2014 Round the Bays Half Marathon recap

This is somewhat of a delayed post about my last half marathon I ran on 23rd of February. Last year I ran the same half marathon in 1:33:55. Since then I had also run a PB time of 1:32 in September 2013. Since this was my first major race for 2014 I had a goal of running under 1:30. Most of my training leading up to the event has been on preparation on one of my goal marathons in May the Rotorua marathon. So this race was a good time to do a ‘time trial’ of how my training was progressing. At the same time I was not prepared to go all out and then lose time recovering for two or more weeks as I have only about 8 weeks left to the Rotorua marathon in May.

The day was pretty good weather wise, apart from a slight northwesterly wind it was a great summer day for an 8am start. However the race was delayed till 8:15am because the organisers were clearing some vehicles that had ventured into the closed part of the course.

Round the Bays 2014

At the start with Brendon and Yulia

My race plan was to run pretty even splits of 4:15min per Km pace so I will end up around 1:29 and getting under the 1:30 mark There were pace groups for 1:25, 1:30 and 1:45. So I was just slightly ahead of the 1:30 pacer and the plan was to hold pace with him from around the after the first 5km marker. In hindsight I should have held back a little bit. This year the race also introduced a 10k race and the start area was a bit hectic with 10k and half marathon runners all starting at the same time. I think that a staggered start would have been much better for all runners involved. This created bit of a rush and some confusion amongst a few inexperienced runners.

Anyways we started off and as usual there was a rush of the ‘mad dashers’ who usually end up paying the price around halfway. The first 7k splits were pretty good but a wee bit faster in some ways. Splits from start to 7k point were 4:14, 4:11, 4:06, 4:14, 4:06, 4:16, 4:15. At around the 7km point was the turn back for 10km runners and this became bit of a choke point for faster 10k runners coming back into the mass of the runners who were heading past the turn point. The next 7kms had a bit of head wind. I shadowed behind a few runners including the 1:30 pace group. Splits to the 14km mark were 4:23, 4:30, 4:14, 4:19, 4:11, 4:10, 4:11. I was still feeling pretty fresh around 14km marker and I broke a another PB of distance run in 1hrs at the 14km marker. So my pacing was spot on. This is where things got interesting. So what had happened was that the turning point was a bit off than what it should have been and thus making the actual distance about 600-700m longer. I knew straight away that this was the case as I had done the course before. So at this point I had two choices go out a bit harder and try and make up the time/ground to still officially break my 1:30 goal or maintain the same pace (which was feeling pretty good) and not push too hard. I did some quick calculations in my head and decided to stick with the same even pace. My rationale was that I had proven that I am able to comfortably maintain the pace and am actually running faster than I have run before. It was a sign that my marathon training was indeed working. The next final 7km splits were as follows: 4:13, 4:35 (slowed down at a drink station than I anticipated), 4:16, 4:19, 4:20, 4:08, 4:12) and then the added bonus of an almost an extra 1km in 4:22. The total distance actually came to 22kms instead of the standard 21.1km of a half marathon. The organisers officially acknowledged that the course was measured correctly but the volunteers who were sent to the turning point made an error in judgement and placed the turning point too far in that what was marked. There was no adjustments made to results. Officially my time was recorded as 1:33 (which was the same as last year). I actually crossed the 21.1km distance according to my garmin watch in 1:29:50 thus unofficially getting a PB. In any case I was pretty happy with the net result knowing that I am in fact running faster and more economically than before and on track to a good marathon in 8 weeks time in May!

Thanks for reading.


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?

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?

2 Weeks to RTB – Recap of week 3 and Sahara Challenge

I posted my 5 week plan that I made for leading up to Wellington Round the Bays half marathon and the update on the second week on how things went. This is my third week training update leading to the next two weeks before Wellington Round the Bays half marathon!

Week 3 was another week of medium to high mileage week. With the The Tussock Traverse 26k trail run out of the way and a day of rest leading onto the week of running starting Monday 28th January. Target was to run a total of 80kms for the week.

Monday – 28th Jan – 12kms steady pace – it was pretty warm even at 6:30am when I did my run. Finished my run with a swim at oriental bay to cool off. The ‘unusual’ summer we are having is pretty good but sure does make it a bit uncomfortable because of the higher than normal temperatures in Wellington.

Tuesday – 29th Jan – 5k race @ 80% effort at about 4:10 pace and a 5k warm down jog post race. Managed to do the 5k race relatively easily with even splits. Jogged 5k so total of 10ks for the day. Again a fine warm day with high temperatures.

Wednesday – 30th Jan – 16k run at about 4:30 per Km pace. I did about 14kms at this pace and slowed down the last 2km to recover. Total 16kms done. This run was a bit of a test run to check how I can get into ‘race pace’ on the day of the race. Pushing 4:30 pace felt good and no major concerns. Did some core strength and foam rolling in the evening.

Thursday – 31st Jan – Rest day!. Lots of stretching and foam rolling to relax leg and ITB muscles.

Incidentally January 2013 was my highest mileage for the last 3 years of running. In January I ran a total of 308km (191miles) in total. This was a steady build up for over 5 months of slight increases in my weekly Kms. If you are planning to increase your running mileage make sure that you increase gradually and back off when things start hurting.

Monthly Increase Kms

Monthly Increase in Kilometers.

One of my goals after this half marathon is to start training for my first Marathon. So this increase in Km is an important step to get my body adopted to the coming high mileage training. I’ll update on this in another post. 🙂

Friday – 1st of February – A steady 20km run. Now this was a special run! I ran with Greig and Willy, two local fitness experts/runners who are training for one of the toughest races on the planet. “Marathon Des Sables 2013” is a 6 day stage race across the sahara desert and these guys are doing it this year!

“The MdS is a multi-day ‘ultra-marathon’ or ‘ultra’ run in six days over a course of between 150 and 156 (254km) miles.”

Basically they set themselves a goal of running 5 marathons in 5 days in different parts of the country as part of training, their 5th marathon was scheduled in Wellington on Friday 1st Feb. They sent out a message to local runners to come join them for the run and I gladly joined them for 20kms.  They are fund raising for the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research. So please visit the Sahara Charity Challenge fund raising page and donate if you can.

It was great to run with them and they certainly were pushing a steady pace so all in all my 20km scheduled run was done with them out to Chocolate Fish cafe and back.

Willy and Greig just before heading off to complete the 5th marathon! Photo credit - Malaghan Institute.

Willy and Greig just before heading off to complete the 5th marathon! Photo credit – Malaghan Institute.

Saturday – 2nd Feb – I had a 10k interval session scheduled for the morning. I ran this at the Lower Hutt Park Run – 5k + 5k, 2 sets of intervals.

Sunday – 3rd Feb – 12ks of easy running with a few hills! I headed up Mount Victoria and explored some of my favourite trails and did a couple of hill reps and a total of 14ks. Stopped on Oreintal bay and cooled off in the sea with a swim!

RTB Week 3 Recap

RTB Week 3 Recap

So here’s to the next two weeks of running leading up to Wellington Round The Bays and remaining injury free!