Tag Archives: running

My Top Eight Running Songs of 2016

The past year have seen a resurgence in my passion for fitness. Watching my good friend compete at a triathlon event last September roused the dormant performance demon within me. Since then, I’ve religiously trained six to eight times a week, designing a loose training program around a couple of basketball leagues.

Since I almost always train solo, music is a necessity I cannot live without. No matter how intrinsically-driven one is, one can use a little musical inspiration.

Talking Heads – This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)

This song is perfect for warming-up or at the early stages of a run. It’s slow enough to keep the speed demon inside you at bay, but perky enough (with its eclectic new wave/post-funk twang) to put a spring on your step.

Santana – Evil Ways

I absolutely love how Greg Rolie’s vocals perfectly blends with Carlos Santana’s hypnotic guitar playing in this track. It certainly helps in setting an even pace. The guitar solo at the end is usually my queue to raise the tempo several notches higher.

Justice – Phantom Pt. II (Boys Noize Unreleased Turbine Mix)

Don’t you dare listen to the Justice original. The Boys Noize Turbine mix is a lot more fun to listen to because of all the bells and whistles (quite literally). If this track doesn’t get your juices flowing, I don’t know what will.

Disclosure – Help Me Lose My Mind

Unless you’re the Energizer Bunny, there comes a point in our daily runs when we turn down the throttle. I usually do this midway as I conserve my strength for the final push at the latter stages. Pay attention to Hannah Reid’s vocals on this one.

Eminem feat. Gwen Stefani – Kings Never Die

Remember that iconic Eminem hit from 8 Mile? Kings Never Die is its spiritual successor.  P.S. Watch Southpaw too!

Chvrches – Under The Tide

I’m a big, big fan of this Scottish synthpop outfit. It feels like I’m cruising on a sleek speedboat every time I listen to this.

The National – About Today

The home stretch is where I expend all my remaining energy stores into one last burst of speed towards the (imaginary) finish line. It’s about pushing oneself against taking the easy way out. “About Today” was featured at that intense final scene of the MMA film Warrior (2011).

M83 – Wait

 I’ll be lying if I say that TFIOS didn’t introduce me to the best M83 song ever.

It’s a bit slow in building up but once the songs shifts into high gear, expect a fireworks display of drums and synth.

 

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Staying in Shape

I have loads of free time now that I’ve stopped with competitive athletics. Since I’ve lived a spartan routine for the past decade or so, living a regular joe’s life can be refreshing. But then again, there’s this urge to stay physically fit. The end of my track & field days does not necessarily mean the end of all sporting activities. I am a competitive person by nature and I need my regular dose of organized sports. I’ve been getting invites from friends to try out triathlon, road running, Ultimate, and floorball. Frankly speaking, I don’t have much interest in new sports.

I am content with the three basketball tournaments (two corporate leagues and one Ateneo league) available in a given year. It feels like I’m back in the year 2000 again, chasing after far-flung hoop dreams. The time I’ve spent away from the hard court, however, has stunted whatever basketball fundamentals learned during my time as a [frustrated] cager. To cope with the fast paced basketball game, I rely mostly on my athleticism.

Despite hanging up my spikes, there is still a need to stay in shape – for competitive and aesthetic purposes!

Weight Training

I haven’t stopped lifting weights since I was 15 years old. This have been the bread and butter of training regimens the past few years. I can go on and on about the benefits of weight training, but in a nutshell, it helps me (1) toughen up against taller hopes and (2) avoid injury from all the running and jumping of basketball.

Plyometrics

Plyos are an excellent way to train for fast-paced, explosive sports. Since I usually play defense (in light of my lack of offensive skills), doing plyos gives me an edge over those more-gifted basketball players.

Think Hanamichi Sakuragi.

Mile Runs

Back in my high school track & field days, we ran one mile to warm-up for training. Every single day. I lost the zeal for this when I got into college team, as I lowered my warm-up mileage to 1.2km instead of 1.6km. Because I have loads of time and I don’t have to train for the hurdles anymore, what better way to keep in shape by running a friggin’ mile? Moreover, it is refreshing to run against the clock for a change.

I don’t see myself joining the cacophony of road runs anytime soon. I prefer the solace of a solo run to the jam-packed environs of a race.

Sprints

I get a certain sense of fulfillment doing sprints. It soothes one’s longing for speed, without the need to burn expensive fuel. Going full throttle (or half-throttle when doing speed endurance workouts) makes me feel alive. It’s a good way to keep those endorphins flowing, without the pain of a long run. Even if I’m a retired track athlete, I still get the urge to don my spikes and go out for a spin, so to speak.

The Ridiculously Photogenic Guy

Running has truly gone mainstream – viral even!

Photo from hdspass.com Flickr account

P.S.

Good luck to my friend Jeric as he attempts to trounce Mr. Zeddie Little of New York!

17 Yet Again (29 June 2006)

While browsing through my old, sappy LJ, I stumbled upon the following entry. It was about our intensely competitive campus runs in the high school team. The title isn’t a reference to the Zach Effron movie!

Back in high school, I was especially fond of our afternoon campus runs early in the season. Minutes before the bell, I’ve already packed all my school stuff and readied my training gear. Since all of us were guys (some gay. hahaha), the bell ringing was a signal for me to take off my pants and sweaty polo to change into my athletic gear.

Those were innocent times. I always ran with the distance runners in the team, the fastest when it comes to these endurance runs, of course, to push myself to the limit. Our route for those campus runs was no joke. The first few weeks of training consisted of one lap campus runs that started from the high school admin building, around the Blue Eagle Gym and back to the admin. As the training progresses, we doubled the number of laps.

