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?

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.

I’ve completed a Marathon – now what?

Some say that immediately after you finish your first Marathon that it’s normal to say “Never doing this again!!” as you slowly crawl out of bed the next day and try to get some movement out of your legs. It hurts there is no denying that, in my case my legs hurt for a couple of days immediately afterwards but this gradually subsided as days went by. I took a full 8 days off running and pretty much gave my body a good well earned rest. Now having slowly started easing into some gradual runs I am looking at what I had initially planned for rest of the year.

I already have an event planned for September (Abel Tasman) which is almost Marathon distance at 40km but unlike a road race is entirely on trails. Long term my goal is to target another Marathon in 2014, this time however with a time goal. (most likely Rotorua Marathon in may 2014). With these goals in mind I have looked at my past training plan (based on a 16 week cycle) and is now essentially putting together a plan (28 weeks from 1 July to 28 December 2013) that will carry me through to end of this year. The last two weeks has been build up weeks with a steady build up in base mileage (building up to about 100k -120k per week) which will continue for 4-6 weeks more. During this period I have potentially two Half Marathons that I can use to tune my race pace. The first is coming up in three weeks in Taupo (4th August) and I’ll pretty much train through it without a taper. Second half marathon that I might consider doing is in September, however it’s one week before the Abel Tasman Trail Run. Based on how I am feeling I might end up skipping that and conserve my energy for Abel Tasman.

Key is to continue building up mileage through winter and then start speed work in Spring to be able to target a couple of races over summer and better my half marathon times. Would be interesting to know how others plan their yearly plans.

Happy running!

Wellington Marathon 2013 – I am a marathon finisher!

It’s official! I am now a marathoner with a debut personal best time of 3:25:56.

When I started training for the (local) Wellington Marathon I had no specific time goal in mind. My main focus was to train well & make it to the start with no injuries & being able to finish the distance in relative (dis)comfort. Having done quite a few half marathons this was kind of a big deal to have a Marathon under my belt.

I am not a fast runner or an gifted athlete by any stretch of imagination. However, I like to think that I am focused & disciplined when it comes to training, because I know that one can’t simply turn up & run a marathon with little to no training. Some people might be able to but that’s not me & I’ve done enough research to know that if you put our body through such stress as running a marathon with little to no training the long term risks to your health can be very significant.

Training for this marathon was also a way for me to learn about nutrition, physiology & experimenting with my own training program. I set out a 16 week program loosely taking some training schedule guidance from the book “Advanced Marathoning” and as a first time Marathoner the information in this book was very valuable. For example I learned about Glycogen depletion, Hydration & how to avoid some of the common mistakes in training, learned about allowing the body to recover, about threshold training and a whole lot more. In the end all of these mattered, even in the last 2 weeks when faced with a possible injury the guiding principals of recovery was fundamental in being able to start with a positive attitude & completing the marathon. (Which I must add was far better time than I thought I’d be able to).

Due to the bad weather Wellington had in the 3-4 days prior to the event the organisers had to change the Marathon course. Wellington’s south coast road was a mess after the massive storm, with winds of upto 140km/h & waves that breached over the protective walls damaging most of the roads. We had non stop rain for 2 days & Saturday prior to the event it just rained non stop. Nevertheless in true Wellington style it all cleared up on Sunday (race day) morning with only a southerly breeze of about 20-30kms at start & this diminished towards the middle part of the race & by the end the sun was out! So in terms of race conditions of a mid-winter marathon it was pretty good.

The start was at the WestPac stadium & I got to the start around 7am to meet up with my training buddies whom I have done most of my longer runs with. Some of them were aiming for PBs having done previous marathons. I was just happy to start. It was a bit chilly so we huddled to the start & after a short briefing about the course change we were off right on 7:30am.

Prior to the race I broke my race into 4 phases. First an easy steady warm up of 8kms just under 5min per Km pace, I had no intention of running hard out from the start. Next a steady 16kms to get me to halfway around 4:45-5:00 but with the option of dropping down to 5:15 if things started hurting. I passed the half marathon point in 1:41 which was a tad faster than I thought, however I was feeling pretty comfortable so I kept a steady pace of around 4:45min per Km. Once I got to 32km I wanted to run the last 10kms at about 4:35-4:45 pace. With the course having been altered there was a short out & back section so I could see the leaders & the chasers. There were few of the club runners whom I knew so it was good to cheer them on a couple of times. Once the twice out & back was completed the course continued on back to the WestPac stadium via the same route. This incidentally was also the point where the half marathon runners merged with the marathoners. I hit this point just as the 2:00hr half marathon pacer & following group merged. I cruised past them & kept on a steady pace. At around 36km marker my legs started seizing up, it was a bit frustrating a physically I was not tired & with my legs seizing up my pace started to drop gradually to around 5:15 per Km. In the end I was finished in 3:25:56 which I am very very happy about!

During the run I had a packet of Gu Chomps (Orange Flavour) with me which was my main fuel source for the whole run along with regular water and electrolytes on offer at fuel stations.

So there you have it, my first marathon and it was a great experience. Here is a map of the course from my Garmin stats. Results online at: http://tiktok.biz/wellingtonmarathon/2013/

Wellington Marathon 2013

Wellington Marathon 2013

If you are planning to run a marathon for the first time here is my advice:

  • Run at least 2-3 half marathons before you attempt a full marathon
  • Give your self at least a 12 week period to train adequately
  • Do at least 3-4 long runs of 30km or more during your training
  • Add some speed work gradually (5k races are great for speed work)
  • Learn about nutrition and hydration and what works for you
  • Taper for at least 2 weeks

With that I’d also like to thank everyone who has sent me best wishes via twitter and by posting comments on the blog. As some of you know I posted about the small competition I ran for my readers on guessing my marathon finish time. I would like say congrats to @talkingtothecan who guessed the closet time of 3:24!

I am taking a break from running for a week and will be back into training with the main focus being the Able Tasman Trail Run in late September this year. This is one of New Zealand’s epic trail runs and I am looking forward to it!