Barefoot Running for the masses?

If you have read Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run (great book and a good read for any runner) – you may already know of the arguments for and against running without shoes. Personally I think not everyone should ditch their cool running shoes and get a pair of Vibram five fingers or just run in bare feet. Even long term runners agree that it takes time to transition and even then you are not suddenly going to turn into a super human runner. In any case I found these articles interesting. “Barefoot running is catching on” (from “How to start Running and Walking barefoot and stay injury-free” (

Sometimes after I finish  my core run I jog a few laps around a park (usually grassy) to warm down on bare feet and finish with stretches . As far as running completely bare feet that’s not for me.

Happy trails!

How much do you run?

This is a typical question I get asked from my non running friends and people and even from social runners. When I started running back in 2010 I just ran and didn’t really follow any plan as such. My 2010 goal was to run and get fit. By the end of 2010 I started to track how many kilometers I ran each week. Basically started to keep a spreadsheet of my distances. Then in 2011 I started using the Endomondo app on my iPhone to track my runs.

From 2011 onwards I became a little obsessed with gathering data on each run. I used to have a Polar HR monitor watch and still used the Endomondo app and upload the data to their web site. Then I got a Garmin Forerunner 610 after reading good reviews of it from fellow runners to track my running workouts.

Typically in 2011 my km per week was around 30-50km range and overall it was just building a base and not getting injured. Here is what 2011 looked like broken down per month.

2011 - Training Log by Month

2011 – Training Log by Month

So Jan & Feb were low – 2011 February I ran the Round the Bays Half in 2:02. In April and August I was overseas so didn’t get much running and July/August was a turning point as you can see from September onwards I have an increase in number of Kms.

Let’s look at 2012 – There is definitely a big increase compared to 2011. This is mainly because I was a bit more focused on running and overall wanted to do more events.

2012 - Training Log by Month

2012 – Training Log by Month

As you can see I have steadily increased my Kms despite March and April being low and taking a full three weeks off in September 2012 while traveling.I also ran Round the bays in 1:37 which is my current PB!

Immediately after from October – December it has been consistent around the 230km + mark with November being the most number of Kms. I also have done a bit of Mountain Biking and Hiking which I haven’t included. In fact I did a 100km walk with a team as part of the Oxfam Trailwalker challenge in April 2012!

Currently I range around an average of 60kms per week in total. This is usually where I’m following a set plan and targeting an event. The highs and lows are where I allow enough rest for recovery and then pick up again.

Total Distance Per Week

Total Distance Per Week

My long term goal is to run as long as I can so I don’t put too much stress on my body. Lot of people ask me why I haven’t done a marathon yet. I want to and I am aiming to run the Wellington Marathon in June this year. Overall my goal is to be injury free and that means taking it easy and step by step. Look at this guy Sid Howard – he’s 73 years old and can run a mile in 6:15!!

Happy running!!

5 Weeks to Wellington Round the Bays Half Marathon

It’s day one of my 5 week (35 days) lead up to the Wellington Round the Bays Half Marathon. One of my readers requested that I post my plan. First up: DISCLAIMER – if you are thinking of using this plan there are a few things to be aware of. This is a plan that I created based on my previous running experience and also based on my goals. I have been running relatively injury free for 3 years now and my weekly mileage is about 60-70km per week on average. Only follow this plan if you can run a 5km race in about 21-22mins on average at 4.05 to 4.15 per km pace.

5 Week Half Marathon

5 Week Half Marathon Plan for Round the Bays 2013

Week 1 – Mon 14th Jan to Sun 20th (Yes 7days of running and a big week) – cumulative target 100km for the week. This is the most km that I have attempted to run in a week. Note that the 5km race on Tuesday is the Wellington Scottish 5km race and I will run that at about 80% not 100% followed by an easy 5k recovery. I have two Hill runs mainly because Week 2 on Saturday I am running the Tussock Traverse trail race of 26km. You can reduce the number of km on these days or just rest. Like I said this plan is mainly for me. 🙂

Week 2 – Mon 21st to Sun 27th Jan – Starts with a rest day on Monday and this week is about just getting some runs done and then heading over to Tongariro for the Tussock Traverse on Saturday 26th. (I’ll post a race report after the 26th)

Week 3 – Mon 28th Jan to Sun 3rd Feb – Total 80km week with some solid runs but easy and a rest day.

