Category Archives: Articles

Ironmom Diaries: Practical Training for the Real World Triathlete

photo (14)

I signed up last year for Ironman Cairns (and several other major races) with the full hope that I would be able to give it all I had in terms of training for the event and going for a PR…imagining that I would have the luxury to focus on that one aspect and still be able to fulfil my other obligations somehow.

In the past couple of years though, I’ve learned that at this stage in my life, my training schedule is this: I try to do all my jobs as best as I can, and whatever free time remains, be it 20min or 2hours, well, that is my training time. Not ideal, but workable.

I’ve also learned that although I may not be able to follow a typical program week after week as my commitments vary, I just need to be consistent. Even if that means being consistently out of routine. In other words, I am not so obsessive anymore about following my program to the very last second but I have established some personal guidelines for myself so that I may still have a semblance of decent training. I’d like to share them with you!

Rule no 1: Never let two weeks pass without doing a long run.

Rule no 2: Never let two weeks pass without doing a long bike ride.

Rule no 3: Swim at least once a week.

Rule no 4: Run at least once every three days.

Rule no 5: If tired, take it easy. If really tired, skip the session. If sick, rest and take it easy for a couple of days.

Rule no 6: Train a minimum of 4 sessions a week. When you do, prioritize the key sessions. When you can, do combo sessions to maximize.

Rule no 7: If all you have is a few minutes, take it. Just make it count! For example, you can do intervals and make it a really good speed session.

Rule no 8: If all else fails and you really cannot find the time to train for days on end, EAT HEALTHY, and EAT LESS than you normally would if you were training heavily. Body composition counts for a lot in endurance events, and a few kilos can spell the difference between a good run split and a bad one.

Rule no 9: Core strengthening sessions can be done soon after your main session. Even 10-15minutes is greatly beneficial.

Rule no 10: Because you are a well-rounded person and triathlon is not the only thing which is important in your life, if you do not perform well, you should not kill yourself about it. Triathlon should not dictate who you are as a person, it is just something you love to do. Take in the lessons that need to be learned after a disappointing race, regroup, and move on! Remember to always enjoy what you do. Everything will be much easier if this is the case.

I would like to point out that these are not based on any scientific studies, nor are they taken from any triathlon training books, but I have come up with these points through years of observing what works for myself.

I am writing this piece during the flight back immediately after doing two Ironman distance races just a month apart, something I have never attempted before.

Am I happy with my race results? Maybe not as much as I would have been if I actually stuck to a spartan-like regimen. But am I happy and fully satisfied with my life as a whole? Heck, yeah!!!

20130611-121645.jpg

20130611-121732.jpg

Advertisements

22 Comments

Filed under Race Report, Random Thoughts

The Proof Is In The Pavement

It’s a Saturday and am not riding my bike.

And nope, I am not fussed.  Given the time constraints that I have, today is the day I put my foot down, lace my shoes up, and start training properly for my first marathon.  Yup, you read that right. I’ve never really done a stand-alone marathon event.  The six 42k runs which I’ve done have always been preceded by a 3.8km swim and a 180km bike. I’m not downplaying those runs at all, but I think it’s high time I give myself a chance to try and start a 42km without my old unwanted companions Backache and Energy Deficit.

I’ve always known that my first marathon event was going to be special, and this year I am finally realizing my dream with the help of my Timex family, who was generous enough to give me a slot for the famous New York Marathon on Nov 4.  Timex has been a part of the NYM for a long time now, and am happy to have their support, as well as the support of my local partners Timex PhilippinesUnilab Active Health and Adidas Philippines.

Most of my major triathlon races of the year are done with, and now I finally feel like I have the all-clear to focus on one event. When I gave birth to Dash almost 9months ago now, I set certain goals for myself:

1. To race within two months: Check, Timex Run, Jan 22 2012.

2. To race a Half Ironman within the first quarter: Check, Aviva Singapore 70.3 March 18 2012.

3. To race an Ironman within the first 6mos: Check, Ironman Australia Port Macquarie May 6 2012.

4. To race New York Marathon with a decent runner’s time, 3.5weeks before Dash turns a year old.

5. To race Timex 226, our local Iron distance triathlon, to mark the weekend of Dash’s 1st birthday!

Looking at the calendar, I have 10weeks to prepare for no.4 and 14 weeks to prepare for no.5. At this point though, a run focus is what the heart and soul is asking for, and THANK GOD the body is healthy and injury-free.

If I were to be brutally honest to myself, I just haven’t done the work this year to merit being called a marathon runner. I have too much respect for the distance. When I was training for Ironman Australia, the longest run I did was 22k. Granted, I only had a very small window of opportunity to do this as during the peak week of training for that race Dash was only 4mos old. So I am not beating myself up over that! But I told my husband Dan that I wanted to stop using Dash as an excuse after 6months–the “I just gave birth” card was just getting old. Maybe not for anyone else but for myself it was.

