By the time this newsletter hits your inbox, runners in the 2020 edition should have been testing themselves along the course of the Badwater 135, which many consider to be ‘the world’s toughest footrace’. Alas, in a very last-minute decision, organizers of the Badwater 135 cancelled this year’s edition, leaving this year’s field wondering what they could have accomplished with their fully formed fitness and heat acclimation strategies.
I have been fortunate enough to run and crew for the Badwater 135 a total of eight times, as well as prepare numerous runners for the event. All of these experiences have had an impression on me, and I am a better coach because of them. No other group of runners prepare quite as meticulously as the Badwater athletes do. The combination of the searing heat, mind numbing monotony of the road, the complexity of the application process and the exclusivity of getting an entry, the sheer expense of participating, and a relentless culture of improvement that has evolved over the years all combine to create what I observe to be the most prepared ultramarathon field on the planet. And the statistics bear this out. Badwater, despite the notoriously difficult conditions, has a finish rate of 85-90%. As a comparison, the Leadville Trail 100 hovers around a 50% finish rate for any given year, and the coveted Western States 100 has finish rates routinely between 70 and 80%. Make no mistake, the Badwater runners and their crews come fully prepared and bring it on race day.
Badwater is also one of the greatest hot environment sports performance proving grounds imageable. The searing heat will put your heat acclimation strategy to the test. Frequent access to your crew (your crew can leapfrog the runner in a support van) allows the runner to put cooling strategies and nutrition interventions in place without many logistical limitations. Being a crafty lot, Badwater runners have implemented an array of bizarre, sometimes effective and ultimately outlawed strategies in order to gain an advantage. Over the years I have seen everything from the use of refrigerated trucks to pacers on rollerblades with umbrellas (both of these strategies are now prohibited, by the way) to battle the heat. Still, the Badwater runners don’t always use the most efficacious strategies when it comes to heat acclimation and nutritional interventions. They tend to try to combat the challenges the course and environment will throw at them with contrived and combined strategies that at times are ineffective or even counterproductive. You might not ever have the urge to do the Badwater 135, but there are still some lessons we can all learn from the strategies this hearty group of ultrarunners use to battle the course and the heat, what actually works and how things go awry.
Heat Acclimation Strategies
Out of all the unique aspects in preparing for the Badwater 135, acclimating to the heat naturally gets the most attention. With temperatures that can be in excess of 120 degrees, runners rightfully approach this element of preparation with upmost importance. I first attended the Badwater 135 in 2006. When I arrived in Death Valley, I curiously took a straw poll of the participants to understand the heat acclimation strategies they used in training.
Over the years, either at the race of from afar, I have done the same straw polling and observed what the athletes were doing to prepare. I recently pulled my notes from these experiences and below is a short list of various protocols I’ve found, in no particular order:
- Running on a treadmill with a dryer vent blowing on your face. As a bonus, some runners would put portable heating elements round the treadmill for an added effect
- Running in the heat with a down jacket, pants and rain jacket
- Running on a treadmill in a greenhouse
- Running on a treadmill in the sauna. This normally involves cajoling the gym owner into some, shall we say, creative electrical engineering that may or may not pass a fire inspection
- If your gym owner was concerned about said electrical engineering, doing jumping jacks and core work in the sauna
- Driving around town with the heater turned up, perhaps with a down jacket
- Passive sauna exposure
- Camping in Death Valley in the weeks leading up to the event
- Turning up the heat in the house to > 90 degrees
- Some combination of some or all of the above with time frames that range from days to months
Although the complexity and duration of these protocols vary, they all can be catalogued into two broad categories: 1) passive acclimation/acclimatization strategies and 2) active acclimation/acclimatization strategies. Each have basic advantages and tradeoffs.
Passive strategies (strategies where you just sit there and let the environment do its job) allow for heat acclimation to occur with minimal interruption to training. They do not, however, allow you to ‘feel the heat’ while running, and many athletes feel the need to experience training in a hot environment before competing in one, simply to understand the sensation.
Active strategies (strategies that use a combination of exercises and environment) allow for heat acclimation to occur and for the athlete to feel the sensation of running in a hot environment. However, compared to Badwater, where the humidity is low and solar radiation is high, some of the contrived active strategies will be mismatched, particularly the overdressed ones that create a high humidity environment with little solar radiation. Additionally, active acclimation strategies involve some training compromise either by reducing the duration or intensity of the training session to accommodate for the increase in core temperature.
How Heat Acclimation Strategies Actually Work
Fundamentally, heat acclimation strategies work by inducing systemic and cellular responses to help your body cope with the heat. Systemically, your body responds (primarily) by increasing plasma volume and sweat rate in an effort to dissipate heat. Cellularly, your body upregulates heat shock proteins which act as cellular chaperones and managers for proteins that have been damaged by heat stress and other forms of degradation. Both systemic and cellular responses help athletes manage the heat in various ways, ultimately resulting in increased exercise capacity in the heat (and sometimes in temperate environments).
What has started to emerge in the research is that the extent of core temperature increase is critical to the success of the strategy. Heat up your body to a certain temperature and then hold that temperature for a certain amount of time and you get great results. Miss the mark on the temperature or duration and the physiological results are not as good. This critical core temperature, which appears to be in a very narrow range of 38-38.5 °C or 100.4-101.3 °F, is difficult to achieve and athletes will describe it as somewhere between ‘feeling hot’ to ‘too hot, dizzy and lightheaded’.
Through this lens, we can look at the aforementioned strategies from our (perhaps ill-fated) Badwater runners. Strategies that are capable of producing a core temperature of 38-38.5 °C will be markedly more effective than those that do not. Additionally, active acclimation strategies (strategies that involve running/cycling in the heat or overdressed) will most likely be hampered by compromising exercise intensity, as a high core temperature will limit the duration or intensity of running (how long can you run while being ‘dizzy and lightheaded’?).
Many athletes now choose to use an ‘active-passive’ protocol, where they go out and do a normal run and then immediately jump into a sauna or hot water immersion bath. The initial run begins the process of increasing core temperate and the heat exposure from the bath or sauna finishes it off to achieve the critical temperature of 38-38.5 °C. In this way, training is not compromised and the sauna/hot water immersion bath session duration is reduced. If you really feel like you need to ‘feel the heat’ to experience the sensation of running in a particular environment, contrive the environment to try to match the temperature, solar intensity and humidity of your event as much as possible, and do so for the minimum number of sessions to do the trick. For the Badwater runners, a treadmill with a dryer vent blasting in your face a few times is a better option than running around in a down jacket for a month.
Ultrarunning has been known to produce good hallucinations. Sleep deprivation combined with physical exhaustion, bonking, and blurred vision is a ripe recipe for the mind to conjure up memories of distant past and teleport them into a fuzzy present. And Badwater hallucinations are the best, by far. While your trail ultrarunning compatriots will brag about stories of a stick that turned into a snake, a tree stump that looked like a bear or a rock that talked, the Badwater hallucinations take this altered reality to a whole other dimension. The runners at Badwater encounter a cast of characters ranging from the Michelin Man to old 49er miners. Even the infamous white line painted on the road gets in on the action by transforming into various beings of and out of this world. Hallucinations come complete with incomprehensible background stories (the Michelin Man is there to run for President), unintelligible plot lines (I was helping the 49er change a tire), and bizarre interactions that border between a Star Wars movie and a DMT trip.
There is zero training for this. So, I have no help for you here other than to say if you really want an out of this world experience, just go run Badwater.
Too Much Aid Can Be a Bad Thing
One of the differentiating features of the Badwater 135 compared to other ultramarathons is that you have copious access to your crew and supplies. Food, water, pacers, your medical kit and the all-important performance enhancing ice, are never more than several minutes away. And, this level of assistance can be intensive. I once paced an athlete from Furnace Creek to Stovepipe wells, just a 24.6-mile section of the race, and blew through over 60 liters (15.8 gallons) of ice water in the process of drinking and dousing. And while it might seem like a luxury to have your every ultrarunning need fulfilled at a moment’s notice, at times it can be a bad thing. Runners can take on too much fluid and too many calories, particularly in the beginning of the race, simply because they are there. And later they lean on their crews to bail them out of a situation when they could simply just put their head down and run.
