Before the COVID-19 pandemic put a hold on practically all sporting events in the country, Coach Enzo Hipol was one of the fastest middle distance runners in the country. With no guarantee yet of any races in the short term, Enzo has pivoted towards offering bike-fitting services to both new and experienced cyclists as well as detailed run analyses for all levels of athletes. Offering a cerebral approach to the biomechanics of running and cycling, and paired with a solid work ethic, Coach Enzo shares how he is dedicated to the run.
Q&A with Coach Enzo Hipol
How did you discover running?
I would say that running has been and still is my primary sport for two decades now. My exposure was through the track and field varsity program from as early as primary school when I was a middle-distance runner. Immediately in my college freshman year I got into road running and multisport events like triathlons and duathlons.
What other sports were you into before running?
I’d always been into all kinds of sports when I was a kid. There was a phase when I was into basketball and football, plus other team sports as well. I got into Ultimate Frisbee as well during my university days.
What’s your favorite distance?
I enjoyed the 5km road distance the most for the longest time. As a middle-distance runner, the 5k isn't a fast, hard, and all-out effort. It is a good blend of challenging your aerobic engine, as well as some of your anaerobic engine.
I felt that my age was creeping up on me in the past few years, though. While my best performances were in 5Ks and 10Ks, I'm getting satisfaction training for the longer distance events such as the marathon. There’s no need to repeatedly sprint as hard as I can during training like I did way back. Most of the daily runs I do now are easy and aerobic.
How would you describe yourself as a runner when you first started out, and how you are now?
Since I came from a track and field background, I would say that young Me was bullish and stubborn. I was in an all-boys school, so you could imagine how high the competitive spirits even among teammates.
For example, we would run the warm-up faster than we should have, at the expense of the quality of the main set of the workout. GPS watches weren't around yet, and I didn't even have a simple wristwatch that had a chronograph function since it was something I couldn't afford at that time as a student. I only had a tangible reference on how fast or slow I was going per lap on the track, and in total from whatever my coaches would dictate based on those handheld stopwatches.
Time and experience have made me a wiser runner. I am fortunate enough to have access to the latest technological training tools that I use on my daily runs. Today, I can properly manage the running load my body can handle, and now there’s literature from industry leaders that enables me to map out my long-term strategies and goals.
I also had only one pair of training shoes back then. Due to the run volume I’ve been doing for the past few years, I usually rotate four to six pairs of shoes per week since I would sometimes run twice a day.
I used to get injured frequently in my young years over a decade ago, so having a wide variety in my shoe rotation avoids the risk of having an overuse injury.
While I feel that I don't recover quickly as I did when I was in my teens, thankfully I'm now much healthier even though I'm older.
Running smart and choosing which events I should pursue and which I shouldn't has kept me injury-free for several years now.