Collapse Point Theory

I enjoy reading books about running. Sometimes for relaxation. And sometimes in search of ways to improve my running. Thus, I came a somewhat controversial topic – The Collapse Point Theory.

This was devised by Ken Young, an American record-holder in several ultra marathon distances. The formula says that the point at which one breaks down in a long-distance race will be about one-twentieth of his total mileage for the past two months. Young uses two months’ training as a basis, because that’s about how long it takes to accumulate the desired training effects from all the miles.

Joe Henderson came up with a simple way of  expressing the formula. Reduce the mileage to a daily average. Tripling that average gives the same collapse point as Young’s formula.

Young emphasizes that these are absolute minimums.  You can’t expect to go further than the collapse distance even under the best circumstances.

Young does not place much stock on the long weekend run which has been traditional since the 1960s.

He tested the idea on himself for the Boston marathon. In the two months before Boston, his longest training runs were 15 miles. However, based on his averages, his collapse point is 45 miles! He finished Boston at 2:25:41.

While extra-long runs may not be necessary, reasonably long runs are still necessary for reasons like:  They boost the average and they build confidence.

There was a  study, that debunked the Collapse Point Theory. This was cited by Tim Noakes (The Lore of Running) about a study of the Glasgow Marathon wherein runners with inadequate training did not slow down dramatically after reaching their predicted collapse point.

Personally, I found this as a useful guide. Combining it with the Galloway Method, I am able to run longer and easier, and hopefully avoid injury.

References:

1, Run Furhter, Run Faster, Joe Henderson, McMillan Publishing Company, 1979

2. The Lore of Running, Tim Noakes, OUP 2001

Running and Reading

I have just finished a nice book –  TRIUMPH (The untold story of Jesse Owens and Hitler’s Olympics) by Jeremy Schaap.  In the book, Owens was described by Grantland Rice (American newspaper columnist) : “he had great power in his legs…he had blinding speed… and his style was flawless…with no sign of extra effort. Jesse was as smooth as the west wind.”

I have always been fond of reading. Since high school I have been reading mostly fiction when I am not reading school books. This hobby was interrupted only a few times through the years: during my board exams when I had to concentrate on accounting books, and early in my career when I read mostly materials on auditing. Later,  Systems books and Management books were added to the mix.

But when I started running, books about running became a welcome addition. It all started with me searching for, and finding WHAT I TALK ABOUT WHEN I TALK ABOUT RUNNING (A Memoir) by Haruki Murakami.

Reading books need not be expensive. Browsing at second  hand book stores has brought me such treasures as the following:

ULTRA MARATHON  MAN (Confessions of an All-night Runner) by Dean Karnazes. ” Ultra running legend  Dean Karnazes has  run 226.2 miles non stop; redefining our perception of human endurance.”

THE FOUR-MINUTE MILE by Roger Bannister.” All sports have pivotal moments, single events that change perceptions forever. Such a moment passed …when Roger Bannister broke the “unbreakbale” four-minute mile barrier … at the University of Oxford.”

THE EVERYTHING RUNNING BOOK by Art Liberman, founder of MarathonTraining.com.  It contains things from circling the block to completing a marathon, training and techniques to make you a better runner.

MARATHON by Jeff Galloway. “Olympian Jeff Galloway has set up the program used by over 100,000 average, sedentary people in their 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s to finish a marathon without major changes in lifestyle. This book has the latest information on making the marathon your lifetime achievement and helps you enjoy it every step of the way.”

THE COMPLETE BOOK OF RUNNING by James Fixx. According to Bill Rodgers (Boston Marathon record holder), “It offers the best overall coverage of the sport I’ve ever encountered. I especially like it because of its variety of information, and because it is crammed with interesting data conveyed in a readable style.”

So, when resting after a run, or trying to get inspired before one, these are the sort of readings that are my companion.

Me-Kenyan Jogger?

When I was younger, I lived in Nairobi, Kenya. I was then with SGV (Andersen Consulting) and we working on a World Bank funded project for the Agricultural Finance Corporation(AFC).

Early in my stay in the country, I discovered a Karate Club near my apartment- hotel and enrolled. It was handled by a Japanese Sensei, Yoshii Tamura, 6th Dan Goju Ryu practitioner.

To keep fit, I decided to jog on alternate days when I was not practicing Karate. I jogged  in the Milimani area in Nairobi. Nairobi has a higher elevation than Baguio and is near the equator. So the city is cold, sunny, and very green with vegetation and flowers all over. So jogging around the city is fun.

