Wellington Round the Bays Training Hotspots

If you are a runner in Wellington (New Zealand) here are some great options for running trails – check out the “Runners Guide to Wellington” it’s a great book. And for those of you in the UK (In London) there is also a “Runners Guide to London” e-book version!

A Runner's Guide

So you’re one of the 13,000 entrants in this year’s AMI Round the Bays. By now, two weeks out from the event, you should have a nice base of running mileage behind you. So the next week or so, before you begin your taper, is about sharpening up with some quality workouts.

Even top runners can’t run a personal best without workouts or build up races. It’s important to inject some speed into your legs, remind your lungs what it’s like to run fast, and get some of that eye-of-the-tiger factor back into your running.

So today (Friday 1 February) is just over two weeks out from the big race. Over this time it’s a good idea to set aside two to four days for quality (faster) running, with one of these sessions being quite intense. These workouts might include:

  • a session of 1k reps (3-6 reps at your 5k…

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3 Weeks to RTB – Recap of week 2

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

This is a recap of how the second week went. It was an relatively easy week of running with a few rest days leading on to my first event of this year The Tussock Traverse 26k trail run. So here is what happened in week 2.

Monday – 21st Jan – REST DAY! Apart from going for a walk I just chilled out. And being a public holiday (Wellington Anniversary day) it was nice just to chill out!

Tuesday – 22nd Jan – planned 10k @ 80% effort at about 4:40 pace. Managed to do this relatively easily with even splits. Jogged 1k so total of 11ks.

Wednesday – 23rd Jan – 14k run at about 4:30 pace. I did about 12kms at this pace and slowed down the last 2km to recover. Total 14kms done.

Thursday – 24th Jan – 10km easy pace as a recovery run. Did this one at about 5:30 pace. Lots of stretching and foam rolling to relax the muscles before the Saturday race.

Friday – 25th Jan – REST DAY! Drove to Tongariro National Park!

Saturday – 26th JanThe Tussock Traverse – read the full race recap here!

Sunday – 27th Jan – Rest day! Easy 2hr walk in Natiional Park and a relaxing day!

RTB Week 2 Recap

RTB Week 2 Training Recap

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

4 Weeks to RTB – Recap of last week

I posted my 5 week plan that I made for leading up to Wellington Round the Bays half marathon.

This is a recap of how the first week went. It was a big week of running with no rest days from Monday to Sunday. So here is what happened.

Monday – 14th Jan – planned 14km easy run. It was a wet day & the rain made for an interesting outing. Coming from a day of rest on Sunday the run was pretty easy & I cruised it pretty easy in the morning despite the heavy rain. Actual distance an easy 15kms in about 5min per Km on average.

Tuesday – 15th Jan – planned 5k race @ 80% effort and a 5k recovery after, so a total of 10ks. I was supposed to run each Km at about 4m 15s however I pushed it a bit & the competitive side got the better of me finishing the race at an average of 4min 05s & posting my second fastest 5km race time for the Waterfront course in 20min 20secs. Took a 5min break & then did an easy jog/walk of 5km as planned as recovery. So far so good.

Wednesday – 16th Jan – 20km Hill run or 2hrs plus hills. Typically I save my hill runs for Saturday or Sunday, this week I wanted to break the pattern & see what will happen with a middle of the week hill run. Weather was pretty good on Wednesday & it was pretty warm when I headed out at around 7am. I also wanted to use this run to check my gear for the 26km trail run Tussock Traverse on 26th Jan (next Saturday). The route I chose for this run was a loop starting from the Waterfront. It’s one of my favourite runs including some of Wellingtons great trails. (Ill do a post later on some of these) Basically run up to Brooklyn via Central Park then run down to the start of the Tip Track via Happy Valley Road. The Trip Track is long & winding with an ascent of about 400m over about 4kms. It’s a good climb & should be part of any Wellington runners schedule :). Once at the top you run to the Brooklyn windmill & follow the Karori sanctuary fence line to the Polhill track then it’s all downhill to Aro valley & back to the waterfront. Total distance 22kms. This isn’t an easy run & in hindsight I should have scheduled a rest day after this run. My legs were pretty tired & I did some foam rolling that evening.

