Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Post christmas update

Christmas is officially over and all the commercial hype is dying away, so time to switch back into training mode.
On Christmas day, we drove about 40 mins from where we live for a race. It was the Goal Mile to be held in Athboy. As we drove up, the temps dropped to -13C, now that's cold! (below is a pic of the car temp gauge)

When we got to the start it had "warmed up" to -9C. The race was pretty informal, with no finisher's medals, no t-shirts, no ceremony at all. Only about 30 people took part and half of them walked it. Those of us who were running it were frantically trying to keep warm. Then the main road was closed to traffic and we lined up at the only traffic lights in the town. We were all standing around shivering and chatting when we heard someone blow a whistle and realized it was time to start! No warning given at all. My brother-in-law and his cousin went out front and took the lead. I was boxed in behind some joggers, so I went around them and took off.
By the time I had gone about 300m I had trouble getting warm air, so I pulled my neck gator up over my mouth and it really helped. I was so cold I couldn't go as fast as I wanted to but just kept going. We got to the half way point and turned for the out and back, straight road all the way. A couple of times on the way back I felt like walking, I just didn't feel like I could get enough oxygen into my lungs for the effort I was trying to put in, but I kept going. Then I saw the finish line and pushed a bit more and finished! My time was 6:06. My BIL is a sprinter, and a good one, he got first place. His cousin was the European U16 1,500m champion, and she came in second. I got third and was very happy with that. We were offered certificates at the end, but I declined. We got free small bottles of orange juice so I took one and we ran back to my BIL's house, about 2.5k, chatting on the way. When we got to the house I saw that my orange juice was turned to slush in the bottle, even though I had been holding it in my hand - still cold out!

My next training was on Monday in the gym, where I did a rowing warmup, a weight session and dreadmill run. I only got to a coupe of KMs when my left shin started giving me some trouble, so I stopped at 3k. The next day I went back and did the same routine, but did 10k on the dreadmill, and felt a whole lot better. I took the run easy and did it in 54mins.
I've been really feeling good and recovering well now that I'm using protein powder immediately after a workout/run. I went to buy some more and got 50% off the second tub, so I now have lots in stock :-)

Keep running,

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Irish Runner EP 3.2

In this episode, I talk about my training, my plans for 2011, winter running and some products I have been using.
Links referred to:

Powered by
Probably won't get a chance to record anymore or blog before the holidays (It's Christmas Eve now!), so hope you all have a great Christmas and I'll hopefully blog again before the new year.
Keep Running,

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Working on goals etc

Well the snow I was hoping would hold off...hasn't. It came back a couple of days ago. Last night in North West Ireland the all time record low of -17C (about 1F) was recorded, that's COLD!
Yesterday it had snowed overnight, but not much, and then it snowed again around lunchtime, again not much. I was pretty sure that the track session was going to be canceled for Tuesday, so I decided to get a run in and #zapthezero (it's a DailyMile/Twitter thing...).
I put on the usual runners, shorts (!), technical t-shirt and long sleeve technical shirt, Nike dri-fit jacket, neck gaitor, thinsulate hat and thinsulate gloves, along with the Garmin and RoadID, and set off. It was cold, but my legs warmed up after a couple of k. It took until about 5k in for my hands to finally feel warm (even with the gloves). I met my wife, who was driving home, at around the 8k mark and stopped to chat, where she told me that it was currently -6C. Then it started snowing, so I just finished the last loop of the village and ran home. By this stage I was finding it tricky to see where I was going with the snow going in my eyes. At least I got in a 10.8k run!
So I have officially registered for the Connemarathon now and am looking at two other marathons in 2011 already. One will be for charity, but I'll keep quiet about that one until plans are confirmed. The other one that I may do is the Kildare Marathon, but I'll see how the timing is closer to the event.
It's still snowing here today, and the track session did get canceled for tonight, so I may try the gym in the morning. All this, work, family and no Christmas shopping done yet!!

Keep running,

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Abandoned races and new goals

Over the last two weeks or more we have had severe cold weather here on the East coast of Ireland. The Jingle Bells 5k was postponed until next Saturday, so we are hoping to go on that. Also, the Waterford half was due to go ahead on the 11th, but that was pulled two days before due to ice on the roads where we were due to run. That has been rescheduled to Jan 15th. Hopefully the weather is ok for it. I have also joined the local Athletics (running) Club, who train every Tuesday evening on a grass track only just over 1k from my house. The last two weeks we haven't be able to train as there has been too much snow on the tracks and tonight's training is canceled due to the AGM. It's meant to be getting colder again from Thursday, but hopefully the snow will leave us alone!
I've been resorting to doing all of my runs on a treadmill for the last 2 weeks now, and I'm really bored on it. We don't have one at home, so I have to go to the local gym pre-dawn. I try to get there 3-4 times a week. Last week I was tapering due to the HM coming up, but it got put off, so I did 16k on the dreadmill instead. I would have liked to do 21.1k to replace the race, but the mental boredom was too much for me!
For next year (2011) I have some ongoing goals, like beating my PBs in various distances. But I also have some goals like completing my first marathon and my first 50k. I am hoping to do the Conemarathon, as I have spent a lot of time in that area and love it and know the roads pretty well. Also I have booked onto the Portumna 50k for June which will be fun interesting!
Working on a podcast, due out this week so stay tuned...

Keep running,

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Turning point in my training

Let me expand...
Last Saturday we were supposed to be taking part in the Jingle Bells 5k, but it was postponed until Dec 18th due to snow & ice. This weekend, I am booked to be running in the Waterford AC Half Marathon. I registered about 4 months ago - yes, I am eager! As most of the run will be on roads and in the hard shoulder, they are still covered mostly in slush and ice. We are meant to be getting a thaw on Thursday for a few days. If that happens then the race will go ahead. The decision will be made on Thursday evening by the organizers. I have booked Friday off work and booked a hotel for the weekend for my family, so we are hoping to get a weekend away too.
If the race gets pulled, then I will officially start ramping up my training from that moment. I will start increasing my distances and working on my leg strength, core strength and endurance. I have definite goals for 2011 and have booked one race already (maybe I'm a bit too eager...), but I'll wait until closer to the event to blog about it.
Another thing I have been pondering, is how to introduce my best friend into regular exercise. Currently he doesn't do any exercise, but he looks after his 3 sons, and works, so he doesn't have much time. As my own training will be getting more intense I have asked if he will cycle alongside me as I run and he has agreed! I'm delighted with this, as it means that he will be able to exercise with me and I can still do my own pace and distance.
I hope the race on Saturday does go ahead, but if it doesn't, then I have a lot to look forward to...

Keep running,

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Month end and snow...again

Ok, my last monthy total update was showing poor distance, just 53k for October (!) and I had resolved to double it to get back on track. Well, I did it, plus a bit. I also beat my September total of 106k and November all in had 126k! Not as much as I'd hoped when I was planning things out a few months ago, but on track anyway. I am also trying to work out the best time of year to go for my first marathon - possibly the Barcelona Marathon in March. But that means I'll need to be getting in a lot of mileage in the coldest conditions. Our track meet was canceled due to snow too...
Another of my distance goals was achieved during November. I wanted to have logged 1,000k on DailyMile by my birthday (mid-December). I managed that on my snow run last Sunday, three weeks in advance!
I'm not going to step up my distance goal for year end due to inclement weather here (-7C to -15C overnight). But instead I'll be trying to keep the current distance/month up.
With the ongoing snowfest that has become the East coast of Ireland, it looks like the Jingle Bells 5k will be called off. Also, unless things change soon, the Waterford Half may go the same way. Not to worry, I'll still be getting my distance in :-)

