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Here's How Anne Curtis and Pia Wurtzbach Get Trained Before a Marathon

We spoke to Coach Gabb Rosario, an expert who specializes in training clients before difficult races such as the NY Marathon!

What do Anne Curtis and Pia Wurtzbach have in common? Apart from queen-status beauty and millions of Instagram followers, both of them have accomplished one admirable feat: finishing the New York Marathon! Not to be stopped by any doubts or naysayers, these strong, accomplished women have dedicated serious sweat, blood, and tears for training. Not to be mistaken as something you just decide to do out of the blue, marathon running takes serious diligence, determination, and passion. One such expert who knows this and specializes in the field is Coach Gabb Rosario, who helps clients get strength & conditioning for endurance in such races. 

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Pia Wurtzbach and Anne Curtis | @piawurtzbach

We recently talked to Coach Gabb to tap his brain about how these amazing women got ready for their respective races, and how difficult it really is to do so. Read on, and get inspired!


Metro.Style: Who are your regular clients apart from Anne Curtis and Pia Wurtzbach? Do you have regular coaching clients too?

Gabb Rosario: I only train a few one-on-one clients to give way to train myself, to name a few I train congressman and Frontrow Philippines owner Sam Verzosa, eventologist and celebrity Tim Yap, Century Properties CEO Marco Antonio, and Victoria Court owner and businessman Atticus King because triathlon and obstacle course training can be a bit demanding on your time. As of now I have six to eight one-on-one clients and all my other clients, I've transferred them to my online program making group which does not need my presence anymore for their  training. I just send a tailored program for them with videos and instructions, they can contact me 24/7 everyday for help but I never see them face to face that much.

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Coach Gabb Rosario | @gabbrosario

MS: How do you do your personal coaching services? Do you hold office? Do you personally visit your clients?

GR: I have a personal gym in front of my house in Cubao, Quezon City, it is called Strive Fitness and Performance, which usually caters to elite and pro level athletes, basketball players, volleyball players and almost all kinds of sports. I have coaches working in the gym to cater to these clients, as for my personal training clients who are usually VIP,  sometimes they go to me in my gym or sometimes I come to their house to train them. 


MS: What is the process for someone who wants to be coached for running or joining a marathon? 

GR: They just have to message me personally on my Instagram account which is @gabbrosario, so we can do an assessment to see if he/she is physically fit to run one, and to find the right training approach for the client. I think almost everyone can be fit to run a marathon with the proper training and proper mindset, even paralytics run a marathon as long as you have the will and dedication. It is possible!

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Pia Wurtzbach at the New York Marathon | @piawurtzbach

MS: For Anne and Pia, what are the memorable experiences you've had from coaching them?

GR: For Pia, we needed to build her from scratch since she was never a runner nor an athletic person. She only goes to the gym for aesthetics purposes only since she is a beauty queen, and a queen needs to look good. I needed to build a solid base to get her ready for the New York marathon, I programmed the progressions slowly but surely to make sure she will be injury-free throughout the process. It consisted a lot of easy conditioning work may it be running or cycling to build a good aerobic base then I slowly progressed to harder runs as we came closer to race day to build her speed.


When it comes to Anne, I just needed to wake up the athlete inside her because she’s already done a few marathons before Tokyo, and I needed to teach her a more scientific approach when it comes to training since she came from an old school type of training which is also good since you will have the best of both worlds. The preparation for her was short and sweet, gave us only two months to prepare. Normally I don't work this way because I don't really like rushing the preparations but since our goal was only to finish I accepted it. As we went further with training, Anne adapted really fast on my ways of coaching, got really strong quickly, after a month in training I also saw a possibility to break her personal best in which we did recently. 

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Anne Curtis at the Tokyo Marathon | @annecurtissmith
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Anne Curtis' marathon medals from New York, London, and Tokyo | @annecurtissmith

MS: What should a beginner keep in mind? Are there special tools/equipment needed?

GR: A beginner should always keep in mind that we cannot rush the process. Training for a marathon is very complex, it is not that easy, you cannot just go out and run random distances whenever you want and suddenly you will be fit for a marathon. It's a recipe for disaster. Find a good coach to help you program your training well, trust the process and of course enjoy it as well. Special things that I require before I sign up my clients? First, a good pair of shoes, a GPS or a smart watch, a chest strap heart rate monitor since the bull of my training consists of heart rate based training, better if you also own a bike may it be a real bike or stationary since it is a way to train endurance without the impact caused by running.


MS: Any other insights/advice you would like to share with someone who is an absolute beginner in this field?

GR: Learning never stops, find a good mentor to help you be a better coach, best thing is to try it out yourself first before teaching it to your clients. Well, that's what I did with my self first, I started out as a student, became the subject or the athlete, and now I teach what I know. It's better to now how it feels, how painful it feels and also to know if it works or not before letting other experience it. 


Contact Coach Gabb Rosario at @gabbrosario on Instagram


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