So I am calling on my inner Pam Reed as I will need that persevering spirit to help me last in the longest of my long runs.  I am also calling on the Lady of Fortitude, the Lady of  Endurance and the Lady of Multi Tasking Moms. Why we don’t have icons in their images beats me. I would also like to honor the original marathoner, Pheidippides (and pray that I don’t suffer his fate!).

To my fellow would-be marathon inductees, happy running and see you at the finish line…the proof is in the pavement.

8 Comments

Filed under Adidas, Random Thoughts, Running, Timex, Unilab Active Health

How I gained weight and found myself on the cover of Runner’s World Magazine….

Sometime late January this year, I got a call from Runner’s World Editor-In-Chief Marie Calica. She asked if I could drop by their office and studio for a feature. I said, “sure!” without thinking too much about it. So come early Feb I went to the Summit Studio with Dashy in tow, and lo and behold: I was informed then and there that I would be their Cover Feature.

Marie and Angel Constantino told me they did not want me to feel pressured which was why they didn’t tell me sooner. My baby was just two and a half months old then so I was still not back to my normal weight. Far from it. I took it in stride but deep down I was thinking, “Err….COVER? Right Now? Are you serious ???” Please don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have an issue with the extra weight I had, and I was on the way to getting back into shape, in my own time. But as a lifelong athlete, I loved this magazine, so forgive me for wanting to look good in it!

Thank goodness the camera and styling crew were real pros, and Adidas had supplied me recently with loose-fitting outfits! This is the one time I had hoped they would “photoshop” any unflattering bits. The actual cover shoot was quite funny, which found yours truly inhaling sharply and deeply on several (okay, maybe like 50) occasions just to get my tummy to look flat. Not only that, they did not tell me this but I think it took them some time to configure which top and bottom would have the most coverage. Haha 🙂

I had to wait a couple of months just like everybody else to see how the photos came out. I was resigned to the fact that I had just graced the cover of one of the most iconic sports magazines not looking my best.  When I finally saw it I had to send the Runner’s World crew a thank you message saying thanks for editing it so that I didn’t look that bad (read: fat)! According to them, I was mistaken because they didn’t even need to edit the photos that much. Well, I’ll never know if they were just saying that to be nice.  But here it is, plus the featured article inside.

In hindsight, I am impressed that they chose to go with a subject who was not necessarily skinny. Runners do come in all shapes and sizes, and I am happy to represent in whatever manner  (see blog: https://anikarina.com/2009/07/03/becoming-a-runner/).

 Thanks for entrusting me to be on the newsstands, Runner’s World Philippines 🙂 It’s a real honor!

2 Comments

Filed under Adidas, Mommy-hood, Pinay In Action, Running, Selected Features, Timex, Uncategorized

In love with my Yurbuds Sports Earphones!

I don’t do product reviews very often because I only really like to write about things that I believe in. Not too long ago my very good friends Maiqui and Gianina Dayrit brought in these amazing sports earphones that have upgraded my workout music set-up… fits perfectly, doesn’t fall off, and the designs are pretty cool as well.  Love my Yurbuds!

Check out these pink ones girls! But they normally come in red 🙂

Yurbuds Philippines is on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cascos-Inc/175495055884423

Leave a comment

Filed under Review

Dove Hair Therapy Philippines Press Launch

Finally Dove Hair Care Products have found their way to the Philippines! I have been a longtime fan of the ad campaigns of Dove in the US showcasing “real women” and was so surprised when they contacted me to be one of the brand ambassadors in the Philippines… the TVC with Angel Jacob is out, stay tuned for the print version and online video clips coming soon!

Follow @dovehair on twitter 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under Dove Hair Therapy Philippines, Selected Features

Female Network: 100 Amazing Filipinas

Superstars: Ani de Leon-Brown
Triathlete

Champion triathlete Ani de Leon-Brown is always running toward the finish line, often leaving others in the dust. Ani has competed for most of her life, and she is a three-time Philippine National Triathlete champion and the Philippine record holder for various marathons. At the Ironman Malaysia, she came in first in the female age 30 to 34 category, which earned her a slot in the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. She was the first Filipino woman to join this international competition.

Ani doesn’t stop there. As a coach, she also works to promote sports and a healthy active lifestyle of  as program manager of Pinay In Action: Women Empowerment through Fitness Program and of the SuperKids Triathlon Youth Development Program of the Triathlon Association of the Philippines. She is currently enjoying her son, Dash, whom she gave birth to a few months ago.

Words by Ana Santos. Photo by Carlo Vergara; first used in July 2011 in Good Housekeeping Philippines..

Leave a comment

Filed under Pinay In Action, Selected Features

Transitioning from Arts to Triathlon

http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/355499/transitioning-from-arts-triathlon

Transitioning From Arts to Triathlon

Coach Ani de Leon-Brown’s multi-faceted journey in life
By EUGENE Y. SANTOS
March 27, 2012, 3:09am

Manila, Philippines – Life sometimes brings us unexpected surprises—whether it’s in the career we choose to take or the lifestyle we pursue that we think suits us best. For Ani De Leon-Brown, it seemed serendipitous that she grew up surrounded by art, yet she found a more fulfilling calling in coaching people and training athletes for triathlon.