Keep running,


Monday, November 29, 2010

Distance goal achieved and cold weather

I've been trying to get my distance up this last week or two, but it's been pretty difficult due to family stuff, work and redecorating the house. Last Tuesday I made it over to the AC track, but it was really cold, probably close to zero C. About 10 of us showed up though, so it was a good training session. The Yasso 800s went well, as I posted before.
The next time I had a chance to run was Thursday, but that quickly got eaten up with other stuff going on, so I decided to get up early (05:45) on Friday for a gym session. I did my usual:
5-10mins on a gym bike (to warm the legs up),
30 situps,
30 pressups,
3 x 12 Leg curl 50kg
3 x 12 Leg extn 70kg
3 x 12 Leg press 150kg
3 x 12 Calf raises 110kg (in the leg press)
Then 8km on the dreadmill. I do 1k easy, then 1k fast, this session I brought up the pace on the easy session and managed to get the fast session up to 4:40min/k. I got home in time to have breakfast with the family before going to the office.
That night, we got a downfall of snow, about 3-4 inches in our area. At first I didn't think it would stick, but the temp hasn't been much above 2-3C since then, with night time temps around -3 to -6C.
I had an appointment for a routine eye test on Saturday so I got all layered up and walked up to the village in the snow and back. Total about 2.5k, but it took a bit longer than normal of course!
Then yesterday (Sunday), I was just itching to get a run in, so I gave my son's room one coat of paint and while it was drying I set out in the snow in my shorts (pic below)...
Sorry the pic is so dark, but if we had used the flash then it would have just reflected off my high viz vest. I did the loop of the local village, which is about 3k and I did 3 loops for a total of 10.6k - including the run to/from the house. It took just about 62mins. I was slipping on the snow & ice a lot, which was awkward, but I also had to contend with slush - not nice. So my runners & feet were getting wet as I ran. I found that at about 6k my hands were sweating as I was wearing my heavy thinsulate gloves. When I took them off my hands were ok, but my chest/torso got pretty cold within about 5 mins, so I put the gloves back on and my chest warmed up again. Something to remember anyway! I was hoping to get a bit further, as I have my half marathon in just 2 weeks, but lifting and pushing my legs in these conditions was very tiring and I think my lower legs were constantly tense as I was wary of slipping and falling.
Anyway, on this run I managed, at some point,to bring my logged distance on DailyMile over 1,000km since February, Woohoo! I had a goal of reaching it by my next birthday - mid December - but I'm ahead by nearly 3 weeks, so I'm really happy with that.

This morning I had a free followup session with a PT in the gym. I did my workout first (it was -5.5C when I left the house) but I took it easy on the dreadmill and just did 3k as my legs were still tired from yesterday. we talked about nutrition. He said that nutrition makes up 60% of your training program, so without proper fuel you can't do the best that you should be able to.
So last week I had to complete a diet diary for 2 days mid week and 1 day on the weekend. I won't go into specifics, but he said I am eating just enough to keep my body ticking over, so when I train or run I will get tired quicker than I should. So, in short, I need to eat "at least 2 more meals a day" and "take a supplement shake after every workout". I will start making these changes from today. It won't be easy as I tend to eat when I need to and if I miss a meal due to being busy then I'm not bothered. All this is about to change...

Keep running,

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mo Run and upcoming races

About two weeks ago, as I was chatting to a friend and catching up on the previous 18 months, we got chatting to someone else who mentioned that there was a local Athletics Club within walking distance of my house, pretty cool! So I got an email for them and a few mails went back and forth. They meet every Tuesday evening, and last week was my first time to meet up with them.
Apart from one of the coaches, Tom, I was one of only two guys, with about 10 girls there. It was cold, raining and pretty windy, with a storm coming in. I ran to the track from my house and did 3 laps warmup (about 1.2km). We did lunges, burpees, mini hurdles, sprints and some short (200-400m) runs to keep ourselves warm. At the end we did some more laps, with me doing 4 x 400m and then a run home.
I was hoping to get in a workout/run on Thursday morning, but I got food poisoning on Wednesday night. I'm pretty sure you don't want the details! I had a 10k race on Saturday, so running on Friday was a no go.
On Saturday morning, it was cold, overcast and there was some light rain. We were going to go as a family, but my wife and young daughter would have been too cold waiting around, so I brought my 4 year old son instead.
The run was part of Movember, hence my "Mo"!
My son ran the first 300m with me, during which time we got passed by everyone in the race. He then said he was tired, so I put him in the buggy and made sure he was secure and sped off along the path. We overtook quite a few people all of whom were very encouraging. Every time we came to a group blocking the path, my son would shout out "out of the way!", I didn't tell him to say that, honestly! The flat sections were great and I was able to keep a 4:50min/k pace on them, the downhills I took it easy, as I didn't want to lose control of the buggy. The uphills were a killer though! About 100m from the finish line, I got my son out and we crossed the line running together, a great moment! We both got our finisher's medals and went back to the car as he was feeling the cold. It was a great day with lots of runners in fancy dress.

Sunday was a rest day and Monday I took the day off work to decorate my daughter's room (princess pink!) so didn't get much time. Tuesday it was back to the AC track and I ran over, did 2 laps warmup first. Then we did lunges, strides, heels to butt walk, knees to chest walk and 4 x sprints for 50m. Then we were split into groups. Those doing the upcoming 5k, but had never done the distance were in one group doing slow laps. The rest of us were doing Yassos. Mine were 5 x 800s, but the pace was all made out in miles, which I have never worked in. We did a rough estimate that I would be doing them in 3:50 mins per 800m.
I set off on the first one at a great pace and did it in 3:30min - way too fast! The rest I did as follows:
4:06, 4:03, 3:59, 4:01. I didn't force the pace, but didn't take it easy either. I'll be building up to be able to do 10 x 800m at the set pace.
So my upcoming races are a Jingle Bells 5k which I'm bringing the family along to run in. Then the Waterford half marathon. The two are just one week apart, so that's why I won't be pushing myself for the 5k. I haven't done a lot of distance runs in the last month...or two, so I'll try some in the next couple of weeks and see how I feel.
Keep on running!


Monday, November 15, 2010

November half way mark

Here we are in mid-November, with the cool Autumn weather setting in here in Eastern Ireland. Every day now it's pretty much single digit temps (Celsius of course!) and it's down to 2-6 degrees a lot of the runs I'm on. I don't see it as a bad thing, that would be depressing, rather I see it as a challenge, something I have to take on and beat.
In Sydney last month, I was mostly running in a t-shirt or singlet. Here now in Ireland I have one singlet or t-shirt and a long sleeve top too. I'm only using technical tops, not cotton, that would leave me too cold once I started sweating. I'm also wearing a baseball cap on all runs and sometimes taking thinsulate gloves. One thing I'm taking on all outdoor runs these days is my high viz vest. We're living in a small village with busy roads and the paths don't go outside the village, nor do the street lights!
So since my last post, you know, the one where I got a 10k PB of 51:09 :-) , I have been doing my new regime in the local gym. This means that three times a week I do a 5-10min warm up on a gym bike, then:
30 situps,
30 pressups,
3 x 12 Leg curl 50kg
3 x 12 Leg extn 60kg
3 x 12 Leg press 150kg
3 x 12 Calf raises 90kg
Then I was told to do 8 miles of intervals: 1st mile easy, 2nd mile hard etc. As the gym bikes are in miles, I presumed that the dreadmills are too (presumption is the mother off all f***ups!). So when I popped my stats into DailyMile it looked like I was an ultra fast sprinter - but no. Much to my disappointment I have come crashing down to reality - the dreadmills are in KMs. So instead of me having something like a 3:30 min/k pace (!), I actually had a 5:30 overall pace. Doh!
But I have been enjoying the intervals and putting the pace up gradually on the faster sections. I also feel that my legs are getting a bit stronger, although if I run the following day I can't sustain a decent pace. That's to be expected though.
On the first set of dreadmill intervals I was 0.15km from finishing and my shoelace came undone which forced me to stop. I have just ordered two pairs of Yankz elastic laces, so I'll write a review once I have a bit of distance on them.
I also did a run just over 10k on Sunday, but it was the day after a gym session so as mentioned my legs were a bit heavy. I went out with a good 4:50min/k pace to warm up and settled down to a 5:10 - 5:20 pace after about 2-3k. For the second half I didn't have it in me to push the pace, so by the 8k mark I knew I would have to do a sub 5min/k pace to beat my PB, but there wasn't a chance. I ended up doing the run in about 53mins. Still very happy with it though. My Mo-Running 10k is next Saturday and I'm hoping to get an official PB in it, possibly sub 50min. McMillan says I can do it in 48mins based on my 5k PB, but we'll see what happens. I just hope the roads aren't too frosty! I'm planning on getting a gym session in tomorrow (Tuesday) and Thursday mornings and then taking Friday off.
On another note, I've found and made contact with a local Athletics Club and their training is on every Tuesday evening. I'm hoping to get along tomorrow evening but I will have done a gym session in the morning so won't be going that hard. It's running distance from the house too - about 2k - so I'll be able to get a warm up on the way there and a cool down on the way home.
I also mentioned at the start of the month that I wanted to push up my distance as October was a disappointing 53k total (see older post for details). In the first two weeks of November I've already done 72k. I'm also only 50k away from logging 1,000k on DailyMile! My aim was to reach it by my birthday in mid-December, it looks like that won't be a problem!

Keep running,


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Gearing up for winter

I've been doing a few runs since I got back to Ireland and now that DST has kicked in the evenings are darker and darker. I sometimes have to run on dark roads with no paths and no street lights. On the way back from the run I've been a bit close to some cars - even though I'm almost in the ditch. So at the weekend, I went out and got a high viz vest and tried it out for the first time yesterday (pic below).

That's me doing my "hurry up and take it before I collapse" look!

