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!


Ronnie said...

i also attended coach frank's clinic last saturday morning - a day before earth run. by sat night i can already feel pain in my hamstrings, calves, and back. this affected my race performance but no regrets. attending fts was well worth it. now, i know the correct running form. i just need to practice it now.

journeyingjames said...

interesting post, i know im doing this already but i count my strides next time.

franklin echevarria said...

Good Day Elmer!!
Coach Frank here.I really appreciate that you guys attended my running clinic. Actually I did not expect that a handful of runners will attend my clinic. I hope you guys learned something after the lecture and application. This method is called neural-level training. Since running is a motor skill through biomechanics it's like learning to write your alphabets and its a process. But once you get used to checking everything from toe to head it becomes automatic as if it is already a part of your system. for questions. Email me at or Frunktraining at FB. Madamo gd nga salamat!!

Life Runner said...

@Franklin - Aright coach, thanks again! =)

Gingerbreadman said...

Good job ELmer, I've heard good things about Coach Frank's training system as well. Niiice!

Ronnie, going at it hard a day before the race isnt exactly the best thing to do, but at least you got good inputs!

Life Runner said...

Hey thanks Luis!