Remember that when you are training, you are doing the vast majority of it by yourself. Almost any racing situation involves many times more support than you would receive during any training session. And Badwater is an extreme example of this. While ultrarunners should learn to leverage their crews, pacers and other support personnel, they should not rely on them to get the job done. You don’t need pacers or crew to get the job done (in most ultras). Do they help, yes. But, running is ultimately the responsibility of the runner.
Badwater will be back
Like many of the races that couldn’t happen this year, Badwater will ultimately be back. I look forward to returning in some capacity, as an athlete, coach or crew. I simultaneously learn and get a chuckle out of many of the strategies athletes use to prepare for the event. I love hearing stories of how many layers of clothing athletes put on for a simple training run and how Kermit the Frog ran alongside athletes in the middle of the night during the race. Soon enough, we will get to experience or hear about all of these again. Until then, we can learn for the next time.
Gibson, Oliver R et al. “Heat alleviation strategies for athletic performance: A review and practitioner guidelines.” Temperature (Austin, Tex.) vol. 7,1 3-36. 12 Oct. 2019, doi:10.1080/23328940.2019.1666624
Before Jason Koop wrote his book “Training Essentials For Ultrarunning” where he highly recommends Rice Cakes as one of the best solid food for ultrarunners, Dr Allen Lim, born in the Philippines and raised in the USA, Doctorate in Integrative Physiology; Director Of Sports Science for the Radioshack Pro Cycling Team and the Garmin Pro Cycling Team; and the only American scientist who had the unique distinction as the Chef/Cook for the said teams in their 2010 & 2011 seasons for the Tour De France, is considered as the originator of the famous Allen’s Rice Cakes which are very popular to professional cyclists as their food during their daily races in the said Tour and during their training rides.
Copied from Dr Allen Lim’s book, “The Feed Zone Cookbook: Fast And Flavorful Food For Athletes”, the following are the ingredients and procedure on how to prepare/cook the said cakes:
2 cups uncooked calrose rice or other medium-grain “sticky” rice or sushi rice
3 cups of water
8 ounces of bacon
2 tablespoons of liquid amino acids or low-sodium soy sauce
salt and grated parmesan (optional)
- Combine Rice and Water in a Rice Cooker
- While Rice is cooking, chop up bacon before frying, then fry in a medium saute pan. When crispy, drain off fat and soak up excess fat with paper towels.
- Beat the eggs in a small bowl and then scramble on high heat in a saute pan. Don’t worry about overcooking the eggs as they will break up easily when mixed with rice.
- In a large bowl or in the rice cooker bowl, combine the cooked rice, bacon, and scrambled eggs. Add liquid amino acids or soy sauce and sugar to taste. After mixing, press into an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan to about 1 1/2-inch thickness. Top with more brown sugar, salt to taste, and grated parmesan, if desired.
- Cut and wrap individual cakes. Makes about 10 rice cakes in rectangle form. Individual cakes can be wrapped with aluminum foil or strap wrap.
Per Serving (1 cake): Energy: 225 calories; Fat: 8 grams; Sodium: 321 mg; Carbs: 30 grams; Fiber: 1 gram; Protein: 9 grams
Time of Preparation/Cooking: 30 minutes
In June 2012, I posted a Training Plan for Ultra Distances which I copied from the book of Bryon Powell, “Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide To Running Ultramarathon. In July 2012, I posted another training program for ultra distances but the link on the Internet is no longer available. The training programs that I posted in this blog had been observed to have one of the posts that have been visited more often by my readers and visitors.
Today, I am posting a training program which, I think, I bought from the Internet and I am glad to share it with you. This Training Program for 100K is from Luke Humprey Running of Hansons Running Project. This is applicable to Road & Trail Running distances/events.
This training program has a duration of 18 weeks and it is very easy to follow and understand. It has more speed and intensity as compared to the training plans I posted 8 years ago. It is more detailed on the description of each workout. It is assumed that you are already an average competitive runner if you want to follow this training plan.
Good luck and Enjoy The Process!
This is a Photo Video that I posted on You Tube with the objective to document the past accomplishments of our local trail runners in international trail running event like the UTMB. This video will be also an instrument for others who will be inspired to join this event in the near future. Thank you for watching.
