The International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) invited the Philippine Association of Ultrarunners (PAU), the National Ultramarathon Federation of the Philippines, to join the 2020 6-Hour Global Virtual Solidarity Run which was held last August 29-30, 2020. This event was attended by more than 40 member countries with a total of 426 athlete-runners throughout the world.
Team PAU was composed of 9 Male and 9 Female runners coming from the different regions of the country. Due to the Covid-19 Lockdown restrictions, all the runners were advised to do their running in their place of residence, whether on the outdoors or indoors (on treadmill machine). Team PAU represented the country in this event.
Here is the Video of Team PAU during the event:
Thank you for watching. Cheers!
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It was accidental when I saw a post on Facebook of a certain runner with a quotation from a person with the name “Stu Mittleman“ that intrigued and caught my attention while I was drinking my hot coffee in one of the mornings last week. I immediately “googled” the name of Stu Mittleman and I was shocked to find out his feats and accomplishments in the world of Ultrarunning or Ultra Marathon.
During his popularity in Ultra Marathon, he set world records in single stage and multi-day running events. He even set a Official Record in Running Across America during his days. But what got my focus and interest in him is his book which he had written and entitled: “Slow Burn: Burn Fat By Exercising Slower”. I immediately browsed on Amazon about the availability of the said book and after reading its Sample feature, I bought its Kindle Edition for $6.99 and read every chapter of the book.
Since last week, I have been applying his training principle and techniques in my Long Runs, Tempo Runs, and Recovery Runs. His training principle is anchored on ones Heart Rate as expressed in Beats Per Minute (bpm). His Upper Limit of Heart Rate is computed as 220-Age X 0.85 and the Lower Limit of Heart Rate is computed as 220-Age X 0.70. Your Easy/Recovery Runs should be below your Lower Limit of HR; Endurance Runs should be in between the Lower and Higher Limits; and Speed/Interval/Anaerobic Runs should be above your Upper Limit.
At my age of 68, my Upper Limit is 130 bpm and my Lower Limit is 107 bpm. However, I have adjusted my Lower Limit to 112 bpm and my Upper Limit to 125 bpm after I have been following this principle for the duration of one week. For a typical one hour running workout, I would jog for the first 20 minutes within my Lower Limit of bpm; next 20 minutes is done in between my Lower and Upper Limits of bpm; and the last 20 minutes will be within the Lower Limit of bpm. One can adjust the period of time for each phase of the workout by shortening the first and last 20 minutes to come up with a longer duration for the 2nd phase of workout.
As a result by following this training principle and technique, my recovery in between my daily workouts were faster and my runs were more relaxing and comfortable. My breathing is easier, most specially, if I am running outside my backyard using my Buff as my mask. I could also focus more on listening to my body and have the pleasure of looking around my environment most specially when I am running along the highway.
On the nutrition side, I would start my runs without any fluid and food intake in the mornings and could last up to 2-3 hours without food intake and with regular intake of water every 15-20 minutes during the run. The fats stored in my body would be the source of my energy throughout the workout. However, once I finish my workout, I would immediately have my food consisting of lesser carbohydrates but more on protein and fats. I think my waist size had reduced from Size 29 to Size 28 because of diligently following Stu’s training principle/technique!
I am highly recommending this book for those who love and passionate on ultramarathon races and timed/endurance events. This is also good for those who would like to start in walking, jogging, and running to improve one’s health and immune system.
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Based from what I have been reading on Social Media and other written articles about running for the past days since the start of the year 2020, I have the following personal predictions about running in the local setting in the country as well as in International Running Events:
Running Events will steadily increase in numbers: With the positive results of the 30th ASEAN Games where the country became the Host and the Overall Champion in the Medal Tally Results, running as a basic sports will be embraced by the citizenry as a form of exercise; as an endurance sports; as a part of training for other sports discipline; and as a part of a healthy style of living. Almost all the weekends of the year will be filled with scheduled “fun runs”; long distance running events, such as half-marathon, marathon, and ultramarathon races. Short and Middle distance races like 5K and 10K races will always be there and it is predicted that more “newbies” will join such races.
Trail Running Events will increase throughout the country: As per my observation with the scheduled races at the Facebook Group “Trail Running In The Philippines” (TRIP), trail running events, whether they are short in distance or ultras, have increased in numbers and I think for 2020, more events will be staged in almost all the regions/provinces in the country where there are mountain trails. However, trail runners will tend to choose which one to join due to financial constraints or depending on what would be their goal in this selected sports. Some competitive trail runners will be joining the Local Trail Running Events with ITRA points for them to qualify in International Trail Running Events. With more of trail running events for this year, the “old” trail running events will have a decrease in participants not unless the same people who have finished the event will continuously support the said event.