It worked a treat, cars gave me a nice wide berth and as an unrelated bonus I got a new PB for 10k - 51:09!
Only trouble with the new PB is that I now feel compelled to beat it in my 10k race on November 20th :-)
Before I got the PB yesterday I was going to aim for a 55min 10k in the race, but now it looks like I should go for 50mins. When I put my 5k PB into McMillan, it says I should be able to do a 48min 10k. Seems a bit fast, but I'm now doing running specific training in the gym as well as my running.

Here's hoping for a good race either way...


Monday, November 8, 2010

New month, new location and new addition!

Hi again,
As I said in my last post, last month's totals were pretty low, only 53k for October! So I'm aiming to double that for this month and to log 1,000k in DailyMile by my birthday in mid-December.
As my regular readers know, I'm now based in Ireland. It's brought good times as I was separated from my family for a while due to work, and busy times too. My son (4) in particular hasn't left my side and wants to go everywhere with me, which is great as I've really missed him and my daughter, who is younger than him at 2 1/2.
The move has also brought some challenges for my running. In Sydney of late, I had been trying to get used to the heat and humidity. Even when it was raining it was pretty warm most of the time. Here in Ireland my runs are usually in single digit temps, with yesterday's run starting off at 4C and ending at 6C. I'm still working on the best layers and how to keep warm without sweating too much.
Also, I have a new addition to the blog, my very own podcast! I had been thinking about it for months and had thought that technology might hamper me, but I already had a headset with microphone. After a few trials I found some really good software to record with (Audacity) and I played around with it for a while before trying out Episode 1. Episode 2, or actually 2.4 is below.
I'm not too bothered if very few people listen to it as I see it as another way of recording my issues and achievements in running. Please feel free to send on constructive comments either on the blog, or at theirunner (at) gmail (dot) com. When I was about to relocate to Ireland I went looking for Irish Running podcasts in iTunes but didn't find any. So the title is based on the search criteria I used in iTunes! I may rename it, but am happy to stick with it for now.
P.S. I realize there are two major bloopers in this episode, these things happen and I will try not to let it happen again :-)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Monthly totals update

My monthly totals were going great up to the end of September, with August at 165k and September just over 100k. October saw a dropping off to just 53k. Two big reasons were 1) my much-written-about shin injury/issue and 2) relocating from Australia to Ireland.
I'm planning on getting my totals back up at least over 80k per month for the rest of the year and the winter. I'll have to see how my winter motivation holds out. I do have regular access to a treadmill/dreadmill, but I'd rather not use it if I can avoid it. My long runs and races will all be road based for the foreseeable future, so it's the best place to train for me right now.
Hoping to get out tomorrow (Friday) and Sunday. LSR will be interesting, as my hydration pack is still en route from Oz!
One benefit of moving to a country where you already have a bunch of friends is having no trouble finding people willing to go running with. Hopefully all the best intentions will actually come to fruition and we'll get a lot of runs in with some good mates.
My best friend, who went to school with me and has kept in touch ever since, has been asking me to help him get fit. I have trained with him before, but he's never been running before. He lives about 40k north from me, which isn't a big distance, but we both have jobs and families with kids, so it will be a challenge!

So I'll keep it short and sweet and update again after a couple more planned runs.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Changes and adapting

Yes, I know I said I'd blog again before I left Oz, but time was not on my side, so I had to wait until now. I am back in Ireland and have been for six days I think. Since the move I have just about adjusted my body clock, but still have no clue as to what day it is! I'm starting back to work on Thursday which is in a couple of days, I think (!), so I'll be a bit more settled then.
It was belting rain on Friday and Sunday but was very clear and sunny on Saturday, and I had scheduled a run so it fitted in nicely. I ran down a narrow, but busy, road that has no paths or streetlights, and cars/trucks can do a fair pace there, so I'm going to try and buy a high viz jacket to wear for runs there. I did 9.8k and was taking it easy as I had developed a head cold. Going from 26 degrees to 8 will do that for you! I did a couple of short walk breaks too, but still my overall pace was just under 5:30k/min, so I was pretty happy with it.
Yesterday it was raining again and I did a different route. I ran from the house up to the local village and round by the back of the shops and back to a local roundabout and repeated. The loop was just over 3k so the total was about 7.6k all in. I didn't do any walking breaks as my head cold was a lot better, but had to stop twice for traffic. Mind you, I had a bit of a hangover as we had some friends over for halloween. Good to clear the system out though. The temps were in single digits and it was raining but I still managed an average pace of 5:15 k/min, which I was delighted with!
My next race is coming up in a couple of weeks and is a 10k. I've never done a proper 10k race...well I did one, but I was planning on the 5k and missed the turn point. I wasn't up to running 10k continuous then, so my time was a bit over 60mins. So on the upcoming race I'll pretty much be getting a PB.
The race is part of Movember, so it should also be good for a laugh!


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Getting itchy feet...

I guess the title has a double meaning to me at the moment. First is that I haven't had much time available to get out running. Work has been busy but also I'm moving from Australia to Ireland in a few days, yes days! It took a while to get it sorted, but I'm keeping my same job with the same company, which is fantastic! For weeks it seemed as though nothing was happening and then all of a sudden in a matter of 2-3 days it was approved and I had to book flights. I had promised my 4 year old son that I'd be home with him for Halloween, and I'll make it with a couple of days to spare. I don't often make promises, but I don't break any.
I did manage a 10k run on Tuesday after work. I set out and didn't have a particular route in mind, which was great. I headed off away from the freeway and soon found myself on roads that I hadn't been on before. I have a pretty good sense of direction, so I was comfortable that I knew I was doing one big loop. At one stage I didn't know the best direction to go, so I got my Garmin to point the way home, pretty cool! I was running along a quiet suburban road and saw a park, so I decided to run through it. After a minute or so I was thinking that it was really well kept and then realised it was a golf course! Oops! I turned around and ran on the road again...
I really enjoyed the run and it reminded me of all the hill walking I used to do in the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland years ago where I would just start walking and let myself get lost in the landscape. I'd be out for 8-9 hours a day and just relish the mountains and trees and rivers. I miss that...
Anyway, reason two for the title (remember?) is that I'll be traveling for 26 hours on Wednesday, flying from Sydney to Dublin. I have always loved traveling, even for work and have never seen it as a chore. I enjoy meeting other travelers and sometimes just watching the world go by.
Hoping to get two more runs in before I go. Might get one today and one either Tuesday or Wednesday. The second one will - if plans work out - be partly along either Maroubra beach or Coogee beach. Love those areas for running...
I'll blog again before I depart. 


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Giveaway result!

And the winner, as picked by the random number generator at two, Kris!

Well done Kris! Let me know your address and I'll get it sent in the post today.

Thanks to all for taking part.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Barefoot/POSE running workshop details

As most of you will know, I have had a couple of leg injuries this year. One of them for sure was due to overtraining. But the most recent was pretty much down to my running form/gait. So when I heard of a free barefoot/POSE running workshop in Sydney I signed up (actually I was one of the first ten to register, probably spending too much time online!). It was held in Centennial Park, and was a nice sunny day at about 26 degrees.
Being a bit unsure of what was to commence I showed up in my week-old Asics. I quickly realised that everyone else (76 runners apparently) either was in VFFs or was barefoot...doh! I took the runners & socks off and hid them for the next couple of hours :-)
We started at 10:00 on the dot (bit of a novelty that) and Max (one of six Instructors) introduced himself and the rest of the staff. One of the Instructors had apparently broken the Australian 3,000m record the day before! We quickly got started into a chat about why we should consider barefoot running and Max had a great way of holding the crowd's attention. You could tell that everyone really wanted to be there. The whole event was captured on camera, which I presume will be up on their website soon (BarefootInc). We got stuck into drills and exercises pretty quick.
One of the first things was to jump up and down on the spot. Landing on the midfoot, but letting your heels touch the ground shortly after. This helps the "springiness" of the legs to be come apparent. After that it was jogging on the spot, landing the same as the jumps. We then ran about 30m slowly to try and get the foot fall the same as when we were jumping - not easy! After that we did forwards then backwards running. We got buddied up with another runner of about the same height - not easy for someone as tall as me - and did some drills like jumping from one foot to the other while leaning forward and with your buddy's hands on your shoulders. Then leaning forward while your buddy holds your hips and lets go so you start to run. Interesting stuff!
Towards the end, we did a run around the oval in pairs. So one runner in front with second runner behind with one hand on the other buddy's shoulder. This teaches you to be aware of not bringing your foot too far back.
Our final drill was all about acceleration. We noticed that once you lean a little, you speed up. Obviously you can't keep leaning or you will face plant! So the way to accelerate from there is to increase your cadence, doing short strides in high repetition.
We then got free bananas, apples, oranges, almonds and the first 50 registered (including yours truly) got an excellent goodie bag, woohoo!
I did a relaxed 5k run in the park after the workshop and it felt really good and gave me a lot of time to think about what we had been doing. Sorry I have no photos of the event, but I was a bit too busy doing/trying to take any!
I'm sooo tempted to go and buy some VFFs now...

