Sunday, January 24, 2010

...I Did It My (Gallo)Way


I was browsing through my blogroll last week and ended up reading two very interesting accounts by Jet Paiso (I'm Jet Paiso) and Sir Rene Villarta (Jazzrunner) of their recent 45k LSD that they completed using legendary runner Jeff Galloway's run-walk method. Their respective blogs about their "Calibre 45" LSD piqued my interest, and made me want to learn more about the Galloway method. I thought that, once I familiarize myself with the nuances of this technique, I might be able to use it for the upcoming Condura Skyway Marathon.

The Galloway Method

Thank God for the Internet. I googled "Galloway Method" and fortunately stumbled upon an article written by Jeff Galloway himself. It was indeed very informative. According to the article, the run-walk method is very simple: "Run for a short segment and then take a walk break -- and keep repeating this pattern." The article goes on to explain that a runner can "gain control over the amount of fatigue in a race or long run by taking walk breaks, starting at the beginning." It also pointed out that, according to surveys, the run-walk method allows runners to run faster -- up to 13 minutes faster in a marathon with walk breaks than in a continuously run event. Because a lot of fatigue is erased with each walk break, the runner's legs are strong at the finish, and allows the runner to "celebrate that evening and recover fast." This is VERY interesting and intriguing.

The article contains a table of recommended run-walk ratios based on the runner's target average running pace. For instance, according to the table, a runner who intends to maintain a pace of 8:30/mi can employ a run-walk ratio of 5:1 (i.e., 5 minutes run, 1 minute walk).

Galloway concludes his article by summarizing the benefits of the run-walk method:

+ it gives the runner control over the way he feels;
+ it erases fatigue;
+ it allows endorphins to collect during each walk break;
+ it breaks up the distance into manageable units;
+ it allows for faster recovery;
+ it reduces the probability of aches, pains, and injury; and
+ it allows carry on the rest of his day without debilitating fatigue.

Wow. Imagine all of those benefits. I'm really sold! I will definitely use the run-walk method for my upcoming marathon.

The article is very helpful, and gives a concise summary of the nuances and benefits of the Galloway method. I say it's a must read for runners who are not familiar with the technique. To read the article, click here.

Putting Theory Into Practice

Earlier today, I completed a 30k LSD using the Galloway method. And boy, was it effective! I used a 5:1 run-walk ratio, and I meticulously stuck to this during the entire run. As prescribed by the article, I had walk breaks even during the early stages of my run and even when my legs were not yet exhausted. I noticed that I felt recharged after each walk break. From a psychological standpoint, I noticed that breaking up the entire run into five-minute intervals made the 30k distance very tolerable. I treated each five-minute run interval as one goal, and each one-minute walk break a reward. Instead of telling myself "c'mon, just 15 kilometers more," I would instead tell myself "c'mon, just two minutes more." All of a sudden, the task at hand no longer seemed very daunting. The attainment of each "mini-goal" kept me highly motivated throughout the entire run.

For the entire run, inclusive of the walk breaks and pit stops, I ended up with an average pace of 8:12/k - well within my target race day average pace of 7:30 to 8:30/k. Here's a map of my run from Garmin Connect:

I did 30k in 4:06:17, and that already included three pit stops at convenience stores (for hydration and some in-run snacks) and one bathroom break. I did two loops up and down Upper McKinley in McKinley Hill in Kms 13 to 17, and although I had already been running for a little over two hours at that point, my legs easily overcame the gradient of the course. After the run, I still felt strong, and I knew I still had enough left in the tank and in my legs to cover 12 more kilometers and complete the distance for a full marathon. My legs, knees, and feet were tired but were not painful. Compare this to last weekend, when I did a 25k LSD in 3:19:04 without using the run-walk technique. Because my legs were already tired by Km 22, I had to walk for most of the last three kilometers of the run. This time around, I was strong all the way and my legs held up -- and actually could have handled more kilometers. I cleared Km 25 in 3:22:08. Despite the walk breaks, it only took me 3 minutes longer to clear 25k during this run.

