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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Run Your Plan

At the Nashville Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, I had the honor of talking to Rod Dixon, a runner from New Zealand that won the NYC Marathon in 1983.  We talked a little about his running as well as mine.  When I asked him about what was the longest he's run, he told me a story about a training run.  The training run was going well, but one wrong turn made them miss where they were suppose to go, and they were lost.  I listened and enjoyed hearing him talk of how he finally came across a group of boy scouts (I think) who gave them food so that they could continue running and get back to where they were suppose to go.  That day, he ran over 30 miles, and he told me that he never wanted to run anything beyond a marathon again.

I looked at one of the interviews that he had, and one phrase jumped out at me.  "The most important thing with the marathon, with any race, is to run your plan, not somebody else's. You've got to be a winner at your race, and on your plan."  In the 1983 NYC Marathon, the leaders were well ahead of him, and at the 20th mile, he was still 2:30 minutes behind the leaders.  Dixon had to keep up with his plan and made sure to save as much distance by shaving off the distance in each corner while Geoff Smith (the leader at that time) ran in the middle of the road.  By the 26th mile, he had caught up because Smith had slowed down and ran a little longer, and Dixon rushed pass Smith and ran as fast as he could to have that psychological edge, and ran that last .2 miles, finishing 8 seconds ahead of Smith.

The hardest thing for people to do is to stick with your plan.  You know yourself the best, and when you have a plan, you go for it... til you see someone else that has a different plan.  Sure you can make minor changes, but to change your pace all of a sudden and throw your plan away?  That's a bad idea.  However, when you're at that situation and you're behind by a certain amount of time or distance, your competitive side wants to throw your plan away and catch up with that person and go for first place.  I don't know what to expect at this race.  Whether some will just go all out at the beginning and take a long break and then go out, or if they're going to run at a really slow pace and see if they could go all the way...  All I know is my own plan, and for this upcoming race, I'm going to stick with it and race my best.  Right now, all I can do is look at my plan and tweak it in order to make it so that I would be able to perform at my best, so I study and research and figured out different ways I could keep myself accountable during the race.

Today was my last 'run' where I just played a little indoor soccer (made a goal and an assist), and I enjoyed the fast pace running.  After that, I ate one big meal and was able to do a little carb-load.  Now for some much needed sleep... gotta stick to the plan.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pacing (Heart Rate Zones)

Since I can't do too much when it comes to physically training my body to be able to run the 12 hour race, I did a lot of studying.  Our heart rate can be divided up into zones.  Our maximum heart rate (MHR) is 220 minus your age.  Once you figure out you MHR, you can divide it up into different zones. Our resting heart rate (RHR) is your pulse when you are resting. The simple formula that I use is ((MHR-RHR)*%)+RHR.  60%-70% is the Efficiency Zone, 70%-80% is the Aerobic Zone, 80%-90% is the Anaerobic Zone, and 90%-100% is your Red Line Zone, where you run your heart out.  Looking at it, it's obvious that the higher the heart rate, the more calories you ought to be burning while running.  If you do a very fast pace, you can only hold out for a short period of time.  If you run at an efficient rate, you can last a long time.  In the 12 hour race, most of it will come from the Efficiency and Aerobic Zone.

Now the cool thing about this whole ordeal is how everything works.  When you're at home doing a lot of work, you're overwhelmed because of the amount you have to do.  You put so much effort into it, and you can only make a small difference.  If you go and do your work bit by bit, you can get a lot more done.  The same goes for running... but there's more of a scientific matter in this.  When you are running in the Efficiency Zone, you're burning more fat calories than carbohydrates.  However, when you are running in the Aerobic Zone, you're body is burning the same amount of fat and carbohydrate calories.  I've researched different sources online that seems to agree that for extreme distances, you need to make sure you train yourself so that your efficiency zone is high.  If I was to run too fast, I would need to intake enough calories to support myself because my body can only conserve a certain amount of calories (1200 to 1500 kcal) and for a 12 hour run, it could possibly use up 12000 kcal.  I need to be at a state where I would be able to run efficiently and for a long time.

I spent hours figuring out how exactly I would do this.  It's important to me that I would be able to balance my calorie intake and usage so that I would be able to maximize my distance in that 12 hours.  If I am able to run in the efficiency zone, I would only need 25 kcal every thirty minutes in order to finish the race with barely enough energy.  As a pound of fat can have about 3500 kcal, and since my body carries more than just a pound of fat, it's obvious that I would have more than enough energy from fat.  However, since my carbohydrate storage supply is limited, I need to be able to replenish that enough so that my body can last the whole race.  I can't just up and run a 12 hour race... it's important that I know what I'm getting myself into, and know what I need to do in order to not just survive, but do well.

Whenever you have a goal, you need to know what you have to do in order to achieve it... but at the same time, you need to know what you're capable of doing.  Pacing is important because it allows you to perform at your best.  It gives you the pace your body can handle, and at the same time, it allows you to recover during the time you need to.  If we could go all out 100% of the time, we wouldn't be humans, but robots.  We aren't capable of going 100% forever.  We need to pace ourselves to be able to finish at 100%.  My race is divided into 5k loops.  It's important that I use that to pace myself.  Although I would like to run til my legs fall off... if I want to do my best, I need to be able to run at a pace where I don't need too much calories from outside sources and instead, run at an efficient pace.

Whether it be running or life... pacing is important.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

One is One More Than None

Just like my run, today's entry is going to be short and simple.  So what's the difference between running 5 minutes and not running at all?  The difference is 5 minutes... plus change.  You not only get the physical benefits, but also the mental benefits.  Although there hasn't been too much time given to running, it still supports  your path.  It doesn't matter how big or small your steps are because each step takes you closer to your goal.

Today, my step was running 4.56 miles in 36:06, an average of 7:55 min/mile.  Although it was just a small, nice, and easy run, it let me use my legs and get used to running a little bit while I was in tapering season.  Pretty soon, I'll be eating a ton of carbs and doing nothing for the rest of the day, but for now, I'll stick with these small runs, so that my body would still understand how fast it's suppose to go.

If you have a goal ahead of you and you can choose to either shuffle or to not do anything, what would you choose?  As for me, I would choose the shuffle so that even though it may not be as much, it'll help me out by allowing me to go towards my goal.

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Cord of 3 Strands

I just realized that today was Monday.  This means that I have a whole Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday before my race begins on Saturday... 4 days...  I didn't realize how close it was.  Because of my tapering period, I haven't been running lately, but my body has been itching to go for so long, and so tomorrow morning, I plan on going out for a nice and easy run.  Wednesday, I'll just not do anything... and Thursday, I'll just play an indoor soccer game... and Friday, I'll just be a bum and eat a lot of food.

I'm scared.  Scared of the unknown.  Scared because I don't know what's going to happen.  This is something I've never done before, and I'm not sure if I'm ready for it.  Tapering always does that for me because during the break I get from running, I feel as if I hadn't had enough exercise to push me through the whole 12 hours.  Looking at the race I ran in October of last year, I feel as if this training period hasn't been good enough.

This is what my mind is telling me as I do what I know is right.  My body is not conditioned good enough to NOT do the tapering, and so the decision I made to hold off my running is the best thing for me to do.  While the decision I made is the best choice for me physically, it's taking its toll psychologically.  I feel the pressure of not running, and I feel as if I'm getting out of shape because of what I've been doing.  I look at the mileage I've measured on my iPhone, and it doesn't look too good.  I feel as if my training has been inadequate.  Obviously, I've been juggling two jobs, and a lot of other responsibilities, but at the same time, it shouldn't be an excuse for me not to run as much.  As I look at what I've been doing this past month, I see just a little bit of running, a lot of cycling, and other exercise that compliments my running.  The question that runs in my mind is... is that enough?

Fear can hinder me and just cause me to freeze up and not be able to do anything... but at the same time, fear can drive people forward.  It doesn't matter if I exercised enough or not.  This race is something that's going to test more than my body.  It'll test my spirit.  It'll test my mind.  Focusing on just the physical training... I probably won't go too far.  However, with the combination of my physical self, my spirit, and my intelligence, this race is something that I can overcome.  Through all the experiences I have before me, I know for a fact that my spirit is more than capable.  My training thus far has taught me how to run, and so my physical self isn't half bad.  Although I am no doctor, I've been doing a little research on how I'm going to run this race and how everything is going to fall.  I've carefully thought up of a plan that would push me through what my body could not do alone.

