Patient Training with Ultra-Runner Wong Ho Fai – EP034

 In Podcast

Patience, as we know, is a virtue. Problem is, most of us athletes are eager to push ourselves, to see what our bodies are capable of, to test our limits. But if you go too far, too fast, you may be setting yourself up for long-term failure—especially in an area like ultra-running, where you are tackling distances much longer than the standard marathon.

 

 

 

Take it from Wong Ho Fai, champion ultra-runner, training to win races like the ECO100 in Malaysia and the Hong Kong 168 is a gradual process. Fai started running seven years ago, and he progressively built his physical and mental endurance to become Hong Kong’s EP1CMAN, completing the Kona 300-mile challenge this past May. Fai quit his job as an engineer at the age of 24 to pursue sports photography. The career change gave him the opportunity to start training as an athlete himself, and he took up trail running. Endurance sports come easily to Fai, and he transitioned from marathons to adventure races to ultra-running. He is currently training to take on the EPIC5, which challenges participants to take on five Ironmans in five days!

Today Fai shares his journey to becoming an ultra-runner, explaining the definition of ultra-running, health concerns around the sport, and his approach to training. He discusses what he learned about nutrition from mentor Jason Lester during the Kona 300-mile challenge, his experience with the keto diet, and his daily food routine. Listen in to learn how Fai incorporates meditation into his recovery practice and hear his advice for aspiring ultra-runners.

Topics Covered

[0:49] What led Fai to become an ultra-runner

  • Living ‘unfulfilled life,’ unsure of path
  • Started running seven years ago
  • Finds quiet time in mountains soothing for body, soul

 [2:29] Fai’s transition from biking to running

  • Considers himself terrible rider
  • Obligation to keep himself healthy, safe
[3:14] Fai’s take on whether ultra-running is healthy

  • Depends on approach
  • Must employ gradual training, patience
  • Strength, aerobic development takes time
[3:55] The definition of ultra-running

  • Any distance longer than standard marathon
  • Requires additional physical, mental strength
[4:52] Fai’s transition to ultra-running

  • Started with marathons
  • Got into multi-day adventure races (GODZone, XPD)
  • Switched to full-time running (financial limitations)
[7:36] Fai’s most satisfying achievement

  • Trained for four years
  • Won Penang Eco 100 in Malaysia (2015)
  • Won 168K in Hong Kong two months later
[0:02] The Kona 300-mile challenge

  • Nutrition most difficult aspect for Fai
  • Mentored by Jason Lester
  • Took five days to finish (8-hour run, 4-hour sleep)
[12:24] What Fai learned about nutrition from 300-mile challenge

  • Start with solid food
  • Move to bananas, easily digestible foods
  • Shift to gels, baby food
  • Repeat rotation through stages
[11:56] Health concerns around ultra-running

  • Athletes go too far, too soon
  • Must condition body to stress, impact
[13:00] How Fai would train a client for ultra-running

  • Focus on strength training
  • Work way up to distance/duration
  • Start with road running to build aerobic fitness
  • Run with client to familiarize with trail-running conditions, pacing
  • Analyze client’s strength/fitness, adapt training based on needs
[15:49] The importance of nutrition in recovery

  • Must eat well to refuel
[17:02] Fai’s daily nutrition routine

  • Breakfast: two boiled eggs, coconut oil, oatmeal, two cups of water
  • Morning snack: coffee, banana, fluids
  • Lunch: rice and vegetables
  • Afternoon snack: coffee, fluids
  • Dinner: easily digested food (i.e.: salad, quinoa)
[28:27] Fai’s experience with the keto diet

  • Lost two kilos
  • Read that keto doesn’t provide carbs endurance athletes need to fuel system
[20:20] How Fai incorporates meditation practice into his recovery

  • Lives far from work, training venue
  • Spends commute time on bus in meditation
  • Allows Fai to retain energy on way to work
  • Calms his mind on way home (prepared to sleep)
  • Meditates for 30 minutes in morning as well
[22:10] Fai’s daily training schedule

  • One hour in early morning (easy run/swim)
  • Short workout during lunch
  • Two hours after work (run, strength training)
[23:22] Why Fai recommends weight lifting, TRX

  • Builds muscle
  • Helps with mechanics (e.g.: how to use glutes)
  • Strengthens hips
  • Improves power transfer from legs to upper body
[24:03] What inspired Fai to transition to triathlons

  • Admires mentor Jason Lester
  • Jason launched EPIC5 Challenge (five Ironmans in five days)
[24:38] Fai’s burpee challenge

  • Joking with friend about 12-hour burpee challenge
  • Wants to set Guinness World Record
[25:44] Fai’s upcoming ultra-runs

  • Hong Kong Four Trails Ultra Challenge (February 2018)
  • 298km, 10,000m climb
  • 60-hour cutoff time
[26:24 ] Fai’s advice for aspiring ultra-runners

  • Patience is most important
  • Train hard, but give body time to adapt
  • Eat more, eat healthy (avoid fast food)
  • Give body time to recover (more sleep)
  • Enjoy the moment

Learn More About Wong Ho Fai

TrainingPeaks Profile

Wong Ho Fai on Facebook

Wong Ho Fai on Instagram

Resources

Thrive: The Plant-Based Whole Foods Way to Staying Healthy for Life by Brendan Brazier

Kona EP1CMAN

EPIC5

Hong Kong Four Trails Ultra Challenge

 

 

 

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