Given the outcome of my 30k run using the Galloway method, I believe it's entirely possible for me to finish a marathon faster than I would if I were to attempt a marathon without following a structured run-walk technique. Why? For one, because I was able to conserve my legs via the walk breaks, my pace throughout the entire run was almost constant. This can be seen in the following graphical representation of my 30k run (the blue line shows my pace), again from Garmin Connect:

As you can see, there were hardly any significant fluctuations (except during the walk breaks, of course). In contrast, during my 25k LSD last weekend, I ran almost 19 kms without taking any walk breaks. The result? There were greater fluctuations in my pace. I even ended up taking reeeeally long and slow walk breaks during of my run. Check this out:

Without regular walk breaks, there's a big possibility that I'd hit the dreaded Wall and end up taking a lot longer to finish the marathon -- or that I'd never get to finish the marathon at all.

The 30k run is the longest distance I've run since I started taking running seriously, and will be my last long run before the Condura Skyway Marathon on February 7. It's now time to taper my mileage in preparation for the big day. I will therefore find out whether I have what it takes to finish a marathon -- all 42.192 kms of it -- only during the marathon itself. However, I am confident that I will be able to get the job done because I was able to cover 30k in 4:06. That gives me almost two more hours to cover the remaining 12 kms to complete the marathon (the cut-off is six hours). With the run-walk method, I should be able to do that.

Talking Trash

Skyway, two weeks from now, I'm going to run-walk all over your sorry @ss hahaha! :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My Impressions: The 2010 adidas adizero Tempo

I must admit that I acted on sheer impluse when I got myself the 2010 edition of the adidas adizero Tempo. My purchase was driven mostly by my attraction to the color way of the shoes, which I found to be more attractive and malamig sa mata (visually refreshing) compared to that of the previous edition. Based on sheer looks alone, I would say the new adizero Tempo is a definite upgrade over the previous edition.

Now let's look under the hood. Just like last year's edition, the new adizero Tempo features an air mesh upper that allows for maximum ventilation. The patented ForMotion design is still there, allowing the adizero Tempo to adapt to the running surface to ensure a smooth run. The adiPRENE+ cushioning in the forefoot has been retained and provides protection for the forefoot. And finally, as in the previous edition, overpronation is prevented by the Pro-Moderator medial support device.

And now, the enhancements. The new adizero Tempo boasts a number of features that were not available in the previous edition. For one, the outsole of the new Tempos is now made of blown rubber, a highly durable but lightweight material that gives superior grip and cushion. The previous edition had adiWEAR outsoles. The new Tempos use the patented adidas Torsion System for midfoot integrity. What's more, unlike the old Tempos, the new Tempos also has adiPRENE in the heels to provide superior cushioning at impact. The new Tempos are miCoach-compatible. The adidas miCoach is adidas' answer to Nike+, and will be released in the Philippines in the coming months. And lastly, just when you thought these kicks couldn't get any lighter (the previous edition weighed a feathery 11.3 ounces), would you believe that the new adizero Tempo tips the scales at only 9.52 ounces? Now that's really light!

Here's a summary of the features of the old and the new editions of the adizero Tempo:

Last Sunday, I put all of these high-tech sounding features to the test by doing a 25k LSD at my usual Bonifacio Global City/BHS - McKinley Hill - Bayani Rd. - Heritage Park - 5th Ave. route. Including my pitstops at several 7-Eleven stores, I completed my run in 3:19 - more than enough time for me to get to know the new Tempos a whole lot better. And I must say, the new Tempos did not disappoint. They were extremely light - it felt as though I had only my socks on. The air mesh upper kept my feet cool, and I actually felt air seeping into the shoes. The cushioning and the ride were great, quite unbelievable considering how light the shoes were. In terms of bounce and cushioning, this version of the adizero Tempo is almost comparable to the Nike Lunarglide+ (which I also use and absolutely adore!). The shoes felt stable and hugged my feet perfectly. By the end of my long run, I felt no pain whatsoever on my feet, knees, and legs.

Not having been contented with the 25k slow run, I went on another 11k training run last Tuesday, at tempo pace. At the faster pace, the new adizero Tempo felt even better. Unbelievably light, very good bounce and cushioning, superior maneuverability, outstanding grip and traction. What a great ride!

The new adidas adizero Tempo is as good as advertised. Adidas wasn't kidding when it said that the adizero Tempo is the "ultimate lightweight stability running shoe." Very good trainers that can also be excellent (and great-looking!) race day shoes. The price is a bit steep, but, in my opinion, you get great quality and definitely your money's worth. I'll defnitely run the Condura Skyway marathon in these.

Good job, adidas!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

For Review: adidas adizero Tempo

Just got the latest incarnation of the adidas adizero Tempo. It's classified as a lightweight stability running shoe and is designed for overpronators. I hope to use these for next month's Condura Skyway Marathon. Still lots of time for a break-in.