P.S. I just got an email from the organizers to say that will be trying to run this monthly! Check out their website for info (link above).

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fuel belt giveaway!

Well as most of my readers and any of my friends on DailyMile or Twitter will know, I am relocating from Sydney to Ireland very soon. Actually in a couple of weeks! As I'm trying to consolodate my bits & pieces I have found that I have a Black Wolf fuel belt surplus to my requirements. If you are interested in it, just post a comment to this post. If by midnight on October 20th (Sydney time!) there's only one response then that person will get it. If there's more than one, then I'll use a random number generator to decide who gets it. I will pay postage. Here's a photo of the exact fuel belt the winner will get...

If you want to enter more than once, well that's fine, it's not my time you're taking up! I was also going to give away my 2 litre hydration pack, as it's a bit big for me right now (heading into winter in Ireland!), but that's been nabbed by a fellow runner for their use in Sydney's summer. She will get a lot more use out of it than I would have in the coming months.
Good luck!


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Busy as a busy thing that's really busy!

So I'm busy, who isn't I guess!
I haven't run since the WWFOR on Sunday. I was going to go for a run on Tuesday but things got on top of us in work, it's now Wednesday afternoon and it looks like I won't get a chance today either - not the way things (work) are playing out. I was meant to have a conference call at 23:00 Sydney time last night, but the guy who was hosting the call didn't show, so the rest of us (usually 12-20 show up) just got back to work. Or in my case, went to bed!

I have managed to get a place on a free, yes FREE barefoot and POSE method running workshop that's happening in Sydney next Sunday and I'm really looking forward to it. I would have no problem barefoot running on grass, like a rugby/football pitch, but not on roads and not on trails! I value my feet too much :-)
In my last post I said I had sent an email to a local expert on running/bio-mechanical performance. I got a reply and sent a reply back, waiting to hear when he is free and I'll pay him a visit.
On another note, my Garmin FR305 has been having a problem connecting to my PC and it's been getting worse over the last few months. These days it rarely connects, and if it does then it isn't for long. From the research I've been doing, it appears to be an issue with the 305s :-(
I have all the latest software and firmware and Garmin Tech Support has got me to try a few things, all with no change. It looks like I may have to return it for a repair. Wonder if there's an option to swap it for a newer model? I'll let you know how that goes too. But leave a comment if you've had any issues and how you got around them or what you had to do.
Have a good run!


P.S. Here's my first attempt at a nice!

Monday, October 11, 2010

WWFOR and test driving the Asics

Yesterday we had our WWFOR get together in Sydney's Centennial Park. It had been raining heavily in the morning when I was having breakfast, but it cleared up nicely by 09:00.
I got to the picnic area just before 10:00 and GeekGirlRunner, Rod, JayDub and Andrew had already arrived. We set off with an iPhone app starter's gun (!) at 10:10am on the 10/10/10 :-)
I was going to take it easy, as I wasn't sure how my leg would feel and it was my first run in my new Asics runners. I had initially registered for the half marathon distance, but with my excuses as above I had thought it best to keep it to the 10k. Andrew was doing the HM, but ran with me from the start, so we paced each other. We had a great run in the warm sunshine and great conversation. Towards the end of our second lap, JayDub caught up with us and ran with us for a bit. I stopped off at the 10k mark and JayDub & Andrew kept going.
My time was 55:48, which I was pretty happy with! I had a little shin pain at the 3.3-3.5k mark, but I made a deliberate effort to run on the fronts of my feet (fore foot) and the pain went away then.
When JD and Andrew had finished we all broke out the food and a couple of beers and had a very nice picnic in the sun. Jo R and his wife Emily also came along as Jo had run the 10k, but had started at 11:00. It was great to meet up with my running friends and to make some new running friends. Hopefully it's not too long before we can get together again...Pic below is of Kunaal, Andrew, JayDub, me and GeekGirlRunner.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pre-WWFOR post and ...stuff

As you may have read previously, I have been getting a bit of pain in the leg muscle that runs along my left shin. I did a 5k run on Tuesday this week to see if the rest I had been giving it was doing any good. I was in less pain, but still had the same issue. It usually returns at the 1.5k mark into a run, and Tuesday's run was no different. I got a bit dejected but really wanted to get to the root cause.
The place where I got my last pair of runners (Avia) has a Podiatrist working for them, who is on hand every Saturday in the store, so I rang them and called over at lunchtime today.
I brought over my Avia and Mizuno runners. We had a chat and I told him the whole gory details. They have a short track and cameras, so I ran barefoot first and then in the Mizunos and then in the Avias. We had a look at the playback and at the wear pattern on my runners. I was amazed to see that I am slightly striking with my left heel! I didn't think I was doing that at all, and would have bet a few dollars on it too! They said it could have started when I increased my distances as footfall can change over time. So he said I should try other, more supportive, runners.
So, he got a few pairs out in my size that he reckoned would help. I tried Brooks, Asics and a pair of Newtons (they had little support in the heel and more in the mid-sole, making your feet strike more forward). I tried running in each while being filmed and then chatted about the way they made me run. The Newton's were a bit too much of a change for me, so we ruled them out but maybe I'll go back to them over time. It was down to the other two, and I went for...(drum roll please)....

The Asics Gel Kayano 16!

I was hoping to get a leg massage today too, to work out the muscle, but everywhere local was closed. I have the WWFOR tomorrow, so I'll try them out then. I was originally going to do 21k, but I now think that 5/10k will be plenty as I don't want to aggravate anything.
So then the staff at the running store said (without my asking) that they would take back my Avia runners and give me the whole price of them off the Asics, even though I had been wearing the Avias for two months! I was astounded, gobsmacked! Not only that...but they gave me a $25 gift card for my trouble, holy mother of crap, now that is GOOD service! When I left the store (after thanking them profusely!) I went for a coffee and sat down and the first thing I thought was that I will have to give them a good mention on my blog (they don't know I have a blog BTW). Their name is the FootPoint Shoe Clinic and all their staff were/are excellent! I have no other connection to them apart from being a very happy customer...
Also, the store has a Sports Biochemist that they recommended for a performance analysis. I have sent him an email and am really looking forward to see what he thinks of my running posture/efficency.

I'll update soon with info on how the new Asics are doing and how my leg is doing too!


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Injury update and general unsure-ness

In my last post I said that I have had to pull out of the Auckland marathon (anyone wanting to take my place can get in touch and we can transfer the entry!). I haven't been able to get the training in due to my injured shin muscle. It's the one that runs down the outside of the shin bone.
I have been to two visits to the local Physio, Jakie, and she has hinted that it may be one particular pair of my runners. I did a short (5k) test and the pain has come back, so I'm not convinced.
I since emailed a physio friend overseas to ask advice. I knew it would be hard for her to diagnose me "online", but I put as much detail into my message as I could. She got back to me in a matter of hours (big thanks Jenny!) and said that it will improve with deep soft tissue massage, but, that won't cure it. The pain will come back. The root of the issue is in my bio-mechanics. Until I get that bit sorted out the pain will come back.
I honestly don't feel like I'm doing anything wrong and that my footfall is reasonably good. I'm not a heel striker and my feet don't "slap" the ground. But it's just running, right? How can I be putting one foot in front of the other incorrectly? Wasn't I "Born To Run" like everyone else?
I'm unsure what to do or where to get advice from next. I know there is a podiatrist that visits the running store where I got my Avia's, so I'm going to see if I can get in touch with him at the weekend...

As I'm often saying, "time will tell..."


Friday, October 1, 2010

This year's stats...

Being a geek and someone who did things like Applied mathematics in school, and went on to do Mechanical Engineering, I do enjoy looking at statistics. I think it's a great way to review what kind of progress you are making and areas where you may need to work on. So, here's my monthly totals for 2010 so far (bearing in mind I really only started running in Feb this year...):

Month Longest run



May 20.1
June 10.7
July 19.4
August 20.01
September 23

So, my running total (pun intended) is 658k. I think it's worthwhile including what my longest run for the month was too. In September it was a 23k run mostly on trails in National Parks in North Sydney. If you take all my running from the third quarter, you get an average of a little over 120k per month. If you then add that average per month to my total so far, then you have 1,020k total for the year - in my first year of running. Not too shabby. To further break that down, it's an average of around 30k per week from now until then end of the year, not much really. When you think that my current long runs are 20k or so it's easy to see that - barring too many issues - I'll make the 1,000k total for the year!
One thing that stands out in a big way is that my distance varies a LOT. I'm taking this under control now and will be trying to get a steady amount of distance in each week. Once I can (hopefully) hold onto that, then I will look to build it up.
Hope that wasn't too OTT to read :-)


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Week...whatever update

Ok, I have forgotten what week number this is, probably 11 or 12, but as I will explain later, it's not really that important now.
On Monday I did some weights, as it was a non-running day:
30 situps
30 pressups
2 x 15 tricep extn - standing
2 x 15 tricep extn on floor
2 x 15 bent over dumbbell fly
3 x 15 dumbbell flys on back
4 x 10 dumbbell curl using all the weights I had...

