Marathon Training starts – next week..

After three years of running I think I am ready for the next step and that is to complete a Marathon. I know that some people do marathons within a year or even six months of training which is great. My focus has been to gradually get there and this year (2013) feels right to me. As some of you know I finished my sixth half marathon with a personal best of 1:33.54 on 17th Feb 2013. Based on that the McMillan Running Calculator tells me that I should be able to complete the Marathon in a time of 3hrs:17mins!! (Yeah right!) However I have no time goals since this is my first Marathon, the goal is to finish the 42.2km distance with a smile on my face (well not while running maybe). 🙂

McMillan Marathon Prediction

McMillan Marathon Prediction

If you haven’t tried the McMillan Running Calculator – do try it. It is fairly accurate. Example when I entered my half marathon time it pretty much calculated my 5km time spot on! It also gives you guidance on at what pace you should train on in order to race a certain distance under a certain time goal. For me this is what it means. Although I am not going for a time goal I will still train at these paces since they match my current training runs leading up to the last half marathon. And theoretically this should provide me with a good base improvement overall on other distances.

McMillan Training Paces

McMillan Training Paces

All the advice I have had is that training for a Marathon should not be taken lightly, meaning that it is very important to get the mix of running, recovery and nutrition right. Also there is no point in going hard out and getting injured. Key is gradual build up and maintenance of core endurance and stamina. After the RTB half, in the last two weeks I have reduced my weekly mileage to about 40-50k with some easy runs. This is so that I have a break and be ready for the start of my training program towards the Marathon.

I created a plan consisting of 16 weeks – and this is posted on under the heading “16 Week Marathon Plan” on my blog. So officially my training starts next week on Monday 4th of March. I won’t do a week by week update as I did for RTB but rather do maybe fortnightly updates on my progress leading up to the Marathon day of 23rd June 2013! The Marathon I chose is my local marathon in Wellington. June in Wellington is not the best time of year for running (early winter/cold) but it’s local and in familiar surroundings plus I don’t have to travel far to get to the start!

Also during the training time frame of 16 weeks I am doing a few events as well. So the plan is largely also accommodating these events.

And of course the 5k races on the waterfront and Lower Hutt Park run. These provides me with the motivation to keep going. We have been lucky with great summer weather locally in Wellington and with autumn and winter on the way this will change. Having some events to focus on will keep me motivated to get out the door and run!

I’d love to get feedback from others on their first marathon experiences! If you are like me and love watching running documentaries check out “Spirit of the Marathon” on YouTube below. This is a full length movie of 1hr 45mins about a bunch of runners elite and non elite on their marathon training for the Chicago Marathon! Connect your PC to the TV and watch it on the big screen!

Happy running!

Wellington RTB Half Marathon recap

As I sit here and write this I am pretty stoked on how today went! Most importantly I am pleased that my training (self coaching) was just right to get me to achieve today’s personal best time of 1:33:55 (unofficial time) 1:33:54 (official time). In any case I broke 1:35 which was my primary goal! If you were following my previous updates on the 5 week race specific plan I did for RTB head over here and have a look.
Just to give you all a recap here are my previous half marathon times from previous years.

What this shows is with the correct level of training (gradual) you can continue to improve overtime. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts I increased my mileage gradually and my main goal is to be relatively injury free so I can run pretty much all through out the year.

So how did today go? When I woke up around 5:30am first thing I did was check the weather forecast! I live pretty much in central Wellington so looking outside I could see the bays and water was pretty calm and still, It was just perfect. Not much wind and not sunny with a slight southerly breeze! Then I had my usual pre-event breakfast – 2 Crumpets with Peanut butter & a banana. That’s it. No coffee! I usually don’t drink coffee for 24hours if I am doing an event. This BTW makes it all the better when you finally have a coffee after the event!

Put on my running gear got a bag packed for post race and off I went to the start leaving home at 7:30. For this run I decided I not to have music with me – I was more ficused on maintaining my own rhythm and decided to ditch the music (not the first time I’ve done this). Just as I was walking along the Waterfront I saw Hinano was already there and she was warming up! I gave a high-five to her as I passed (I was semi-jogging) and said good luck. Checked in my bag and saw a few of my club runners and chatted for a bit. Then did the final all important pit-stop before starting a slow jog to get my legs moving. I don’t go into a full warm up routine if I am running anything more than 10k. Just a light jog and some easy stretches.

