How to Qualify For the Boston Marathon (Chapter 3)


The Devil Is In The Details

My first two days’ training schedule with CTS were devoted to One Hour Recovery Runs with emphasis on my RPE (Rating of Perceived Exertion) where in a scale of 1-10, my RPE should be 5 which were done on a flat or rolling terrain and I must be able to easily talk when running. On the third day, I was made to do an Endurance Run for 1:30 hours on the trail where the run has an RPE of 6 out of 10. It is described as a conversational run performed at my “all-day pace” and this run will make up the majority of my training volume and  its is the most specific running workout to my ultrarunning pace. I did this workout in my Playground Alpha where I was able to attain an elevation gain of 1,200+ feet. It was suggested that I should hike the steep uphills and start practicing or developing my downhill running skills with fast, quick and short strides. I think I was able to cover a distance of 6.4 miles in 90 minutes. On the 4th day, my Coach asked me to do a 2-hour Endurance Run on the trail with strong elevation gain and loss, hike the steeper portions and run the descents and flat areas and I decided to do the workout to reach the peak of Mt Roosevelt and go down immediately where I have started. The 2-hour workout resulted to a 5-hour workout. I had to explain to my Coach where and why I extended my workout and he was kind to accept my explanation. On these first 4 days, my Coach was able to assess my present running situation based from the data that he could read on Training Peaks.

Then came these two weeks of training schedule.

First Full Week Of Training Schedule

Every time I upload my GPS Watch after my daily workout, the color of my daily block data will come up as Green which means that I am within the bounds of the time duration given to me but when it is yellow, it means that I went over the time duration I was supposed to do the workout. When the color of the training block becomes Red, that means that I did not do the training workout for the day. My Coach would know immediately at a glance if I did my daily workout or not by the color of each training block. If you click each training block (daily training workout), a separate page will appear and the details/workout data will be there as regards to your Pace, Speed, Heart Rate, Elevation Gain & Loss, and other Technical stuffs where the Coach would determine the intensity of the workout and your effort.

Second Week Of Training Schedule

On these first two weeks of my training with CTS, I was introduced to strides and tempo runs. It was on the next or succeeding weeks that I was introduced to Hill Repeats. These 3 specific workouts gave me the much-needed “kick-ass” to my running career as a Trail Runner. All of my training workouts with CTS were done on the trails in my Playground and depending on the specified workout for the day, I had a lot of choices/options on where I would go. There came to a point that my Training Playgrounds were named from Alpha to Delta. Within the first month with CTS, it was an interplay of strides, tempo runs, hill repeats, recovery runs and  endurance runs.

Having posted the details of my two-week training schedule, you can use them as your guide where it indicates where you can schedule your speed runs, recovery runs and long runs within the week. If you are reading this blog, I would assume that you are an average competitive runner and would like to be a faster and stronger runner so that you can qualify for the Boston Marathon. Bottomline. Try to do these workouts on the trail with strong elevation gain or loss and try to assess your improvement in a 20-minute field test run once a month.

On my next blog, I will explain to you the principle involved why CTS starts their athletes first with Speed/Tempo Runs instead of the usual Easy Long Runs based from the traditional Arthur Lydiard’s Approach in Training Long Distance Runners.

Thank you for reading. See you next week!

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How To Qualify For Boston Marathon (Chapter 2)


Chapter 2: Consistency & Coaching Services 

On The Local Running Coaches

After six months of blogging on this site, I retired from the active military service and created a team of elite runners which was then called “Team Bald Runner (Elite)”. I had then the best running team in Local Races in the country consisting of active soldiers from the Philippine Army and Candidate Soldiers for Enlistment to the Philippine Army. The team was coached and supervised by three (3) local coaches who were active soldiers (also) and about to retire from the active military service. One was an officer with a Rank of Captain and the two other coaches were senior Non-Commissioned  Officers or Enlisted Men. The Officer and one of the Enlisted Men were IAAF sanctioned Level 3/4 Coaches while the other Senior Enlisted Man was a former Local Marathon Champion of so many Corporate-supported Marathon Races and winner also in International Marathon Races (Southeast Asia) in the 70s and early 80s.