My training program calls for an easy 6.5k later and a 22.5k LSD on Sunday. I'll take the Tempos for a road test and write a short review. Stay tuned for that, boys and girls.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Who Needs The Weekend?

Ten simple pleasures that have made this week much better than I originally expected:

1. Runnr sold chocolate-flavored GU Energy Gel.

When I visited Runnr the other day, they only had 10 GU chocolate energy gels left. I went into panic-buying mode and got every single one. I'll need them for the Condura marathon and the Century Tuna half-marathon.


2. Wifey honored her word and actually went running/jogging with me last Tuesday.

She actually did four jog-walk loops around BHS last Tuesday. That's approximately 5.2kms right there, folks! Now that I've gotten her acquainted with the road, my next goal is to have her join a 3 or 5k run soon. I'll join her for that one, too. Not only because I'd have to be around for her maiden race, but also because I've never joined a 3 or 5k race before.

Welcome to the road, ma'am!

3. The singlet for the Century Tuna Superbods Run looks great, and the material is of good quality.

As is usually the case for runs organized by RunRio, the singlet for the Century Tuna Superbods Run is actually one that's worth wearing. I must admit though that I like the singlet for the 5k run (predominantly black) better than the singlet for the half-mary.

A keeper.

4. and Reinier Pacific will be setting up an aid station for the Condura Skyway Marathon and Half-Marathon.

As a fitting follow-up to their joint efforts during last year's Botak 100k Ultramarathon and the 33rd Milo Marathon Finals, the Good Samritans of, in cooperation with Reinier Pacific Shipping, will again be setting up an aid station for the 21k and 42k runners at this year's Condura Run. Thank you so much in advance, guys!

Thank you, ma'am / sir!

5. Wifey and my niece Jym both agreed to man my support vehicle for the Condura Marathon.

Admit it, you guys enjoyed backing me up at SIM 21k. Thank you, thank you, thank you! The next step is to find out whether the organizers would allow support vehicles in the first place, and, if so, what the guidelines/rules will be.

I'm betting Condura won't let me use this.

6. The Shell Select store in C5-Julia Vargas and the 7-Eleven store in McKinley Hill still sell the red Gatorade Tiger sports drink.

It's too bad Gatorade has severed its relationship with Tiger Woods, and, consequently, discontinued the Tiger brand. The red Gatorade Tiger works perfectly for me, and I was pleasantly surprised that some stores in my usual training routes still sell the drink. Time to horde for February!

Elin Nordegren is hot.

7. I had two more pain-free training runs, a 15k and a 13k.

That makes a total of seven runs since I came back from my injury. My recovery and preparation for Condura continues, and my confidence is growing by the day. Can't wait for February 7 to finally roll around!

A report on my runs at Garmin Connect.

8. I discovered three new songs to add to the new running playlist that I'm preparing.

"Not Enough Time" by INXS, "Fly Away" by Lenny Kravitz, and "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey are all GREAT running songs. Time to download the torrents!

Very masculine. Not.

9. I'm only approximately 330 kms away from joining Bald Runner's 1,000 KM Club.

As of 13 January, I'm sitting on 670.79 kms. It's just a matter of time before I get my hands on one of those bad-ass Bald Runner 1,000 Km Club shirts!

Sir Jovie, malamang XL po ako :)

10. The readings from my Nike+iPod are not that far off from the readings from my F305.

I've done seven runs so far with my F305, and I was relieved that its readings do not vary greatly from the readings from my Nike+iPod. Here's a summary of the first six runs:

Skyway, you're going down.

* * *

And the weekend isn't even here yet! :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Road Ahead

We're barely two weeks into the new decade and already, it's shaping up to be a very promising year for me. Consider these:

Back on the Road

As I've mentioned in my previous post, my right knee has already healed. My month-long hiatus is finally over, and my last two training runs - a 10k and a 15k - were both completely pain-free.

A pic of my 15k run last Sunday at my BHS-McKinley Hill route, from Garmin Connect

Running Goal # 1

I've always maintained that my two main goals as a runner are (1) to join and finish a full marathon and (2) get wifey to join me on the road and at least give running a try. I'm amazed that I am now very close to realizing both goals.