When I go rock climbing, we use rope to hold us up in case we fall.  In order to catch us, the rope needs to be strong.  A rope is made up of fibers that are twisted/braided together in order to be able to withstand a lot of pressure.  The strength of each of the fibers braided together forms an even stronger rope, able to carry more weight and strain than with a single fiber.  What happens is that the strands support each other so that absolutely nothing is wasted, all three strands help each other with the effort... the same as my run.  This run is just one run, but it has many components to it.  I've trained not only my physical body, but my spirit and mind so that I would be able to tackle this.  Knowing that I could always do better in one part doesn't make the whole result wasted.  The thing is, because I've been able to focus on everything, I'm able to accomplish more.  The three will stand together and together, they'll make sure that I would do a great job with my race.

Everything matters when you race long distance, and the longer the distance, the more variables apply.  This race that's coming up.  I'm going to nail it.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Your Pace

The thing about running is that we all are at a different level.  If I train the same amount that my friend trains, I would not get the same benefit he does because I am different from him.

It's important to realize that there is no one workout that fits all.  You may benefit from a workout, but the effects differs between individuals.  Everyone is different.  We have different mindsets, different bodies, different muscles types (red/white balance), different experiences... and because of that, everyone has a unique 'reaction' to the training.  Depending on the intensity and kind of workout, it can maximally benefit you, or minimally benefit you.

In order to figure out what's right for you and your pursuit of your goals, you need to figure out who you are.  Once you figure out who you are, figure out where you are, and where you want to be.  It's good to know where the journey is going to take place and how long the journey would be, and ultimately, if the journey would be worth it.

Your goals may be similar to another person, but change it up as you walk on towards it.  Add a little, take a little, and see the difference it makes.  Learn from as many different places as you can, but when applying it to yourself, it's really important to work slowly and steadily, changing the plan as you go forward.

I really want to get faster, so I've been thinking about what I'm going to do with my life.  I want to start all over again, working from the bottom up.  I've decided that I would like to get back into running 5k races as a top runner.  This would mean that my average mile time would be under 5 minutes.  I dread going that fast, but I believe that having a firm and fast foundation would carry on into my long distance runs.  Thus far, I've been planning on doing both 5k's and marathons, and then a couple ultras here and there.  My training would be half short distances and half long distance training, so that I would be able to get a lot under my belt.  I don't know how exactly is it going to work, but then again, that's part of the fun.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Attitudes changes everything.  It makes a difference.  Your attitude towards what you want to do will either allow you or prevent you from getting it done.  Positive attitude will yield positive results.  Negative attitude will yield negative results.

With a positive attitude, you can look at things with a perspective that seeks to use the situation in a positive manner... no manner what happens, and because of that attitude, you will generally grow.  With a negative attitude, you can look at things with a perspective that seeks to use the situation in a negative manner... and usually, whether something good or bad has happened... it just won't be as bright and nice as it should be.

Your attitude will help mold who you are, and can also affect other people.  Think of all the times someone has said something that brightened your day.  One person made a difference in your life because of their attitude.  It changes everything.  It can not only affect the individual, but the people around them.  Keep your attitude in check and give out that positive attitude towards others.  It really helps.

In running, when you have a negative attitude, you probably won't run well.  With a positive attitude, you could change a possible bad race into a great race.  It doesn't mean that you're unrealistic and reach for unimaginable goals in the race.  It means that you enter the race realistically and with a positive attitude.  A 'CAN-DO' attitude brings out the best.  A 'NO-CAN-DO' attitude takes away the potential you have.

Being positive can be relaxing, allowing the individual to run relaxed and therefore, at a better pace.  Being positive helps you do your best, allowing optimal performance... or optimal training which leads to optimal results.  Attitudes can change everything.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Giving it Your Best

Today was one hectic day at work... I woke up, went to work, and for the whole day, planned an after school party.  It was my second party, so I sort of knew what I was in for.  Unfortunately, because I had been working on my report that was due the day before, I was not able to focus on the party.  I had to pretty much work with my ideas and make it a reality.  I had to make sure that everything was in its place... and after a whole day of planning, we had the party.  It started off really unorganized, but over time, it went back to being more or less alright, but at the end, it went haywire again.  I had ideas, and it worked in an ideal situation... but I didn't think about all the 'what ifs' that would have helped me with my organization.  I could have just given up and let it be the way it was, but I was not taught to give up.  As a long distance runner, you don't want to give up.  You want to do your best.  Why?  It's because if you don't do your best, you leave something out.  You aren't fulfilled.  Satisfaction isn't finishing something barely passing.  Satisfaction comes when you are overflowing and getting 100% done.

Today at soccer, we were up against a tough team.  We didn't do well at all and we were losing by a lot.  However, to me, even if we were losing by that much, it's important for me to continuously keep going and work to finish the task.  It didn't matter if we won or lost.  The most important thing is to do your best, no matter what.  It's doing our best that matters the most.  When you do your best, you push yourself, and when you push yourself, you can grow.  Doing my best has always helped me grow so much.  If working at a mediocre level can raise you part way, then your 100% will help you grow tremendously.

We all make decisions, to do our best, to do the bare minimum... but each choice that we make influences the outcome and direction of our lives.  Let's forget about every thing and focus on doing your best.  For yourself, and as a goal.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Resisting the Urge

Today was one of those hard days.  I had a lot on my plate and I had a deadline to keep.  I was tired and I FINALLY got everything done.  We had a retirement party right after that.  At the party, they served both cake and punch... and after a long day, I was tempted to partake in that.  However, I knew better than to do that... but still, it looked so good... one bite wouldn't hurt, would it?

Sometimes, things come up and we want to stray from our goal.  We get attacked by things that seem good for that moment.  We know it's good for only that moment and that in the long run, it's not good, but we still sometimes focus on the here and now.

Should we focus on the here and now and forget the future? NO.  Should we forget the here and now and focus on the future?  NO.  Just like everything else, there ought to be a balance between the two.  I do my best not to eat cake unless it is somebody's birthday, Christmas, or some other special day/holiday.  In order to balance myself, I look at how important my goal is, and base my guidelines according to that rule.  Goals help create those guidelines, and that helps with the individual's balance.  Focus on the future, but keep the here and now in mind.  Make decisions based off of what you truly want, weighing the options of both present and future.

In the end, I decided that it would be best for me if I did not eat.  I still enjoyed a good evening with my coworkers, but with less food in my body.  I had to be strong because this was a little less than two weeks til I run the race.  I needed to be not just physically strong, but mentally strong.  I needed to be able to push my body to do what I want it... to prove to myself that I am indeed in charge of my body, and I can make it do as I please.  Looking at the instant gratification it could have given me, and instead using self control to not eat the cake, I was able to take another step forward in the 12 hour race.  I am another step closer to being ready for the race.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Losing Weight

When you want to lose weight, you run.  When you run, you lose weight.  Funny how it works.  What does it mean to lose weight?  People gain and lose weight every day.  During the night, we lose weight from doing nothing but simple respiring, perspiring, and our body metabolism.  In one night, an individual can lose 2 lbs because of those three factors.  But does it mean that they 'lost' weight?

The fluctuation of weight is something that happens.  To me, it's the product of what you do with your life.  Your body reacts to what you do and will adapt accordingly.  Should you go out and run every day, your body will do its best to adapt to that and make the body lighter, so as to lessen the strain and make it easier to constantly run.  Should you do nothing and lay around, your body will adapt to that and will not worry as much about the weight because you're not doing anything anyway, and instead, store the energy in fat.  If you lift heavy weights, your body will lose the fat and gain a lot of muscle to be able to lift what you have been training with.  Whatever you do will consequently change your body weight.

When running, I don't think your ultimate goal should be 'to lose weight' but instead, to run longer.  I don't lose weight to run fast, I lose weight to a certain point BECAUSE I run longer.  When I help train people to get in shape, I make sure they don't focus on the weight, because the weight will come naturally.  Instead, I work on the time and the distance.  Two important things that help push the body forward in the right direction.

I have seen too many times where people focus on the wrong things and worry about their weight.  Their ultimate goal is to be in better shape, so I believe that it's important that they focus on the runs, and not worry about the steps as long as they are going towards the right direction.  Of course you can't just up and go to the goal, you need to work at it.  In focusing on getting in better shape, your weight will automatically come to a point where your body needs to be.