On Tuesday I went back to my Physio, Jackie, and she said that the swelling in the muscle along my left shin was a whole lot less but that the bottom of my hamstring was a bit tight, so we did a bit of work on that. I also brought in my Avia and Mizuno runners for her to examine. The wear on both are quite good (as in normal and not rolling) and both feet seem to be wearing equally. She did say that the Avia's are a bit more flexible around the midfoot, which should be better. No big difference otherwise.
After that I waited until the heat had died down a little (27 all day!) and went for a run. I forgot my HR monitor, but it gave me less reasons to check the Garmin. I got to about 2k and started getting pain in the same place again, so I backed off the pace but kept running. I decided to keep it short and did just 7.5k in about 44mins. I did find that running uphill was a lot less painful than on the flat, so from time to time I would run almost on my toes and it helped.
Today, Wednesday, is a non-running day, but I have a couple of meetings up to about 6:30pm, so I might go for a walk or maybe a swim if I can find the local pool and its times!
Oh yea, almost forgot...the reason I don't think numbering the week is important now is that I have officially pulled out of the Auckland Marathon. I have notified the event organizers, canceled my hotel and flights. Yes I would still like to do it, but with the shin pain I haven't been able to get my training in and long runs are out of the question. Also I'll be relocating with work possibly before the race, so better to back out now and get used to the idea than have to back out a week before!
My goal of completing a marathon still stands, I always said I wanted to do one before the end of 2011, so that isn't changing, just the location is. I'm not sure where or when I will do it, but it will be next year.
The only two events I have in my sights for the remainder of the year are the WWFOR in about a week and a half marathon in December. Looking forward to both!

Take it easy,

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Injury update and Sydney's Coastal Classic

Just to update you, I went to the physio on Friday after work and told her everything that had been going on. She asked a lot of questions and said that the muscle that runs along my shin is a bit inflamed, but it may be caused by a build up of lactic acid that my system hasn't got rid of properly. We when discussed my runners (as I have two pairs on the go). I said that after resting for a week, I did the HM last week with no shin pain (in my Avias) and then I did the 6.5k on Tuesday - no pain, and the 5k on Friday  - in the Mizunos but with pain.
Could it be that the Mizunos are the source of my shin pain? As I didn't have the runners with me she didn't want to say for definite, but I have another appointment with her on Tuesday and she asked me to bring both pairs along to compare them.
When I said that I was hoping to do a LR on Sunday (just two days after treatment) she said I should be fine, as long as I rest and ice and use my anti-inflammatory gel. Also, I'm going to use the Avias, just to test.

Sydney's Coastal Classic 29k Trail Run:
So I had originally tried to enter this race, but it was booked out way in advance, so I put my name down as a volunteer instead.(link to their site here)
The race didn't start until 08:00 this morning, but as we had to get the registration area and start area ready beforehand, we had to be onsite for a briefing at 06:30. This meant my alarm was set for 04:30...
I got to the registration and booked in and got my free tech t-shirt - yea! I was immediately shown how to register runners and hand out race packs (not very technical!). Pic below is the first runners arriving to register.

After a while I was drafted into assembling the starting area and after that was done I was moved onto driving out to the first aid station to get it setup.
We had local groups volunteering to man the aid stations, which was great. At the first one, it was on a beach, so we put out the tables filled 2 & 5 gallon water drums and mixed up Powerade. At each aid station we had the following: water, powerade, bananas, watermelon, museli bars, GU gels, jelly snakes and crisps. There was also a board showing how far the runners had gone, how far to the next aid station and how far to the finish. Medics were stationed with each aid station too.
When the first aid station was complete, we left the local volunteers there and went onto the second (of three). This one was situated in a park, so there was a bit more shelter. It was a very warm sunny day with highs of 23 degrees C. Once the aid station was setup, I started checking the trail markings approaching it and made some additions and adjustments to make it easier to find. I stayed on at this aid station to assist. This pic is of the second aid station awaiting the runners.
And this pic is of our aid station in full flow with the first of the runners...
It took about 3 hours from the first to the last runner to go through. We then had 3 "sweepers" running at the back helping tired or injured runners, picking up any litter and removing the trail markings we had put down.
There weren't many injuries, a few rolled ankles and blisters. We did have one guy drop out due to hip pain, but we weren't sure what heppened there, not caused by a fall anyway.
Next pic is of the finish line...
The first runner made the finish in 2:32, which is tremendous for a 29k trail run! Three hours later some runners were still coming in...
This pic is of a guy that ran the trail in "homemade" sandals! Very "Barefoot Ted" of him :-)
All in all it was a great day and the first of hopefully an annual race. All the runners really enjoyed it as did the volunteers!
Time for me to patch up a blister and prepare for my LR in the morning, I need sleep!!


Friday, September 24, 2010

Time for a second opinion...

I've been in recovery mode this week, so after the light 6.5k run on Tuesday I took two rest days. Today (Friday) I got up at 06:00 for a run. Initially it was going to be about 8k, but I was dragging my ass a bit too much before I left the house, so I only had time for 30mins, so it had to be a 5k.
I decided to try the Garmin Virtual Training Partner, that's built into the 305. I set the training for 5k for 30mins and set off. The VP was ahead of me at the start, but of course he was at run pace from the moment I started the timer, whereas I was warming up. After a couple of minutes I caught up and last I saw he was 3-4 mins behind :-)
Going out I felt fine, but after about 3k my left shin started to hurt again. It wasn't as bad as it was a couple of weeks ago, but not good. I slowed a little and finished the 5k in 27mins or so and walked home.
After I got to work I rang around and managed to make an appointment with a local physio for after work tonight. Having tried rest, ice etc and having the same issue return I think the best thing is to get the opinion of a Physio. I'm pretty sure I know she'll tell me to not run and rest etc, and will probably tell me to do the stretches I've already been doing (Google is my friend :-)), but no harm. I have a pretty good idea what the issue is, but no point in me treating something if I'm wrong. I don't want to do any long term damage too.
My worst fear is having to miss a few weeks training and not being able to go in for the Auckland marathon...

Time will tell...


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Week 11 update

After the half on Sunday, I didn't do any exercise on Monday. So I did a recovery run of 6.5k on Tuesday. I took it easy and kept my HR down. Legs were a bit tight, but no more than I would expect.
Today I have come down with a cold that has been threatening me on and off for weeks, I wasn't planning on running again until Friday, so I'm hoping to have the cold gone by then.
I still managed a quick weights session at home after work:
30 situps
30 pressups
2 x 15 tricep extn - standing
2 x 15 tricep extn on floor
2 x 15 bent over dumbbell fly
2 x 15 dumbbell flys on back
2 x 15 dumbbell curl using all the weights I had...
I was just looking back over my running logs on DailyMile, and last month was my highest mileage to date, with 165km. Not sure if September will equal that, probably not due to tapering and recovering, but time will tell!


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sydney Half Marathon

On Saturday evening, I was feeling pretty tired by 19:30, so I decided to go to bed and read, hoping to get some sleep. I got a text message from my cousin a few minutes later wishing me well in the race and only then did my nerves kick in! I tried to sleep but only got an hour or two here and there. I was awake when the alarm went off at 04:00 (aka dark o'clock!)...
I got myself ready and got the train direct to the start line (about 300m away anyway). There was free public transport for runners all day :-)
I was an hour early for the start, but I don't like rushing these things! I was hoping to run with one of the 110min pacers, but all the pacers bunched up at the start of our group, so I didn't get to them. A high point, was overtaking the 110min pacers at 4.5k though. I kept going.
At the 10k mark (sub-60min-ish) I did some maths and figured I needed to push the pace, so I did and kept it up.
At the 16k mark I thought I "only" had to do a sub-30min 5k to get in under 120mins, so I pushed the pace again.
With 2k to go I really wanted to walk, just for a minute, but I knew I was really close to the time I wanted, so I kept running. I was really feeling it for every step and knew that if I stopped running I wouldn't start again. For the last 1k I was willing the line closer and was watching the seconds slipping away and then I made it! Just after I finished I got a text message to say that my official time was 1:57:48

Not only had I achieved my sub-2hr goal, I also beat my cousin Salena :-)
My legs were complaining a lot and I daren't sit down, so I headed home after seeing the first person for the marathon finish in 2:24 (pic of the marathon winner below).