Chapter 3: My Four Months Training With CTS
I am not trying to force-feed you with the training that I did with CTS as I want to share my story from the time that they accepted my application as one of their CTS athletes. I was just lucky that I was able to contact Jason Koop when he was advertising the publication of his book on Ultrarunning in May 2017 and asked him if CTS accepts a 65-year old runner.
After I applied on line on their Website, I was asked to answer (on line) a questionnaire, asking my personal data, experience and number of years of training, and if I had a recurring running injury. After a few days, one of their Senior Coaches contacted me through e-mail and gave me instructions on how to set up my Premium Training Peaks Platform by giving me my Signing-In data. I think it costs me $70.00 as full time payment for my subscription with Premium Training Peaks. Two of my GPS Watches (SUUNTO Ambit 3 Peak and Garmin Forerunner) were linked to the said Training Site Platform. Everything (data) that my Coach need to know about my daily workout are uploaded to the Training Peaks and you can not fake your effort on those data. The Senior Coach had briefed me about the terms being used on the description of each workout and the specific data that are incorporated in the workout. Above all, my workouts were given to me in the number of hours and minutes and not by the number of miles or kilometers that I have to run in each day. My Coach asked me what is my preferred REST Day for the week and I said, I would like it on Mondays.
My Coach would send me my training workout for two weeks and each day I should give my feedback how my body felt in terms of effort from EASY to Very HARD, the rank measurement is from 1 to 10 with Rank 1 as Very Easy and 10 as Very Hard. It is a also a “must” that you send a short message as how you felt during and after the workout. Your feedback description will be gauged in terms of your fitness condition, fatigue, and motivation. However, your feedback will be matched with numerical data captured from your GPS Watch and as seen on Training Peaks. At the end of the week, you can easily see your totals in terms of the total number of hours and the total of miles/kilometers you covered from those hours.On those first days as CTS athlete, I would review the Book on Ultrarunning by Jason Koop making sure to know the description and details of each workout I was given to do.
It is worth mentioning that the Coach would prescribe in each daily workout the following description: (1) the number of hours and minutes of your total workout; (2) each workout is described from its warm-up period (in minutes), main workout (in hours and minutes, depending how long is the period), cool-down period (in Hours/minutes); and (3) the type of terrain where the Coach would suggest you to run, whether it is flat road, trail, or in a course with hilly or steep elevation. The Coach would suggest also your “Total Score Stress” (TSS) where Training Peak would refer it as Running Total Training Stress (rTSS). Depending on what type of workout, the Coach will designate an rTSS score for a specific workout (Easy Run, Endurance Run, Tempo Run, Hill Repeats or Interval). The higher the score, the more the stressful the run. Thus, your workout will be quantified in terms of training stress for a specific running workout. Once I upload my workout from my GPS watch, my rTSS for the workout will be immediately compared with the suggested rTSS from my Coach. Most of the time, my workout rTSS would not surpass or equal my Coach rTSS. But in my feedback, I felt that I am wasted as a result of the workout. Anyway, whether I can equal or not on the required rTTS, my personal observation was that I was running stronger every week.
For the first two weeks of training workout, I was given a mix of Endurance Runs, Tempo Runs, and Recovery Runs from the duration of One Hour & Thirty Minutes to Two Hours. In the succeeding weeks, I was introduced with Hill Repeats. After three weeks, I was asked to conduct a “20-minute field test”. It is done by having a 15-minute warm-up run first and then I did my fastest 20-minute run along a flat paved road, and then had a cool-down for 30 minutes. The result of my “20-minute field test” determined my Average Pace for the Tempo Run. The Average Pace would be my target time whenever I do my Tempo Runs. Most of the succeeding weeks will be devoted to Tempo Runs and Hill Repeats! I was surprised that my Tempo Run’s Average Pace would be faster than my usual Tempo Pace. Before, I could not breach less than 9:00 minutes per mile pace with too much fatigue and pain to my legs and body after each workout. But after 3 weeks of CTS training, I was able to breach the 9:00-minute barrier and with more regular “test runs”, I was able to record a 8:09 minute per mile pace and then lowered it to 7:30-minute pace. With my age and not-so-perfect running form and short legs, I could not believe how fast I could make those leg turn-overs whenever I do my tempo runs on a flat paved road. Since I was preparing for ultra trail runs in the future, I did not have a chance to run on the oval track. I guess, I could run faster if those “20-minute field test” runs were done on an oval track.
