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I am a Bicolano by birth and choice. By any standards, I am a slow runner but I like it that way. I look at running as a healthy and exciting way to make a difference. Together with my fellow runners from our family, school, office and the community, we use running to give back..

December 8, 2011

The Bicolano Penguin is getting heavier and December has just begun

You just have to look at the two pictures below to agree 101% with the title of this article.  At the eve of the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2011, I find myself at 163 pounds, 11 pounds heavier than when I finished my 80-km ultramarathon around Mayon Volcano last April 2, 2011.

December 3, 2011: Bicolano Penguin at 163 pounds

April 2, 2011: Bicolano Penguin at 152 pounds
And to make matters potentially worse,  the Christmas season has just started.  This smells trouble as the month of December in the Philippines means dozen or more parties,  get-togethers and school homecomings to attend.  F & B (as in food and beverage)  will tend to take center stage over LSD (as in low slow distance).

How do I avoid gaining more pounds in this season of giving?   

Luckily, I just bought a copy of the October-December 2011 issue of the much improved Philippine edition of the Runner’s World Magazine.  

October - December 2011 issue

The article
And on pages 36-37 of this magazine, there is a well-written article by Lit Onrubia, the leading proponent of Chi Running and Chi Walking in the Philippines.  Entitled “HO! HO! D-OH!",  it puts forward the following suggestions to avoid weight gain and to be focused on one’s run training program (I gotta start one  for the BDM 102-km ultra this March 2012) during this December:

  •  Choose our meals wisely for the entire month of December and we will see positive results in our running come 2012.  One of the biggest mistakes  a runner can make is to think that if one runs as much as one wants, then one can also eat as much as one wants. 

  • Treat our holiday parties and get-togethers the same way we treat our training runs and races.  That is, we need to be mentally prepared for them, and it starts the night before.  When attending a holiday party, we need to decide the night before that:

§  We will only have one plate (a normal plate, that is, not a heaping one).
§  We will choose more fish and go easy on the red meat.
§  We will have more veggies occupying at least a fourth of the plate.
§  We will choose either cake or ice cream (and not both).
§  We will just have one drink.

  •  Be realistic about how much training we can do during the holidays.  As long as we get in two 45-minute runs during the week and at least a 90-minute LSD on the weekend, our progress won’t suffer much.

  •  When you’re more than a  month away from your event, your past mileage matters , but it doesn’t matter much.  One of the sad facts of running is that you can completely nullify months of religious training if you lose focus and abandon regular training even for just a few weeks.

  • Training during the holidays is just doubly difficult to squeeze in as the days in December only seem to be 20 hours long given the traffic, shopping lists and balikbayan relatives.  Yet, all it takes is forward planning and making smart choices.  By November 15 (or in my case December 9), one should already pick up one’s running journal  and mark the days when one will train for the rest of the year (or in my case the rest   of December).

  • Understand  the difference between discipline and dedication.  What separates those who run one marathon and those who run multiple marathons is dedication, and not discipline.  Per John Bingham, only those who dedicate themselves to running are able to make the lifestyle change that allows them to run and be healthy and active for the rest of their lives.  The dedicated runner understands that training through the holidays isn’t easy but it’s what we do because this is the lifestyle we’ve chosen.

Come January 7, 2012, just before the PSE Bull Run (21 kms), I will go and weigh myself to see if my poundage went  north or south of 163 pounds. 

The Bicolano Penguin prefers down south.     Abangan.

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