MILO Marathon & MILO Regional Qualifying Races are still the Number ONE Running Events In The Country: Aside from its stature as the Most Prestigious Running Events In The Country, it rewards our Local Elite Runners with Cash Incentives and Travel Expenses support for the MILO Finals Marathon Race. MILO/NESTLE as a MultiNational/Foreign Corporation in the country had been promoting Running as a Sports for the longest time for the local populace. Nobody from our Local Business/Corporate Brands or Institutions had the courage to dig deep from their “pockets” to provide a constant and continuous goal to promote healthy lifestyle through running to the local populace. MILO Runners will also increase innumber despite the fact that schools are required to bring their students to join the shorter races. For the competitive and average runners, there will be an increase in the number of runners who would like to qualify for the MILO Finals as it is becoming a symbol status for runners to be a part of the said event. Qualified for the MILO Finals had been a “bragging rights” for the average and competitive runners in the country.
With more Running Events, Runners Will Remain With Slow Finish Times: With the advent of the Social Media, runners will be satisfied in joining and finishing the race event that they have joined. Pictures of runners with their Finisher’s Medal will be the usual post/status on Facebook without mentioning their Finish Time. Actually, this practice had been with us through the years and more “newbie” runners will follow this practice.
Slow Finish Time Runners Will Compose Most Of The Runners In International Marathon Events: It is common in my observation that Slow Finish Runners (Sub-5-Hour & Sub-6-Hour Runners) in Marathon Races will consist most of our Runners who will be joining the World Marathon Majors Events. Their reason could be “Bragging Rights” to have joined these events as they would post their Finisher’s Medals on Facebook and other Social Media platforms. I could not understand why these average and slower runners are the luckiest persons in Race Lotteries in World Major Marathon Races. This prediction is the main reason why the Runners from the Philippines remain as one of the slowest finishers in Marathon Races as compared with other nations.
But More Average and Competitive Runners Will Try To Qualify For The Boston Marathon: It can not be denied that the Most Prestigious Marathon Race In The World is the Boston Marathon and its qualifying times had been faster than before and there is a number of minutes as buffer time if a runner just qualified for his time, to make sure that he is in for the race. Hopefully, more of our Local Elite Runners will be able to qualify for the said race. For those slower runners who are active in the Social Media, they will take the window of opportunity to get in to the event as Charity Runner/s as they have the money and influence to raise for the funds needed.
UTMB Races Will Remain As The Goal Of Local Trail Runners: Through the past years, the number of Pinoy Runner (Local and Foreign-based) Applicants for the UTMB Lotteries had been increasing and as a result, more Filipinos are joining the UTMB Races. The creation of Trail Running Events in the country with ITRA points had considerably increased the number of qualified Trail Runners for the UTMB. It is predicted that more Trail Running Organizers/Race Directors will advertise their races with ITRA Points as a “come-on” for those runners who plan to join the UTMB Races, as well, in other International Races. However, with financial and logistics constraints, there will still be qualified applicants to the UTMB Races who would not be able to join such events.
More “Copycat” Ultramarathon Races Will Be Created: There is a tendency of Local Ultra Race Director/s to copy or outdo other RDs Routes for Road Ultramarathon Events. What is worse is when they do a “Reverse” version of what other RD had adopted as his route in his events. This bad practice will continue showing disrespect to the other Race Director/Organizer. Some RDs will also conduct farther distances for their Ultra Events with the purpose to outdo the performance of other ultra athletes. With the popularity of “Fake News”, there will also be “Fake RDs and Fake ROs” who will spend money for advertisement, send Personal Messages to invite their FB Friends, promise Prizes, Raffles, and other Incentives for the Podium Winners, attract runners with Commercial Sponsors and give “Free Kits” to Runner-Influencers.
Ultramarathon Races and Popular Running “Trends” Will Continue To Be Copied By Local Race Organizers: I think I am the Race Director that started the famous “Beer Mile” in the country and since then, it was copied by others as a “fun run” and it did not prosper to come up with a some sort of National Course Record among the runners. A Fat Ass Road Run was introduced every January and it became popular for runners and I guess, there will no more of this event this year. I also introduced Fat Ass For Trail for a single edition and I was not able to get more participants that I have stop the concept. As the Backyard Ultra in the US is becoming popular, some Local Organizers had conducted their own version of this event. Hopefully, this event will thrive and grow within this year. As for the IAU concept of “loop runs” to establish Record Runs in 24 Hours and other Running Timed Events, these races are not palatable to the liking and taste of Local Runners as compared to other Asian Countries and if we have some races of this kind, I predict that we could not be able to compete and be at par with these countries.
