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.
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.
It was an accident or spur of the moment when I decided to register for the 2017 Revel Canyon City Marathon Race after I DNF at the 2017 Javelina Jundred 100-Mile Endurance. I was mentally and physically devastated when I was driving from Mesa/Phoenix, Arizona to Los Angeles, California on October 29, 2017 after the event. It was supposed to be my first 100-mile race with the CTS Coaching Service which I started to enroll in the middle of June 2017. I was too confident that after 4 months of training under my CTS Coach, I would be able to finish the Javelina Jundred. However, at Mile 38, I started to have a “stomach problem” and that I had to “throw-up” my ingested food and the fluids that I have taken few meters after I left the last Aid Station. It took me 34 minutes to finish Mile 38 and walked all the way to the end of the 2nd loop at the elapsed time of 10:42+ hours. I rested in my tent for almost 16 minutes to recover and find out if I can still take in some fluids and food. However, my body took a lot of beating due to the heat of the day. I decided to DNF with the elapsed time of 10:56+ hours at 42 miles with another one hour of buffer time to rest some more. But on hindsight, while I was thinking on my way back to Los Angeles, I should have slept and spent the whole one hour for my body to recover and just in time for the heat of the day to cool off as it was already early in the evening.
Reviewing my data on Training Peaks during the said event, I had 4 Peak Performances and an Average Pace of 14-15 minutes per mile which I consider to be above average from my past performance considering that it was too hot that time. My recurring problem with my gut due to the heat really zapped my body physically and mentally. As a consolation, I would think also that the elapsed period (4 months) that I was with CTS Coaching Service was not enough for me to moulded as an ultrarunner at the age of 65 years old. I talked to my Coach and I told him what really happened and he gave me advises and suggestions on how to manage my nutrition problem. He suggested for me to take some rest the following week and do some easy runs for my recovery.
The day after I arrived in Los Angeles, I don’t know what came into my mind when I tried to browse for any race to be held within the Los Angeles area in the coming days and weeks. Surprisingly, I came across the Revel Canyon City Marathon Race which is to be held on November 4, 2017, six days after I DNF at the Javelina Jundred, and I registered with the aim to finish the race. I immediately called and informed my friend, Rowell Ramos, to monitor me during the race and if he has the time, meet me at the Finish Line. Qualifying for the Boston Marathon was never in my mind to be my goal when I registered in this race. I just wanted to run and finish a race!
And the rest is history. I have to photo grab the data which I retrieved from Training Peaks where you can see the Ten (10) Peak Performances that I did in the said Marathon Race which are self-explanatory.
Will I ever go back to Phoenix, Arizona, USA to finish this race? Why not?
Unfortunately, the Revel Canyon City Marathon Race that I joined was the last edition of the said race. It is now being held in Big Bear, California. This year, I am registered to join this year’s edition with the hope that the Covid19 restrictions will be lifted soon.
There are two things that you would think with this story. Is the CTS Coaching Service where I have enrolled and subscribed was the main reason why I was able to qualify for the Boston Marathon? Or Was it the Downhill Elevation of the Revel Marathon Course contributed to my faster time for an Old Runner with the age of 65? Neither of the two were the main reasons why I started my journey to the Boston Marathon. It is the “Man In The Arena”!
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).
Since the time that I have been blogging about Running and other related topics and subjects on the development of local athletes in the National Sports Excellence Program for the Elite Runners and local talents with potentials to become included in the National Pool ofElite Athletes, I have always thought and wrote about the creation of a National Sports Academy to address this matter. Every time that this “idea” would come into discussion and part of recommendation for our better ranking in the Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games, and the Summer Olympic Games is when our political leaders and sports analysts try to find out what is the problem in our Elite Sports Program and why we are always at the bottom rank among our Southeast Asian and Asian countries. And up to this time in the history of the Summer Olympic Games, the Philippines has never attained its FIRST Gold Medal. It is becoming a recurring discussion, investigation, and Senate/Congressional Hearings on how we would be able to have the BEST Athletes for International Competitions and such investigations were always done after the past International Games were held but after one week, all the discussions/investigations and recommendations were all forgotten. This cycle is being repeated every two years and four years when the SEA Games, Asian/Olympic Game are held, respectively.
