Thursday, April 22

Running faster, longer, and smarter

40hours 43min 25seconds

That is how much time I have spent on running, to date. Over that span of time I have covered exactly 393.25km, which is about Manila to Vigan.

At this point, I am faced with the strong urge to improve. If I will keep on running, I know that I need to run smarter.

What do I mean when I say run smarter? Well,  I need to learn the proper form. Ever since I started running I have always been reading articles regarding proper form. Some say to land on your mid-foot, lean forward, do a higher stride rate, etc. But, who am I to say oh this is right or that is right? It all just confused me. So back then I just let it be.

Now though things need improvement. I have noticed that I have not been able to run any faster nor last longer on long runs. I know I have put in the training, but somehow things don't mesh together. So, I set on a small adventure to find the reasons behind my impediment.

My first step was to look for a running clinic and lucky enough I found one and was able to attend it.

(clink link to visit site) 

This was a free running clinic being given by Coach Frank from Bacolod. It was a very informative clinic to say the least. We started off with a warm up where in he looked at each of our running forms and distinguished which movements were in-efficient. He then shifted to explaining how certain body parts are suppose to be moving. One example is the arm swing, which he said has to be 90 degrees and must not cross your center of gravity.

One of the most important tips I feel that he gave was regarding stride rate. He mentioned that in one minute we should have a stride rate of 90 per leg, which all in all is around 180 strides. This was very important since it helped me in not over striding (which leads to heel strike), lessened impact on my legs, and actually made me faster.
Here is a tip: I was able to do the 180 strides per minute by listening to a metronome that ran on 180bpm and followed it. I've uploaded it for you guys, just download it and upload it to your Ipod then take it for a run. It goes 1-2-3-4 right-left-right-left.

Here is the data that I got from my Nike plus after doing a 5km run
Those certain key points you see on top is not my time per km. This was my average pace per km.

At first the techniques given by coach Frank felt very awkward. The mid foot - fore foot running felt like I was "tiptoeing". Also, my calves felt like HELL after wards. But overall, these are the only complaints I have. He said though that it takes time to adjust, he explained that we are changing the way we run and it does not happen overnight.

 On the other hand the improvements that I have seen far outweighs everything.

1. Speed seemed to come naturally. The last time I would run at a pace of 4:23/km I was huffing and puffing and my lungs felt like they were going to explode. This time around I didn't even feel a thing, no joke. I was actually stunned seeing my pace after the 5km run cause I actually thought I was going quite slow.

2. Cardio feels lighter. Along with the speed, I actually feel like I have more energy throughout the run. It feels like not much of my energy is expended in my runs. Feels very nice.

Overall I highly recommend Coach Frank's clinics. I myself am already considering on getting some personal training from him, to be able to help me reach my goal of qualifying for Boston one day. I believe that not only will he be able to improve my running but also help me reach my full potential. It's only now that I really see and feel the importance of having a coach. Thanks coach Frank!

So now, that's that. I've got my answers and its time to run!

Sunday, April 11

15km Mizuno Infinity Run - Winning a Race Against Myself

Races and even running is always said to be a fight against yourself. You are not running against other runners, not your friends, nor your family, but your running against the man in the mirror.

This was the main idea behind the race presented by Mizuno Infinity Run "beat your time". It was an annual event and runners were challenged to beat their old time from the past year and showcase how much better they have become.

This event not only tests the physical capacity of a runner, but also his mental discipline. The mental aspect of running for me is the harder discipline to overcome because self-doubt always gets the best of me. I'm a firm believer that the mind controls everything, so if the mind is willing then the body will follow. Although, I may have the words down, but I still need more experience and practice to live this saying.

On to the race.

Gun start for the 15km race changed from 6:00am to 5:30 am. I honestly did not know there was a change til last night when a good soul posted it on facebook. If it were not for him I would have been late for the race. I think that the organizers should have found a better way to inform runners that there was a change in time. It wasn't even posted on the Mizuno website or anything, tsk tsk..

The race route for this run started at "The Fort" and made its way through Makati and all the way past SLEX. Then the turn around is in the middle of Buendia Ave in Manila. The route was fairly easier compared to the 15km route in Globe since this was mostly flat.
My goal for this run was to beat my old time of 1hr 26min 32sec
As the race started, I ran my heart out for the first 1km and finally paced myself after. I sometimes ask myself if there is some sort of strategy to this running thing. Do I pace for the first few km and then run my heart out? What is it? Well, I actually had no idea. My only rule was, keep on running! =)

-later though my therapist told me about doing tempo in the first 10km and then doing intervals to finish it off, *bwaaahahahaha!* im excited to try that next time-

Too bad I didn't know about it earlier cause I could have used this for the hell I just went through in this race.

The first 7km were no good. No good at all. I was huffing and puffing through the route. I was barely in that "zone" you get when you run. Everything was heavy and my feet were acting up with some sort of "hot" pain.

After this I felt it again. That need to walk. I couldn't help but sneak in a few 10-15 second walk breaks to ease the pain and let my lungs take a deeper breath. Thankfully they helped better this time and I was able to easily come back to my pace and keep running.

Everything was going fine until I hit 14km into the race. So near but yet so far right? Well, it doesn't get anymore ironic than that. I suddenly felt pain on the side of my stomach which made it hard to breath. I wanted to keep running but the pain kept pulling me back. At this point I put one arm to squeeze it while I kept on going. I managed to ease the pain for about a few meters but the pain kept coming back.

I was barely 500 meters from the finish line. At this point I prayed, I asked God to help me. And well believe it or not in that instant the pain left me. Not only that I felt lighter and I was able to pick my pace back up. On my way to the finish line, I must have passed 10 runners in that short distance. It was one miracle which came in the perfect time.

I finished the race in 1hr 19min 16sec

So am I happy? Hell yeah I'm happy! But not contented. I still know I can do better. I know there is still a lot of room to improve on and I will work even harder to get those improvements ready for the next 15km race. Til next time, later!

Pictures from the Mizuno Infinity Run 2010 can be viewed here: