Hiking With A Weighted Backpack


One of the training tips that my Coach had given me when I complained about my knee pains as a result of my long runs in the mountains is for me to try hiking into the mountains instead of doing my easy long runs there. However, he told me that I should carry a weighted backpack with me starting with 10-15 pounds for my first try or experience in hiking to the mountains. This workout of hiking with a weighted backpack should be done once a week.

This advice or tip was given to me way back last December 2019. It was good that I bought a North Face backpack which is made with thick material and does not have so many pockets or dividers inside it. I would use 2-liter bottles filled with water as the weight I would carry inside my backpack. Since then, I have been hiking with a weighted backpack once a week in going to the mountains for a hike of 3-4 hours and steadily progressed on making my backpack weight up to 25 pounds. Despite the fact that I would be enticed to run the downhills, I forced myself to be patient and slow on the downhills. On those hikes with weighted backpack for the past weeks and months, it gave me more strength on my legs and thus, I was able to finish my ultra trail races (local and international) since then up to the time Covid-19 Lockdown was imposed.

During the Lockdown period (past 4 months), I have been doing my daily runs in my Backyard Loop and I would be doing my hiking with a weighted backpack once a week. After I rested for one week of no running, I resumed my hiking with a weighted backpack yesterday with a reduced weight of 20 pounds. However, I did it in my Backyard Loop. After one mile, I started to perspire and after one hour, I was able to hike a distance of 3 miles.

Hiking With A Weighted Backpack

It was good to be back hiking with my weighted backpack again and I am eager to go back to the mountain trails in the coming days and weeks.

Thank you for reading!

 

Running Diary: August 11 & 12, 2020


Last Tuesday, I was able to run in 61 minutes (1:01 hours) covering a distance of 4 miles or 6.4 kilometers in my Backyard Loop. I started with an easy pace of 16-17 minutes per mile until I was able to increase it to 12-13 minutes per mile. I usually run one loop in my Backyard for 5:30 minutes on an easy pace but I could also finish it in 4:15 minutes in my tempo runs.

I still had my Army Physical Fitness Challenge later in the day which I passed, doing the exercises on the minimum/passing scores of 20 push-ups; 30 sit-ups; and 20-minute 2-mile run along the paved road in front of my compound. Later in the evening, I did my 2-minute forward plank challenge and 100 push-ups challenge.

Yesterday, Wednesday, I did a one-hour hike in my Backyard Loop carrying a backpack weighing 20 pounds of water which were contained in six 2-liter bottles. I was able to cover a distance of 3 miles in one hour. Later in the day, I was able to do my daily “Challenges”.

On the Covid-19 situation in the Philippines, there are now 143,749 total of confirmed cases where 4,444 cases were reported for the day. The following picture shows the latest update from the Department of Health:

Total Tally Of Covid-19 Cases In The Philippines (August 12, 2020)

The weather had improved for the past two days but it is still cloudy and overcast. The ground condition of the trail in my Backyard Loop has become softer due to the past rains but I am glad that the composition of the soil is more sandy than being a muddy one. My trail shoes had been appropriate with this kind of ground condition. Every step gave me more comfort to my old knees and joints.

Thank you for reading and have a good day!

Running Diary: August 8, 2020/2nd MAF Test


I became lazy for the past days and I just stopped running since last July 30 and that makes 9 days of no running. Three days ago, I came up with a video on my You Tube Channel and the topic “What Happens To You After One Week Of No Running?”. Aside from my personal observations and feelings, I posted a survey question on Facebook about the same question. I got a lot of comments/answers from my friends and from the Public and those comments are mentioned in the said video/episode.

Starting today, I resumed my running and I decided to post my running workout for the day in my blog. This will be a daily routine for me in this blog. Actually, three days ago, I decided to have a run in my Backyard Loop to conduct my 2nd MAF (Maximum Aerobic Function) Test for the month of July. However, on my 3rd mile, my Suunto Watch HR Monitor just stopped and stuck to 113 BPM as average and it could no longer go down even if I was already walking. In a few minutes, I found out that the HR Monitor Belt has no longer have a signal to my Watch. I just stopped and I was able to run and hike for 4 miles.