Focus on what's important.

Today, because I felt my foot hurting, I did not go cycling and instead, I took it easy.  I did 8,000 calf raises.  Now, although it wasn't as much as much as I wanted, I was able to put the focus of my exercise on my calf muscles.  Now if each calf raise was a step in a run, that would mean that I took 16,000 steps, 8,000 steps per calf.  This would be approximately 48,000 ft, or 9.1 miles.  Although the work itself was considerably less, the effort directed on the calf would be just about the same, and it felt good to do that many calf raises.  Maybe next time I'll go for 23,056 calf raises, which would account for a full marathon.  Doing calf raises definitely was helpful, as it did not harm my joints at all.  Focusing on the muscle, I am able to impact one muscle group at a time, little by little working to make my body able to do long distances and have the muscles protect me from the jarring impacts the long distance running would have on me.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Living Without Regret

There are things that we do that we are ashamed of.  There are things we choose that may not be the best.  Sometimes, we just don't do what we should do, and we go on with life.  We make bad decisions and we waste our lives when we could do something that would be productive... so what can we do during those times?  Can we just erase what we did and start all over?  Of course not.  If we could do that, then we'd be starting over all the time.  We have to embrace our decisions, no matter if they are good or bad, because we are the product of our choices.

Good or bad, we are what we are.  Use the bad to become better.  Use the good and get even stronger.  No matter what we say, do, or think, don't regret the decisions you make.

Today, I made a decision that I thought I would regret.  I was going to go cycle for 3 hours.  I decided not to and waste my time just chillaxing at the house, watch a movie, eat dinner and prepare for tomorrow's meal.  I ended up just doing nothing and it really bothered me.  I wanted to exercise, but at the same time, I didn't.  I just wanted a break... so I caved in to the temptation and didn't do anything.  I regretted that decision as soon as the movie was over, but it only took me a couple seconds to figure out a makeshift plan to go forward.  Since I usually go to sleep at midnight or later, I decided to sleep earlier and wake up early so that I would be able to do a 3 hour workout on the stationary bike tomorrow morning after I wake up at 4:10 in the morning.  It would jumpstart my day, but I'm hoping that with that, I would be able to train my body to continually work for hours.

Things happen, you can't change the past, but you can change your course of action.  Your action never just stops, use the past to build a better you, use your bad choices and make the best out of the situation.  Who knows, it actually might have been better for you because of that!

Live without regret.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


How can you run your best?

You can run your best when you relax.  The reason being that you don't have muscles opposing each other.  When your muscles work against each other, it automatically wastes energy, causing your body to work less efficiently.

So take it easy.  Enjoy yourself.  Take some time off from hard work, and go for efficient work.  Don't do ten hours of working when you could divide it up into shifts and finish your work faster and using time well.

When you relax, you can get more out of what you do, whether it be running, studying, working, or anything.  It helps to just relax.  Sometimes, I use music to get myself relaxed, I listen to music and I just take it and it soothes me, helping my body calm down.  When my mind is off the actual work, and my body is relaxed, I do so much better.

Take some time off and just relax.

It helps you out in life.  100%

No matter how much pressure you feel at work, if you could find ways to relax for five minutes every hour, you'd be more productive.

- Dr. Joyce Brothers

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Simulating Your Race

It's good to get your body used to something.  Especially if it's going to have to get used to hard situations.  Because of the race that I'm going to do, I needed to get myself in a similar situation so that I would get the proper mental training that I would need in order to attack the race head on.  The race that I'm training for is the 12 hour race.  Obviously, I'm not going to go around and run for 12 hours to get the full feeling, because that will more or less destroy my body.  Maybe in the future, when I'm training for 24 hour races or 100 mile races, I'll do that in the weekend, but for right now, where I am, I am not at that point yet.

Making sure that I would have no food in my system, I did not eat breakfast, and instead just waited til 11 to start my run.  I put on my hydropack because it was going to be a long day and I would need water, but I didn't take anything that would give me energy or electrolytes.  My plan was to run for 3 hours at the pace I would like to run the race... but without a break.  I wanted to push myself so that I would be able to go on without the energy and without the electrolytes, during the hottest time of the day.  When I went outside, I turned on the music on my iPhone and just started running.  I tried to take it easy, but the first mile went by in 8:40, a minute faster than my most ideal goal.  I kept on running, and decided that I would just try to keep myself moving at a 9:00 min/mile pace, and although for the first ten miles, it was rather easy to do that, the lack of electrolytes and food, combined with the extra weight from the hydration pack and the heat caused me to tire quickly.  This simulation run would test the middle part of my run, when it would be the hottest and I would feel as if I would not be able to go on.  Fortunately, the hottest part of the day would come in the first half of the race, so I wouldn't have too much trouble during the last half, however, I needed to be as prepared as possible to run during that time WITHOUT energy, so that my body would attempt to gather energy from the muscle and fat from my body.

It's hard to push yourself to the point where your body is breaking itself down, but I felt that it would be something that would benefit me if I got used to it... not only psychologically but physically.  Your body doesn't naturally break itself down, and so getting to a point where your body used to that is very... consuming.  I have to put myself in a position where I have no choice but to use the reserved energy and sacrifice my muscles and fat for energy.  I just needed to make sure that I wouldn't go too far, overexerting myself, and 'ruining' my training.  I am most likely going to do another run just like that, but after that... I'm going to slow down on my training, and just make sure I keep myself in tip-top shape for the race.

During the run, I had a hard time in the second half, so I slowed down considerably, finishing my run of 18.67 miles in 2:52:10, an average of 9:12 min/mile.  I was exhausted by the end, and the first couple of hours after that, I had a difficult time with my recuperation, but after eating eggs and water, I got myself back into my normal self so that I could go through the rest of the day.

Knowing that you're going to have to go through hard times means that you need to get ready for it.  If you want to be ready for it, you need to make sure to fully understand what you're going to go through.  Take some time to figure out what you're up against, go forward, and challenge it.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Stop and Listen

For some reason, my car wasn't working right.  The brake lights were on whether I pushed the breaks down or not.  So I figured that it was about time that I stop putting my car jack under the brake to jack it up and stop that light, and just fix it instead.  So I went and looked in to see if I needed to tighten the brakes, and to my surprise, it was a quick and easy fix.  I looked in, saw that a pad was off and lying on the floor and all I needed to do was to glue it on, because once I would do that, it would push in the button that would stop the brake lights from turning on.  So I hurriedly bought glue to put it in.  I hastily glued the pad to the button... only to realize that there was a spare pad right beside that.  I shrugged and just let it set... and realized that I had glued the button shut, so now my brake lights would not turn on.  I took the little part out, and tried to cut the glue off... but to of no avail.  I had to get another part.  By then, I had spent $40 on a wrench set, which was an investment, and $4 on glue.  Now I had to pay $9 for a new part.  I quickly installed that, and put on the spare pad, and thought all was good... until the spare pad broke.

I took a break.

I came back later and decided that I would glue the pad to the proper place, and used the glue that I had bought and glued it on and now my car works just fine.  It took me 2 days to get to take a look and see what the problem is, and a little over an hour to actually fix the problem.  Why did it take so long?  It was due to me not trying to understand the problem, ignoring the problem, and not paying enough attention to the problem.  Had I looked carefully, I would have been able to fix the problem in less than 10 minutes.  I didn't stop, take my time to observe what happened, and what needed to happen, and take action from that.  If I had done that, I would have been able to prolong the need of the wrenches, and didn't need to buy another part, OR take that much time getting a simple part fixed.

Sometimes, we need to stop in life.  Not just take a break, but just realize where you're at and where you're going.  See what you need.  You need to listen to your peers, do some research, and not blindly run through life.  If you do, you can end up wasting a lot of energy, time, and money.  When you're going for a high goal, we might not have those luxuries, and we need to get up there as soon as possible.  For me and my running, that means that I need to properly do my research, and train according to what I know, and as I grow in knowledge, I would be able to grow in my running.  The more I know, the better decisions I can make.  I don't know if the decision to eat 25 wings last night was a good decision, but I know that not consuming alcohol was a good decision because I knew it would impact my running the next day.  I 'allowed' the consumption of 25 wings because I figured that I've been standing up and walking around for over 12 hours, along with a little exercise, I needed the protein to rush back into my system and charge up my muscles.

