Top coach Jomac Macalintal launches training program for aspiring triathletes 
Tri Mac Sports member and Philippine Daily Inquirer news editor Jun Engracia (left) talks about Coach Jojo 'Jomac' Macalintal's (middle) training methods as fellow coach Ian Alacar looks on. Photo courtesy of Rene Villarta

TRAINING for a triathlon has gotten a lot different since the barnstorming days of the sport in the 1990s. 

This is the assessment of Jojo Macalintal, one of the country’s top triathlon coaches who recently launched a curriculum for beginner, intermediate and advance triathletes in a bid to boost the country’s bid to send Filipino triathletes to future Olympic Games.

During a media event at the Earth Kitchen at Bonifacio Global City, Macalintal, owner and founder of Trimac Coaching, said there will be a three-month program for each category where participants are prepared according to their fitness levels.

“Dati kasi in the 1990s if magte-train ka sa triathlon, magba-bike ka lang at tatakbo ka. Pagsasama-samahin mo lang siya,” Macalintal told SPIN.ph, adding triathletes, in the past, merely try to match the target distance of the race in training.

Macalintal said they found themselves perplexed with the results of their ad hoc methods, “Nagtataka kami bakit nung ginawa namin ito nung competition ang haba ng time (when compared to the faster training times they did during training).”

Submitting a proposal to the Triathlon Association of the Philippines, Macalintal underwent a two-week training course at the Singapore Sports School. Coupled with his extensive experience, he has since trained youths who are now members of the national team.

“Ang approach ngayon sa 2000 (and up) ay technique na. Ngayon ko nakita na inaaral pala lahat ng movements,” he pointed out.

'Coach Jomac' now hopes to impart all that he has learned in a program that begins on April 4 at the AS parking lot at the University of the Philippines Diliman campus in Quezon City.

'Coach Jomac has 18 years of experience in triathlon coaching and competition as competitor, coach and organizer.

‘‘As local triathlon grows, Trimac would like to extend its knowledge to help provide solid basic skills and hone talents,’’ Macalintal said.

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Macalintal has coached scores of triathletes in all levels and ages - from beginners to elite and national athletes, from youngsters to seniors.

Macalintal will be assisted by a pool of coaches during the program, which can accommodate affiliated and non-affiliated triathletes who wish to improve their performance in one of the fastest growing sports in the Philippines.

“Anyone can be a triathlete. Kids, students, housewives and mothers, and office workers and even whole families who aim just to be physically fit can swim, bike and run any distance, from sprints and mini-sprints to Olympic and Ironman distances under a good triathlon coach with a good program,''Macalintal said.

If they wish to, trainees may qualify as members of Team Trimac, one of the oldest and most active triathlon teams in the country.

He noted tha people who take up triathlon covers a wide range of individuals.

“Mas madami ngayon nasa middle age. Businessmen who are health conscious,” said Coach Jomac, who said many take up the sport mostly for personal enjoyment and competition just follows. “Nakita nila yung pagpayat nilang lahat at pagiging healthy. Yung mission naman: paano ka mabuhay ng mas matagal.”

He noted that one of the most common mistakes with rookie triathletes is in running. 

“Nakikita namin tumatakbo ng mahaba yung mga beginners. Inuuna muna nila yung endurance. Ngayon inaral na speed before endurance. Kung gagawin mo yung speed na work out and strengthening, yung range of motion nag-iincrease and yung power nagde-develop,” he explained.

“If puro endurance ang gagawin mo, puede kang ma-injured due to the repetitive motion - yun at yun lang galaw ng muscles mo e paano kung bigla kang bumilis? Hindi na maaabot ng ganoong range yung muscles. Mas better yung maigsi pero high intensity and mataas na heart rate.”

Training will also address how to avoid injuries.

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“Masyado siyang technical. Makikita namin yung foot landing and strike and the symmetry of your movement."

Follow the writer on Twitter: @rhoelfernandez