Trail 101 with Altra

Trail Talk 101 with Altra is a break-away from your usual closed-space talks. This is sort of a synthesis and practical application of the talks done in the previous months.  It’s a change in from your usual weekend runs of the trails.  The event is a shift from your usual breath of fresh air.  It’s also a break from the week-long bombardment of city barrage.

Trail 101 with Altra

Trail Running 101 is an initiative event created by UPNR (UP Night Runners) in cooperation with Pinoy Trails. The talk aims to stimulate real and live discussion of  trail athlete about key topics related to actual race experience serving as technique and guideline to aspiring Athlete.

On the sixth edition for month of March, it was sponsored by Altra Running Philippines headed by Ms. Jeanette Sasam together with some of the most successful and well-known experience Ultra trail runner in the Philippines.

Altra talks about Trail

The sixth edition of the Trail Talk tackled how to manage assault on trails, downhill running techniques, Leave No Trace (LNT) Principle and nutrition plan for race/training. We’ve got the best resource speakers for the trail topics. The March speaker and event facilitator is both certified hardcore Ultra Trail Marathoner who finished some of the most hardest trail races here in the Philippines. UPNR Resident coach & Altra PH Ambassador, no-less, Mr. Payasso Master himself, Mr. Jon Las Bruce with special participation of Ms. Cheryl Bihag (also an Altra Ambassador)

[Trail 101 with ALTRA]

It was a challenging trail experience and fruitful learning combined into one. The sunny and windy weather made the discussions about trail running along the trails of Mt. Parawagan even more exciting and rejuvenating!

Before we started, we were reminded by Coach Jon Las Bruce of a few things in terms of gear preparation. Your choice between a hydration bag and a belt band, or your maximalist and minimalist footwear among others, depend mainly on the trail you plan to hit. The terrain mostly, the weather condition, the availability of water source and the amount of time you plan to stay out there are to be considered. There are however non-negotiable items that should always be inside your packs like headlamps and first-aid kit.

We did learn a few tips about how managing assaults can be maximized by breathing properly. And, it was a sigh of relief that pausing to recover is more helpful than not as we thought it was especially while racing.

After that brief talk, we had a few drills to warm our body up in preparation for that famous Parawagan “VK” or vertical kilometer (although a VK is technically defined by its elevation gain which has to be at least 1000 masl, and Parawagan is only about 400+ masl). True enough, that 2km+ felt longer! If not for the GPS apps and devices, I wouldn’t settle with that just at 2km.

The Summit

We reached the summit earlier than expected, and the weather was thankfully great! It wasn’t too hot as with the past weeks, and it was a bit windy up there. We were given ample time to enjoy the 360˚ view extending from a part of the Sierra Madre mountain ranges to the North where we also saw that lone but proud Mt. Arayat.

Leave No Trace

We then settled, and Coach Jon Las continued talking about trail running. This time he introduced the principles of Leave No Trace (LNT) which was originally meant for the outdoors but on second thought, may be used in other places too.

  • Plan ahead and prepare, travel and camp on durable surfaces (run on established trails, do not create new trails).
  • Dispose of waste properly (whatever’s in your pack must be brought down the same except for the consumables, and pick up some trashes along the trails),
  • Leave what you find (do not pick flowers, stones or anything you plan to take with you as a “remembrance”; experience and photos are already enough)
  • Minimize campfire impacts (trail runners don’t need this but in cases that we do, make sure to build fire only on durable surfaces and where fire won’t spread easily)
  • Respect wildlife (we are just visitors, we must respect the other beings in the area; do not hurt the animals especially if they are not attacking you).
  • Be considerable of other visitors (respect other visitors, be courteous enough to aware them say if you’re passing ahead of them on their left or on their right; respect the locals as well).


Coach Jon Las also gave us a few tips about running in descent. He reminded us about proper use of the traction of our footwear i.e. use all the lugs when running downhills. He also said to always “find your center [of gravity]” by using your core. Lifting your arms according to him will help you gain balance while tackling the uneven terrains of that descent.

Ms. Cheryl Bihag, an ambassador of Altra Running Philippines, shared tips on how we can decide on choosing the best pair of shoes. She mentioned the toe-box, and especially the traction features which are very important in trail running because as we have repeatedly mentioned, the different terrains are challenging.

Afterwards, we were like taken into a test after a lecture after being required to tackle the downhills from the Mt. Parawagan summit, which totaled to about 3km.


Upon reaching the Acacia tree, buko juice greeted us there! We rested for a few minutes, took our time to recover. Coach Jon Las started on talking about proper nutrition during training runs and actual races. He mentioned the need for trail food and making sure that the food intake is regular. He said not to wait for the feeling of hunger, which was a common lapse among runners who are focused on racing and finishing on expected time. Some participants asked about side stitch, which is also called stomach spasms; that annoying pain on the side below our ribs. Coach said that it is usually because of improper breathing especially when going fast, where the breathing couldn’t catch up. He also reiterated the importance of core strengthening which will help prevent side stitches from happening.

Then there’s the last stretch of about 2km before we reach Wawa (4 Brothers’ Eatery). We did a few drills to cool our bodies down and to stretch our muscles to prevent tightness and eventual pain, and of course recovery meal served by 4 Brother’s Eatery! Whew, that was a whole lot in one. Can’t wait to try them out again on the trails so I can better enjoy trail running, because as they say, repetition is the key to a habit.

Raffle Winners


UPNR Genets and Core Team expresses full gratefulness to all who participated this first outdoor trail talk activity.

We hope that you learned from what we offered you today. Do apply them as soon as you hit the trails. To everyone who supported the event, thank you.


The event committee wishes to say thank you to all attendees for gracing the event and to our guest speakers (Mr. Jon Las Bruce and Ms. Cheryl Bihag) for imparting their knowledge and skills about Trail Running. We would also want to thank Ms. Lea Llosala of Lightwater, Ms. Diana Ong of Fitbar Philippines and Abigail Bardinas for GoPro Photos.  See you again next time for live edition Trail Talk. For comments, reactions and suggestion of the event, kindly send us email via or hit us PM thru Pinoy Trails official facebook page.

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Post Author: Jose Ramizares

Jose is an active online-gamer, spicy food lover, adventure-seeker and a member Running Photographers.

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