Week 4 – Mon 3rd Feb to Sun 10th Feb – Starting to taper and down to 60km average. No racing or fast runs just easy runs and lots of massage and foam rolling.

Week 5 – Race week! Mon 11th Feb to Sun 17th (Race Day!) – Lots of rest, recovery stretching and taking it easy. Sunday Race Day!

There you have it! That’s my plan. Also I do strength sessions on Mon – Wed – Fri when I feel I am able to. Nothing strenuous but exercises using a wobble cushion to stabilize and strengthen my core and lower legs.

Good luck and keep running!

Running the Rakiura Track

The Rakiura Track is located on Stewart Island which is an Island on the bottom of South Island of New Zealand. For most of you who live in NZ you can get to Stewart Island via a 20min flight from Invercargill or catching the daily ferry from Bluff which takes about 1hr to cross the Ferneux strait.

The Rakiura Track is about 32km in length and is classed as one of the Great Walks. The official DoC (Department of Conservation) literature outlines the track as a 3 day tramp (walk) with 2 huts available for overnight stay. After looking at the track profile & having a chat with the DoC official in Oban township of Stewart Island I decided that I’ll give it a crack to complete the full circuit in a day by running it.

For this run I decided to carry about 1litre of water in my Camelbak & a bottle of electrolytes, 2 mars bars (prefer these over gels on long runs) and some nuts for the trail.
I set off on Friday 28th December from Oban Township at 8:30am heading to the track starting point. You have to run about 5km on road to get to Lee Bay where the track officially starts. It was a great morning and already it was a bit warm.

From Lee bay you go through an arch (which represents an anchor) and its pretty undulating track for about another 4-5kms until you come to Maori beach (camp site) which you can run along in low tide. Then there is a bit of slight climb (nothing hard) and the track undulates through bush with the beach below. After another 3kms or so you come to the turn off to Port William hut. I continued on since I wasn’t planning on staying overnight.

Rakiura Track

Rakiura Track

The next bit of the track is a bit tricky to run with uneven surface and tree roots and a bit of mud. I could see that if it rained that progress will get slow as it was a bit slippery underfoot even with no rain and the mud sticks to your shoes.

Around the 15km mark there is a steady climb before descending to the North Arm Hut. From the turn off to the North Arm hut the track is quite undulating and crosses a few bridges and creeks. All in all I was feeling very good and have been running/walking about two and a half hours. I surprised a few trampers on their way of course and got the all too familiar “you must be mad” response to me running the track in a day.

The last part of the track is known as the Kaipipi saw mill road which apparently was built for transporting logs to Oban for transporting back to main land.

All in all it was a great run and I managed to get back to Oban in 5hrs 12mins & 36seconds with an average pace of about 9 min per Km including breaks!

Here is my Garmin data for the run.

Rakiura Track Summary

Rakiura Track Summary

Rakiura Track

Rakiura Track Lap Times

Rakiura Track Lap Times

Rakiura Track Elevation Profile

Rakiura Track Elevation Profile

So if you are in Stewart Island I highly recommend the Rakiura Track for a great day of running or walking!

Why you should run at Parkrun

If you are just a beginner runner or someone who is looking to improve your fitness or competitive time over a 10k or half marathon Parkrun is a great motivator.
Every Saturday morning at 8am you can join a group of like minded runners, joggers and walkers in Lower Hutt in Wellington and or Auckland for a 5km timed run. All you have to do is visit the Parkrun website and register to get a barcode – yes a barcode and bring that along to your run.

Once you finish your run or walk your time is captured & posted on the Parkrun website. This provides added motivation to come back each week and try and run faster. So check out Parkrun in Lower Hutt if you are living in Wellington to join up.

Happy running!