I've also figured out that in order to pursue my goals, I need to have a job that would complement my goals.  After doing a little research, I have figured out that I would probably need to go back to school.  I have been thinking about that for quite a long time, and right now, I'm very close to making a decision on getting a MS in Kinesiology.  Before I jump into that, however, I have sent 3 emails to different people that are in charge of the Kinesiology Department in the University of Tennessee, and they have gotten back to me regarding Kinesiology.  Thus far, I have been suggested that Kinesiology with a concentration in Sports Psychology and Motor Behavior may be best suited for me and my circumstance.  However, I will look into it and see what I can possibly do, and maybe with the help of the Department, able to figure out how the degree will complement my goals.  If I were to go for this MS degree, it would mean that I would start next year.  I need to be in a stable position, so that I would be ready to get back into being a college kid again.  I'll be fresh, I'll be ready, and I'll jump into it full speed and put all my concentration into it, so that I could get as much as I can out of it.

But first, I need to stop and listen.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Sometimes, your body knows itself more than you do.  So listen to it.  Yesterday, for some reason, I was exhausted, and so I thought that I'd take a little nap before I write a blog... but I overslept my alarm and slept from 10:00 to 7:20.... a much needed rest.  I guess my body needed that break.  Today, after I woke up, I felt great!  My body was in tip top shape, and because I listened to it, I was able to be a lot more effective and attentive.  There is a time to push yourself, but at the same time, there's a time that you need to stop and take a break.  Tapering is one thing you can do to take a break before a big race, but even resting on a normal day can get you revitalized.

Putting burdens upon ourselves can tax our body in so many ways.  We usually don't give ourselves enough time to rest in order to make up for the amount of work and effort we put on our body.  As always, balance is essential in our lives.  Sometimes, we don't realize the stress we put upon ourselves.  Our minds adapt, and so does our body, but at times, we forget that our body isn't a machine, that it needs the rest in order to become stronger.  Not only does our body take a physical toll when we're up and about, but so does our mind.  It's isn't just the body that needs the break, but our mind does too, and we do take it lightly, pushing ourselves over and over again in order to keep on going.  That one day of rest really helped me out a lot, and I do hope that I start building a habit that will allow me to rest a lot more, as well as run a lot more.

As I listen to my body, I realize how important it is for me to take that extra hour and sleep.  I tend to stay awake a lot because I'm always doing something.  Some of the things I do is a waste of time, and other things I do is important to me.  I need to be able to figure out what is important to me and weed out the waste so that I would be able to have time for important things like sleep.

Today was another interval day, but instead of the on and off running that I would do, I did indoor soccer.  It was a fun 50 minutes, and I really pushed myself a lot.  I wasn't as tired as before because of the rest that I did, and I was able to work hard with the stop and go, and even managed to score a goal.  It was a great night and I really enjoyed working hard with a team.  It helped with my speed, and it helped with just having a good time with friends.  There's a lot of things we need, rest is one of them, and so is being with other people.  Balance it all out and you're on the road to success.  Whatever goal you have, taking the breaks and being with friends will help push you towards that goal.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Hydration Pack VS Support Crew

When some people do long runs, they wear hydropacks.  These are backpacks that carry water so that you could drink on the run.  I decided that I wanted to try it out and went and bought myself a $20 hydration pack. The company that made it is bcg and carries 1.5 liter (50 oz) and weighs 2.18 kg (4.81 lb) with water in it and .43 kg (.95 lb) without it.  The way the hydration pack was made, it didn't affect me at all.  It was snug on my shoulders, tight onto my body, and the only noticeable thing about it was the water that sloshed around every time I took a step.  I asked the people at the store (Academy) and they said that the hydration packs over at the store was mainly used for cyclists, but it would be okay for a runner.  Since it was a $20 pack, I didn't worry too much about it being a waste of money.  I looked at it as an investment.  If it was not going to work, then I would just have a nice pack that I could use for hiking.

I decided to use the hydration pack right away.  I put cold water in it, and went out and ran 8.77 miles in 1:16:09, an average of 8:40 min/mile.  It was a minute faster than my goal pace for the 12 hour race, but for today's run, it was appropriate.  After this weekend, I am going to have to start tapering, and lessen my workouts.  Time is coming up, and all I can do now is to get my plan down and work hard to sleep well and make sure my body is absolutely ready for the race.  I'm not sure whether or not I'm ready for the hydropack, but maybe in the future, if I want to run a long distance race with not as many water stops, I'll think about getting a better one to race in.  As for this race, the likelihood that I'll wear it isn't too high, but I'll see how everything goes and plan accordingly.  I think hydropacks are amazing for training because when training, I won't have a crew there for me, handing out drinks so that I could replenish myself.  From this run, I know that the hydropack doesn't negatively affect me, or cause me to lose speed, but allows me to continuously add water into my system, so that I would be able to perform at my best.

As for this upcoming race, I'll have more than a hydropack supporting me.  I'll have friends there that will cheer me on.  Hydropacks are good because they'll help you out when you need a drink, but friends are even more important, because they will support you.  Not only water and food, but words of encouragement.  There are just some things that can't be replaced.  During this race, I know I'm going to have a tough time.  I also know that I could probably do it on my own without anyone there cheering me on... but the thing is, because there's other people cheering me on, I'm able to do better.  Being with other people is an encouragement that will push me to do my best.  A hydropack doesn't do that for me.  Having the people that care about you at the race, supporting you during your breaks... that's what pushes me onward.  

Monday, May 14, 2012

Interval Workouts

If there's one thing that I don't like to do in running, it would be training myself to run fast.  In order to do that, you need to... run fast.  I'm a pretty laid back kind of guy, and I don't like to work too hard too fast.  Even if it is only short distances.  I like going nice and easy, and if I were given the choice to run 20 miles slowly, or 5 miles as hard as I could, I would definitely take the 20 miles.  However, there's a need for me to build up my speed.  I need to be able to become fast, so that when I go for the 12 hour race, I would be used to running at such a fast pace, that when I go slowly, I would be able to last longer.  There are three paces that I look at when I run.  Your Max VO2 Pace, your Lactate Threshold Pace, and your Running Economy Pace.

Your VO2 Pace is the pace at where your muscles are using the maximum amount of oxygen.  The higher your pace is, the faster you will be at running.  Your Lactate Threshold Pace can be anywhere between 70-80% of your VO2 pace (according to some research... but it varies depending on the sources), depending on what level of a runner you are, and it determines how well you race.  The threshold is the pace at which the accumulation of lactic acid isn't fast, but slow and steady.  Finally, the Running Economy Pace.  It is a pace at which you are running about 65% of your max VO2, running fast enough to train your muscles to run, but slow enough that it doesn't work on your threshold.

Basically, the VO2 pace is the fastest I can run using my muscles efficiently, but at the same time, wearing them down fast.  If I raise my VO2 pace, then I will be able to vicariously improve my lactate threshold pace, and my running economy pace would also go up.  If I spend some time on the VO2 once in a while, I would be able to improve my running overall.  Just for fun, I looked at the University of Tennessee Track Club records, and I figured that if I could go for a good time on the 10,000m record, it would help my overall running.  Although there is no way I can bring my time down in a month, I believe that in a year, if I could get to that point, then I would be able to do a lot better with my ultra-marathons.  When you're reaching to better yourself, you're going to have to do things you don't want to do.  You're going to have to attack it over and over again, owning it, and making it yours, so that you would be able to conquer that and use it to make you into a better person.

Today, I spend about a half an hour doing interval training, running hard one minute, and taking a break for a minute, and doing that 10 times, with a 5 minute jog before and after... it was tough... but it was worth every run.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Today was another day of absolute rest... I felt like I did nothing that improved my running because... I did nothing.  I went to the mall with my sisters... if that counts for anything, but other than standing around for hours and letting my sisters do the shopping, I didn't run.  Runners have a hard time with resting.  It seems like we think you become weak with one day of not running.  Scientifically, it makes sense that the resting period will help the muscles recover, and tapering will help your body recover fully... but why is it that we don't like to do that?  Runners are driven people, and what drives us is pushing ourselves forward, pushing our limits.  Resting doesn't 'feel' like working.  The trap that we commonly find ourselves in is constantly training in order to reach our goals.  This is especially true for endurance runners.  We convince ourselves that our constant training forces our body to adjust and becomes stronger, but in reality, we usually end up overtraining and lose our strength and speed.  Perhaps in the long run, if you manage to get away without injuring yourself, your body may adapt to the harsh training, but it would be better to take a safer path and take that recovery break.