During those days, my team won almost all the weekly fun runs and local marathon races, to include the early editions of Ultra Trail Running Events sponsored by one of the Outdoor brands. Their prizes were their personal incentives and I never had any share from their earnings. It was my way of helping them and motivate them to improve in their way of living. Almost all of them came from poor families in the provinces and longing to enter the military service with the running talent that they possess. I am proud that I became the bridge and instrument for them to enter the military service as most of them now have rise up from the ranks of Private to Staff/ Technical Sergeants, and for the smart ones, they became members of the Officer Corps. I had also the chance to bring them to International Races in Asia in IAU-sanctioned and world corporate sponsored races. In all these international races, they brought pride to our National Pride and Flag without any support coming from the Government.

Elite Team Bald Runner @ IAU-Sanctioned Jeju 100K Ultramarathon

The whole Team were housed and supported by me for three years. And one of the Multi-National Corporate Brands in the country had supported the Team for 6 months with the objective of qualifying them to the National Pool of athletes for the Marathon distance. Despite such effort, the support to this Team was not sustained as to the cohesiveness of the team and in terms of financial resources. There had been personal differences among my Coaches plus the fact that most of my runners became regular soldiers of the Philippine Army and some were re-assigned to different units outside Metro Manila. When the Team was dissolved, these three Coaches went on their own lives. One continued to develop runners in the “grassroots” level in the province where he is now residing. One is already immigrant in one of the temperate countries in the West. And the other one is still active as a Coach in Metro Manila. I think one of the Local Qualifiers for the Boston Marathon is being handled by this Coach. You can ask around about this Local Coach if he is still available to be your Coach and be able to guide you to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

For some of the former members of the Elite Team Bald Runner, I have seen them as “Coaches” to some new runners whenever I do my daily running workouts at the Philippine Army Parade Grounds’ Jogging Lane in the early morning or in the late afternoon.

As I have monitored in the Social Media for the past 6-7 years, I have read and seen Coaches on running giving their services to new runners and I am not sure where they got their IAAF Certification or other related Running Coach Certification as Running Coaches. I am not questioning their credibility but, personally, it is very irritating to hear new runners calling a certain average/competitive runner as a “Coach” as their title to them! This personal observation goes also to my former members of the Elite Team Bald Runner.

Why am I mentioning this thing? Because there are so many pretenders in the local running community.  I am very sorry to say this one and it is my opinion based from my personal experience and observation of what I see and hear around. Just because they (Local Coaches) can finish a Marathon Race in Sub-3 or Sub-4 hours, they are now allowed to be given the title as Coach. More often, if they always give you some advise and you feel you are getting stronger and faster, the tendency is for you to call this person as your “Coach”. I know, I am becoming “judgmental” on this but that is the reality nowadays. Just be aware that at some point as you progressed in your running career, you will experience what they call “running plateau” where the same workouts that are being fed to you by your Coach will no longer result to a better performance on your part and that will be the time that you are almost a few minutes or seconds before you can qualify for the Boston Marathon. This will be your greatest dilemma or challenge.

The Bible Of Ultrarunning According To Bald Runner

Always remember, if you want  the services of a Coach and if you don’t want to pay, YOU are the best Coach to yourself because Running is the experiment of one! And you are the most reliable to be able to “Listen To Your Body”. But if you have the time and money, get the services of a PROFESSIONAL Coaching Service and you will continuously progress towards the attainment of your goal without any injury.

(Note: Starting in my succeeding posts, I will be sharing what I have learned from CTS based from the training workouts given to me from those four (4) months leading to the 2017 Revel Canyon City Marathon. I will be requesting a $2.00 donation (not compulsory) if you think my suggestion/advise will be useful to you and in your training leading to your goal to qualify for the Boston Marathon. You can send it through Pay Pal through my e-mail address: jovie75@hotmail.com. Such donation will go for the maintenance of this website and Internet connection service. Thank you very much!)

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How to Qualify For The Boston Marathon (From Google)


Before we continue with our series, maybe it is nice to check or read this article about our subject matter as suggested by Google.

https://www.wikihow.com/Qualify-for-the-Boston-Marathon

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!

How To Qualify For The Boston Marathon (Chapter 2)


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.

Ultrarunning Book By Jason Koop

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.

Carmichael Training System (CTS): Train Right

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.

How To Qualify For The Boston Marathon (Chapter 1)


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.

How To Qualify For The Boston Marathon (Introduction)


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.

Finisher’s Medal & Certificate Of Award @ 2017 Revel Canyon City Marathon

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!

Boston Marathon (BAA) Logo

I am A Boston Marathon Qualifier!