The guys in the lead pack would usually start the final sprint back to the admin (the homestretch) in front of the driveway leading to the Jesuit Residence. There was one instance when some of my teammates and I started the final dash a good 100m earlier than usual (in front of Cervini and Berchmans). My legs were like turbocharged pistons as I ran at full throttle. I can feel my well-worn Nike running shoes make contact with the harsh pavement with each full stride. Soon enough, the painful sensation of lactic acid buildup started to set in. The fact that I had to be wary of cars (it was dismissal time) and pedestrians didn’t help my running at all.

As we passed the Jesuit Residence driveway, I was on the verge of simply giving up. The tempation was a strong one, but I simply couldn’t relent. I was leading the entire team, our top distance runner included, stopping was out of the question. My speed increased even more as I ran downhill into the homestretch. I could’ve ran like hell to the so-called finish line but for some reason, I slowed down and allowed my former team captain to take the lead.

Yesterday afternoon, I found out that Coach had given Ian permission to run. I was aghast! We weren’t supposed to go back to training until the 11th! It was unfair so I borrowed a pair of shorts from one of my teammates. We were in for a surprise when Coach made us run with the distance runners.

As I toiled and willed myself to finish that 15 lap ordeal, the entire experience reminded me of my high school days and our campus runs. As usual, I ran alongside the fastest and ran magnificently.

Running without a care in the world, in those borrowed basketball shorts, made me feel like I was 17 again.

Read the original post here

Long Runs at the Hill

I’m quite choosy when it comes to my running environs. Running around our subdivision is an option. But for some reason, I just can’t get into the zone when working out near my home (home equates to a place of rest!) I tried running at the nearby U.P. campus a few years back. The surroundings of the State University just felt alien.

The only place I can stand doing long runs (being the sprint hurdler that I am!) is at the good ole Ateneo campus. I built the foundations of my athletics background on that quiet hill in Loyola. I’ve grown accustomed to its familiar sights and sounds. I practically know every nook and cranny of the place.

Back in my sophomore year in high school (2000), I couldn’t even run 200m without getting a side stitch during those dreaded fitness tests in P.E. class. Everything changed for the better when I started playing basketball. My body toughened up because of the hoops game. Just like any other wide-eyed high school kid, I had dreams of making it big on the court (the UAAP and the PBA!) To build my stamina, I began to ran laps around the high school grass track. From two laps (800m) at the start, I gained enough strength to last 5 to 6 laps (2km to 2.4km) in a few months’ time.

The High School Oval (400m)

During basketball summer camp, I was exposed to longer distances. For my then 15-year old body, the 6.8km-long “Road Work” course was an excruciating trudge. My best time for the distance was around 35 to 36 minutes. Surprisingly, I performed with distinction during those lung-busting workouts. My basketball coaches even asked if I was a member of the track team (those were the earliest suggestions of a potential track career!). At that time, of course, I was about half a year away from my first-ever track & field meet in 2001.

I have no intention of running 6.8km again in the near future!

Road Work Course (1.7km x 4 laps = 6.8km)

After getting cut off from the basketball team, I tried out for Coach Ed Sediego’s champion track & field squad. I was exposed to a different, more enjoyable brand of training. I was especially fond of our campus runs at the start of the season. We usually did 1 lap of 2.5km during the first weeks and progressed to 2 laps (a total of 5km) in the next two weeks. My teammates and I would usually pace ourselves the entire way, gradually jostling for position as the finish line came. At the home stretch, all hell broke lose as around 15 to 20 youngsters sprinted all out to the high school administration building!

The Campus Run Course (2.5km)

I still followed the same route in college, opting to vary it a little bit by circling the college campus (2.9 km).

Campus Run Loop (2.9km)

At the times when I found Moro’s indoor track too stifling, I ran outdoors for my pre-workout warm-up routine, running a relaxed 1 to 1.5km run – depending on the type of training I’m about to do. I also followed the same route – more or less – for my evening cool down runs.

Campus Warm-up Route (1.5km)

Looking back, it has been a decade since I started running. The experience has been worthwhile. I don’t see myself stopping any time soon.

Note: Thank you to the Scientist Runner’s superb screenshots of various running trails from the world over. Those posts inspired me to write this entry.

Photo credits:

Google Earth

Anti-gravity Treadmill

What a cool piece of equipment. It’s like something out of a Star Trek or Star Wars movie. A treadmill that has “unweigthing technology”? Check out the following links for a more in-depth look:

Alter-G Anti-Gravity Treadmill

Coach Rio

I was a high school junior when I first saw Rio dela Cruz compete. I cannot remember the medals that he won or the actual event that he ran in, but I still clearly hear how passionately his teammates from UP cheered him on. And they had tons to cheer for, since Rio was at the top echelons of the UAAP seniors division.

The shouts of “Go Rio!” were infectious.  Soon enough, my teammates and I were cheering along with our competitors from UP.

Fast forward almost a decade later, Rio is now at the pinnacle of the running boom. With his posters and billboards (with the likes of Piolo Pascual and Donna Cruz!) strewn all around the Metro, he is now a celebrity (read his life story).

While training in Moro back in 2007, I chanced upon the nascent Coach Rio diligently teaching the rudiments of running to a youngster. Three years later, he’s training hundreds of runners at a time in Ultra and organizing long runs almost every week for thousands of people! What a guy.

Coach Rio’s popularity is good for Philippine Track & Field – if the public interest in recreational running trickles down to athletics itself.  Being too young to remember the heyday of Lydia de Vega, I often wonder if Rio is an even bigger celebrity than Asia’s former Sprint Queen.

I bumped into Rio during last week’s National Open. We talked a bit about his busy schedule and some of his upcoming projects. I wish him the best of luck.  I’m happy that us track & field guys finally has a legitimate poster boy – a model at that!

 

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