With regard to Goal # 1, I've already signed up for the Condura Skyway Marathon on February 7. I lost a month's worth of marathon training due to a knee injury, but the problematic joint seems to have already healed and has been very cooperative as I try to make up for lost training time. I have also been doing some research on proper nutrition and hydration strategies for before, during, and after the marathon. I am confident that my preparations will help me finish and enjoy my first full mary.

Can't wait to take on the Skyway for the very first time!

Running Goal # 2

Goal # 2 is also nearing completion. Over a candle-lit dinner at Antonio's in Tagaytay during our fifth wedding anniversary last week (8 January), wifey and I made a pact that we would start doing more things together. And so, we agreed on this: She will go running with me, and I will do... Bikram Yoga with her. Don't laugh. I know it seems to be a steep price to pay, but if only you had even the faintest idea of how averse wifey is to sweat and exercise, you will realize that the price isn't that steep after all. Besides, a lot of people have told me that yoga can and will help my running and my over-all wellness.

As a display of goodwill, wifey actually purchased some running (and yoga) apparel at Nike BHS. She even went to Runnr with me and - get this - actually checked out their merchandise. She also agreed to give in to my other long-time request: For her to start drinking more water.

Wifey's spanking-new Nike running apparel and Air Pegasus+ 25.

Tomorrow, wifey and I will go running/walking together at BHS. After that happens, I can die a happy man.

My Wish List Granted

Last December, I started a forum thread in entitled "A Runner's Christmas Wish List." In my post, I mentioned how I wished Santa would give me a pair of black CW-X Pro Tights and a Garmin Forerunner 305. Although Santa miserably failed to deliver, I got both items anyway. I bought the tights myself just before Christmas, and wifey surprised me with the Garmin on Christmas Day.

Merry Christmas to me!

Upcoming Running Events

2010 will bring runners the Condura Run, the RunRio Trilogy, the TNF Thrill of the Trail, the NB Premiere Run, Adidas King of the Road, Quezon City International Marathon, the Anniversary Run, and a host of other excellent running events. There also are the running events in neighboring countries, such as the Hong Kong Marathon in February and the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon later in the year. There's nowhere to go but up as race organizers and managers gain more experience, big brands like Adidas, New Balance, Mizuno, and Nike continue their support of running and flood the market with excellent running paraphernalia, and running grows even bigger than it was last year.

Incidentally, I have already signed up for Leg 1 of the RunRio Trilogy -- the Century Superbods Run 21k. I was the very first registrant over at Nike BHS. When wifey and I went there at around 8 p.m., Coach Rio was actually there, still setting up the registration booth with one of his staffers. As soon as the booth opened, I immediately signed up -- while wifey begged that I ask Coach Rio whether Derek Ramsay would actually join the race. I dodged that one by asking wifey to just pick out some running and yoga gear. Thank God that worked.

My bib and timing chip for the Century Superbods Run 21k

* * *

With all the positive developments unfolding left and right, now is indeed a great time to be a runner. I am both thankful and proud to be a part of the growing Philippine running community, and can't wait to soak in everything that 2010 will bring to us eager runners.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Starting the Year Right

It's great to be back.

A knee injury forced me to take a break from running for almost the entire month of December. I went back to the road on January 1 and have been running every other day since then. So far, I've decided to confine my running to doing loops around Bonifacio High Street. I waited until today to create this post because yesterday marked the first time since January 1 that my run was entirely pain-free. During my runs on January 1, 3, and 5, I experienced a mild, sharp pain on my bothersome right knee. Yesterday, however, was different. I ran at my usual pre-injury training pace, completely pain-free. Here's a summary of my four runs since my return from that hassle of an injury:

January 1 - 5.02 kms / 0:39:31 / Ave. Pace = 0:07:53/km
January 3 - 8.00 kms / 0:59:57 / Ave. Pace = 0:07:30/km
January 5 - 10.01 kms / 1:11:25 / Ave. Pace = 0:07:08/km
January 7 - 10.00 kms / 1:04:19 / Ave. Pace = 6:26/km

I've already registered for the Condura Skyway Marathon. My pre-injury goal was to finish my first-ever full mary in 5 hours or less. Now, I've tempered my goal to simply finishing the marathon within the 6-hour limit. I think it is a reasonable goal that I think I am capable of accomplishing.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. My time away from running has made me fall in love with the sport all over again, and has reminded me of all the reasons why I got into running in the first place. I'm hoping that the renewed inspiration will see me through the Condura Run, and the endless miles to be conquered in 2010.

Happy New Year, everyone. See you on the road!