One month before the Javelina Jundred 100-Mile Endurance Race, I was given more time for my Endurance Runs on trails in my Playground and they would last from 4 hours to 6 hours. CTS would not allow their athletes to run more than 6 hours in their Endurance Runs for the basic reason that the runner could not recover in a span of one to two days. CTS wants their athletes to be fresh and feeling stronger after a day of recovery. The training concept on those four months was clear to me as it followed the training concept and principles written in the book of Jason Koop—-assessment of my body on the 1st two weeks, followed by fast runs through tempo runs and hill repeats, and then Endurance Runs on the last weeks leading to the target race.
Bottomline, with those 4 months leading to JJ100, I was not injured, my body was always fresh and recovered on Tuesdays, and felt becoming stronger during my Tuesday runs.
In the next succeeding posts, we will go to the details of my daily workouts.
Before we continue with our series, maybe it is nice to check or read this article about our subject matter as suggested by Google.
If you have any comments about this article, please post your thoughts on the Comment below and I will try to answer you as soon as possible. Thank you.
Our series about this topic will continue on Monday. Have a nice day to everybody!
Chapter 2: Consistency & Coaching Services
Training Plans On The Internet & Professional Coaching Services
From the age of 45 years old to 64 years old, the range of Qualifying Time for Men’s is from 3:20 hours to 3:50 hours. And for the Women’s in the same range of age, it is 3:50 hours to 4:20 hours. Those qualifying times are very hard to attain if you are not consistent in your training. So, what should you do? You have two options: Download a Training Plan in the Internet or simply follow the suggested Training Plans at the back of every Running Book published and available in the market (that is one option). And the other option is subscribe to a Professional Coaching Service where you could apply with a considerable amount of monthly fee or a fee for the whole package deal of the Training Plan. In the number of years that I have been a runner, I have tried both and at the present I am under the supervision and coaching service of the CTS.
Let us talk first with the FIRST Option of getting a Training Plan in the Internet or in the back pages of Running Books. You can do that and most likely, you will not pay for anything or if you download those training plans with a fee, it is still very cheap and affordable. However, you should be consistent in following your training plan. Nobody will monitor you except yourself. As long as you follow the scheduled workouts and you attain your desired pace or speed to a certain distance, there is no problem. Most of these training plans consider your weekly mileage as the barometer of your weekly performance. You will realize that your training program will ask you to do more of your mileage to become faster. These training plans will not consider or measure your body condition after every workout and you have only your Strava or any Training Platform where you can download the data from your GPS Watch and see the basic distance, time of duration of your run, pace/speed. elevation, and your heart rate. Your watch might recommend also the number of recovery hours every workout but most of the time, such data is not always accurate.
If you are training on your own, you have to consider visiting the Jack Daniels’ VDOT Running Calculator. All you have to do is to input your Boston Marathon Qualifying Time and it will calculate your Race Pace for the Marathon; your Training Pace for each type of running workout, and Equivalent Pace/Speed for each Distance from 1,500 meters to Marathon Distance. If you can attain your Target Goal Time in 4-6 months, then you are very good and very consistent in your training. But remember, these training plans should be supplemented with better hydration, nutrition, strength training, recovery periods, and flexibility exercises. On this site, you can ask for a custom plan depending on the number of weeks you select as the duration of your training. An example is: You pay $100 for a Training Plan for 24 weeks based from your target goal time.
When I applied for Professional Coaching Service with CTS, the book, “Training Essentials For Ultrarunning: How To Train Smarter, Race Faster, and Maximize Your Ultramarathon Performance” by Jason Koop was just published and available in the market in May 2016. I immediately bought the book and personally contacted Jason Koop through Direct Message on Facebook and asked him if I can qualify to apply for their Coaching Service even if I am about to reach the age of 65 years old. He replied positively and the next days and weeks, I was asked to answer some questionnaire about my running, set up my Premium Training Peaks, and I had my first telephone conversation with my designated Coach. So, in the middle of June 2016, I started my training geared towards a “smarter and faster” ultrarunner. If you happened to read the book of Jason Koop, you would find out how scientific is their approach to make you a long-lasting ultrarunner. And for the past 4 years that I have been a “CTS athlete”, they have valued to maintain my healthy condition as a runner so that I can enjoy running as long as I live.