I chatted with a few of the other club runners and I saw Dave (fast runner usually about 1:20 PB) was one of the pacers for the 1:40 group. Just had a general chit chat and said to him “Well, Dave, this would probably be the only time I’d have a chance to beat you eh!” 🙂

Headed over to the start and another of our senior club runners Glen was there, he was aiming to run 1:35 so I said great! Let’s pace each other! There was about an 8min delay at the start and you could see everyone was anxious to get away. Glen and I were just in between the 1:30 pacer and the 1:40 pacer. My aim was to stick to 4:30ish pace no matter what. The race started and off we all went!

There was a massive surge and a whole bunch of people flew past me and Glen in the first km. We were like what the hell? Surely we are NOT that slow? First Km split was 4:22 pretty easy going and I was not going to fall into the trap of going too fast. Second was in 4:24, the third in 4:19 and we go to 5k in 21min 50secs – so far so good we were into a pretty good rhythm. By about the 7km mark we were passing a lot of people and guess what.. they were the one’s who went out like bats out of hell at the start and struggling a bit to keep up the pace. By around the 9km mark I was into a very good rhythm and kept going around the 4:25ish pace which was exactly what I wanted. I had one Gu Energy Gel with me so I took some of that with water as we passed the next water station. I passed 10k marker just shy of my 10k PB! At this stage Glen had fallen back a bit.

About the 11k point some of the Elite runners were heading back! I yelled out encouragement to a few of them that I knew from our club. I passed 13.7kms in 60mins which was also the turnaround point!

After 14km marker I was running at max and fighting the usual pains that comes with running at max. I just kept telling myself that It was only a another 1km to go and so forth! By the 17th Km my left leg felt really stiff and my ITB started hurting this was bearable but my pace dropped to around the 4:30ish mark. I kept pushing and by 19th Km mark Glen caught up to me again! I just ignored the pain and got right behind him and upped my pace. The last 2km was pretty hard and painful but also good because I pushed and was able to run the last Km in my fastest split of 4min 16 to a sprint finish with Glen just slightly ahead of me! Final time : 1hr 33mins 55secs (unofficial) with an average pace of 4min 23secs resulting in a new PB shaving off about 4mins from my previous best time!

RTB Time 2013

RTB Time 2013 on my Garmin

2013 RTB Official Time

2013 RTB Official Time

Looking at my splits here is what happened. It was pretty even and my strategy to try for even splits worked well. I am glad I went through enough tempo runs in my training as well as my almost weekly 5k races. These are all important in training.

RTB 2013 Splits

RTB 2013 Splits

So all in all a great day and pretty happy with how everything worked. Next week it’s going to be an easy week and I am looking forward to just hitting some of the local trails and do some easy running! Next weekend 23rd Feb (Saturday) I am running with the Round Lake Taupo relay with the Wellington Running Meetup group. I am looking forward to that which will be pretty fun!

After this event my main goal is the Wellington Marathon! This is essentially what I’ve been building up for the last three years. I am creating a 17 week training plan starting from 4th March 2013 leading upto 23rd June 2013! In between I’ll be doing a few other events as well. Check out my Races and Places page for these!

Happy running!

Pacing – Negative, Positive or Equal splits?

Based on my previous running experience I am looking at the possibility of running close to 1:35 for my half marathon this weekend on Sunday 17th.

Taking a closer look at two of my last year’s half marathon times I can see that I had run negative splits on one race and positive splits in the next. Negative splits meaning that the second half of the race is faster than the first. But this may not always be the case depending on the conditions of the day and the course etc.

In February 2012 I ran my current a half marathon PB of 1:37:22. (current PB is 1:33)That time consisted of an average per Km pace of 4min 31secs. In this race my second half of the race was run much faster than the first. It was perfect conditions for running on the day of the event and everything ‘clicked’ for me.

RTB 2012 race splits

RTB 2012 race splits (5k in 21mins, 10k in 46mins and 13.5kms in 1hrs)

In August 2012 I also ran another half marathon, this was in Taupo. In contrast I went out a bit too fast and slowed down significantly and finished in 1:38 which wasn’t too far off but felt different in terms of effort somehow. Arguably I was not planning to run faster and only entered this race at the last minute. It was however interesting to see the splits. The average per Km pace was roughly 4min38secs with the second half of the race being pretty slow going.


