Thursday, October 2, 2008

Things that work for my running

Gentile readers beware, this a long post! Making up for almost 3 weeks of hiatus. Here's to being back and proud in the blogging scene!

So been tied-up last few weeks, life happens and life-interrupted, so to speak :-) You know how it is, between life, work, running and blogging, something has to give. If only time-management is one of my strong suit, life would be a well-ordered bliss. But life being what it is, I'll just pine for a genie who'll magically solve all my personal challenges, help me see the light in spending time in Quadrant II (as defined to be important but not urgent activities) be time-management savvy guy and make me into a brooding-chick-magnet-rich-guy-who-ran-marathon-on-weekends (and superhero too if it's not too much to ask).

Anyways, being that I'm out for a while, thought I'd post long one. So I'm about to go for my first 21k race, and after 7 races and 6 months of semi-consistent running, I reckon I must be doing something right to consider it and make the attempt. So I thought I'd write down some of the things (and whatnot) that works for me and races I've been. Some of it are well-documented in other publications, some I've garnered in the course of my running. Obviously, it's not a one-size-fits-all list unless of course, you're my long lost twin.

That said, here's some of things in my list.

- Stretching before and after my run. This is something I'm fanatical about, especially on my long runs. If there's one thing I can credit for my being injury-free, it's being resolute in my warm-ups and cool-downs. And this is where all those asanas from my Ashtanga and Bikram days paid off. Incorporating those pose in my stretches made me into a more fluid, flexible, caring, thoughtful, loving, considerate runner that I am.

- Cross-training. I only run 3x a week at most. The rest of week I either go to the gym or go to the pool. Probably should go back to yoga (Ashtanga or Bikram) but not not those yoga-lite they have at the gym. I prefer Bikram but in Manila where it's already humid, might be an overkill. (I probably should post this separately but I wonder what women here in Manila wear in Bikram sessions, you know, conservative society that we are. I swear, you gotta be gay or saint or just someone of pure mind and heart not to check out those ladies 'sportswear' and still think yoga. Yep, I always wear my "sophisticated, world-weary, been there, done that, seen those, kunwari deadma" mien to those sessions.

- Over-hydrate a few hours before the race. Downside of course is that I had to pee like a horse before the race, but over-hydration has work wonders for me and more than made up for the downside. I get more mileage in my runs because [1] I don't have to stop at water station and [2] thirst being energy sponge, staying hydrated longer gives you additional boost. (I think I can still get away without water/fuel belt on my 21k).

- Carbo loading a day or two before the race. Conventional wisdom says it's a good thing. But this doesn't really work for me. Carbo loading before the race day actually makes feel bloated, bulging and sluggish on race day. I found out that eating light a day or two before the race and go slightly hungry (empty stomach really) on race day works better for me. During the race, I just wait for the adrenalin-rush to kick-in to sustain my run. All those endorphin in the brain makes you impervious to small inconvenience. Besides, slight hunger pangs never killed anyone (as far as I'm aware of). This is not to say I don't carbo load or pig out, I do but after. Bear in mind that there's downside to it and I do think it's generally not a good thing, but since I normally have light breakfast anyways (just tea and toast normally) it's not really a stretch for me to have light dinner and skip breakfast altogether before the race (except for bananas).

- Jostle for a position at the starting line. This doesn't really serve you unless got a decent shot at finishing in top 10. Last few races I've been into, I'm always jostling for position in front... yeah well a lot it did good to me. The difference in time between me and the top 10 runner is still a good 30 minutes away. So I don't know why I even try to elbow my way up front. The only thing I succeeded doing when jostling for a position is to force runners behind me expend precious energy to go around me and overtake and that seems unsportsman-like. If you're not running professionally or competitively, give way to others.

- Running sans any Ipod/mp3/listening paraphernalia. This works for me. I'm sure music strap on your ears have its benefits, I just don't get the same kick out of them. I like running free and eu naturelle and don't need the background music to enhance the experience. Strapping your ipod, your reason being for running just isn't apparent. Besides, it's a good time to spend some (quality) time with your self and psyche. It's the closest thing to meditation for me, I don't wish to mar with it with some pop or rock music piped-in to my head. I'd feel like running zombie if I have those to power my runs.

A wise man once said, "I am runner because I know what effort feels like...", among the many things he meant, I think this one of them. If not, well... life. Hehe, of course it's just me :-) I had to put that in so I sound deeply profound and philosophical, so what follows doesn't sound too inane... I have this really crazy idea (something that came to me while running) that a runner who couldn't run for 30 minutes or so without his ipod, couldn't or wouldn't be able to stand himself for a company. I'm crazy, I know :-)

- Running in treadmill or inside a village. Yeah, this doesn't work for me. For treadmill, I think this is true for every runner. For running inside the village, it beats running in treadmill of course... but barely. Running in a place that's devoid of trees or foliage just feel claustrophobic. Just my hyper imagination of course :-) but I would rather drive 15-20 minutes to the Fort than do my runs in a green-less, maze-like concrete-fence enclosure we call villages (that is if I weren't so doggone lazy to drive).