Our National Pride was saved when we hosted the 2019 Southeast Asian Games (last year) where we ranked as the Number One among the SEA countries and hosted a top-notch caliber of accommodation and hospitality to our visitors. Such “bravado” on the part of the National Leadership to “salvage” the hosting of the 2019 SEA Games from Brunei on the later part of 2015 which was initially planned to use our existing Sports Facilities/Stadiums and with the addition of the Philippine Arena had made way for the Duterte Administration to create a specific Place or Area where the 2019 SEA Games would be held. Thus, the New Clark City was created in a record time of two years as the site of the 2019 SEA Games. Its structures and facilities for Sports Events are high-tech and very modern that it can compete or better than the facilities for the Asian Games and Summer Olympic Games. Bottomline, we should always remember that we have attained a level of “The Best In Excellence” as a Nation in Sports and the “Best In Hospitality” as part of our National Culture and Trait. Let us continue these in the years ahead.
This month of June 2020 and after 7 months from the being the Number 1 in the SEA Games, President Duterte had signed Republic Act No. 11470 which provides for the creation of the National Academy of Sports last June 9, 2020 in a simple ceremony at the Presidential Guest House in Davao City. “The Academy aims to develop aspiring Filipino athletes who are in the secondary level or high school and have demonstrated potential to excel in VARIOUS SPORTS by providing WORLD-CLASS for training and at the same time, continue their education”. The Academy shall be attached with the Department of Education in close coordination with the Philippine Sports Academy. The Academy shall be established at the New Clark City Sports Complex in Capas, Tarlac using its structures, facilities, and accommodation for the students.
This my personal opinion on the creation of the National Academy of Sports (NAS). Finally, one of my ideas in the development of Sports Excellence had been realized. It is a small FIRST step but it is really BIG in terms of providing continuity and permanence in instilling sports excellence among our local athletes. However, I have yet to read the whole content of this Law and find out the details on its Organization, Administration and Operation. I will be writing and posting updates on this Law once I get hold a copy of it. It will be a good source of discussion in my future posts.
(Warning: This post is an advertisement on what razor/s I have been using for the past 30 years to shave my head and my beard, thus, consistently describing me as the Bald Runner!)
It was quite an experience to find the best razor in the market with such considerations like: affordability in price, easy to use, longevity on the sharpness of the blade/s, cheaper replacement blades/cartridges, and comfort or safety in using it. When I started to shave my head regularly for at least, twice a week, for the past 30 or more years, the most popular brand then was the Gilette where I started with their Mach 2 models, and then to Mach 3, up to the Fuzion and ProGlide Models where they have increased the number of blades in each cartridge from two to four and then to 5 blades. However, when I asked my son, John, to buy me a Razor Set at the Costco, he gave me a full set of the Schick Hydro 5 Sense Hydrate Razors with One Razor Handle and 17 Razor Blades/Cartridges @ $ 40.00 or less. I used this Razor Set for two years!
Using the Schick Hydro 5 Sense Razor was very comfortable, its blades are very sharp (5 blades in each cartridge), and easy to use. However, I could only extend the use of each cartridge for a maximum of one month or 8 times for shaving my head and beard which is considerably good. When I was about to use all the 17 pieces of replacement cartridges, I started to look for new cartridges at the Target Store and I found out that they are very expensive. The 8 cartridge pack price would be equivalent to buying the Original Schick Hydro 5 Set that my son John gave me. Despite its pricey cost, I bought One Pack of the Replacement Blades/Cartridges.
For the past years while I was using the Schick Hydro 5 Razor, I have been seeing advertisement of the Harry’s Razor on Fashion Magazines and in the Internet. I have tried to look for its history and how it is made and read almost all the positive testimonies and feedbacks of their users. So, in one of my trips to California, USA four years ago, I finally bought a set of Harry’s Razor. Because I still have few cartridges left in my Schick Hydro 5 Razor, I have alternated using these two razors in my regular shaving.
As a comparison, the Harry’s Razor (with the same number of 5 blades per cartridge) gives me a faster time in shaving my head and my face as compared to the Schick Razor. Shaving with the Harry’s Razor saves me at least, 5-10 minutes. Each catridge also lasts longer as I can extend the use of each cartridge to two months which is equivalent to 16 times using each cartridge. For the past four years, the Harry’s Razor had given me the best shave in my entire life and I am going to stick to it through the years to come. So far, I have used 12 cartridges already and last November 2019, I bought a 4-piece set cartridge which I intend to use until my next visit to California if things will normalize from the present travel restrictions due to the Covid-19.
I highly recommend this product as compared to the other Razors in the market. They are a little more expensive but their reliability, durability, and comfort in using them is worth the price you are paying. Harry’s Razor is the best shaving razor in the market today!
