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 The Boston Marathon (Chapter 3)


Chapter 3: My Four Months Training With CTS

I am not trying to force-feed you with the training that I did with CTS as I want to share my story from the time that they accepted my application as one of their CTS athletes. I was just lucky that I was able to contact Jason Koop when he was advertising the publication of his book on Ultrarunning in May 2017 and asked him if CTS accepts a 65-year old runner.

After I applied on line on their Website, I was asked to answer (on line) a questionnaire, asking my personal data, experience and number of years of training, and if I had a recurring running injury. After a few days, one of their Senior Coaches contacted me through e-mail and gave me instructions on how to set up my Premium Training Peaks Platform by giving me my Signing-In data. I think it costs me $70.00 as full time payment for my subscription with Premium Training Peaks. Two of my GPS Watches (SUUNTO Ambit 3 Peak and Garmin Forerunner) were linked to the said Training Site Platform. Everything (data) that my Coach need to know  about my daily workout are uploaded to the Training Peaks and you can not fake your effort on those data. The Senior Coach had briefed me about the terms being used on the description of each workout and the specific data that are incorporated in the workout. Above all, my workouts were given to me in the number of hours and minutes and not by the number of miles or kilometers that I have to run in each day. My Coach asked me what is my preferred REST Day for the week and I said, I would like it on Mondays.

My Coach would send me my training workout for two weeks and each day I should give my feedback how my body felt in terms of effort from EASY to Very HARD, the rank measurement is from 1 to 10 with Rank 1 as Very Easy and 10 as Very Hard. It is a also a “must” that you send a short message as how you felt during and after the workout. Your feedback description will be gauged in terms of your fitness condition, fatigue, and motivation.  However, your feedback will be matched with numerical data captured from your GPS Watch and as seen on Training Peaks. At the end of the week, you can easily see your totals in terms of the total number of hours and the total of miles/kilometers you covered from those hours.On those first days as CTS athlete, I would review the Book on Ultrarunning by Jason Koop making sure to know the description and details of each workout I was given to do.

It is worth mentioning that the Coach would prescribe in each daily workout the following description: (1) the number of hours and minutes of your total workout; (2) each workout is described from its warm-up period (in minutes), main workout (in hours and minutes, depending how long is the period), cool-down period (in Hours/minutes); and (3) the type of terrain where the Coach would suggest you to run, whether it is flat road, trail, or in a course with hilly or steep elevation. The Coach would suggest also your “Total Score Stress” (TSS) where Training Peak would refer it as Running Total Training Stress (rTSS). Depending on what type of workout, the Coach will designate an rTSS score for a specific workout (Easy Run, Endurance Run, Tempo Run, Hill Repeats or Interval). The higher the score, the more the stressful the run. Thus, your workout will be quantified in terms of training stress for a specific running workout. Once I upload my workout from my GPS watch, my rTSS for the workout will be immediately compared with the suggested rTSS from my Coach. Most of the time, my workout rTSS would not surpass or equal my Coach rTSS. But in my feedback, I felt that I am wasted as a result of the workout. Anyway, whether I can equal or not on the required rTTS, my personal observation was that I was running stronger every week.

Jason Koop (Center) & CTS Athletes (Picture From Facebook)

For the first two weeks of training workout, I was given a mix of Endurance Runs, Tempo Runs, and Recovery Runs from the duration of One Hour & Thirty Minutes to Two Hours. In the succeeding weeks, I was introduced with Hill Repeats. After three weeks, I was asked to conduct a “20-minute field test”. It is done by having a 15-minute warm-up run first and then I did my fastest 20-minute run along a flat paved road, and then had a cool-down for 30 minutes. The result of my “20-minute field test” determined my Average Pace for the Tempo Run. The Average Pace would be my target time whenever I do my Tempo Runs. Most of the succeeding weeks will be devoted to Tempo Runs and Hill Repeats! I was surprised that my Tempo Run’s Average Pace would be faster than my usual Tempo Pace. Before, I could not breach less than 9:00 minutes per mile pace with too much fatigue and pain to my legs and body after each workout. But after  3 weeks of CTS training, I was able to breach the 9:00-minute barrier and with more regular “test runs”, I was able to record a 8:09 minute per mile pace  and then lowered it to 7:30-minute pace. With my age and not-so-perfect running form and short legs, I could not believe how fast I could make those leg turn-overs whenever I do my tempo runs on a flat paved road. Since I was preparing for ultra trail runs in the future, I did not have a chance to run on the oval track. I guess, I could run faster if those “20-minute field test” runs were done on an oval track.

One month before the Javelina Jundred 100-Mile Endurance Race, I was given more time for my Endurance Runs on trails in my Playground and they would last from 4 hours to 6 hours. CTS would not allow their athletes to run more than 6 hours in their Endurance Runs for the basic reason that the runner could not recover in a span of one to two days. CTS wants their athletes to be fresh and feeling stronger after a day of recovery. The training concept on those four months was clear to me as it followed the training concept and principles written in the book of Jason Koop—-assessment of my body on the 1st two weeks, followed by fast runs through tempo runs and hill repeats, and then Endurance Runs on the last weeks leading to the target race.

Bottomline, with those 4 months leading to JJ100, I was not injured, my body was always fresh and recovered on Tuesdays, and felt becoming stronger during my Tuesday runs. 

In the next succeeding posts, we will go to the details of my daily workouts.

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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.