Road to Rotorua Marathon

Happy 2014 everyone!

With a new year come new running plans, well actually not really ‘new’ but goals for the year nonetheless and events that I am looking forward to. Unlike last year I won’t be planning on doing a lot of events but will choose a few key running events as the year goes on. After my first successful marathon attempt in June 2013 I already had added Rotorua marathon as my second marathon attempt. For the Rotorua marathon it is a significant year as it is going to be the 50th anniversary event. I am currently in a build up phase and it will be 16 weeks to Rotorua (3rd May 2014) from next week. Ideal time to start focusing and get into training mode.

Before Rotorua I am also going to be aiming to run at the Wellington Round the Bays half marathon. This is the local Wellington event that I have done for the last three years so it is only logical that this was in the running schedule for the year. It’s roughly about 6 weeks and then 10 weeks to Rotorua after that.I actually love doing half marathon events, in fact I am probably going to stick mostly with races that are 20-30km in distance apart from the odd marathon maybe once a year.

Goal for Rotorua are to beat my current PB of 3:25 for the marathon. So my training goal is 3:15-3:20 but the Rotorua course is a bit harder than other courses so I will need to keep that in perspective. In any case I will aim to train well and be ready as much as I can be. Beyond Rotorua marathon I have another significant overseas marathon event planned but at the moment I will keep myself focused on Rotorua first.

thanks for stopping by.

2013 running review

Since it’s end of the year I thought I will do a recap of my running adventures for 2013. I started my running blog in January 2013. If you didn’t read my first post have a read of “Just keep running“.

2013 was a good year for me in terms of my running. I managed to overcome some obstacles and achieve some of my running goals. So here is how my running numbers looked like for year 2013.

This year I have run a total of 3723km for the year averaging 310km per month. I have climbed 36105 meters during these runs. This is a steady increase compared to last two years of 2011 and 2012. It was 2011 when I started running so overall I have doubled my mileage over the years. The increase in mileage helped with some good personal best times over distances of 10km and half marathon (21.1k).

Yearly Stats 2013

Running numbers from 2011, 2012 and 2013. Distances in Kilometers.

With this steady increase I have been cautious about getting injured, to avoid this I have used the hard easy principal of training and incorporated a lot of strength and flexibility work in my schedules. I have also tried to run off road and vary the terrain that I do my running in. Here is a breakdown of each month – apart from a dip in June (First marathon) most months were 300kms plus.

2013 Monthly Totals

2013 Monthly Totals – distances in Kilometers.

At start of 2013 I had one goal for the year and that was to complete a marathon. I achieved this goal in June by running the Wellington Marathon. This was a significant milestone for me. Other highlights was running a personal best half marathon time in September. This was a positive sign that my training was paying off.

In October I finally managed to break the 20minute mark in my 5km time and achieve a PB time of 19:39. Since then I have run 5km races in: 19:41, 19:53, 19:59 so I am confident that in 2014 I can get this down to 19:20 or so, which will put me in good contention of chasing a faster half marathon time and possibly a fast marathon time.

I will update what my goals are for 2014 in my next post. Thanks for reading my blog. Happy new year and best of luck for achieving your own goals whatever they may be in the new year.

My favourite runs in Wellington

I’ve mentioned before that Wellington has so many options for running on and off road. Also if you haven’t got a copy of “Runners Guide to Wellington” you should! It’s got the best of the best running routes for Wellington. I’m going to share three of my favourite routes that are easily accessible from Wellington CBD.

Karori Trails

This one is not directly in the CBD but a short drive to Karori and you have access to some sweet trails that is part of the Makara peak mountain bike park.

1.KaroriTrails

The start of this run can be from anywhere in Karori. I usually start from near the Karori supermarket or the Post shop. Run towards Makara and turn left into Burrows Avenue to head into Wright’s hill reserve and follow the trails up to Wright’s hill this is your first climb. Then you pop out into Hazelwood Avenue and connect to the main Makara mountain bike park. Follow the trails all the way up to Makara peak and start dropping down towards Makara hill road connecting to the start of Skyline track. Then down to Karori park and back to start along Karori road. All about 18kms with some decent climbs and sweet trails.