The AFC has branches all over the country and my trips brought me to many of these branches. So I experienced jogging in many places in Kenya – Nakuru, Eldoret, Mombasa, etc.

Looking back, now that I am into running, and reading about elite Kenyan runners,    I would have appreciated this jogging more if I knew what I know now.

Eldoret, a town in northwestern Kenya that is home to the Kalenjin tribe, which has produced 12 of the world’s top 20 runners.

Kalenjins of the Great Rift Valley represent 1/2,000th of the Earth’s population, yet win 40% of the top international distance-running honours. A single tiny district of the region, Nandi Hills, sweeps 20% of the major international distance events. (Anne Marie Owens, National Post, with files from Agence France-Presse)

The home of the Kalenjins, between Lake Rudolph and Lake Victoria, has an elevation of 6,000 to 8,000 feet above sea level. I wonder if this is a major factor why they are so proficient in long distance running.

And it gets me thinking, if I was more serious about running at that time, would I be a much better runner today? It would have been fun thinking about ‘running in their foot step’.

Well, enough of reminiscing. I got married at Saint Paul Church in Nairobi, Kenya and spent my honeymoon in Athens, Greece. But that is another story that is not really about running.


HARUKI MURAKAMI

I arrived early for the scheduled Happy Feet get together in Greenbelt. To while away the time, I decided to indulge in one of my favorite past time – browsing at available titles in bookstores. I asked the sales lady at the National Book Store what section the books by Murakami are located.

When I looked at the available titles, I saw the book I have been looking for: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running and bought it.

The following day, I had a good though very wet 10 K Eco Dash run. And when I went home. what better way to relax than to read Murakami’s book.

As I read, I found out that there were a lot of things that I can relate to. The book is a memoir about the author’s obsessions with running and writing.

Murakami is a person who likes to be by himself. He likes reading books on his own or concentrating on listening to music. The hour or so he spends running, maintaining his own silent, private time is important to help him keep his mental well being.

Like Murakami, I too enjoy the solitude that I find in running. It is like running in a void. Not in a vacuum, of course, since random thoughts occur. But always, they are subordinate to that void.

Once he interviewed Olympic Runner, Toshihiko Seko, and asked if he as a runner ever feel like he’d rather not run today, like he doesn’t feel like running, and he’d rather sleep in?

Seko answere “Of course. All the time!”

It sounds so familiar. The Love/Hate relationship that most of us have with running.

Murakami talked about his mantra as he run from Athens to Marathon:

“No- forget about beer. And forget about the run. Forget about the wind… Just focus on moving my feet forward, one after the other. That’s the only thing that matters.”

A very familiar feeling to me. Especially on long runs, on those long uphill runs.

Murakami’s basic rule when training is never take two days off in a row. If you increase the amount of work your muscles have to endure step by step, they learn to take it and gradually grow stronger.

However, if you halt the load for a few days, the muscles relax and cancel the memory of all that hard work. Then you have to repeat the whole journey from the very beginning.

This is a nice tip to keep in mind.

Murakami want to be remembered thus:

“HARUKI MURAKAMI

Writer and Runner

At Least He Never Walked”

How I wish I can say the same.

MOMMY MILKSHAKE YEAR 3

This is my first time to join the Mommy Milkshake Marathon. Master Mon of Happy Feet informed me during one of the practice runs that you can register online through The Bull Runner website so I registered. The organizers were so efficient that I soon received a confirmation e-mail. Since I  was not able to find a pink singlet, I decided (together with Master Mon) to wear the ‘famous’ Takbo Bayani singlet with the blue and pink MMDA colors.

I was wondering if the race would push through because of the moonsoon rains caused by Typhoon Labuyo. I also have  coughs and colds so I was not sure if I can run. I received another e-mail from the organizers that participants will receive an sms message at 3:00 a.m. Saturday if the race will be canceled.

It was raining hard in the morning and I thought that the race will be cancelled. When I received no sms message that the race will be canceled, I started preparing to leave the house. I arrived at the site very early and saw the organizers setting up the booths. I walked around BHS and after sometime, I saw fellow Happy Feet runners and Takbo.ph runners. We decided to have a warm-up run and saw other runners doing their warm-up also.

I was a well-organized race, with generous freebies, snacks, and its free! I had fun, a good 5 K run, and a hearty post-race breakfast with some of the Happy Feet and Takbo.ph runners.

