Category Archives: Ask Kikay Runner

Ask Kikay Runner Blog Triathlon

Ask Kikay Runner: How to Prepare for Your First Triathlon

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.

Triathlon in the Philippines is still a small sport compared to running, but it’s growing due to the influx of runners who, after conquering the longer distances, are looking for a different challenge. Just the other week one of my fellow runners and Twitter buddy @joshtadena bought himself a spiffy tri bike.

On Instagram, I got a question about triathlon. @in1dropofwater asks: I’d like to ask how you approach training for a triathlon. Do you actually do training for all three events at the same time, same day? Or you do it differently? I’m a distance runner… But my dream is to one day do a triathlon.

I frequently get questions about training and how to start doing triathlons. It’s three disciplines instead of one. And how and how much you train changes with how long your goal triathlon race is. And you may also have questions about equipment… For a newbie I understand this can be quite an undertaking!

Speedo NAGT: I don't care what I look like anymore
Even I was a first-timer!

I always say, “How do you eat an elephant steak? One bite at a time.” So let’s break this down so it’s easier to make doing your first triathlon a reality.

Be better prepared than Jillian Michaels at her first triathlon. ;)

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Ask Kikay Runner Blog

Ask Kikay Runner: Motivation

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.

Mae Ann asks: Hi kikay runner! I would like to inquire if you do one on one training for free as I badly needed [sic] someone who can train and motivate me and help me get back in shape. Maybe I could join you when you run. I got interested into [sic] running and triathlon as I wanted to start having a healthy living [sic]. I wish you could help me.

Hi Mae Ann! I’m not a coach and don’t train people, but I can relate with the need for motivation. read more »

Ask Kikay Runner Blog

Ask Kikay Runner: How to Prevent or Cure Side Stitches

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.

Wace asks: Any techniques/advice to prevent side stitch when running? :) Thanks!

The medical term for side stitches is exercise-related transient abdominal pain. I haven’t had a side stitch in a while but I do recall they are nasty when they happen — they knock the wind out of you and force you to stop or slow down. This happens because the diaphragm, like any muscle, can spasm during exertion.

There’s no definitive knowledge about what really causes side stitches, but there are some possible causes. The one I hear most often is: exercising too soon after eating. It takes approximately 30 minutes for food to exit the stomach, so schedule your large meals about one or two hours before doing a run. If you must eat shortly before a run, make it a light and easy-to-digest snack to prevent stomach upsets (avoid fatty or high-fiber foods).

Not warming up properly or working out too intensely can also cause side stitches. It’s always better for the muscles in your body when you warm up and pick up the pace of your workouts gradually. Also notice how your breathing is shallow and fast when you’re forced to sprint without warming up. This kind of breathing does not allow the diaphragm to relax fully, which can lead to spasms.

Speaking of breathing, not breathing well contributes to side stitches. The pumping of leg muscles when running puts pressure on the diaphragm from below. Lung expansion due to rapid breathing puts pressure on the diaphragm from above. This pinches the diaphragm, decreases blood circulation, and causes spasms. Breathe deeply and according to a pattern: at a slow pace breathe in for three counts and out for two counts, while at a fast pace breathe in for two counts and out for one count.

Side stitches are more frequent in less trained individuals, who have poor muscle conditioning of the abdominals and diaphragm. It’s just like leg muscles cramping when you run at a pace you’re not used to. Improve your fitness and endurance and the side stitches will go away.

Now, when you already have a side stitch, what can you do to cure it? The first thing to do is slow down or stop, and see if the pain lessens or stops. Then, take some slow, deep breaths to stretch out your diaphragm. You can do side bends to help stretch out your abdomen, but do them gradually so the muscle doesn’t spasm from being stretched too quickly (this is known as the stretch reflex). If that doesn’t help, massage the area by pressing your fingertips against your abdomen right where it hurts, and exhale as hard as you can.

Good luck with the side stitches. Don’t let them stop you from running!