Today, I did a one mile easy jog as my warm-up with the thought that I am going to do my 2nd MAF Test. My HR Monitor was working and I started with 85 bpm and it registered 112 bpm as soon as I finished my warm-up of one mile. Since I have reached my lowest HR within my range of 112-122 bpm, I decided to start my MAF Test. After my first mile, my HR registered at 121 bpm with a time of 14:25 minutes. I rested for 30 seconds by walking and then I started my 2nd mile. I have slowed at the middle of the mile when my watch registered at 122 bpm and tried to maintain it until I finished the 2nd mile in 16:30 minutes. I rested again for 30 seconds before I started my 3rd mile. When I saw my bpm at 121, I started my 3rd mile and had my pace a little faster. I was able to maintain my average bpm at 122 until I finished my 3rd mile in 14:55 minutes. Having confident of my bpm at 122, I started my 4th mile after resting for 30 seconds. After finishing 2 loops of my Backyard Loop which is equivalent to 0.60 miles, my HR registered at 122 and I was on a “auto-mode” in my run. For the last loop, I was running through perceived effort and I was confident that I was not going more than my 122 BPM. When I finished my 4th mile, I saw my watch registered a time of 12:39 minutes and I was surprised that my time was so fast. But when I looked at my Average BPM, I saw that my HR registered at 123 bmp. I might have run at a faster pace when I was thinking that I was running easy on my perceived effort.

Because of this, I rested for one minute instead of 30 seconds just to be sure my HR will go down at 122 bpm. My rest for 1 minute brought down my average bpm to 122 and I started my 5th and last mile. My 5th mile registered with a time of 15:05 minutes. I just walked for another 300 meters before I did my stretching exercises. In summary, I was able to run a distance of 6.2 miles or 10 kilometers for 1:40+hours.

The rolling is the summary of my 2nd MAF Test (July 2020)

1st Mile—-14:25 minutes                  4th Mile—-12:39 minutes

2nd Mile—16:30 minutes                  5th Mile—-15:05 minutes

3rd Mile—-14:55 minutes

Tomorrow, we will find out if I have improved or not from my 1st MAF Test as we will be able to compare it and come up with an assessment. For the meantime, this is the video that I have posted on my You Tube Channel on what happens when you rest for one week with NO Running. Thanks for watching and please subscribe for more videos on running.

 

 

 

Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) Challenge In 30 Days


When I was the Assistant Chief of Staff for Training and Education (G-8) for the whole Philippine Army in 1999 to 2000, I came up with a Command Directive that had been approved by the Commanding General of the Philippine Army for the strict implementation of the Army Physical Fitness Test where every personnel of the Command, to include all the Generals, to undergo the said test on a regular basis, for promotion, and other administrative movement to include application for schooling in the local and international training schools. Since its implementation, I was a witness of deaths of those who passed and failed in the said test, separation from the service, and non-promotion of officers and men of the Philippine Army. Because of this test, the Officers and Men of the Philippine Army were able to embrace the importance of a healthy body and mind. There had been studies made by the local medical practitioners on the validity of the Army Physical Fitness Test just to prove that the US Army Standards are not fitted to our local soldiers but after some adjustments of the standards, I personally still believe that the US Standards fit well to any person on earth. For one to be able to pass the Army Physical Fitness Test Standards, one has to prepare and train for it.

To prove my point, I asked a soldier in his mid-40s who failed in his first APFT to report to me every day for daily workout of the 3 exercises involved in the test. I asked the soldier to start doing at least 20 reps of push-ups, 20 reps of sit-ups, and run, jog and walk the 2-mile run. On a daily basis, the soldier was asked to increase the reps by one repetition every day and ask the soldier to run, at least, one hour everyday at an easy effort. After a month, I conducted a PFT on the said soldier. He was surprised that he finally got a score of 90%. He passed the 70% minimum score by getting a 90% score  after preparing for the test in one month. If that soldier who failed can improve within a month, it is possible that anybody who failed in the test could pass it with the proper training and preparation.

I know that the said Command Directive that I authored is still in place and being implemented right now by the Philippine Army. This is now one of the policies of the Philippine Army that is already institutionalized.

Now, after finishing an international and local Virtual Races during the period of 4 months of Lockdown due to Covid-19, I have been thinking of a running challenge or doing any physical challenge that will motivate me to do some exercises and running on a daily basis. I immediately thought of the APFT but to add challenge into it, I would do it on a daily basis, instead of the Quarterly Period (once in 3 months) which is the regular schedule for the conduct of the APFT in the Philippine Army.