Depending on the runner, recoveries and breaks can be a lot of things.  To some, their break is to fully stop their running and just enjoy a book.  To others, it is to run 5 miles at an easy pace.  The difference being the level and type of athlete, as well as individual preferences.  Sometimes, we need to make sure that the numbers aren't controlling the runner, but the runner is controlling the number.  Make sure that you are not letting your goal control you and your pace, but you control your pace to achieve your goal.  Don't be too strict on yourself and not allow a moment of rest, but instead, let the rules be guidelines that you follow according to what level you are.  Some days, you'll go further, while other days, you won't go as far.  However, make sure that this doesn't allow you to become lazy and use it as an excuse not to go forward.  Know yourself, know your goal, and take the appropriate steps towards that goal at the appropriate time.

When you climb a tall mountain, you can't always just go all out from start to finish.  Go slowly and steadily, and use breaks when needed, because with those breaks, it gives you a better chance of finishing.  Just as each step forward is important, each resting point is also just as important to the individual, and both of them together will help you reach your goal.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

What is Cross-Training?

There are many theories regarding cross-training. Some say that cross training is ineffective and only serves to help the individual get their overall fitness level. Others say that it doesn't necessarily help with the running, but due to the nature of training, it will help prevent injuries and strengthen muscles and ligaments to withstand the impact on runs... especially the long runs. Still others say that not only does it serve as a an injury preventative, but will also enhance performance.

I personally believe that cross training to a certain degree will help prevent injuries and to an extent, help enhance performance for endurance athletes. I understand the point of view of those that see cross-training as something that works on muscle groups that do not impact running, thus adding weight, causing the running efficiency to go down. Although this does make sense, I look at cross-training as something that will work those muscles out, but those muscles worked out to a degree will help keep the body in balance. When you sharpen something so much, not only will it become something that can cut easily, but all the same, it is easily broken if hit right.

To me, cross-training allows me to train my muscles that are used to running without the wear and tear constant running might do to it. I personally like to ride the stationary bike, cycling hours on it to work on the same muscles used to run with... but in a different way. Cycling uses more quads than running, stabilizing the muscles, allowing me to grow in strength, also giving my joints a time to recover from the wear and tear I would get from running. I usually don't do anything else other than cycling, but occasionally, I would work my arms out and do ten or twenty pull ups and twenty five or fifty push ups as well as using dumbells to strengthen my arms as they swing, so that they would not just have the endurance, but strength.

Goals can wear you down. When you do one thing and only one thing, it can get you burnt out. You need a variety of things that supports you and your goal. Same goes for a lot of other things, homework, work, relationships... and if you stick with the same thing, you might get tired of whatever you are doing. Spice up your homework by going online and go to and take an educational break. When you're at work, take that break from the harder things you have to do and do some of the simple things to take your mind off and be productive. In your relationship, don't always go out for a dinner and a movie. Go out. Explore. Do something different, hiking, museum... something different that the two of you might did interesting. Add that spice into your life.

Basically, having a variety of things you have to do will help you achieve your goals. Keep your eyes on the goal, but remember to take a productive break, going for your goal but at the same time, giving you a break so you become even stronger when you get off your break and get back towards running to your goal.

Today, I went to the gym and after doing my ten pull ups and twenty five push ups, I got on the stationary bike with a book and cycled for 1:50:00 cycling for 34.3 miles. After that, I did another ten pull ups, and took a break, went to Walmart, bought Pedialyte, and then went back and did another ten pull ups, 335 (25-24-23-22...3-2-1-10) single calf calf raises (per calf) and then 500 calf raises in a row (both calves). It felt do good to do that. Then to test out my new GEL Hyperspeed 4 racing shoes, I ran a 5k (3.1 miles) on the treadmill, finishing it in exactly 25 minutes, an average of 8:04 per mile. After that, I went over and worked with some dumbells, and then finished my workout with cycling 9.63 miles in 40:00 and a 22 minute sauna. It was one long and fun day. I didn't even feel the pain that was bothering me a little yesterday. Cross-training today was a good choice.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Back to Back Long Runs

Although it is going to be very tiring, I am planning on doing another long run tomorrow at a little faster than race pace, so that my body could get accustomed to running hard when I'm tired.  Simulating the race scenario is very important when training.  If your body is already used to the speed, the layout of the course, and how you're feeling, it helps you out a lot.

My high goal is to get 1st place in my individual race in the 12 hour race.  That is going to be rather difficult to do, considering that I'm still new when we talk about endurance races.  I only have a 50 miler under my belt, and this 12 hour run will be different than that.  I will be a lot more trained this round, compared to the 50 miler, but I need to make sure that I could still run for a long time without stopping, no matter how tired I was or how much it hurt.  Today was day one of the simulation.  I have decided that this weekend, I will run about the same distance as my goal is.  Today, I ran 16.72 miles in 2:35:23, a 9:17 min/mile average.  I got lost in the trails in the mountains, and there were a couple places where I had to walk because of the steepness of the trails, but it was all pretty good for me.  It pushed me harder than a normal 16 miler.  Running on the trail gave me an idea of how everything is going to feel.  Today's run had a big chunk on trails with all sorts of terrain.  There were a lot of switchbacks, and that helped work my core, and the hills really pushed me to go far and fast, so overall, I was happy to have that sort of challenge as I was running.  Towards the end of the run, my left knee felt a slight pain.  This may cause me to change my training plans, but I'll make the decision tomorrow.  If it doesn't hurt, then I'll go ahead and run once in the morning.  If the knee feels the same discomfort, then I'll make sure to take the appropriate measures.  What I will most likely do, if it was bad, would be to go to the gym and cycle like a madman.  As the next few weeks are my hard core training weeks, I need to make sure to get as much done on my body.  Time is running out and I need the proper amount of time to taper and carboload.

Tomorrow's plan would be to prepare in a different way than usual.  Going for a goal that you have never done before means that you need to train both mind and body to achieve that.  Training for the real thing means that you need to put yourself in the position you will be in.  Just like there's the pre-SAT before the SAT, you need to train in a similar situation in order to achieve the best results.  The better prepared you are, the better chance you'll have when you reach towards your goal.  Today was another long day... Hitting the sack and sleeping as much as I could.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Finding Time to Run

We're busy.  We always have things to do... so much that we don't have time to take steps towards our goals.  For me, in order to get to my goal, I need a lot of time running, cycling, or doing some kind of exercise.  Becoming an ultra-endurance athlete means that I am going to need a lot of time in order to excel.  How can I find time to do that?

I work two jobs, one a full time job, and another a part time job.  I work Monday through Friday 8:15-4:30, commuting takes 30 minutes off that each day.  For my other job, I work Wednesday nights and Sundays, as well as some prep time at home during the week.  I have to prep my meals, eat my meals, and do a lot of things every day.  All this takes away a lot of time from running.  Sleep is important, and some days, I feel as if I don't get enough.  Six hours is a must, and seven and a half is preferred.  Every so often, I would hang out with my friends, which takes away a little bit of time... but the job and life takes up most of my time.  Where do I find that time to run.

I do what I can in order to fit in running with my life.  For example, tomorrow, when I wake up to go run, I'm going to get the rice cooker ready, and by the time I get back, I'll have rice for the day.  I also like to do prep work once a week and cut all my onions and other vegetables up so it'll be ready any day.  Same with the chicken.  I bake the chicken in the oven and all I have to do when I want to eat chicken is to get it out of the freezer (where I store them) and microwave them for a little bit, and we're back in business.  During work, I make sure that I am standing at all times, in order to burn more calories and work on my endurance.  Standing burns more calories than sitting, and during the day, I would spend more than half of it standing, walking, and doing calf raises.  After work, I would go back home, and either take a break, run/exercise, or eat.  Depending on what I have planned, I make sure to spend some time exercising.  Every moment does count, and I want the moment to last a bit, so that I would be able to help myself achieve my goal.

