Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sustainable Ultra-Long Distance Running (training for Trans-Mindanao Run and the Camino de Santiago)

Crossing over to Samal Island

Coastal Road to Penaplata

Run-walking with 18-lb backpack

wild camping in Dasag

I've been on a back-to-back runabout - run-walking for seven hours yesterday and five hours today. I started late yesterday because I had to say the 4:30 am Misa de Gallo. I carried a back-pack weighing 18 lbs - with water, clothes, sleeping bag, tent, some food. I used the Galloway method of interval running - run 3 min/walk 2 min interval. I actually enjoyed the running section than the walking. I still have to get used to long-distance walking. Last week, I walked for almost seven hours and I had blisters for the first time- I don't get blisters even if I run for 7-8 hours.I think my body has gotten used to running. I don't get a "walker's high" only a "runner's high" (it is running that releases the endorphins into the bloodstream). What I enjoy most is running up and down the mountains. I forget about the time, I become one with nature, and I feel God's presence. There is no loneliness for the long-distance runner - just the joy and ecstasy. It is indeed addictive -- that's why I want to do it over and over again.
This is the first time I ran-walked ultra-distances back-to-back two days in a row. I didn't feel any exhaustion nor was there any muscle-pain or soreness. The recovery was quick. I think the slow, easy running mixed with regular walking breaks made it possible. A low intensity run mixed with brisk-walking is the formula for a sustainable ultra-distance run. This will my strategy for running across Mindanao this March and across Northern Spain this June-July. The human body is not designed for fast-continuous running over long distances - it will eventually break down if there are no rest-recovery walks.
Last night, I camped on the beach. This is something that I love doing. I intend to do some wild-camping when I do the Camino de Santiago across Northern Spain. I would prefer to do it in Albergues/Refugios that have some ground or backyard where I can pitch my tent or in nearby church grounds. This is what I enjoyed most when I was walking from Rome to Assisi in 1994- I slept under the stars and in the porches of churches.
I know that the tent will make the pack heavier but today, I was able to prove that I can easily run with an 18-lb load. With a slight lean forward and bent knees (following the chi-running method), I felt my load pushing me forward. It was actually easier running than walking with a heavy pack (I could feel the pack pushing me downward during walking breaks). It's all about gravity.
Tomorrow, I will take it easy and do a 2-hour Christmas run the following day. I have to be back for the Christmas day mass at 10:30 am.


Jet Paiso said...

Merry Christmas Father! Thanks for sharing your running adventures, you inspire me a lot! Keep on running, and take care! Hope to meet you someday. God bless!

Bald Runner said...

father, we will try to track you and have your story/diary posted at during your trans-mindanao run/trek. we are here praying for your success. good luck. hopefully, i will be able to send you a copy of the movie "running the sahara" in the weeks to come. good luck!