5km Races and Running Improvements

A while back I wrote that I was struggling to break the 20min mark in my 5km races. Fast track to exactly a year and I am now quite comfortably running sub 20min 5km races. My initial frustration with not being able to break that mark is now rewarded with a series of sub 20 times in a number of 5km races since October 2013 through to January 2014.

So far in 6 of my 5km races since October 2013 I have being consistent at running under sub 20minutes as follows:

Event Date Time
Lower Hutt parkrun 25/01/2014 19:36 Current PB
Hamilton Lake parkrun 28/12/2013 19:53
Porirua parkrun 30/11/2013 19:59
Wellington 5k 19/11/2013 19:55
Wellington 5k 29/10/2013 19:41
Lower Hutt parkrun 19/10/2013 19:39

With the net improvement my goal is to now be comfortable at running this pace at other distances. My next goal is to break 90mins in the half marathon distance. Key to this is being able to sustain 4:15min per KM splits for the net distance and pass the 5km mark in a comfortable time of 19:59 in a half marathon race. This will also mean that my current 10km personal best time will have an improvement. Well that’s the theory anyway.

Overall I am now doing some specific speed work sessions every week and working at my threshold pace. This has resulted in a few things:

  • I am able to run faster over longer distances with less effort. This is compared to the distances I used to run and my variances in heart rate. I can be in zone 2 with a HR variance of 143-155 and still run @ 5:00min pace. Previously I would be in Zone 3 or Zone 4 at that pace.
    HRZones2 HRZones
  • I can add distance to my weekly mileage but still be ‘fresh’ for key workouts such as speed sessions of intervals and tempos. Typically I will do an Interval session on a Wednesday and a Tempo on a Saturday so there is enough recovery time between them. I have been able to increase my weekly mileage to 100km per week with a peak of 120km as mentioned in my previous post.
    Weekly100kmIncidentally January has also been the month where I have gone over 400km for the month!

With these gradual increases I am hoping that I can continue my training and improving my running for this year. Main goal being the Rotorua marathon in May.

Happy running!

My first 120km week

Yes, that’s 120 kilometers (75miles) of running, not in one go of course but a full week with no rest days. This is the first time I have ever attempted to run this much and it went really well and my body surprisingly held up well. I was feeling a bit sluggish towards the end of day 6 but still managed to complete my goal. Here is how the week went.

2014 Jan 120km Week

2014 Jan 120km Week

Monday – 25kms

Monday was a fantastic sunny day, and it was such a contrast from Sunday where I managed a very wet 18km run. So I took advantage of the great sunny weather and headed out thinking I’ll do about 16kms but ended up doing an even paced 25km in 2hrs.

Monday Run Along the Bays

Monday Run Along the Bays with a dip in the sea at the end

Tuesday – Easy 10km

I was a little bit stiff on Tuesday so I did a very slow paced 60min run and completed 10kms followed by some easy stretching. Felt really good by the afternoon so I knew I was recovered well.

Wednesday – Moderate 12km plus Stairs and Speed = 22.5km

Managed to do a nice and easy but steady 12km run with a another 1km to cool down early morning. In the evening I was scheduled to go and run with the training group I am hosting as part of Wellington Running Meetup. I have been helping a group with their half marathon preparations for a few weeks and we all meet every Wednesday at 6:15. We did 3 x 360 stairs on one of the steepest paths in Wellington (on Maida Vale Road). After that we all did 2 x 1.5km laps at tempo speed. So a total of 22kms for Wednesday.

Wednesday Running Meetup Group

Wednesday Running Meetup Group

Thursday – 11km trails

I was surprised at how well my body was holding up given all the running till now. I decided to head to one of my favorite trails near where I live and did an easy 11km loop. This is Korokoro trail near Petone, its a gentle trail that runs along the stream and is one of the best trails near where I live.

Korokoro Stream Trail

Korokoro Stream Trail

Friday – 10kms

An easy run to loosen up and some stretching. I was felling a bit sluggish but managed to get in 10kms relatively easily.

Saturday 18km – Mt Climie (Long Hill)

This was a pretty hard one – Mt Climie is North East of Upper Hutt – with a total elevation gain of 850m from start to finish it is one of the best ‘hill’ runs of the area. The views from the top is pretty spectacular (on a good day). And as it was Saturday was a fantastic day with no wind and blue skies.

 

This run is also on Page 62 of Runners Guide to Wellington. I organised this run with the Running Meetup Group and there were 12 of us who went up Climie.

Mt Climie (aka Climbie)

Mt Climie (aka Climbie)

 Sunday – 23kms

My legs were a bit stiff after Saturday’s run but I still wanted to get in an even paced 2hr run. So I headed into town and went past the bays and did a nice circuit loop past Miramar for 23kms and bringing my week to a finish with 121kilometers!

120km done in 7days

120km done in 7days

A few things to note.. I didn’t randomly decide to run 120kms, I was building up gradually and over the last 3months I have done 90+ Km weeks and a few 100km weeks. This was the peak at week 8 of of a 16 week training cycle. This week I will keep my mileage at around 85km + range the gradually taper off to about 60km closer to the end of the cycle. I have mentioned previously about how I have built up distance over a period of time. The next 6-8 weeks my training will include some key speed sessions to get ready for my next half marathon on 23rd February.

What’s the most you have run in a week?

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.

September update and a Half marathon PB

Haven’t been able to update on what’s been happening so here is a bit of a recap on August and September. August was about maintaining a steady base with some good runs. Through a three week period I was able to maintain 3 weeks of 85+Kms per week. This was a pretty good period with some good hill runs and some speed work done at the local track with some of my buddies. This resulted in a personal best half marathon time of 1:32:06 on the 15th of September at the Pelorus Trust Half Marathon. Previous half marathon PB was 1:33:56 which I ran in February this year.

September Mileage - 3 weeks of 85+ Kms

September Mileage – 3 weeks of 85+ Kms

The Pelorus race course was not an easy course as it ran along some streets and over a railway bridge and on a side of the Hutt river trail out and  back. The back leg was exposed to a southerly head wind which slowed some of the runners including me. My run was pretty good with an average pace of about 4:20min per Kms. This is a pretty good indication that I can push for a sub 1:30 in the coming months and aim to run 4:15min splits.

Coming weekend (Saturday 28th September) is the 40km Abel Tasman coastal classic trail run which is a tough run with some undulating off road terrain in the Abel Tasman national park. My aim is to finish and take it easy through this run. There are a number of people from Wellington Running Meetup who is heading down for this so it will be a fun event. After the Abel Tasman my longer term aim is the 50th Rotorua Marathon in May 2014. I’ll post my training plan for the Rotorua marathon (my second) in the coming months. Since this is my second marathon my aim would be to run a personal best time. Based on my last (first marathon) effort I’m confident that I can aim for a reasonable time. Between now and then I will aim to do some half marathons to keep myself motivated.

In November this year (2013) I am planning to run the Tongariro Northern circuit with a local trail runner Julian Bee who is raising funds for CureKids by running all of the great walks of NZ. The Tongariro Circuit is about 43kms.

 

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!