So, on July 25, 2020, Saturday, I started my daily Army Physical Fitness Test Challenge In 30 Days. I have to make a video each of my daily APFT and have it uploaded in my You Tube Channel. Actually, I did the Video posted for my Day #1 on You Tube for a “teaser” on my APFT Challenge. On my first day, I did 21 reps of push-ups which is a passing score for my age; 29 reps on sit-ups (passed); and 28:13 minutes on the 2-mile run (failed!) in my Backyard Loop which is a single-track trail with lots of turns and uneven ground. The passing time/score for the 2-mile run for my age is 20 minutes.

The full instructions of the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) and Standards/Minimum Score could be seen here.

I hope to update my You Tube Channel with a Video on this Challenge every 6 days.

Thank you for watching this “teaser” video on the said Challenge.

Pyramid Running Workout


I am not sure if I had been given by my CTS Coach to do a Pyramid Running Workout for the past 3 years. I was surprised to see in my weekly schedule that I was scheduled for this running workout last Wednesday. However, I missed doing the said workout on the scheduled date because my body was not feeling well to do an interval running workout as I have been experiencing some pain on my right knee for the past days. Instead, I just did an easy run for about two hours in my Backyard Loop on Wednesday.

Yesterday, Thursday, I decided to do the Pyramid Running Workout. The workout goes this way: warm-up for 20 minutes and then run with a Rating of Perceived Effort (RPE) of 8-9 for 2 minutes and then slow down for the next two minutes. After the recovery run of 2 minutes, start again for an RPE of 8-9 for 3 minutes and then slow down for 2 minutes. This is repeated until your fast run will be done to four and then five minutes with each rest interval of 2 minutes. From 5 minutes, go down to 4 minutes, rest in between for two minutes, until you do your last run in 2 minutes. So, in summary, I ran 2-3-4-5-4-3-2 minutes with a two-minute recovery run in between those fast repetitions. After which, I made a cool-down run for another one hour with 20-minute strides of 6 repetitions on the last 20 minutes of my run. In the said workout, I was able to cover a distance of 7.15 miles in 1:57 hours. I did this workout in my Backyard Loop which consists of a single-track trail.

Ten years ago, I was doing this workout in an oval track and I became a faster road runner in the process.

I did not have any problems with my knees during the run and I had a wonderful feeling after the said workout.

Taking Pictures of Flowers After Running

 

Filipino Finishers Of The UTMB 106-Mile/171K Ultramarathon Race (2011-2019)


Allen’s Rice Cakes


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.

Dr Allen Lim (Picture From Velopress)

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:

Ingredients:

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

brown sugar

salt and grated parmesan (optional)

Procedure:

  1. Combine Rice and Water in a Rice Cooker
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

Shoe Review: Salomon Speedcross 4


I have been a loyal user of Salomon Trail Shoes since I started training and joining in trail running events whether they are local or international ones. After I have used a lot of pairs of their S-LAB Sense Trail Shoes, I bought my first pair of Speedcross 4 in one of the local distributors in the Philippines. ROX Philippines at BGC was my first choice of store if I am looking for reliable trail shoes. This is also where I bought all my Salomon S-LAB Sense Trail Shoes. I was lucky when the store have a 9 1/2 size of the Speedcross 4 as most of their stock for sale don’t have half-sizes. I immediately bought the said shoes and brought them to my Playground for a good run. That was almost 3 years ago.

Salomon Speedcross 4, 3 Years Ago

As compared to the S-LAB Sense models, I found the Speedcross 4 to be more padded on the uppers and tongue which gave more comfort to my feet when running. I am also appreciative that the shoe drop or the difference between the stack height of the forefoot area and the heel portion is 10 mm which gave much comfort to my aching Achilles tendon on my right heel. I could run forever in these shoes without any pain on my Achilles tendon on the uphill and downhill runs. The shoe weights a little heavy with 310 grams on each shoe but the weight is given more to give comfort to my feet. The best feature of these shoes is the aggressive grip of the lugs on its sole. The sole lugs are best fitted to our local trail condition where most of the grounds are soft and muddy. They are also stable when running on rocks and roots that I did not have any experience of sliding from them. The quicklace system of the shoes is also very efficient and fast when wearing or removing them during races and training. Once you tighten the shoes with the quicklace system, you can roll the end of the lace and have it tucked inside the pocket at the end of the shoe tongue. The shoe looks slick without the ends of the shoelace dangling outside the shoes. The uppers are also quick to dry whenever they become wet with my sweat or during small stream or river crossing. The only weakness of this particular Salomon Model is the narrow forefoot. It is ok with my feet because they are narrow, too but in longer ultra trail races in the mountains, there is the tendency for my feet to expand that I need to loosen its “quicklace”. I have solved this problem by buying one size bigger and my shoe size now for this particular model is now Size 10.