There are times when I don't feel up to par, and I just waste time and not do anything, and each time I do that, I take away from my training, and I won't be able to improve as much.  If my goal is a priority, I need to make sure to follow it no matter how I feel.  It's tough sometimes to make that time, because life hits you.  But no matter how hard it is, if you keep the main thing the main thing, you'll be able to conquer that and advance towards your goal.  Time doesn't magically tell you what to do.  You need to take the initiative and schedule things out so that you could balance your life with your goals.  Work is important because it helps your food, electricity, water, home, so it's important to continue that.  Playing on games... not as important, and so that can be dropped.  Eating... very important.  Not just for life, but also for training.  I view eating as a time of growth, and the time taken into preparing and cooking is needed.  It helps to manage it in a way that maximizes efficiency, but I don't skip a meal in order to run.  Endurance running is important to me, and food is something that supports my goals.  No matter how busy your life may be, there will always be time that you can spend to go towards your goals.  Sometimes it's really easy to find that time... but there are times when that is hard.  During those times, as long as your resolve is strong, time can somehow be made in order to run towards your goals.  You control the time.

I've heard of some business men that travel around different places all across the US.  With them, they bring the important papers for their jobs, their computer... and their running shoes and gear.  They are the people who understand what it is to make time to achieve their goals.  Today, I woke up and ran 6.25 miles in 56:31 (an average of 9:01 min/mile).  I was rather proud of being able to run at a slow pace.  It was hard... but I managed to go slowly.  After a long day of standing at work, I went to a young adults group, and left a little bit early to go play 50 minutes of indoor soccer.  It was definitely a good speed workout, and pushed my body to work hard for small bursts and recovering in a small amount of time.  Next week, I'm planning on running to the soccer game as a warm up, working on my pace, and then do a speed workout.  But before that, I'll have to worry about tomorrow.  I'll have to run in the morning, work, and then run or cycle in the afternoon.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Half to Full (Divide and Conquer)

I ran my half marathon when I was a senior in high school.  I ran my first marathon my freshman year of college.  The difference... I ran an average of 7:26 min/mile for the half marathon, and 7:18 min/mile for the marathon.    I ran my marathon with an average that was faster than my half marathon.  Why is there so much of a difference in one year?  Here's the main reason, I actually trained a couple months for the marathon, compared to the no training for the half marathon.  When I ran the half marathon, I was only prepared to race a 3.1 mile race, not a 13.1 and I was fortunate enough to semi-pace myself in order to finish the race.  For the marathon, I was able to train hard core and work to get to where I needed to be for my first marathon.

When you run a half marathon, you can get away without training as much.  However, when it comes to running a marathon, most of the time, you can't just up and run that long.  Running a marathon means hitting the wall and running 6.2 miles beyond what the human body is capable of without proper training.  With that two months of training, I was able to get through to 19 miles in a decent speed, but even with the training that I did, my right quad started to go out, then at mile 21, my left quad started to go out.  By mile 23, my calves were acting up and I was tempted to stop, but because of the training that I did, and my will to keep on going, I managed to make it through the marathon... suffering the post marathon soreness.

Running a marathon requires even harder training than a half marathon.  It requires the individual to go beyond their limit.  In order to achieve that, your training has to get to the 20 mile point.  Before the race, I ran three 20 milers, and ran a little bit the day after the run.  I didn't go hard, but I made sure that I would get the distance down.  During the training stage, it's important to get the body used to the distance, rather than the speed, and work speed on a different day.  In training, there are long runs for stamina, and short runs for speed.  The goal is to train separate and by the time race day comes, put both of them into good use, and race with that.  Dividing is the way you train, and the race is where you conquer.  Train one part at a time, and eventually, the whole comes along just fine.

Today, I didn't get any exercise down because yesterday I had that couple hours of floor hockey.  Tomorrow, I'm planning on going out in the morning and running an hour or so, and just take it easy, getting my feet used to running that long distance.  The next few weeks are going to have to be long distance training, so that I would be ready for the 12 hour race.  Tomorrow is just the beginning, and it'll get worse as time goes by.  If my plan is to be able to run pretty much continuously for 12 hours, I'm going to have to get to a point where I run 4 hours a day for more than 3 days.  I plan on rocking this race, and in order to do that, I need to train like a madman... Beast I need to be, a beast I will become.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Run and Gun, and Working With a Plan

Floor hockey is one sport I thoroughly enjoy.  It gets me my speed workout, but it also pushes my body and works on that stamina.  Another thing that it does is helps me with my stop and go.  When we do floor hockey, it's always a run and gun situation, you get the ball and you blast off, only to get it taken away and blasted back.  There's a short stop and then I'll get back to running.  Doing this for a couple hours really puts a lot of stress on your muscles... but it feels so good.  Having a short stop in between helps you keep that fast pace going.  It kind of reminds me of when I was in college.  I would get bored of working on an essay, that after every paragraph, I would play minesweeper on hard, and once I clear it with a decent time, I would get back to writing that paper.  This allowed me to get enough of a mental break that I could continue to work on my essay without losing my pace, and finish it a lot more effectively than if I would have tried to man through it.  I have some friends that are capable of manning through it and are good at it, so it's not that my way is right... it's just that my way worked for me.  Having that rest was important because it kept me at a good pace.

Running this 12 hour race is going to be the same.  There is going to be a lot of running, but the most important thing is the pace.  I am estimating how much my body can handle, and I know that compared to when I ran the 50 mile race, I would be more than just physically prepared for the race.  This time, I know what I need to bring in order to get through the race.  My goal isn't just to finish, but to get 1st place and a course record.  I would like to work hard and get an average of a 9:40 mile for the whole duration.  Should I get that average, I would be able to run approximately 74.4 miles in the 12 hours.  I know that I will have a hard time running at that slow pace the first half, and not wanting to make the same mistake as I did in the 50 and go to fast in the beginning, I am going to go in with a plan.  The course is set as a 3.1 mile loop (5k) and if I were to run a 9:40 pace, I would finish each loop in half an hour.  If I keep up the pace, I would be able to do 24 laps.  My plan is to run a slow loop, and after finishing the loop, walk til my half hour is up, and then run slowly again.  My idea is that every loop that I run will be fast at first, but because of that, I would be forced to walk and rest til my hour is up.  This won't mean that I will work my butt off for a loop and then walk and recover, and go again.  It means that I am probably going to run a 9:00 or slightly faster pace, and use the extra time to recover.

Using a little math, I calculated that if I run at a 9:00 min/mile pace and walk til my time is up, I would have approximately 2:06 to walk (which, for an average person would be .1 miles worth) and then I would go back to running.  Little by little, my running distance would slightly diminish, and the walking time would increase.  However, because of the rate of increase, I would reach a limit in about 8 laps (a little calculus) and by then, should I keep the same pace, I would run for 25:48 and walk 4:12, basically running 2.9 miles and walking .2 miles.  Should I keep the pace up, I would be able to finish with the last 4:12 to spare.  Should I get behind, at the worst, I could probably drop to a 10:00 pace and still get first place and a course record.  Every year brings new people and each person trained a certain amount for this race, so I don't really know what to expect, but what I know is that I'm going to do my best to keep that pace, whether there are people who are way ahead of me, or people who are way behind me.  As long as I have this plan, I'm going to do my best to run smart.  I don't know exactly what's going to happen, but as long as I have control over any part of it, I'm going to make sure to work to make that area that is under my control, to support me in my goals.

Have plans, and follow them, and stay in control.

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Simple Step to Run Further

It's really easy to run further.  Take another step.

There's many things that I could say:  Eat lots of food, drink water, stretch well, rest well... but the most important thing about learning to run further is to take that extra few steps and go further.  If your limit is one mile, the next day, run to that half mile point and run a little further, to the next mailbox, tree... something, and run back.  If each day you go just a little bit further, eventually, you'll be able to run a lot longer than you have ever thought of doing.  You might make a day once a week where you go off and run your longest and slowest runs, going further than you have ever gone, even if it is a little slower.

Having that one day a week where you run longer than the other days will help push your body to increase its stamina.  Just once a week is enough to raise an individual's ability to run further.  Eventually, because of that certain day, you can start running slightly further in your normal days, and keep running further on that one day. One day can make a difference, because it allows you to test your limits, pushing your potential, and little by little it will overflow into your average day (should that be your goal).  The stamina increase of one day will easily affect you in a positive manner.