Most of the stories I have posted in this blog for this year were blog or journal on the daily adventure of Thomas Combisen during the 2020 Hongkong Four Trails Ultra Challenge which was held during the Chinese New Year last January.
The conversation between Thomas and Andre Blumberg in this video validates and proves that Thomas will be going back for the iconic 10th Anniversary Edition next year of this event. Hopefully, we will be back to normal to travel to other countries in the next months. As of now, Thomas is back in his training for this event and be able to finish it in sub-60 hours.
At this moment, I am compiling all the posts and stories of Thomas Combisen from the time he joined my Running Events and his exposure to International Events under the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) and Trail Ultra Races sanctioned by ITRA. I hope I can come up and publish an Ebook about his adventures in Running.
Sometime on the first week of August 2011, I have written on this blog about the Maffetone’s Training in Running and it was very effective then during my training days in preparation for my running races. For the whole month of August 2011, almost all my blogposts were devoted on my personal application of the MAF (Maximum Aerobic Function) Test and the Carbohydrate’s “Two-Week Test”. You can revisit and review these posts by clicking the links. All of these posts were my personal experience and application of such training method after buying the Kindle Edition of the book, Dr. Phil Maffetone’s “The Big Book On Endurance Training and Racing” which I bought then at Amazon.com.
Fast Forward. Two weeks ago, I came across, by accident, a book by Stu Mittleman entitled “Slow Burn: Burn Fat By Exercising Slower” and I recalled my past posts about the Maffetone’s Training and reviewed them again together with the Kindle Edition of Dr Phil Maffetone’s Book. On the following day, I started applying the Stu Mittleman running method and after a few days, I realized that I have to go back to the Maffetone Training Method. And that is now what I have been doing for almost 3 weeks, as I am now on my third week.
I have been following the “180 Formula” which means that to come up with a Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF), my Hear Rate should be, 180 minus my age of 68 which is 112. But since I am more than 65 years old and had been regularly running (without any injuries) for the past years, I can add 10 beats per minute to 112, making my Maximum Heart Rate to 122 beats per minute using the MAF Method. I have been using my SUUNTO Ambit 3 Peak GPS Watch as my Heart Rate Monitor.
For the past weeks, I have been diligently following the MAF Heart Rate in my easy and recovery runs where my HR Average ranges from 111 to 117 beats per minute. However, what is very unique in my application of the MAF is that I am using it in my daily runs within my Backyard Loop. My Backyard Loop is 95% single track trail with uneven ground with some feet of elevation which has a distance of 480 meters in one loop. As compared when I was doing the MAF in 2011, my runs were done on paved roads and my monthly MAF Tests were done in an Oval Track (Remy Field in Subic Freeport). I was running faster then because the conditions of the road and oval track were very ideal.
On my third week since Monday, I have been registering an Average of 112 to 117 beats per minute in my daily runs within my Backyard Loop with an Average Speed of 3.6 to 3.8 miles per hour. On the paved road, with the same average of HR, I could get an Average Speed of 4.6-5.0 miles per hour or faster.
I plan to conduct my first MAF Test using my Backyard Loop as the venue next week (4th week) instead of going to the Oval Track. Another option would be to conduct the MAF Test along the paved road where I could determine a distance of One Mile. We will see if I would be able to do two sets of MAF Tests next week, one for trail and another for the road.
If you are interested to learn more about the Maffetone Training Method, you can simply buy the book or go to the website of Dr Phil Maffetone as you can download the MAF Method for FREE. You can also get many information about everything about Nutrition and Training.
If you have a YouTube account, please visit and subscribe to my YouTube Channel as I will be posting Videos about my training using the Maffetone Method.
A few weeks after I finished the 2017 Revel Canyon City Marathon Race, I received an e-mail telling me that my Official Pictures and Video are ready to be uploaded. I was surprised to receive such message, most especially, when such documentation service from the Race Organizer had provided such to all the Finishers for FREE! This is the beauty and advantage of the Revel Races being held in the US. Most of their races are downhill, lesser in number of participants, Boston Marathon Qualifier, cheap as compared to others, no lottery, and free pictures/videos. They have also high quality “swags” like Finisher’s T-Shirts and Medals. At one time, they gave a Free Pair of Goodr Sunglasses.
The following is the video of the Race and it is personalized for me as a souvenir for the race. It is unfortunate that the 2017 edition was the last edition of this Marathon Race in Azusa, California. The Race Organizer had transferred the venue to Big Bear, California and I missed to join it last year.
Thank you for watching this short video. And thank you for dropping by.