Category: Blog

How to Sabotage Yourself on Race Day

Preparing for a race is more than just getting the training in, although that plays a big part in race-day success. But for all the worrying we do about our upcoming big races and who we’re up against, sometimes, our biggest opponent is… ourselves.

There are enough variables on race day, like weather, race route, or co-participants, that are out of our hands. What I like to do is make sure of everything that I can control and account for.

Many thanks to everyone who left their input on my Instagram and Facebook posts about the things they’ve done that ruined their race day! You will find that your self-sabotage moves are not unique, and I’m sure you already know what to do about them next time.

So, in no particular order, here’s what you can do to sabotage your race day performance! (more…)



Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay Preview

It’s only a few days to go, and then I drive up again to what the legend Frank Lacson refers to as “Triathlon Country” for the Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay!

Century Tuna 5150 Triathlon
From a 5150 to a 70.3… Century Tuna has stepped it up!

These last few weeks have been busy for triathlon in this part of the world, with Challenge Philippines and Tri United 1 just concluded. And no, I did not sign up for all three races, but I know some crazies who have…

It’s going to be a fun weekend and the pressure is off for me because I’m just doing the bike leg on a relay team with my Endure teammates John Doctor (swim) and Sugz Lopez (run). This is going to be a great opportunity to experience what it’s like to cycle on the SCTEX coming from the Subic side. I’ve heard and seen how challenging the terrain can be — long climbs, some steep sections, and fierce headwinds and crosswinds — but due to tollway regulations no one can ride on those roads on any normal day.

But really my main motivation in joining this race is I just love watching the pros do their thing, and boy do we have some stellar ones coming! (more…)




Ask Kikay Runner: Average Running Mileage

This is a section on my blog where I answer questions people ask me. If you have any questions for future Ask Kikay Runner entries, email me, tweet me, or leave me a message on the Kikay Runner Facebook page.

Erik Valenzuela asks: Hi Noelle, what is your average weekly and monthly running mileage? During training and off/maintenance season?

Hi Erik! First of all, thanks for making a distinction between training and offseason — I can’t tell you how many times people think I’m a machine that can maintain huge weekly mileage all 52 weeks of a year.

During the offseason (which could last two weeks to a month for me), I’m not ashamed to say my average weekly running mileage could dip below 10 kilometers. I’m usually doing other activities to keep fit. Back when I had my job at the gym I would teach my dance and yoga classes for the week and that was it. These days though, I will probably still be doing some swimming, biking, and running, but definitely won’t be obsessing about run mileage or speed or amount of time. The offseason is when I give myself a break, physically and mentally, so that when the time comes to start training properly again I won’t be fatigued and will go into the training with gusto.

Last year during my training for Challenge Roth (an iron-distance race), my average running mileage was still pretty low (about 27 kilometers averaged weekly over the entire nine-month period) but that was because I was loading up more on swim and bike — and these also give me a good aerobic base. I think my longest run was 27 kilometers.

When I was training exclusively for running a marathon, my average mileage every week for 16 weeks was 30 kilometers, and my longest run was around 32 to 35 kilometers. That’s quite low for a marathon runner — but then I was also putting in at least 5 hours weekly of aerobic and high-intensity interval training due to dance classes.

I will admit I’ve let my run slack in the last few months and I can definitely benefit from putting a few more miles every week into these legs. But it’s not exactly just about adding mileage — it’s about the kind of mileage you do. I find that I can perform well and get by on less running (I can crack out a half-marathon any weekend) but the running I do has to be more intense in order for me to keep my speed — hills, intervals, speedwork. Quality over quantity if you have limited time, and I usually have only two run sessions every week.

But that’s what works for me, and as I’ve become aware, there are diminishing returns to this sort of thing. I may have to overhaul my running program and explore adding more mileage (and whether to add that mileage as separate sessions or lengthening existing sessions) as I build toward my next few races. But that’s the fun part of training — finding better ways of improving performance.

Kikay Runner




Challenge Philippines 2015 (Part 2)

I dove into the cold waters of Ilanin Bay. It was a long way to the first turn buoy, about a kilometer, but I wanted to break free of the struggle happening around me. I surged ahead and fought for position.

The swim work I’d done started to pay off. Sure, the fast ones still got away, but I didn’t get stuck amid flailing arms and thrashing legs in the back. I felt pretty strong through that whole first stretch despite pushing against the current. The new Roka swimskin also contributed a lot to my feeling secure because of less drag (it covered my trisuit pockets) and its compression reminding me to get my legs up higher in the water.

(I also found myself chuckling inwardly as I saw a huge cluster of fast swimmers going off-course ahead of me while I was safely following the buoy line by my lonesome. What use is speed if you don’t sight for yourself, ey?)

The giant red turn buoys made sighting easy even in the morning glare, and it was so easy to find a rhythm I could sustain. The last 300 meters were a joy to swim because I could feel the current now working in our favor, pulling us in toward shore. I managed to shave six (!!!) minutes off my previous swim time on this course, which is actually about 2.1 instead of 1.9 kilometers long.

Challenge Philippines 2015
Into transition! (photo from Gibo Canlas)

Challenge Philippines 2015
Now the real work begins. (photo from Gibo Canlas)

(more…)




Challenge Philippines 2015 (Part 1)

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
— “If”, by Rudyard Kipling

Bits and snippets of this poem crept into my head on the final kilometers of that unforgiving run course, where I faced yet more long hills with the top nowhere in sight. Why did you do this to yourself again? my body cried out to me as I trudged upwards, nearly delirious from the unexpected and unseasonal heat.

Challenge Philippines 2015
uh-oh, here we go… (photo from Gibo Canlas)

Challenge Philippines “Tough”. That was how they had branded it this year, and for good reason. Those of us who had done the inaugural edition were forewarned about the (longer than 1.9 kilometers) swim against a current, the grinding steep hills of Bataan, and the endless undulations of the run course through forest ranger training grounds. And yet there we were again, back for more. Maybe we were trying to prove ourselves against Rudyard Kipling’s “If”, which I first came across while reading triathlon legend Chrissie Wellington‘s autobiography. Those stanzas served as her mantras as she dug deep in each race, going undefeated in all 13 of her races over the ironman distance.

For me, race week started innocuously enough. (more…)