Salomon Speedcross Now

Salomon Speedcross 4 Now!

In all my races here and abroad in 2018 and 2019, I have been using the Salomon Speedcross 4 and I am happy with its performance. I am still using them in my training runs but I have observed that the outer sole with the shoe lugs are getting torn apart from the shoes. I guess, the glue that binds the outer sole and the rest of the shoe is already brittle and dry. I could still have some glue in them but I have already bought two pairs of the Salomon Speedcross 5 as its replacement in Sizes 10. Actually, I have used the Speedcross 5 in size 10, in my two latest races: TNF Hongkong 50K last December 2019 and Borneo Ultra Trail Marathon last March this year. I will have a separate Shoe Review on this particular model and will have to compare them with the older Speedcross 4.

I have seen lately on the ads in the Social Media that the Salomon Speedcross 4 shoes are still available On Sale in the local market. Since they are now cheaper, if you haven’t tried them, I suggest you get one pair for your training and for your future trail running events. I guarantee that the price is worth its efficiency and durability. Overall, the Salomon Speedcross 4 is far, the most durable trail shoes in my trail running arsenal and I highly recommended them to beginners, average , and competitive trail runners.

I think I will be using my two pairs of Salomon Speedcross 5 for the next 3-4 years!

 

 

Ultra Training Program For 100Km Race (2020)


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!

1st MAF Test Of The Year (2020)


After running for six weeks on MAF training, easy running using my Heart Rate Monitor, following the MAF Formula where my beats per minute range would be from 112 to 122 beats per minute must be maintained while I was on my running workout. As a review, Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF) Formula is 180 minus my age of of 68 plus 10 bpm being a runner of more than 65 years old and had never been “sidelined” from running due to injury. My MAF bpm is 122 and my range of MAF Beats Per Minute during my running workout should be 112 to 122. For the past 6 weeks, I was not supposed to breach the maximum bpm of 122 during my easy/recovery runs. However, with my training schedule being a CTS athlete for the past weeks, I have to follow my training schedule and workout as prescribed by my Coach. However, what I have observed was that I was not fatigued in my tempo runs and I could easily recover after a day of hard training.

After two days of not running due to the inclement weather in my Playground, I was fully rested during the weekend and I decided to have my first MAF Test today, June 29, 2020. After a short stretching exercises, I started my run with a warm-up for one mile where my Heart Rate steadily increased from 90 beats per minutes to 112 after my first loop in my Backyard. Before I finished my first mile, I was able to reach 119 beats per minute. Once I finished one mile, I went on on my First Mile for my MAF Test. I finished my first mile in 16:15 minutes where I had to walk for a few seconds after my bpm reached to 123 bpm on the last 400 meter of my first mile. After the first mile, I took a picture of my GPS Watch, take a sip of cold water, and walked a few meters until 30 seconds elapsed (this ritual was repeated every time I finish a mile) and started my 2nd mile. The following is the list of my time every mile:

1st Mile——16:15 minutes                      4th Mile——14:37 minutes

2nd Mile—–15:28 minutes                      5th Mile——14:35 minutes

3rd Mile——14:31 minutes

It was only on the first mile that I breached 122 bpm to 123bpm but it was able to bring it back after a few seconds of hiking. For the rest of the miles, I was able to maintain my average of bpm within 121-122. On my last mile, I was able to maintain the whole mile with an average bpm of 122.

1st MAF Test June 29
My GPS Watch Results For Every Mile On MAF Test

Although my Backyard Loop is not the ideal venue or location for my MAF Test, I am still satisfied with the result of my test and how my body felt after the workout. My body was very relaxed and not so worn-out or fatigued. In my past MAF Tests few years back, I have been doing them on Oval Track, being faster than my time in my Backyard Loop. With the uneven ground, lots of turns, and single-track trail in my Backyard Loop, I expect that my time would be slower than running in an oval track. On the contrary, I think I am faster now as compared when I had my MAF Test in 2011.

After 4 weeks, I will be doing my second MAF Test with the hope that I will be able to lower the times as compared to the results today. I will continue to apply MAF training in my easy/recovery runs in the coming days and weeks. I know that I will be a better and smarter runner in the next months and years due to this training.

$ 2.00 Donation