1.ElevationProfile

Tinakori > Wadestown > Aro Loop

This one’s easily done from CBD and I usually start from under the sails in Queens wharf or from Ferg’s when meeting with others for the run. A mix of road and trails with a hill.

2.TinakoriPolhillLoop

Head towards Thorndon from the CBD taking Hill Street past the Beehive and onto Tinakori road. Tinakori hill is pretty easy to spot and it’s a mean climb to the top. Once you get to the top follow the Northern walkway towards Wadestown and start climbing down via Weld Street. Follow Wadestown road to Blackbridge road and connect to Otari Wilton’s lower car park. You can either stick to the road or take the lower trails of Wilton’s bush and connect back to Curtis Street via Old Karori road and take Chaytor street to Zealandia. Follow the Zealandia fenceline (on the outside) towards George Denton Park and head down via Polhill (Aro) back to town. Roughly about 18kms.

2.EP

Thorndon > Wadestown > Northland > Kelburn > Aro Easy Loop

This one’s all road and is a great option when it’s howling a northerly or southerly on the waterfront and you want to get in a decent run. Again starting from the CBD head towards Wadestown via Mulgrave street onto Aitken, Hill street and then right onto Tinakori road and connect to Grant, Barnard which turn to Lennel and onto Wadestown and follow the road all the way to Wilton road, past Wilton’s Bush connecting to Curtis street. Take Upland road to Kelburn and here you can choose to cut back down to CBD or continue on to Aro valley via Plunket street, Raroa road and onto Aro street. Back to CBD from any route you choose. An easy 14kms all up. You can do this loop the other way as well.

3.WadestownKelburnAro

There are so many more options in Wellington and I always try and change my routes to keep it interesting, what are some of your favourite runs?

Taupo Half Marathon 2013 Recap

This was my 8th half marathon since starting my running reboot in 2011. Just to recap the previous halves that I have completed are:

  1. 2011 Wellington Round the Bays My first Half Marathon – 2:02:08 (February 2011)
  2. 2011 Omagh Harriers – Half Marathon (Northern Ireland) – 21.1k – 1:57:33 (April 2011)
  3. 2011 Wellington Half Marathon – 21.1k – 1:54.46 (June 2011)
  4. 2012 Wellington Round The Bays – 1:37:22 (February 2012)
  5. 2012 Taupo Half Marathon – 1:38:50 (August 2012)
  6. 2013 Wellington Round the Bays 1:33:54 (February 2013) – current PB!
  7. 2013 Rotorua Half Marathon – 1:37:47 (May 2013)
  8. 2013 Taupo Half Marathon – 1:34:39 (August 2013) <- Latest

Taupo is a great destination for running events with the lakefront course being pretty flat. Having done the Taupo Half Marathon in 2012 I wanted to come back and have a go at this race again. The goal for this race was twofold. One was to run at around 4:30min per km, second to run under 1:35 which of course depended on the first goal. I wasn’t necessarily going for a PB on this race having just come off a Marathon in June I was just getting back into my second phase of training. Most my work has been on building mileage as I eluded to in my previous post.

We left Wellington after work on Friday and arrived in Taupo pretty late Friday evening. After a sleep in Saturday was spent just chilling out in Taupo with a brunch at L’arte cafe in Acacia Bay – highly recommend it if you end up in Taupo. Then we walked around the Saturday market in Taupo. By the way if you are a girl and want some awesome running gear check out Kori Kita – http://www.korikita.co.nz/ NZ made by Kate and she’s at the Taupo market every Saturday. After nosing around the market went to the registration and race pack collection at the Great Lake centre. This was the 20th Anniversary of the Mizuno (main sponsor) Half Marathon. The race pack included some goodies as well as a running shirt by Mizuno. One of the other cool things was the Race number included an electronic chip already embedded so there was no plastic chip thingy you had to tie down on your shoe. This was pretty convenient and it’s becoming more popular in races I am told.