I did a little research on the past Mommy Milkshake Marathons by browsing TBRs website. The first edition in August 2007 had over 100 participants.  The second edition in August 2008 had more that 300 participants. And MMM 3 had about 800 participants.

And as I  looked at the pictures in the website, I noticed that through all editions, there were a lot of familiar Happy Feet runners!

TAKBASA

CMAP Funrun Poster rev

DNF

DNF stands for Did Not Finish.  I did a training run last Sunday and experienced what runners usually dread – not finishing. As I said it was not a race but a training run.

I thought I was fit enough. And it was not a new route. I have run the route before. I felt fine and strong during the first half of the run. Then I felt tired. I was not out of breath, but my legs were tired.

That is my waterloo. During long runs (for me at least), my legs feel tired during the home stretch.

It was a humbling experience.

I have huffed and puffed my way to various races – racing the bar as I gain experience. From 5 K, 10 K, 15 k, 10 Miles, and even a 21 K. But I finished all my previous races.

Two lessons I can think of –

To pace myself properly, and to
Improve and increase my training.

With these, I will eventually get better (I Hope). And be better prepared for Condura in 2010.

Plateau

I was feeling frustrated and was thinking that my running has reached a plateau.

I ran 10 K at Botak Paa Tibayan. On the return trip at the flyover,  my pace slowed down considerably. I was still a good run for me but my time is not better than my previous runs at the Fort and UP.

Then, I run the 10 M at Market Market Power Mile race and by the time we reached the British School I was already feeling tired. Fortunately, I still had enough to sprint to the finish at Serendra. Again, my pace was not better that my Happy Run and Runnew times.

I also run the 15 K at Earth Run. I was really tired as we got back to McKinley Hills. Fortunately, I saw fellow Happy Feet Del about 1 K to the finish line and paced with him to the finish line.

I was doing all these races and although I was not really looking for PRs, some improvement in my times would have been nice.

Then came the 15 K at the Mizuno Infinity Run. I ran at an easy pace and was not looking for a PR. But on the way back towards the Buendia fly over, I seemed to have my second wind and started to pass some runners on the way up the flyover. I was still tired as we made the final turn to the finish line but finally, I had a better finish at 15 K than my previous runs.

And most recently, I joined the 10 K at the PTAA Charity Run held at UP Diliman. It had been a long time since I last ran at UP Diliman. This is also the site of my first run last year, a 5 K race. And, Success! I had my best time at 10 K.

Results and improvements will not come right away. But they will eventually come if we toil and persevere.

Air Speed

This was my first 10 K race since the PSE Bull Run in January 2009.  The 10 K is a more comfortable distance for me since I am more confident of the distance. When I run beyond 10 K, there is always that question in my mind of  finishing the race without walking. I am quite happy with my finish time although it was not a PR and nothing to crow about.

That set me thinking and going over my finish times in my one year or so of joining races. I felt encouraged at how far I have gone from a former leisurely jogger whose first 5 K  took him 40 minutes and 49 seconds.

I realized that at  I can now finish 15 K runs in less that my average speed at that time of  8 minutes and 10 seconds.

Running friends have reminded me not to worry too much about speed and concentrate on building up stamina. I have been following that advice.

But I was recently quite unhappy with my finish times and thought I have to do something about it.

I now do longer training runs and have a more regular training schedules. The long holidays will give me a chance to do more training. I sincerely hope that this will result in more satisfactory times in my next races.

Half Marathon

About a year ago, February 2008, I would never have dreamed of  running the Half-Marathon. Even after a few 5 K runs I have resisted doing the 10 K. My excuse was that I want to wait until I improve my time for the 5K. Then after a few months, I joined the PMI 10 K. From then on, I  started joining 10 K events with varied results.

Then the Condura Run 2009 (on the Sky Way) was announced by Pat & Ton Concepcion This is unique and maybe a once in a lifetime opportunity. I decided to train for it and joined a couple of 15 K runs before March 2009.

As the date drew near, I felt I didn’t prepare enough. A combination of work load, out of town business trips, and new job responsibilities cut into my training time.

I had several good runs although no LSD runs. Anyway, I decided to throw caution to the winds and registered for the 21 K. I decided that joining the 10 K wouldn’t do since the route will not include the skyway. I told myself “Bahala na si Batman” (he-he).

Well, to make a long story short, I finished the 21 K. My time is something I am embarassed about, but it is something that I would like to improve on in the future.

Now, I feel more motivated to run longer distances. I learned my lessons from my first half marathon and will not soon forget them.

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