More Ultra Race Organizers and Race Directors Will Be Dreaming That Running Events Are Lucrative Business: This is “self-explanatory”.
Lastly, there will always be a “Cheater” in Every Race!
After I arrived from the United States to join the 123rd Boston Marathon this year, I immediately created a dirt, single track trail inside my Playground Lot which has a total area of about One Hectare. With the help of an assistant to cut/clear the path from weeds, roots, and protruding stones and rocks; and an engineer’s distance measuring cycle which I asked my friend, Rowell Ramos, to buy from Amazon, I was able to measure a distance of 400 meters for one loop. It is not as perfect as an Oval Track in shape but it suits the purpose of a single track trail path.
Since then, I’ve been running along this loop on a regular basis . I always change the direction of my run every time I finish One Mile, which is equivalent to 4 loops. Sometimes, I would change the direction of run after Two Miles or sometimes, I consider the elapsed time like changing the direction after running for 30 minutes. You can say that running in a loop is boring but I make sure to make some speed drills or “strides” in some of the sections. However, hearing my music playlist solves everything in terms of maintaining my pace, rhythm, and trying to be more focused on my leg speed/turn-over on the trail.
The loop is not completely a flat one. It has some minimal ascents and descents which are short in distance but I could play or vary my pace and speed depending on what type of workout that I would do for the day. During my easy runs, I would register an average speed of 3.5-3.8 miles per hour with an initial one or two loops of hiking as my warm-up. During my tempo runs, I would try to reach my average speed from 3.8-4.2 miles per hour after doing some drills and stretching exercises. Lately, I would combine easy running on the first half of my workout and then do a tempo run on the last half. If my workout calls for a two-hour run, I would run the first hour with an easy average speed of 3.5 miles per hour and then the last hour with a tempo average speed of 4.2 miles per hour. My last one mile (4 loops) would be my cool-down jog.
With this Playground Loop, I could do my runs anytime of the day. I could also run half-naked if the weather is hot or if I do my runs in the middle of the day. Most sections of the loop are covered with fruit trees (mangoes), coconuts, and ornamental plants and I don’t worry about the heat of the sun as I have a shade throughout the course. I also run during nighttime to test my headlamps if they are still working and trying to improve my pace and speed during night running. Most of all, I pre-position two water stations along the loop and take in some of my nutrition and hydration depending on the time or distance I have covered. I have been experimenting which one is more effective; taking in my food and hydration by the number of minutes or by the distance I have covered. Lately, I have concentrated my nutrition and hydration frequency by the number of miles I have covered. The alarm from my Garmin GPS Watch once I cover one mile, warns me to take in a bite of my food (rice cake, fruit, power bars, or biscuits) followed with 1/4 water from my 20 oz water bottle. And this practice is repeated every mile along the course. I have observed that I have maintained my speed through this method. However, in the end, I would still be lighter in weight by 2-3 pounds once I step into the weighing scale after my workout. Hopefully, I would be able to solve this situation in my future runs.
After months of running in this loop, I have observed that my Garmin GPS Watch would register a longer distance from what I have measured through the engineer’s distance cycle meter. I think the vegetation and the trees that cover the trail would impede the accurate reading of the GPS satellites with my Watch. The GPS distance would be longer by 30-50 meters depending on the time of the day and the prevailing weather. The GPS distance is longer in the later afternoon, evening, and when it is cloudy. Sometimes, my Strava distance would be shorter than what is registered in my Garmin GPS Watch.
When I prepared for an ultra trail event like the Cortina 48K Trail Race in Italy this summer, almost all my running workouts were done on this loop without my trekking poles but I would carry 20 pounds of frozen water in my hydration bottles with my hydration vest. Whether I would hike or jog during day or night, I would be slogging it out along this loop up to three hours or more. I could only count with my fingers on how many times did I peak and “double-traverse” Mt Roosevelt (highest mountain in my neighborhood) by slowly hiking up on the ascents and “power hiking” on the descents with 20 pounds of water and food in my vest and belt at the middle of the day. Combined with these hikes in the mountain and runs along my Playground Loop, I was able to finish the said race even though I was the last runner to arrive within the prescribed cut-off time of twelve hours.
Since I have been training alone in my runs, I feel safe and secured within the confines of my Playground Loop anytime of the day. I can do whatever I want. I could make a video of my runs. I could dance after my runs. I could shout. I could sing with my Playlist. I could think clearly while running. I could wear any running outfit that I like. And simply enjoy running alone in my Playground. At this time, my Playground Loop is still not ready to receive some visitors, even if they are my running friends. I will keep this place as sacred and private.