Taupo Half 2013 - A T-Shirt and Chocolate

Taupo Half 2013 – A T-Shirt and Chocolate

Anyways rest of Saturday was spent just chilling out and went to bed early. Sunday was forecast for rain but the morning arrived with no sign of rain and or wind. I got to the race start by about 8:30am for the 9:00am start. I got around to the start with a race announcer going through the usual speech of thanking sponsors etc and also recognizing runners and walkers who have run all 20 events since 1994 when the race first began. The race started right on time (actually 8:59 according to my Garmin). I was in the first wave and got into a bit of a fast start for the first Km and joined a bunch of runners who seem to be content with running around 4:25-4:30 pace and got into an easy rhythm. I wasn’t pushing for pace so got into a chat with a gent who was doing his 20th race! Judging by the cheers he got along the way it was apparent he was a bit of a local runner celebrity and it was good to run along with him for a while. Around the 8km mark is a slight rise (not a hill) and a few people were slowing down who’d gone out a bit fast. Around here I caught up to another celebrity runner, Victoria Taylor. She’s run the length of New Zealand to raise awareness for Child Cancer NZ. It was nice to meet her in person and whilst she was also running! So I chatted with her for a bit and kept on with my original pace plan of sticking to 4:30min per Km.

At the halfway point was a drinks station so I slowed a bit and had two cups of water and half a Gu gel and then got back into my rhythm. From this point on the course follows the edge of the lake along a paved path. I was still within my time of being on target for 1:35. The last few Kms hurt a bit and ended up finishing in 1:34 with average of 4.28min per km, which was pretty bang on what I wanted to pace myself for this race.

After the race everyone got a shiny big 20th Anniversary finishers medal and a chocolate fish! I went straight to the coffee cart – maybe I should have had “Speeding Beans” coffee before the race!

Taupo Half Finish 2013

Taupo Half Finish 2013 – That’s me in the yellow top

Taupo Half Marathon Medal

2013 Taupo Half Marathon 20th Anniversary Medal

Speeding Bean - Coffee with Speed

Speeding Bean – Coffee with Speed

Half Marathon course.

Taupo Half Marathon 2013 Course

Taupo Half Marathon 2013 Course

Now I am back into my regular training schedule leading up to the 40km Abel Tasman Trail race in September 28th!

Revisiting Goals for the Year

When I started this blog in January (start of this year), I had a few running related goals in mind. These were:

With the exception of running a sub 20 – 5km race (which I have come close to) I have pretty much achieved the other two goals. Above all one of the most important goals that I set myself this year was to build a consistent high mileage base and avoiding getting injured. With my somewhat high mileage training leading up to the June marathon I was able to get to about 80kms per week on average with couple of weeks of 100kms of running. As I indicated previously after (re)starting my running back in 2011, I have been able to steadily build up my base. This has not been easy, however the perseverance has paid off as now it’s showing the benefits of me being able to do good consistent workouts weekly. The best indication of this is my recovery times from hard workouts such as Tempo runs and Intervals are much faster than before. Since I gather data from my runs I can use this to compare same types of runs from a few years and months ago to now and see the relative improvements. Looking at this information is one of the best motivators that I use to focus on my next goal(s).

On Sunday 4th August I am going to run a half marathon in Taupo. This is not a key race but rather a trial race to see if I have had any improvements, hopefully be able to beat my time 1:37 of the same course from last year.

Over the last 5 weeks my plan has been to build up core/leg strength and also up my mileage again so I can get to an average week of 100kms and a peak of 120kms in the next 6 weeks before the Abel Tasman trail race. I haven’t picked any other events for this year after September. The next main goal is Rotorua Full Marathon in May 2014. I will probably do a few half marathons leading up to Rotorua as well.

Jan 2013 to July2013

Jan 2013 to July2013

This is what my current training log looks like. The dips in Feb and June indicate events. Now I’m on a build up phase again. Do you log your running? What does your log look like? How much do you run weekly?