Taupo Half marathon 2012 August splits

Leading up to this weekends race my goal is to try and run equal splits of 4min 29secs which will put me in with a chance of running a PB and getting close to 1:34:59. I also know that I can sustain 4min 20sec pace over 10-12k if I really push hard. It will all depend on the days conditions and how I feel. Either way I am pretty happy with my overall training so far and it’s going to come down to how I feel after the first 14kms. Then I know that I only need to run another 7kms and that is where (training) endurance and racing pace comes into play. Current weather forecast for Sunday 17th is ‘Dry with southerlies’ which can mean anything from breezes to gale force winds and or low temperatures. The only thing is to trust your training and run your best.

Check out this race pace chart which gives an indication of times based on 4min to 4:59min per Km pace for the half marathon.

What’s your race strategy for Sunday the 17th? Based on above can you predict my final time? Add a comment below with your guess and you’ll go in the draw to win – check out “Keep running and you’ll be winning” 🙂

Good luck to everyone and hope to see some of you after the race!

1 Week to RTB – Recap of week 4 and final update

I posted my 5 week plan that I made for leading up to Wellington Round the Bays half marathon and the update on the third week on how things went. This is my fourth week training update leading to the next weeks Wellington Round the Bays half marathon! I’ll post how it all goes next Monday!

Week 4 was a week where most runs were in ‘maintenance mode’. Target was to run a total of 60kms for the week.

Monday – 04th Feb – Rest day  with some strength work in the afternoon. Mostly involving some stability work and Plyometrics including Box Jumps, High Knees, Bounding and Single Leg hops.

Tuesday – 05th Feb – It was a pretty windy day, probably the first one in quite a while after the great weather we’ve had. Easy 12kms. To avoid running into the wind I went up Carlton Gore road on the waterfront and did a reverse loop out to Evans bay and back via the waterfront with the wind behind me. So bit of a small hill run at around 5:30 easy pace.

Wednesday – 06th Feb – 11k run with a tempo session. I was able to push about 35mins at tempo pace. I use a HR monitor with my Garmin watch. This gives me a good indication when I need to push and when I can ease off. Once you figure out your HR zones it works to your advantage and helps in maintaining the right effort level on each workout.

Tempo session

Tempo session

Thursday – 07th Feb – Initially I had Thursday down as a rest say. However we had plans to go away this weekend so I decided to go for an easy recovery run today. easy 12ks and lots of stretching and foam rolling to relax leg and ITB muscles.

Friday – 08th Feb – A steady 12km run around 4:45 pace and post workout stretch.

Saturday – 09th Feb – Rest day!

Sunday – 10th Feb – 14ks of easy running around the bays. Final long run and warm down!

RTB Week 4 Recap

RTB Week 4 Training recap

So here’s to the next week of running leading up to Wellington Round The Bays.

Also if you haven’t entered the giveaway go and check it out – “Keep running and you’ll be winning” I’ve changed the rules, means all you have to do is enter the competition if you are running AMI Round the Bays.

With only a week away I am looking at running a PB by aiming to better my previous time of 1hr:37mins. What are your goals?

Keeping yourself motivated for the long run

So you have done the training – you’re ready to run “THE” event you have been training for – but have you thought about what’s next? For me I’ve always had another event that I wanted to take part in. This has helped me in terms of keeping myself motivated and look forward to keep going on with running.

So if you are about to do your first event here are some tips to get ready and motivated for the next event!

  • Keep a log book of how often and how long you run. – One of the best ways is to sign up with a site such as Endomondo, Run Keeper or Sports Tracker. These also offer ‘free’ apps that you can use on your smart phone and can track your Kms, Heart rate and your route of the run. I find it very motivating to see the daily, weekly, monthly stats and the progress I have made. Check out my previous post on “How much do you run?
    According to my current stats I have run 4412.79 km which is equivalent to 0.11 Trips around the world and 0.011 Trips to the moon!

    Running Summary

    Running Summary

  • Sign up for local 5k races – there are plenty of races around and these are on each week. The point is not competing against others but competing with yourself to see if you can beat your previous time.
  • Sign up for a longer event, if you have just completed Round the Bays 7km why not target the Wellington 10k that happens in June? This helps you to keep yourself motivated and keep going.
  • Traveling overseas? – Look up a local race in the destination you are going to be at – back in 2011 I was in Ireland in April and I entered a half marathon which happened to be on at the time I was there. You’ll meet some new people and even make new friends!
  • Join a local running group – In Wellington there are many options with professional clubs as well as socially organised group runs. Check out The Wellington Running Meetup Group. They organise runs every week for all levels. The Wellington Scottish Athletics Club also have many options for all levels of runners.

I am also running a small competition to help you keep going – check out my post “Keep running and you’ll be winning” for details.

Happy running!