While walking to the train, I spotted Jaydub (a DailyMile buddy) on Phillip Street running his marathon and he was a min or so ahead of the 4 hour pacer! I shouted encouragement, but he didn't hear. That was at 10:30, so he still had an hour to go. I hobbled home and collapsed on the bed for a 90min "nana nap". After that, I took a dunk in a bath of cold water, then had a hot shower. Then walked down to the local town and back, just to keep moving.

Unofficial time 1:56, but we went through a tunnel, so my Garmin auto-paused, must turn that off.
I really enjoyed the race and would definitely recommend it, loved every minute. There weren't that many hills and what hills there were, were pretty short.
Here is the pace I was getting, each "lap" is 1km:
1    5:37   
2    5:43   
3    5:07   
4    5:34   
5    4:37    Tunnel
6    5:43   
7    5:21   
8    5:41   
9    5:42   
10    5:46   
11    5:57   
12    5:33   
13    5:29   
14    5:44   
15    5:30   
16    5:54    Hills
17    5:42    Hills
18    5:20   
19    5:32   
20    5:44   
21    5:19   
22    5:11   

 You can see from those figures that I was slowing down around 10k 14k and 16k, but that I put on the pace some more towards the end.
I took an Endurolyte before the race, one at 8k with a gel, one at 16k with a gel and one more after the race. I used my Hydrapouch for the first time on this race and would highly recommend it, I reckon I wouldn't have had a sub-2hr time without it.
Anyway, I am now going to bed, as I am wrecked!

Thanks for all your good wishes and messages.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Countdown to 2nd Half Marathon...

Today is the day before my second half marathon. I haven't been running since last Sunday, which was an epic failure in my running. I've decided to take the whole week off to give my legs a rest and to hopefully prepare myself for the HM tomorrow.
Today I had a lot of energy as I'm pretty excited about the race. So I decided to get some things done. I was up before 07:00, which is normal for me, I don't even need an alarm clock. I tidied up the place, got all the washing done, hoovered, did all the dishes, and then went to see the AD/DC exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum here in Sydney. I have to say, AC/DC are one of my all time favourite bands. I've seen them three times, 1982 and 1990 in Ireland and 2010 in Sydney. Anyway, it was really good, but no-one was allowed to take photos, and they had people going around making sure you didn't, so no pics!
After that, I made a packed lunch and went for a walk in the Lane Cove National Park and ate lunch at a park bench by the Blue Gum River. Pretty special.
Then I got home again and I have now got all my kit laid out for tomorrow:
Avia runners, socks (I went through each running sock I own and checked for signs of wear...), singlet, jacket for after the race, sunnies (shades), protein drink and water, Hydrapouch, protein bar for pre-race, wholegrain bars for post-race and I managed to get some Hammer Nutrition Endurolyte tablets, so I'm taking them too. I got the Endurolytes in the City Bike Depot off Kent Street, who deserve a special mention. I had checked out all Sydney hammer suppliers from the Hammer website, but out of five, these were the first to either have them, or to still stock Hammer products...
I have also charged up my Garmin and have a piece of paper with my "suggested" pace goals on it. There will be 1:50 and 1:40 pacers there. I may stick to the 1:50 pacer at the start and see how I feel. If nothing else, it will keep me from going out too fast.
Ok, so I'm going to watch a DVD, have dinner and (try to) sleep. I have to get a train at about 05:00 in the morning, so I'll be up around 04:00, just to be sure...
Update you tomorrow after the race!
Best of luck to everyone taking part in the Sydney Running Festival tomorrow.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010


So this week is pretty much a rest week/tapering. My left shin has been sore and after doing a bit of online research it sounds/feels like the start of shin splints. However, after lots of rest, ice and anti-inflammatory gel it has improved and isn't sore today. I'll keep working on it though.
With all the unused energy I have from not running, I decided it was time to get back to my upper body/core work. The last place I lived was walking distance from a RSL club that had it's own 25m pool and gym and it was only $6 per session for members, too easy.
Where I'm living now only has subscription gyms and they are too expensive, especially as I would be in them at most twice a week!
So tonight after work I went out and bought a pair of dumbbells (pic below). I didn't want big weights, just enough to tone me up. The weights have proved quite effective for the workouts I do at home. If I had a bench I would do more, but I'm not getting a weight bench...honestly!

The best thing - seeing as I work from home mostly - I can do a quick weight session during lunch :-)


Monday, September 13, 2010

Week 10 update and into tapering

If you've read my previous post, you'll know that I had been training pretty hard, so I took a rest due to tired legs. The last run was on Wednesday and I took Thursday and Friday as rest days.
I was due to be working on Saturday and the work dragged on until 19:00. With more work due to start at 20:00 I only had enough time to get dinner before I got back to it. Over Saturday night (while I was asleep) the work I had scheduled failed, so I had to start it off again at 08:00 and monitor it so it wouldn't fail again. I managed to sneak out and pick up my race pack for next week's half marathon here in Sydney (pic below)...

So, when I got a chance I went for a run. I was planning a 10k tempo run, but things quickly went pear shaped. I did my stretching and warm up as usual but the whole time my left leg was in pain. At first I thought it was because I hadn't been running, but it just didn't loosen up. The pain was/is in the muscle beside the shin bone on the front of the leg. I even stopped once to try stretching to see if it would help, but it didn't. Also, I had a total lack of energy, so trying to get a certain pace was not happening at all. If all that wasn't enough, my stomach was not playing along either and just added to the overall feeling of not wanting to be on the run. By the 3k mark I had resigned to the fact that I didn't want to be running and wanted to finish it.
I turned around and couldn't wait to get home again. I stopped about 1k before the house to walk the rest and as I was getting closer I had to stop and nearly emptied the contents of my stomach on the path. After a minute or so I kept walking. I had run just over 6k at an overall slow pace of about 6min/k.
I did my stretching again when I got home, but it took a while to recover.

I am now tapering for my HM next Sunday, so I'll only be doing a couple of short recovery runs, if I can. Although I do want to have just one enjoyable run before the race...


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Week 10 update and heavy legs

So onward and upward we go into Week 10 of training.
Monday was time for Hill Reps, so I did a 10min warm up run and an easy pace, then:
4 x 60sec sprint uphill, turn around and JR back down,
1 min SR and repeat as above.
2 x 80m sprint starting at 80%
4 x 100m sprint getting steadily faster aiming for 100% on last one.
10 min run to cool down.
I was aiming to really push myself on the hills and sprints, partly to help me strengthen my legs and partly to see what my max HR is while working out.
Looking back over my Garmin logs, I have sometimes been going up to 188bpm on sprints/hills. But today I never went over 170bpm. Hopefully that means I'm getting fitter and not getting lazy :-)
Daily total was 6k and a bit.
Tuesday I did a recovery jog and it felt fine. My Garmin battery died at about 1k, so I did the rest by how my breathing felt and never got out of breath. Another 6.1k or so.
Today, I had planned to do a 15k loop Tempo run from my house to Lane Cove NP and back by some hills. I brought my 1 litre hydration pack and (for the first time) my headlamp.
I felt fine and was looking forward to it, by 1k in my legs started feeling heavy, so I eased up on the 5:20/k pace. I've had this feeling before and it's gone away when my legs warmed up. By 3k I had to stop to stretch my quads/calves to ease them out - not a good sign. They didn't improve, so a few hundred metres later I turned back and ran at my recovery pace. I got to a really flat section by 7k and as I wasn't under much exertion my legs didn't feel too bad, but I kept the same pace. Ended up doing a little over 8k.
As much as I hate it, I need a day or two off. Tomorrow is a planned rest day anyway and I may take Friday off too. I'll be working most of Saturday, so I may just get back on Sunday for a 12-15k run then. Hopefully I'll squeeze in some swimming (possibly on Friday).
Not ideal, but if I had continued I would have ended up doing lasting damage and probably ended my thoughts of the HM in 11 days from now. All the work I need to do for the half is already done, the rest of the runs up to then will just be keeping the legs lubed.
This is not a step backwards, I'm moving forward, I keep moving forward

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Week 9 summary and info on my HR training

So week 9 draws to a close. Two weeks left to the HM in Sydney and eight weeks to my first marathon in Auckland.
This week wasn't as full on as last, the main reason being that I succumbed to a head cold this week that had been just the sniffles for a couple of weeks. I had also been having a bit of a dry cough, but only on runs. All that got worse after my Tuesday 6k run and I had to take a couple of days off to recover properly. I did the same recovery run on Friday and did it in 2 mins less. This was due to not having to exert myself as much (head cold gone). I'm going to keep doing the same route for my recovery runs, so I'll easily be able to tell if/when I'm improving and by how much.
On Saturday, my LR was due, so I set out to do a two hour run keeping my HR under 145bpm (more on this later). I did 18.3k in the two hours. Normally I would do more, but my pace was slow to keep the HR down. I ended up enjoying that run more, even though I got dive bombed by a magpie just around the 10k mark. It drew blood where it hit my head but nothing serious.
The pic above is a screen shot of my Garmin output from the LR. You can see where my HR spiked when the bird hit me.
So on Sunday (today) I found I had some free time available and, despite gale force winds, it was really warm and sunny outside. So I did my recovery run again - same route and distance. It was a bit slower than Friday, due to the LR the day before and having some wine last night!