“As a kid, my siblings and I are trained to be artists,” she shares. Turns out, her father is Felipe De Leon (Jr.), a humanities and arts professor at the University of the Philippines (UP) and the current chairman of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), and her grandfather is National Artist for Music, Felipe Padilla De Leon (Sr.).

De Leon-Brown was trained mostly in visual arts. Her hands are adept in drawing and painting as an artist. However, the athletic call was quite hard to ignore.

Inspired by acclaimed gymnast Bea Lucero on Milo ads, De Leon-Brown pursued gymnastics in her later years in grade school. Then, she started swimming back in her high school sophomore year.

De Leon-Brown accompanied her elder sister, who was suffering from asthma, to swimming training sessions. “I just accompanied her and I was like, ‘Ok, I don’t know how to swim.’ The doctor told my sister to try out swimming to cure her asthma and she became quite good at the sport.” Ditto for De Leon-Brown.

In college, De Leon-Brown took up Interior Design in UP. She joined the university’s varsity swim team, where she even became team captain.

After graduating from college, De Leon-Brown worked as in-house designer for a private brand (which no longer exists). She even had her own art gallery. But, it seemed that her body and mindset missed the physical competitiveness of triathlon. “I’m very competitive. At the start, I wanted to be good at it. At that time, we (a group of athletes) were the pioneers in coaching [for triathlon in the Philippines.] There were no coaches yet at that time.” De Leon-Brown would go to Australia, and through her own funds, would enroll herself in training camps there to improve her skills.

She would stay in Australia from two to three months for training. “I also like traveling around. If you’re somebody who’s adventurous like me, doing training camps abroad is ok. You have to do everything yourself. Even if you have friends in Australia, you can’t always depend on them.”

The training itself was manageable, but other aspects, like living expenses and lodging, were a different story. “You have to be resourceful,” says De Leon-Brown. “I looked for a house that would allow for housemates. It’s really about being strategic, otherwise it’s expensive.”

“When people found out that I was going out to these high-performance camps, they asked me for some help and I said, ‘Sure, sure.’ And when it became too time-consuming, I started charging. Then it started from there,” De Leon-Brown says. With training sessions and triathlon commitments, De Leon-Brown figured out that she had to give up her designing career for practical reasons. “Triathlon took over my life and I had to quit my day job as an interior designer. But I’m very happy. You never know what life brings you. I still paint on the side. It’s very minimal, though.”

Finding fulfillment

De Leon-Brown shares that her foray into triathlon was at a time when running events were not in vogue yet in the Philippines. “In a way, I prefer how I got into the sport when there wasn’t all the hype yet,” she says. “When [some fellow athletes and I] were starting, it’s quite amusing. Like on my part, I would even borrow a bike and the equipment we used were not that advanced. But I feel more satisfied in doing it that way, old school. It was trial and error before but we enjoyed it.” She even recalls how she and 12 other athletes went to Subic one time. They were in one van, with their bikes crammed over together.

Nowadays, De Leon-Brown shares that hi-tech gadgets and equipment are readily available for aspiring triathletes. She is glad to be able to see triathlon’s development in the Philippines.

As a coach, De Leon-Brown prefers to be friendly and encouraging. “I’ve had different kinds of coaches, and I had one coach who terrorized everyone so I vowed to myself that I would never be like that.” It helped that one of her mentors was relaxed in contrast. “So I said to myself that I’m going to be like that. But when I have to be hard and firm on someone, I can also toughen up if I know that an athlete can still manage to do it despite complaining. If you’re too nice, an athlete won’t be able to improve.”

It’s about having the right balance of attitude toward her trainees. “An athlete is also a person,” she relates. “It’s not only the physical side that you have to take care of, especially for younger groups. You have to take care of their emotional wellbeing because it can affect their performance. You have to find what makes them tick. Others need someone who’s nurturing while others don’t like it.” Seeing her trainees win (and even beat her) empowers her as a coach. “It means that I did a good job. To help somebody achieve their goals is more satisfying.”

De Leon-Brown was recently appointed as a Sports & Recreation (S&R) consultant for the Pico De Loro Beach & Country Club in Nasugbu, Batangas together with her husband Dan. As S&R consultants, they want to further promote it as an ideal sports venue, with marathon and triathlon events in the pipeline.

These days, De Leon-Brown observes that Filipinos are getting less intimidated by triathlon. “It has become more popular, like everyone knows somebody who’s into the sport.” It’s a matter of positive influence, where triathlon’s different race levels and distances encourage more Filipinos to pursue a healthy lifestyle. Triathlon works out different muscle groups through swimming, biking and running. “Triathlon is [more fun] if you do it with friends,” De Leon-Brown advises.

Leave a comment

Filed under Pico de Loro, Pinay In Action, Selected Features, Sponsors and Partners