- Going barefoot when doing my cool down. Now this is fun! This was something I've picked up while I was in Australia, where it wasn't uncommon to see barefoot runners in race events. First time I saw it, I thought they were loco, but after a quick google, found out that there's some sense in it (for one thing, I'm stronger runner for it) and that it's not some loco, extreme sport. So tried it, felt good and so now am convert to the cause. Hallelujah beybe! So now after my long runs and it still not too late in the morning and I don't look too conspicuous (medyo mahiyain din naman tayo eh), I'll take off my shoes and do a 1k trot. It's not as crazy as it sounds (google it), but it's still hard core, so it's not for the faint of heart. And if you have one those feet that sweat profusely or gave off those sickly sweet smell, you'll be thankful that you tried it.

So if you ever bump into some Abebe Bikila-wannabe, coco-loco dude running barefoot early morning at the Fort trying not to look to conspicuous, that's me and my iron blisters :-)

Actually, there's still a couple on my list but they're the more mundane things, and this post is already way too long and I already spent half-day writing it :-)


lonerunner said...

Pare, while running sa Fort one morning i saw a guy walking barefoot. I first saw the feet and said to myself WTF?! What happened to this guy? Is this guy on drugs? then I looked up and saw ur face... It's Gene! Now i understand why ur walking barefoot. :) heheheh

Nora, the golden girl said...

Hah hah ... talagang sinulit mo yong 3 weeks na pagkawala mo noh.
Tatlo na tayo ni Prom ang hindi gumagamit ng IPOD! Pero Gene, different strokes for different folks. Most runners cannot run without IPODS and some (like us) can. Pa hilig hilig lang yan.
I don't run on a treadmill because the first and only time I tried, I almost collapsed!
I run inside or around the park of Philamlife Village because of its proximity to our house and because I'm allergic to pollution.
I know stretching is a must but I sometimes forget to do it (alam mo naman, sa edad kong 50--memory lapse na kung minsan heh heh ...)
Dami pa akong gustong sabihin pero baka mas humaba pa ang comment ko kaysa sa blogpost mo!
Good luck to your first Half Marathon Gene. Have to be there before 5:30 AM. See you!

Anonymous said...

Gene, good luck in the half marathon. Also, great post. Looking forward to November 8 and meeting you. It may be a good idea to eat lightly that night before the first of two races (November 9th).

Take care and will see you soon! - Wayne

Gene Ordanza said...

Hey lonerunner, good to see you out of your hibernation! Hehe, not on drugs but high on love!

Hey Nora, careful on those treadmills, and I'll see you at the KOTR!

Wayne, thanks! Btw, I'll send you a note once I finalize on garmin.

myironshoes said...

Gene, Pre-runs I also eat quite lightly but since my long runs now exceed the 3 hour mark, I find the need to eat a bit more substantially...meaning something more than a banana! :-) Maybe try peanut butter and toast at least. You don't want to get cramps galore when your muscles start starving! Good luck and we'll see you at the KOTR..that is if you are not up front jostling for a position. We all like hanging out towards the back of the line. Hehe! Takot matulak! :-)

Gene Ordanza said...

Wuhoo! finally running with ironshoes! At the moment, my long run is still measly 1.5 hours (just half your time!) how am I gonna catch up with you :-) As for eating more substantially, yeah now that I'm running farther, I definitely should.

Jay Em said...

Walking barefoot?! I'll definitely try that after the 21K KOTR run.

Hey Barracuda Running,

I just stumbled upon your blog. I was reading some of my friends blog- trying to get some inspiration to go running tonight.
(I run in our village and it works for me).

Hey if you do run for the KOTR, I hope you get to visit our restaurant at the Fort: its called Paul Calvin's Deli. We'll be serving Healthy Breakfast Buffet. We’re located at Rizal Drive (Between UCC & Chowking) sa tapat lang kami ng helipad.

Para di kayo maligaw you can call us at 856.5900.

I'm just excited to meet new friends and hopefully new running buddies.

-Jay Em of Paul Calvin’s Deli

Gene Ordanza said...

Hey Jay Em, thanks for dropping by! There's an on-going road works on the highway going to our place so the traffic is really horrendous, so last two weeks I've also been running inside our village. Buffet... yummy! If not after KOTR, definitely one of these days.

Keep on running and hope to bump into you at the races!