For the first 6 months as a CTS Athlete, I subscribed to their Premium Plan with One Month Free with a monthly subscription of $300. You can click on their site if you want to know more of their Coaching Services. For the past 3 years, I downgraded to their Select level where I am paying a subscription of $185 per month with a yearly contract. But before last year, I was paying then $175 per month. I am not telling or suggesting you to apply also for a Professional Coaching Service as most of these more popular and credible (not “fly-by-night”) ones have the number of athletes to attend to, are filled-up already. You are very lucky if you will be accepted as one of their CTS athletes but you may never know. You can try. I must accept that those first 4 months that I have trained with CTS, I became stronger ultrarunner but my “gut problem” due to heat was always my weakness. Slowly, I have progressed through the years with the help of my Coach on this problem. I can say that CTS accidentally helped me to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
What is the difference between CTS and this Training Plans in the Internet? There are so many differences. First, CTS measures your training output by the time (number of hours) you put in to your weekly training schedule. Those Training Plans in the Internet measure your output by the number of miles/kilometers you run for the week. CTS monitors my daily workout through the Premium Training Peaks and I have once in two weeks telephone conversation for 30 minutes with my Coach. My Coach had never been changed since the time I started to be enrolled with their service. You could just imagine the relationship I have developed with my Coach for the past four years.
In the coming days, I will mention in my posts the details of my training workouts leading to the 2017 Revel Canyon City Marathon Race.
Thank you for reading.
Chapter 1: Commitment and Self-Assessment
I read somewhere when I was starting to commit myself to train for my First Marathon Race, the first step is commitment and the author of the article would say that you should prepare a “written contract” with yourself as an evidence for your commitment to engage yourself to a Marathon Race. Let that written contract as an evidence to be posted in your bedroom door or refrigerator! It will remind you of your commitment on a daily basis. To make it more binding, get two witnesses to sign the contract, too! It may be “corny” but it is one of most practical ways to remind yourself that you are committed to your goal which is to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
There are things that you should think before you start your journey. First, is how to balance your time with your family, work, and your training. If you are a retiree like me, you can afford to just think about yourself and your training. If you have been an average competitive runner (I mean, your Marathon Races finish times would be within the 4:00-5:00-hour range) and your age is within the range of 45-60 years old, there is a lot of work to be done to be able to improve your Finish Time. And this blog is for you! (Note: This article is not for those who have not yet started running or for those you can not finish a Marathon Race in 6 hours). If you are within this range of age and finish time in the Marathon Race, there is a need to revisit the new Qualifying Time For The Boston Marathon which was implemented for this year’s edition (2020).
The next thing that you will think is the time frame for yourself to train and be able to select the Marathon Race where you would plan to qualify. Your goal to qualify for the Boston Marathon will need a lot of patience and work from you. You have to be physically, mentally fit and financially prepared along this journey. But let us deal with the physical and mental aspects of your preparation but it would be nice to prepare to put some savings or come up with a “kitty bank” for your future expenses. I would say you need two years as your minimum time frame and three years as your maximum time frame to attain your goal. You might ask me why is it that it is too long? Well, that is the fastest time frame that I would suggest. You need patience and a lot of sweat along this journey.
Next is to conduct a self-assessment on your capability to run faster. After comparing your present performance with the qualifying standards of the Boston Marathon, your first reaction would be frustration and sadness as your goal is too fast from your latest Marathon Finish time. This is where you will challenge yourself and do the work. Sometimes, it is unfortunate that you are an average competitive runner and you have all the much available resources (time and money) but you are still slow as compared with the qualifying times. On the other hand, there are people who are gifted with running talent that they could be within or surpass the qualifying times but they don’t have the resources (money) to spend to be able to leave the country. That is the reality of life. So, we you back to our goal.
Just because you are too slow as compared to your goal time, it does not mean that you would hit the road immediately and try to run as fast as possible everyday until you will be able to improve your pace/speed at a certain distance. This is suicide! Running does not work that way. You need patience and lot of running hours for you to improve and be faster with your time.