References:
Ask the Running Doc: How Do I Prevent Side Stitches?
Ask Alice: Side Stitch Prevention
Runner’s World: Four Ways to Stop the Dreaded Side Stitch
Core Knowledge: Everything You Need to Know about Side Stitches

Ask Kikay Runner Blog

Ask Kikay Runner: How I Trained for a Marathon

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 or leave me a message on the Kikay Runner Facebook page.

I’ve been getting a lot of questions regarding training for long-distance races, which is great because at least people now are taking training for half-marathons and marathons seriously instead of flying by the seat of their pants and taking a “bahala na si Batman” approach to race day.

For myself, when I signed up for my two marathons in 2010, I had some idea of how I was going to go about my training because I’d talked with friends who had already done one or more marathons. read more »

Ask Kikay Runner Blog

Ask Kikay Runner: Half-Marathon Training

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 or leave me a message on the Kikay Runner Facebook page.

Today I’m pleased to be answering two questions about half-marathon training. The 21K or half-marathon is a challenging distance in itself. When I did my first 21K, it was the first time I had to start being smart and specific about my run sessions. I couldn’t expect to do well at a half-marathon with unstructured training.

Instagram Photo
Be smart about half-marathon training.

Kathrina writes:

I am very much inspired on your motivation and determination on working out and being healthy. I would like to ask your advice as to how many KM I should be regularly running if I am going to join a half-marathon on Oct. 6? I run 3x a week only. Should I be adding more days to these prior to Oct. 6? For the past month i was running 9KM minimum – 11KM max.

Karen writes:

What would be the best training to meet the Milo cut-off and have a medal. Its my 2nd attempt this coming September and hoping to beat the cut off time of 2.5hrs 21k.

21K PR – normally between 2:50 to 3:00 depending on my pace
10k – normally 1 hour to 1:15
5K – normally 30 minutes

I am only running 5k twice a week then long run on weekend.

Karen‘s PR’s show that she has a big drop-off in speed from 10K to 21K. Based on her 5K and 10K times, she should be able to run a 21K in less than 2 hours and 30 minutes (the Milo Marathon 21K cut-off), so I think her issue here is building the ability to maintain the same pace (about 6 minutes/km) for longer than 10K.

Kathrina‘s run scheduling is good. What she needs to do is increase the distance of her long run to prepare her for the distance on October 6 (Run United Philippine Marathon). It’s about six weeks away and she needs to increase her long run by 10% every week until she peaks at 17K at the least. So from 11K, she should increase to 12K this week, then 13K, then 15K, then 17K, then 19K. After this, she can taper for two weeks so she can be fresh to run that 21K. Of course, if she starts feeling pain in her knees or feet, it could signal that the mileage increase is too rapid, so she needs to assess the increase on a weekly basis.

I usually just run 3x a week as well — 1 intervals/hills, 1 tempo, and 1 long run. I take my cue from triathlon training, which needs to be time-efficient (since we juggle training in three sports instead of just one) so these three runs are quality must-do sessions.

The speedwork run can be quite short as long as I’m really pushing the pace to slightly faster than current race pace. Hill repeats build strength (it’s like doing squats, only with your body weight!) and speed; I don’t have the patience to run around a 400-meter track, so doing hills is less mentally fatiguing. Runners’ World has a great interval workout.

A tempo run is one that’s done at a “comfortably hard” pace, slightly below the pace you feel your legs starting to burn or get heavy. According to this Runners’ World article, tempo runs improve the body’s ability to use oxygen for metabolism more efficently by increasing lactate threshold, or the point the body fatigues at a certain pace. This means you can run faster, longer. My tempo runs for a half-marathon race are usually 10-12 kilometers in length, and I like doing these with a group that runs at the same pace or slightly faster.

The long run should be easy, but I try to incorporate some race-pace efforts near the end of the long run so my body knows how it feels to run at target pace even when tired.

Karen and Kathrina, thanks for asking your questions. You’re being smart about your half-marathon training. Wishing you well on your upcoming races!

Online Triathlon Coaching - MaccaX
Online Triathlon Coaching - MaccaX

Online Triathlon Coaching - MaccaX

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