Honestly, if you run every day, you are already giving your body a workout and increasing its stamina and perseverance.  Long and easy is the way to go if you want one day a week to increase your stamina, and depending on what your goals are, you could even do 3 days a week of long and easy running.  If you want to build your speed, and little by little increase the distance while attempting on remaining the same speed, then I would suggest going once a week to go further, while if you just want to be able to run longer, practice running longer.  It'll get you there.

I like to do a mix between long runs, and multiple runs in one day.  Today was one of those days.  I went over to my cousin's house and ran 3.12 miles in 24:56 (7:58 min/mile average).  After meeting up with him, we decided to go for a short run (with a little walking) and did 2.06 miles in 21:26 (10:23 min/mile average).  I had a good time with my cousin, and after that, ran 3.03 miles home in 25:16 (8:18 min/mile average).  They were nice runs and really helped put in a little bit.  I think that later, I'll do one of those long runs in order to work my stamina.  It really helps to switch out training styles so that your body wouldn't get accustomed to the training.  Throwing new things around tends to balance the body pretty well.  I need to work on my stamina, so I'll definitely do long runs, as well as multiple runs in one day.  Every step counts.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

5k to Half-Marathon (part II, Guidelines)

The 10 mile difference will take a toll on your body when you compare the 3.1 mile and 13.1 mile races together, but in actuality, the human body is capable of storing enough energy to run for 20 miles (but don't run as fast as you can, expecting to run at that speed for a half-marathon).  This means that once you get your body in a rhythm, your half-marathon isn't just a dream.  Getting into the groove for a 3.1 miler can easily transfer to a 13.1 mile race... but it takes steps in order to get there.

A simple rule of thumb that has been said over and over is the 10% rule.  Your weekly miles should not increase more than 10% per week.  For example, if you run 10 miles a week, if you strictly follow that rule, the weeks will go by like this: 10, 11, 12.1, 13.31, 14.641, 16.1051... and so forth.  If you run 20 miles per week, it would go like this: 20, 22, 24.2, 26.62, 29.282, 32.2102... and so forth.  If you look at the six weeks, you can see the progression exponentially increase.  The purpose of this 10% rule is to insure that the individual will not get injured.  However, I believe that the rules are more like... guidelines. To me, I don't follow those rules strictly because rules can be confining.  Most runners have the problem of confining themselves and giving themselves limits.  However, each day, everyone feels different.  We have our good days, our bad days, our busy days, our free days, and because of that, I think it's not wise to limit ourselves because of our set 'schedule'.  Instead, we ought to keep the guidelines in our heads and work towards a positive progression, making sure to know our bodies, and push it in a positive manner, rather than pushing too much and getting ourselves hurt or pushing too little and not reaching our full potential.

It's good to create goals and have every little detail about the steps you take towards your goal, but my suggestion is to think outside the box and allow adjustments to happen... sometimes even during the run, and work towards your goal, always making sure that each step is the best thing for the goal.  Keeping the goal in mind means that adjustments are mandatory.  Whatever your goal may be, you need to make sure that you don't get caught up in the 'rules' and instead, enjoy the training, and enjoy the freedom.

When you train for your half-marathon, my advice is to run slow, and run long.  Don't worry about speed because in time, speed will take care of itself.  Unless you are an elite athlete, ease into it with your long runs, and make it your goal to not stop during the race.  With that goal in mind, take steps forward and run far, run easy, enjoy the weather, get a tan, focus on just clearing your mind... and before you know it, you'll be able to run a half-marathon.

I remember my first (and only) half marathon.  We had our cross country championships in Guam with all the other International schools in the Far East.  Friday was our individual race and Saturday was our relay.  Sunday, there was a PIC International 5k/10k/Half-Marathon, and two other guys and I thought it would be fun to try it out.  We signed up and when the race started, we started out slow, because we had never run this far before.  We were just High School Cross Country runners with no experience running long distances.  Because of my fear of bonking out from running too fast, I was able to do really well and finished 10th overall with a time of 1:37:23, an average of 7:26 min/mile, 1st in my age group.  I was given the honor of shaking Frank Shorter's hand as he gave me a trophy for winning my age division.  The rest of the day, I was in pain because my legs had never felt 13.1 miles of racing before.  I was happy, but it hurt a lot.  My resolve to continue through the tough times really helped me during that race, and although I did not train for the race, being able to run a good 5k definitely helped me with my half-marathon.

My training for the 5k included long runs which was only 8 miles, which helped my stamina as I pushed hard for a 3.1 mile race, but without knowing, training for a good 5k time actually improved my half-marathon time.  My speedwork for the 5k transferred over to the 8 mile long runs, which in turn helped me out with the half-marathon.  Everyone is different, but running still requires the same principles.  Some of your runs will be long and easy to improve your endurance, and others will be short and fast to improve your speed.  Combining the training will make it so that you could do your best.  5k to half-marathon is a lot easier than you think.  Run smart, and keep the guidelines in your head.

This morning, I worked on my slow race pace and ran 3.28 miles in 30:54 (9:24 min/mile average) and in the afternoon, I worked on my cadence and ran 6.98 miles in 51:41 (7:08 min.mile average).  It was a good day.

(side note... I'm pretty sure that my iPhone's running calculator is slightly off in calculations... but I'm just going ahead and putting it on.  I was certain that I finished the run in less than 50 minutes... so the 7:08 average actually makes more sense... but it's just a training run, so it's no big deal)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

5k to Half-Marathon (part I, Divide and Conquer)

Let's say that you worked on your relationship with running, and you've managed to conquer a few 5ks here and there.  Now you're a little confident about yourself, ready to do distances that are longer.  You think that the marathon may be too much for you right now, but the next step is running a half marathon.  What should you do?

Simple... in a way...

Keep on developing that relationship with running, and do the same thing you did for the 5k.  Instead, you'll be going out more, and your runs will take more time.  It requires a deeper relationship.  The bigger the goals you have, the more you need to be committed to it.  Just as the bar gets higher, you need to work harder.  It's not easy to just do the same thing and expect different results.  If you want better results, you improve your quality as well as quantity of practice.  When running a 5k, the amount of time prepared to train for that is miniscule compared to that of a half-marathon simply because of the difference in distance.  A 3.1 mile race is 10 miles shorter than a 13.1 mile race.  It's only obvious that you would train more for the longer race.

The ratio between a 5k and a half marathon is almost 1:4.  That's a big difference.  It means that you'll have to train a little more, in order to achieve results.  It doesn't matter if you're a veteran or novice, the training is going to require the individual to run longer.  The level the individual is may be different, but the amount of practice will definitely be increased.  The 10 mile difference will push the individual to go harder and longer.  Some people may have a harder time adjusting to the amount of mileage they should be doing per week in order to achieve their goal.  A simple thing for me is to do two runs in a day.  If you do one run, you might be able to do X amount of miles, but if you do twice, you'll run Y miles in the morning, which would amount to a little more than half of X, and at night, you'll run another Y miles, helping you go even further.

Sometimes, going for goals means that you have to divide your workload into two in order to get half done early, and the other half done later.  Divide and conquer is a tactic that is used not just for group work, but running, and achieving goals.  Today, I hung out with my friends... but tomorrow, I'll be running twice, making sure to get my mileage, and keep my body rested.

More miles run = able to run longer

Such a simple formula.

Friday, May 4, 2012


When running a long distance race, the most common mistake I make is going too fast. This race that I am going to be training for is going to be one of those raves where I cannot afford to make mistakes. A mistake at the beginning of the race means that the rest of the race is compromised. In order to run this race at pace, I am probably going to do one of the things I hate doing. I am most likely going to walk part of the race. I dislike walking with a passion because I am not moving fast, but in a twelve hour race, if used correctly, a walk will give you exactly what you need.

My plan of action for the race is to attempt to average ten minute miles. Should I finish the 3.1 mile loop faster than my goal pace, I'm going to walk until my goal time is reached. This would somewhat maintain the average and would provide me with the break that I would need. During my walks, there are lots of things that I could do. One would be to rest. During my walk, my body would use that time to recover from the loop and therefore, last longer. Also, during my walk, I would have more than enough time to eat and drink. During the race, I will definitely use a lot more energy than the marathon. Therefore, I will need to intake about the same amount of energy as I am using, so that I would be able to continue on.

