mt Samat Mt Miyamit 438

(Note: Don’t be misled why I’ve been swimming a lot. Swimming is a part of my cure/treatment to my injury and I use it as an “extender”/cross-training workout for my ultra running training)

Official Result: 1st WEST COAST 200 Ultramarathon Race/ 3rd Day

18 11 2012

1st WEST COAST 200K Ultramarathon Race/ 3rd & Last Day

8:00 PM November 3, 2012-6:00 AM November 4, 2012

Start: Municipal Plaza/Park, Infanta, Pangasinan

Finish: Barangay Lucap Port, Alaminos, Pangasinan

Distance: 56.6 Kilometers

Number of Starters: 30

Number of Finishers: 29

@ Infanta, Pangasinan Municipal Plaza With 30 Runners

1 Marcelo Bautista 5:15:01
2 Alfred Delos Reyes 6:46:33
3 Henry Laron 7:03:52
4 Graciano Santos 7:04:47
5 Bob Castilla 7:05:04
6 Jorell Anthony Paringit 7:09:02
7 Ronnel Go 7:10:19
8 Ricardo Cabusao Jr 7:15:42
9 Alain Cuchas Llagono 7:21:19
10 Dante Sagayap 7:24:45
11 Jonel Mendoza 7:34:00
12 Bong Alindada 7:35:41
13 Roger Villareal 7:49:43
14 Reylynne Dela Paz (F) 7:54:14
15 George Dolores 7:56:22
16 Mac Milan 8:11:37
17 Carl Balagot 8:17:23
18 Don Gutierrez 8:18:04
19 TJ Isla 8:18:35
20 Tin Ferrera (F) 8:25:29
21 Ma. Josephine Liao (F) 8:28:13
22 Meljohn Tezon 8:28:21
23 Calvin John Escandor 8:47:01
24 Yob Red 8:52:25
25 Kharl Ocampo 8:52:37
26 Jinky Yray (F) 8:52:45
27 Hazel Arnaiz (F) 8:52:48
28 Alex Jones 9:06:57
29 Ron Illana 9:07:17
30 Stephanie Hefti DNF/28K

On Rehab

17 04 2011

For the past one week, I’ve been regularly going to the Gym to strengthen my knees, quadriceps and calf muscles. In short, I’ve been trying to to cure my injury which I incurred during my “West To East” Run. The problem lies on my left leg which I think had been my more dominant running leg in my workouts and road/trail races.

Since I’ve finished my latest adventure run, I rested and recovered for about 16 days without any run or physical activity. My daily activities were geared to my rest by doing some light stretching exercises, walking, and browsing on the Internet. I did not have any massages but I concentrated more on my intake of natural foods rich in carbohydrates, proteins and fats. However, every two days, I have to take one capsule of Alaxan FR.

After 16 days of no running, I decided to go to the gym and start trying to bring back some “action” to my legs. After 16 days of no activity, I’ve observed that my leg muscles were soft and tender. I missed those times that my legs were full of “lumps” or “rocks” of hard muscles.

I have been doing lots stationary cycling/biking maintaining an rpm of not less than 100; doing also fast rpm on elliptical machines of at least 120 rpm; and lastly, on the rowing machine trying to maintain at least 22-24 strokes per minute. All these exercises are done with an elapsed time of at least 30 minutes. I hope these exercises will result to something better for my running legs.

The core and upper body muscle routine is still there but the emphasis in my gym works are now concentrated to my legs.

To top it all, I’ve been drinking Ensure as my nutrition drinks. Lots of water intake during gym workouts.

We will see in the coming days what would be the result of my gym workouts. I hope my legs will be better.

“Uh-Oh! I Did It Again”

29 12 2010

Two days after the 2nd Quezon City International Marathon, I went to Camp Aguinaldo to have my recovery run. I planned to have one loop of the 7K-loop course with a slow pace. However, after running for about 5 kilometers, I slowly increased my pace up to the finish line. But my workout changed when I felt my 7K run was not enough. So, I decided to continue my run with a goal to finish 10K for the day. Read the rest of this entry »

Running Clinic @ Thomson Reuter

10 08 2010

Mark Hernandez of Thomson Reuter is one of the avid ultrarunners based in Metro Manila, having finished the 2010 BDM 102 and the 1st PAU 50K Race. He is the one spearheading the activities of his company’s Running Team. As part of their active lifestyle and sports activities, he requested me to conduct a running lecture and clinic to his officemates last month. Finally, on the early morning of July 31, a running lecture and clinic was conducted to almost 20 persons in their office.

The running lecture started at 6:00 AM and it was followed with an open forum and discussions. The clinic was conducted outside the office, along the wide streets of McKinley Hill. Stretching exercises, running “drills”, and a 15-minute easy run was led and conducted by the members of Elite Team Bald Runner.

1st Time To Conduct A Running Lecture Early In The Morning

Answering Questions During Open Forum

Stretching Exercises With Elite Team BR

...Running "Drills"

15-Min Easy Run @ McKinley Hill

Mark, Thanks For Your Support to the Elite Team BR & BR's Events

Group Picture After The Activity


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