There are so many training plans published in books and running magazines in the past and you should study them. The Internet is also full of training resources and plans on how to make you faster. I don’t want you to simply pick a plan and apply it to yourself. Study them first and get the pattern of workouts in every week of the training plan. Do some research on the different of running workouts that are mentioned in those plans like Long Slow Distance (LSD), Tempo Runs, Steady-State Runs, Interval Runs, and Recovery/Easy Runs. In most of these training plans, they will tell you first on the Principles of Running. If you absorbed these time-tested principles and apply them, you will enjoy your journey and you will be safe from any injuries.
One of the books that I would like to recommend as your guide and reference is the Daniels’ Running Formula by Jack Daniels which you can buy in Paperback or Kindle Edition.
For the moment, I will leave you to think and plan for the time frame you need to apply for your to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Will you choose two years or three years?
Thank you for reading. The next story will be posted tomorrow.
Starting today, June 16, 2020, I will be starting a series of posts/blogs on the topic, “How To Qualify For The Boston Marathon”. The objective of these series is to inspire and motivate other runners to qualify for the Boston Marathon, most specially, to the local runners in the Philippines. Qualifying For The Boston Marathon means through their Qualifying Time Standard and not through their Charity Entry.
When I started running seriously in the early 70s for my First Marathon Race in Metro Manila, I started to know about the Boston Marathon when I decided to buy old copies of the Runner’s World Magazine in Dau, Angeles City. Every single issue of the magazine had the Boston Marathon mentioned in most of the articles and stories. Later, I found out that it is the Oldest and Most Prestigious Marathon Race in the US, and to some, in the entire World.
In the early days of the “running boom” in the Philippines in the 70s and early 80s, there were Winners/Champions of the MILO Marathon then who were brought to the USA to join the Boston Marathon as part of their Prize. But apparently, it was stopped. I am not sure how many of our past MILO Marathon Champions who were fortunate to join this prestigious Marathon Race.
As I trained and joined in my first Local Marathon Races in Manila, I have always thought of comparing my Finish Times with the Qualifying Times of the Boston Marathon then. I was frustrated to find out that the Qualifying Time for my Age Bracket/s then (25-29; 30-34; and 35-40) were too fast as compared to my Finish Time/s in local Marathon Races. There was a time when I was assigned in PMA, Baguio City (1986-1989) and thought of improving my running performance because of the challenging terrain and elevation as I continued running with my subordinates. This was where I introduced the “500-Km Club” among my Unit’s/Office Personnel where we would run along Kennon Road and around the PMA Compound and Vicinity on a regular basis. Unfortunately, on those days, there were no longer Marathon Races being organized in Metro Manila. After being transferred to Mindanao for a few months and then later to the Headquarters Philippine Army in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City in the late 80s and early 90s, I completely forgot my goal to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
Fast Forward. Not until I started this blog in the late 2007 that Boston Marathon kept coming back into my mind. However, with the birth of the Bataan Death March 102K Ultramarathon Race, Boston Marathon was completely forgotten as I slowly drifted to the world of Ultramarathon and Ultra Trail Running. To tell you the truth, it was completely accidental that I was able to qualify for the Boston Marathon when I joined and finished the 2017 Revel Canyon City Marathon Race and surprisingly, I got the First Place in the 65-69 Age Category Bracket with a time of 3:46:06 hours which is 14 minutes faster than my Boston Marathon Qualifying Time for the same Age Bracket.
After I finished the 2017 Revel Canyon City Marathon Race, it took me days, weeks, and months to digest, collate, assess and make a conclusion on what went right before and during the race. Up to this time, I am still trying to recall the factors that contributed to my successful effort to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Through this blog, I will share to you the details of this journey. It is very easy to say that it takes determination, discipline, consistency, patience, and focus to be able to attain your goal in our lives and these attributes apply also to being qualified to the Boston Marathon. But the details that you have to do under these attributes will be challenging, and to some, are very frustrating.
If you are attempting or have the goal to qualify for the Boston Marathon, brace for the worst, and prepare your body physically and mentally. Financially, will come later! So, join me in this journey in recalling my story on how I was able to qualify for the Boston Marathon (The Legit Way).
Thank you for reading!