While I've prepared for the physical course of action when it comes to the speed of my run, there's going to be a lot more to the battle than meets the eye. When I ran the fifty mile race in October, we started early in the morning and continued throughout the whole day in the mountains. The course was hilly and it was fall. The temperature was perfect for running and the mountains made sure that I wouldn't go too fast. However, according to the website, the course in Asheville will not be mountainous, but will have a few hills. This will mess up my pace and encourage me to run faster. The mental battle of the race starts at the beginning of the race. The course will encourage me to run faster while I will be telling my body to run slower. Another aspect that in going to have to be aware of is the temperature. Because of the date and time, the temperature is going to be hot. Being hot, it'll tax my body and test my endurance as water drips off my body with each step I take in the sun. I need to make sure to monitor myself so that I would take in the right amount of water and electrolytes as my body constantly loses a lot of water.

The important battle, if we look at it as a general thing, is balance. I new to balance my running with walking, the food intake and energy output, the loss of water and replenishment of it. Should I get off balance in any one of these areas, my pace will suffer. What's important about this is to go over and over how my body is doing after and during each loop. I need to measure the amount of water lost and how much I need, as well as checking my pace and energy storage.

Although it seems like a large sun of the race is based off of the balance of these three groups, there is one other battle I would like to address. Though science can explain how the body works and how certain circumstances will occur in a given scenario, there is one thing that science has a difficult time measuring. Resolve. Resolve cannot be measured by science. It is the willpower an individual has to push on beyond the limits of the body. We can only guess where we are, regarding our resolve. But when we get to that point where we push ourselves beyond where our bodies can handle, we find out how much we have within us. I plan on training my mind and continually remind myself of how badly I want to win this race.

Today, I cycled 10 miles in 35 min on the stationary bike. I needed to go to my sister's graduation so I had to cut my training short. She graduated, and I was there to see her. It was totally worth not going out and running.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

From Couch to 5k (Part II)

In my previous post, I talked about getting from the couch to ALMOST running a 5k.  I briefly mentioned the importance of inspiration, motivation, accountability, discipline, and time.  Those are important for getting ready to run a 5k.  However, good intentions without the step doesn’t get you anywhere.  Til now, I’ve been talking about getting yourself ready to run a 5k.  Now it’s time to take steps towards running that 5k.

When you're done with the preparation, you need to take your steps into creating a habit for yourself to follow. Everyone has a different fitness level.  Because of the different level everyone is at, each training regiment is different from each other.  What's similar is the goal.  Their goal is to run from the couch to 5k.

In order to get to the point where you can run a 5k, you need to use the time to go out and run.  Listen to your body, take care of it, and understand where it is.  Some people are active enough to go out and run a mile while others have a harder time to run that, and will have to do the mile in a run/walk fashion.  Build a habit and run. 3-4 times a week is a must, 6 being the maximum.  Ideally, it'd be great if you run in the morning, but every  run counts, no matter what time of day.  Take that time, and run.  It's good to run each run with a goal.  At first, your goal would be to finish and accomplish your goal.  It could be 1 mile, it could be 10 minutes, but it's important that you create your own goal.  Letting other people know about your goals gives you that extra pressure to go on, and it helps you make sure this isn't a one night stance with running, but a beginning of a relationship.  Like all relationships, you start your runs slow, and keep it consistent.

Consistency keeps a relationship going, and when you run, you have to be consistent.  Everyone is different and goes at it with a different speed.  Go slow, and go easy, take your time, and make sure you know what's going on and be in control.  Training is different for each individual, but when we're talking about generalities, it's all the same.  Step by step, you build that relationship til it's strong.  If you want to go beyond a 5k, it's all the same.  You take it easy, and you keep on going, consistently working to bettering that relationship, you can reach whatever goals you want.  The moment you overstep your boundaries, you get hurt.  Figure out what you can and can't do early in the game, and the rest would be a breeze.  I'm not here to tell you a for sure way of getting in shape.  I'm here to encourage you to look at your goals and see what you can do to achieve that.

Today, I ran 7.00 miles in 57:35, an 8:13 min/mile average time.  I was aiming at going 10:00, running slow, but unfortunately, I've been training at a faster pace, so my body is used to running at that pace. I'm going to have to work hard to change my running and run slower.  It's going to be a working progress.  Knowing my body, I need to develop that slow running, and work to getting it down.  The 12 hour race is going to be taxing, and knowing myself, I might end up running too fast at the beginning, and losing it at the end.  In order to prevent that from happening, I'm going to have to work hard.  Looking at this, training for a 12 hours race is the same as training for a 5k.  Look at yourself, know yourself, and move according to what you can do, and practice and train according to how you want to perform.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

From the Couch to ALMOST Running a 5k

We all start somewhere, and for some of us, we start from the bottom.  In order to get from the couch to running a 5k, you need some prep work: inspiration, motivation, accountability, discipline, and time.  Once you get your prep work, you need to get up and start the training.

Inspiration is something that is strong and gives a tremendous amount of power to the individual.  However, if left alone, that inspiration, over a short amount of time, will just dissipate and the power is gone.  Carpe Diem! Seize the day! (well... in this case, I'd say seize the moment)  As soon as inspiration hits you, you realize the need to change, the want to change, you're hyper, wanting to change your life, you have an emotional high which gives you the resolve to step it up... do something.  The inspiration gives you a boost.  Should you choose to ignore it, you will revert to your original lifestyle, but should you ride the wave, you could end up changing your life.  Life has a lot of those moments, but it's you who chooses to use that moment to 'run' forward.

Motivation comes after inspiration because the power isn't nearly as strong as inspiration, but it keeps you going.  Having a goal creates motivation, and it keeps the individual going.  Sometimes, you lose sight of your goal, therefore losing your motivation.  That can hinder you and your path towards running that 5k.  That's why motivation and accountability goes together really well.  What's the point of having a goal if you forget about it all the time?  Accountability is important because it helps you remember what you need to do and why you are doing all this.  You can be self-accountable, and write notes in different places where you'll see them to remind you what your goals are... or you can have other people keep you accountable, making sure that your eyes are on your goal and that you keep taking steps towards that goal.

The Motivation and Accountability really helps you with your Discipline.  Having people keeping you accountable helps the discipline factor.  Other people expect you to perform in a certain way, and the constant 'nagging' of other people keeping you accountable encourages you to continue and making your body submit to your will.  Discipline means that the individual is in control over their body, and their body is not in control of them.  In discipline, you decide what you need, what you want, and what will happen.

We have a life 'filled' with things to do and we just don't have time to run.  We have to work, socialize, cook, eat, sleep... and don't have the time to run.  So how do people find that time?  Time is the last step before physically training the body to run that 5k.  Time can be found anywhere.  The important thing about finding time is having your priority straightened out.  Everyone has 24 hours in a day, and everyone chooses to live their day differently, according to what their priorities are.  When we work on our inspiration, motivation, accountability, and discipline, we take steps that shows what are priorities are.  Knowing this, you can find the time you need to start training for the 5k.

Well... all that's left is to train for that 5k.  Guess I'll talk about it tomorrow.  I'm headed to bed.  Going to wake up and run a little bit.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Planning Your Race

Racing in a 400m dash has a simple plan.  Go out and sprint as fast as you can for the whole 400 meters.  Racing a 10,000m race is harder.  You have to test the field and see how everyone is running, play to your strengths, and use your energy wisely for each lap.  Running a marathon is even harder.  Your training teaches you how fast to run, but you also need some sort of plan to figure out when you're going to eat the gel packs and drink water or gatorade.  You need to prepare for the wall that could hit you, and make sure that you go out and run at a constant pace, because you can only run your hardest when you race your best, and you can only race your best if you run at that constant pace throughout the race.  Running a 12 hour race is different... it requires a lot more planning.

Planning is really important, especially for races that take a lot of time.  Right now, the next race that I will be doing will be the 12 hour race.  Running that race will definitely wear me out and work my mind.  Planning the race helps me plan my training.  In 12 hours, I can cover a lot of miles, but in order to win, I need a plan... a pretty darn good one.  I won't be able to wing it and run forever because there is so much that goes into running for 12 hours.  I'm still working on my plan, but maybe in a couple of weeks, I'll be able to let everyone know how the plan is going, and how the training is going.  As for today, I took another break so that my legs would be fully recovered from the run and I would be able to restart my training and take it up a notch.

Having a plan is like having a map.  Without it, you're in trouble.  With it, you can get to your destination.

Thus far, my plan for the race is... run 10 min/mile for 12 hours.  Might need to work on that plan a little more.