Finally, I earned my #Legit Boston Qualifier at the age of 65 years old at the 2017 Revel Canyon City Marathon Race with an official time of 3:46:06 hours. My BQ time for my age is 4:10 hours.

My New PR since I retired from the military service & as the Bald Runner.

Boston, here I come in April 2019!

Bonus: I won the First Place in my Age Category Group (65-69 years old) out 16 Finishers.

 

2017 Revel BQ BLOG
2017 Revel Canyon City Marathon Race

Aside from being a Senior Citizen, I am the ONLY General of the Armed Forces of the Philippines as a Boston Marathon Qualifier.

2017 Revel Marathon BLOG
The ONLY General Of The Armed Forces Of The Philippines (AFP) As BM Qualifier

Unbelievable!!!


There is only one word to describe what happened at the 115th edition of the Boston Marathon which was held last Monday—Unbelievable!

For the past years, I was not interested  in trying to monitor what is happening “live” during the race due to the fact that the elite runners were not so much known to me as most of them were from East Africa—Kenya and Ethiopia. After Toshihiko Sato of Japan won the race in 1987 for the 2nd time, the succeeding years up to now had been won by either from Kenya or Ethiopia, except in 1990 when it was won by Gelindo Bordin of Italy and in 2001 when Lee Bong-ju of South Korea won the race. On the women’s division, after Rosa Mota of Portugal won the race in 1990, those elite runners from Poland, Germany, Russia, and of course, Kenya & Ethiopia did not “ring” a bell in my ears. It could be that the winners’ names were hard to memorize or it could be my non-interest then of running because my sensitive assignments or it could be that I did not mind updating myself on what was happening in the running world’s events by not subscribing or buying the latest editions then of the popular running magazines.

But what caught my attention again in this year’s edition of the Boston Marathon was the fact that Ryan Hall and Kara Goucher of the USA had been featured in the runners’ magazines and other running news of their desire to win in the said race. Of course, who would not be excited to see an American/US citizen who will win this year’s edition when the last American winner (Greg Meyer) was in 1983 (almost 3 decades ago). And this is the reason why there is a lot of euphoria and expectations on the result of this year’s edition as being played by the press releases, articles published in running magazines, and other media pronouncements.

But the results in last Monday’s race proved that the Kenyans would steal the show from the rest of the elite runners. Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya won the race in the fastest ever recorded Marathon Finish of 2:03:02 hours. In the Ladies Division, Catherine Kilel of Kenya won the Championship with a time of 2:22:36 hours. Geoffrey Mutai and Moses Mosop are definitely the fastest marathoners whose times were faster than the existing record time of 2:03:59 hours by Haile Gebrselassie at the 2008 Berlin Marathon. Whether Mutai’s time was not considered as an official Marathon World Record, it is considered as a New Course Record for the Boston Marathon. In my opinion, Mutai will not be affected with such decision as he is more interested in cashing in the Cash Prize he received for his efforts. A cash prize of $ 200,000 is a lot of money for a Kenyan runner!

Ryan Hall, Desiree Davila and Kara Goucher of the USA had also unbelievable results in their efforts where each of them improved their respective PRs. But there was another unbelievable show during the race which was 53-year old Joan Benoit Samuelson’s finish time of 2:51:29 hours making her the record holder for the fastest finish time in the ladies age group of 50-54 years old.

Lastly, the most unbelievable of them all is the decision of the BAA last February of this year to reduce the qualifying time for each age category for the Boston Marathon by 5 minutes. This means that I have to finish a marathon race in 3:55:00 hours by next year (as I will turn to be a 60-year old!) if I need to include joining the Boston Marathon in my “bucket list”. At this point in time, a decision to join or qualify for the Boston Marathon in the future will entail a lot of focus, patience, determination, and resources. There is a need to completely dedicate my time in this life-defining quest for excellence in running.

But, for the Bald Runner to finish the Boston Marathon that would definitely be…UNBELIEVABLE!!!!

For 2013, these are the new qualifying times for the Boston Marathon

Age Group Men Women
18-34 3:05:00 3:35:00
35-39 3:10:00 3:40:00
40-44 3:15:00 3:45:00
45-49 3:25:00 3:55:00
50-54 3:30:00 4:00:00
55-59 3:40:00 4:10:00
60-64 3:55:00 4:25:00
65-69 4:10:00 4:40:00
70-74 4:25:00 4:55:00
75-79 4:40:00 5:10:00
80+ 4:55:00 5:25:00