My HR Training:
So, I have been blabbing on about HR training this week and got some questions about it, so an explanation is due.
I got a book at the start of the week (link in Tuesday's post) purely on HR Monitor training. It has a formula to guesstimate your Max HR. Starting with 205bpm, subtract half of your age, this will be your Max HR (until you have time to test it more accurately).
Then, use the following formula...  (Max HR - Resting Rate) x 70% + (Resting Rate).  If female, add 5 to that.
This gives your Recovery Ceiling, which in my case initially worked out to be 143, but I had taken my resting HR at lunch in the office, so when I took it again just after waking one morning my Recovery Ceiling is now 145bpm.
So (according to the author) I should be doing a hard day then an easy day. On the easy day (recovery run) I need to keep my HR at or below my Recovery Ceiling. This also included my weekly LR, as the intensity comes from time on the feet, not exertion.
My next step is to get my Actual Max HR. This is done  either on hill reps or sprints, which I'll be doing next week. It'll give me a much more accurate figure for my recovery runs.
So on my intense runs, I'll be aiming for at least 80-85% of my Max HR during the sprints/hills.
The theory is that on the intense runs, you will be training your anaerobic fitness, but during your recovery runs, you'll be working on your aerobic fitness.
It's interesting to note, that the author claims to have used this approach for running marathons. Specifically, he runs the first 32k or 20miles under his Recovery Ceiling and then for the last 10k/6miles he goes at his 10k pace, or whatever pace he feels like he can finish at.
I may end up adopting this technique for my own marathon, depending on how the next couple of weeks go.

Food for thought...


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Week 9 training update & HR monitor...

Right, I had a head cold on Tuesday evening after my run (well before/during actually, but I had thought it was just sniffles), so I took it easy and didn't run again until after work on Friday.
I did the same route & distance (roughly) as Tuesday, keeping myself as much as possible under 143bpm. I did the same distance in 2mins less! My reasoning says that when I had the cold I had to exert myself more, so my HR would have been a tad higher anyway, which meant I had to run slower or walk to keep it under 143.
Hopefully as the weeks/months go by I'll see my aerobic fitness increase, and I'll be able to run faster but be exerting myself less and still keeping my HR low.
I'm meant to be doing a LR today, but there's a storm overhead at the moment, so I'm chilling out and catching up on emails etc. If it improves, I'll do the run after lunch. Otherwise I'll do it in the morning, forecast for tomorrow is a lot better!
Just yesterday I found a split in one of my NB 1225's between two of the layers on the sole...not good:
They may need to be relegated out of my running apparel and into housework/gardening...sorry to see them fall apart after less than 600k on them. Thought they would last longer...


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Week 9 update - cold again

Well, after I did my ultra-slow run on Tuesday, I was due to do a max out/balls to the wall run on Wednesday to see what my max HR was. Then I was due to do a club run tonight.
By the way I'm phrasing these thoughts you can probably guess that the plan isn't going well. I have had the sniffles for about two weeks, and they aren't going away. After my long run on Saturday - which I thoroughly enjoyed - I rested on Sunday and really felt like I needed more rest, so I took Monday off too.
So after the Tuesday run I just went downhill and my sniffles turned to a very runny nose and sneezes and being generally tired. So Wednesday/Thursday is a no go for running. Oddly enough, the weather has improved, and it's now 22-24 C, with today being the second official day of spring.
I'm still hoping to get my long run in at the weekend, but it's dependent on getting rid of the cold first. I have some family stuff to do on Saturday, so I could do my run early (08:00 or so), or leave it until later in the afternoon. If I am feeling ok to run on Friday (tomorrow) I'll do a 8-10k run then and then run on Sunday. I don't want to do a fast paced run while recovering from the cold, so I'll have to leave that until next week - but that's not a big deal.

The Sydney Half is two weeks away from this coming Sunday and I still feel like I need to put more work in. Also, I'm curious as to what my ideal starting pace is. I know I should save myself for the business end, but I want to give it my all and not feel like it was a walk in the park and that I could have done better.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Week 9 training and breaking out the HR monitor...

I was feeling pretty tired after all my activities on Saturday, so I ended up taking two days rest. Also I had some knee niggles and the start of a cold, too many reasons not to run.
So this morning I got a copy of "Heart Monitor Training for the Complete Idiot" in the post and I read a couple of chapters during my lunch break.
I use a Garmin FR305 on pretty much all my runs and I always take interest in what my max HR was during the run, but that's all. So I've decided to use the HR monitor to my advantage.
At the start of the book, it gets you to guesstimate what your max HR is based on a formula. I worked mine out to be 183 bpm. I'll do a test tomorrow to see what it actually is and use that number instead.
From the 183, we can get our Recovery Ceiling (70%) and Threshold Floor (85%). So, my Recovery Ceiling is approximately 143 bpm. This means that on my recovery runs, I need to keep my HR below 143 - not easy, as I found out!
I went out for a run and I changed the display on my Garmin so I could see the HR number easier. Within 2-3 minutes I had gone up to 144, so I had to slow down. Then I was jogging up a slight hill and my HR went up to 145 - argh! Time to slow down again. All in all my average pace for the 6.3k run was over 7min/k, which I found quite uncomfortable to keep. I kept on wanting to burst out and do a sub 5min/k pace. But, I decided that I would continue the experiment and my HR only hit 145 twice and stayed under 143-144 for the entire run.
Apparently, on the easy days (recovery runs), I'll be building up my aerobic fitness and burning fat, whereas on my hard days I'll be working on my anaerobic fitness and burning my glycogen. At least that's what the book says :-)

Time will tell....


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Week 8 long run & Oxfam Trailwalker

My long run for today (Saturday) was to be about 20k. Last week I did it along the bike path at the side of the freeway, kinda boring. So today I decided to do it on the sealed road in Lane Cove NP. I was up at about 7am, had my usual breakfast and got to the NP by 9:30. I had a few jellies and a 1L hydration pack with water in it. I set off on the sealed road, but it quickly turned into trail. I kept going but wasn't sure I wanted to go too far on the trail and was thinking about the best time to turn around and find a road again.
Then, I saw four runners coming towards me, so I stepped off the trail to let them by. As it happened, I recognized one of them from DailyMile! So they stopped and we chatted for a few mins and I asked if I could tag along and they were more than happy to have the company.
So we kept going on the trails, which led us under a low road bridge. Being second last in the group at that time, I saw it and made a comment along the lines of "I'd better duck for this one". Right then, Andrew ran straight into the concrete bridge and nearly fell backwards with the impact! He went down to the ground and started to try and stand, but I told him to stay where he was. He had blood coming from a cut a few inches back from his forehead, so we got him to sit for a few mins and it stopped bleeding. Then we went back to the park's toilets and he was able to clean the blood off, while we topped up our hydration packs. He seemed happy to be jogging/running, so we started off again, keeping a good eye on him.
The guys were doing a 100k run from the outskirts of Sydney, along trail as much as possible, to the city. We had a good chat along the way and they are a great bunch of guys that I hope to run with again.
At about the 13k mark, I had to head back to my car so I said goodbye and good luck to the group.
I stopped at a service station and topped off my hydration pack with a bottle of Powerade - much needed! I kept going along the road but wanted to get back on the trails. Unfortunately that is where I got lost and ended up about 9k out of my way. I asked a little old lady for directions and when I realised where I was I walked the rest of the way, as my legs were tired and it was a warm day.
Run total was 23k and weekly total was 48k.
I went home, showered and went to bed, as I had a busy night ahead of me...

Oxfam Trailwalker 100k 2010:
I volunteered for the TW a few months ago, it's an annual fund-raising event that 500 teams of four take part in - but not all finish. I was given the job of "Check In/Check Out Coordinator" on Checkpoint 7 from Saturday 19:00 to 03:00. I arrived at 18:30 and got briefed by the people ending the shift. They had been quite busy, as the weather had been good, so teams wanted to get as much ground covered as possible. The first teams had set off at 07:00 Friday and the winning team was already finished in 12 hours 8 minutes! When my shift started there were less than a dozen teams left to check in at CP7, which is just over 82k into the race.
The sun had already set, and it was getting cold, with the night time temps dropping to about 8 degrees C (there had been some frost the night before!). It looked like our shift wasn't going to be too busy. We could tell from the monitoring application who had checked out (to go on to CP8), who was staying for a while with us (for food, liquids, sleep etc) and who was still to come. When my shift started, all teams had left the previous CP, but the average time for the 10k trail was 3-4 hours. Bearing in mind that the teams left had already done 70k and had done about 30 hours of walking/running!
When the teams came in, we could see the beams from their head lights in the darkness and we started cheering them on. They all looked very tired and a lot were limping. Some of the teams had people retire due to fatigue or injury or just not being able to go any further. One of the rules, is that if a team has only 1 or 2 people left walking, they must join another team of at least 2. So from time to time we would get a team of 3 check in, 1 retire, and the others would have to stay until another team was leaving. Safety was critical. The team in last place checked in with us at 22:30 and they were really exhausted. Their support crew got them coffee and soup and some food (laid on at the CP). Then they decided to sleep for an hour. While they were sleeping, we started to break down the CP leaving just the minimum running to support the last team. We had a tent with 2 Physiotherapists, a tent for St. John's Ambulance, a "Meet & Greet" tent for teams and support crew, and the control tent with radios, computers, safety equipment etc.
The last team woke and refilled their water bottles/hydration packs and I checked them out at about 00:20 and we all cheered them on their way. They left CP7 after 34:30 hours of walking, over 20 hours after the first team had finished the course.
As an update, the last team finished in 46:38.

Our shift was meant to finish at 03:00, but as our job was finished, we left some of the crew to break down the equipment so we could get some sleep!

St. John's Ambulance tent - more of them than there was of us!

"Meet & Greet" tent

Checkpoint control tent.

I probably won't be in the area to assist with this for next year, but if I am I will...or maybe take part in it :-)

Take care,


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Week 8 update...

So yesterday I did a speed session. It consisted of a 10min warmup run, then some sprint training:
8 x 100m starting at 80%, walk back to the start and repeat, getting faster with each sprint until the last is at 100%.
For most of the sprints I was getting 18 sec, but for the 6th I got 16 sec, which is my fastest yet! My last two were at 18 sec, as I think I was too tired to go any faster!
After that I did 12 x 30 sec at 80% and 30 sec JR. I was tired after the sprints, so these could have been faster. I'll have a longer break in between the sessions next time.
At the end I did a 10min warm down run. Total of just over 6km for the day.
Today (Thursday) I was going to do a 10k relaxed run, but even before the start both calf muscles were tight and I knew I would be hampering my Saturday long run if I pushed it. I also found a blister at the tip of a toe on my right foot. Not sure how long it's been there, but I'll probably burst it later. I was in two minds, but Barbara and Lisa on DailyMile appear to have swayed me :-)
I ended up doing a relaxed 5k run to give me 25k since Monday.

If toes/feet or blisters gross you out then don't look at the picture below!

It's not exactly life threatening, but it's enough to cause irritation during a run.
I may be tempted to video myself bursting it...but probably not, as I don't want my blog to get some sort of adult only rating, ha ha ha!!


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Week 8 training

Well, here we are in the middle of my 8th week of training for my second half and my first full marathon. After my long run on Saturday (20k plus a 3.8k cool down jog/walk), I took Sunday as a rest day. My legs were a bit heavy, so just as well.
On Monday, I couldn't find any more excuses, so I did my hill reps. Here's how it went:
10min warm up run, relaxed,
8 x 85m sprints, starting at 80% and getting faster with each sprint, finishing with 100% on last one.
SR of 2 mins,
Hill reps: 30sec run uphill, turn around and jog back down, do that 5 times, take a 1 min SR and then do another 5 hill reps.
Followed by a 10min cool down run.
I think my last 85m sprint was about 14 seconds, but that's not accurate.
On Tuesday I was due to do a 10k relaxed run, but I didn't fancy running on the bike path again, so I headed for Lane Cove National Park. The plan was to run along the sealed road in the park, but I ended up being drawn to the trail and ran along the rocks and trees and river. Unfortunately I had to do this after work, so by the time I got just over 2k in the light was fading. Not having my headlight, I turned around to make it just over 5.2k. It was an amazing run, and one I'll repeat when I get more daylight hours, probably at the weekend. Might bring a camera on that one too.
Today I'm hoping to get a speed session in, just have to figure out where!



Saturday, August 21, 2010

Week 7 long run

Ok, so my plan for the weekend was to rest on Friday - which I did, then long run today and see how I feel on Sunday, but probably no running.
Last night, Friday, I took it easy, had a good carb rich dinner and went to bed by about 9pm. After a busy week and finally being able to unwind I ended up getting a 10 hour undisturbed sleep, almost unheard of for me! So when I woke this morning I was refreshed and mentally ready for the run. I had a good sized, healthy breakfast and gave it about 90mins to settle. When I started getting my gear together, I was planning on taking one of my hydration packs, the 2 litre. When I was filling it, I saw it had a bad leak where the hose meets the bladder. I started working on it, but out of my frustration to get going I ended up leaving it and filling my 1 litre pack. I had it almost full of water and put a bottle of Powerade in the pocket along with two GU gels and a small bag of jelly sweets. I put the pack on my back and by the time I got to my front door my back was wet from a leak out of the bladder. I took it off and had to change my t-shirt, it was that bad. So to plan C...I got my fuel belt and filled the water bottle with water and put the jellies in the zipped pocket. I carried the Powerade and squashed my GUs into the loops on the fuel belt. Not ideal, but it meant I could keep hydrated and fueled for the run.
So I headed off to pretty much the start of the local bike path along the side of the freeway and after about 4k I was feeling good and had settled into the run. The fuel belt kept on shifting my t-shirt upwards over it and it made my belt rub against my back, which was quite uncomfortable. I ended up drinking my water faster than normal, just to lighten the load on the belt to keep it in place.
I took my first walk break on a hill at just over 8k and had a GU and filled my (now empty) water bottle with the Powerade. I decided to carry the water bottle until it was about half empty and then put it back in the belt. I ended up taking 5 or 6 walk breaks on hills, but none of them was longer than 40 seconds, so they didn't put a big dent in my pace. After a few more Ks I saw a side road that looked quiet, so I took that road and kept going. After a while I noticed that I was running past the MacQuarie Hospital - never saw it before, but now I know where it is! I ran another 2k or so and turned at about 10.7k, back the same route. It was now the middle of the day and was pretty warm. In no time at all I was back on the bike path and getting low on fluids. I stopped outside a service station and filled my bottle from the outside water tap, probably not a great idea as it tasted a bit funny...
Anyway, I kept going and was feeling fine, and was having lots of happy thoughts. About the 18k mark or so, I started getting pretty fixated on my distance, and kept checking my Garmin every minute or so. I had to keep telling myself to not check it, as I had a fair idea when I would be hitting the 20k mark, which was my target.
Shortly after, I started to think about why people run, why I run, why do I do long runs, what I was trying to achieve, why do I keep going etc. It wasn't self doubt, but I'm not sure what kind of feeling it was. I started to think of other people, and the reasons they have given for running. On DailyMile there was a challenge recently that a lot of us took part in and I was reminded of it. The challenge was to run 26.2 miles (marathon distance) over the period of a month to remember Dom, who was terminally ill with cancer. The challenge wasn't difficult, but it was done so we could be thinking of him and sending out positive thoughts. Sadly, Dom lost his battle and died recently.
One of his friends on DM posted a 10k run recently and said that he dedicated it to Dom. I thought about that during my run and started thinking of who I would dedicate a run to and why. I have lost some family members and friends to cancer, as many people have. One of my friend's fathers is currently diagnosed with cancer and is fighting a losing battle and he knows it. Just over twenty years ago I lost my own father to cancer. I still think about him every day and miss him. Around about this time on my run I started welling up inside, to the extent that I found it difficult to breathe. Physically I was fine, but emotionally I just couldn't get these thoughts out of my head.
So I have decided to dedicate my first marathon, in about 10 weeks, to the memory of my father. Not in a sad way, but in a "look what you have helped me to achieve" way. I think he'd like that....

Anyway, I ended up going just over 20k and being distracted so much at the end that I got totally lost! I started walking in the direction I thought was right but I wasn't sure. I stopped to ask directions and the guy said, "over that way mate". Really, so helpful, I was already going "that" way. So I started running again and asked another guy and he was a lot more specific. I was still about 2k out of the way, but jogged or walked home, covering about 3.8k in total after the main run.
I had my protein drink, water, bananas and did stretching. My calves were tight, probably due to low electrolytes. I'll do some research and see what I come up with. I'll be taking it easy the rest of the day and will do a walk tomorrow, maybe a swim.

Take care,