Tip Track Elevation

Tip Track Elevation

Thursday – 17th Jan – 14km @ half marathon goal pace! Well this was pretty ambitious after the hill run. I knew that this might be asking a bit too much from my body but I thought if I ran late evening on Thursday my body would have had enough time to recover. Was I wrong on that! When I woke up in the morning my legs felt pretty heavy with a few aches. I’m used to this usually and not a stranger to a bit of aching in my legs after a long run. Anyway by about the 1km mark I knew that there was no way that I can run anywhere near my goal pace. So I settled for a pretty slow 10k. Lesson learned – no fast pace runs after a long hill session 🙂

Friday – 18th Jan – 10km intervals – another big mistake 🙂 my legs were like solid iron blocks everything hurt. Net result a slow 8k & lots of foam rolling & ice. I was experiencing a sharp pain just below my hamstring – not good & alarm bells started ringing!

Saturday – 19th Jan – 14km easy run – nope not a chance! However since my pain had somewhat subsided I decided to go for an easy jog/walk. It was terrible – legs were pretty tired, my HR was pretty high. I managed a 8k jog which felt like hell. Should have taken a full days rest! Foam roller & ice to the rescue.

Sunday – 20th Jan – 18km long run with hills – didn’t even attempt it! Slept in & just took it easy. Walked around the waterfront enjoyed the day. Came home & had an afternoon nap! So by around 5pm I felt pretty good, my legs were feeling normal again no pains. So I decided that I’ll go for an easy jog just to test how I felt. After about 2km of steady running it felt really good so I kept going & then it was 10ks without even feeling it! So ended up with a 15k around the bays!

Week 1 Training Recap

Week 1 Training Recap

So my goal of running a full week with no rest almost worked & I learned a lot from this week. I also ran the most number of cumulative Kms in a week with a total of 88kms! Our bodies have a way of telling us when it’s time to take it easy – pain & aches are our bodies way of telling us to take it easy or rest. It’s our own defense mechanism to prevent us from damaging ourselves beyond repair. Running places a great stress on our bodies but also makes us stronger.

I’ve been reading a book called “The Runners Body” written by some leading sports scientists, I highly recommend this book even if you are a novice runner who has taken up running recently. It’s available at the Wellington City Library.

So next week (21st to 27th Jan) is relatively easy apart from the trail race on Saturday 26th in Tongariro & I’m hoping to stick to the plan! Monday (today) is a rest day!

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

Barefoot Running for the masses?

If you have read Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run (great book and a good read for any runner) – you may already know of the arguments for and against running without shoes. Personally I think not everyone should ditch their cool running shoes and get a pair of Vibram five fingers or just run in bare feet. Even long term runners agree that it takes time to transition and even then you are not suddenly going to turn into a super human runner. In any case I found these articles interesting. “Barefoot running is catching on” (from Stuff.co.nz) “How to start Running and Walking barefoot and stay injury-free” (Garymoller.com)

Sometimes after I finish  my core run I jog a few laps around a park (usually grassy) to warm down on bare feet and finish with stretches . As far as running completely bare feet that’s not for me.

Happy trails!

Running the Rakiura Track

The Rakiura Track is located on Stewart Island which is an Island on the bottom of South Island of New Zealand. For most of you who live in NZ you can get to Stewart Island via a 20min flight from Invercargill or catching the daily ferry from Bluff which takes about 1hr to cross the Ferneux strait.

The Rakiura Track is about 32km in length and is classed as one of the Great Walks. The official DoC (Department of Conservation) literature outlines the track as a 3 day tramp (walk) with 2 huts available for overnight stay. After looking at the track profile & having a chat with the DoC official in Oban township of Stewart Island I decided that I’ll give it a crack to complete the full circuit in a day by running it.

For this run I decided to carry about 1litre of water in my Camelbak & a bottle of electrolytes, 2 mars bars (prefer these over gels on long runs) and some nuts for the trail.
I set off on Friday 28th December from Oban Township at 8:30am heading to the track starting point. You have to run about 5km on road to get to Lee Bay where the track officially starts. It was a great morning and already it was a bit warm.

From Lee bay you go through an arch (which represents an anchor) and its pretty undulating track for about another 4-5kms until you come to Maori beach (camp site) which you can run along in low tide. Then there is a bit of slight climb (nothing hard) and the track undulates through bush with the beach below. After another 3kms or so you come to the turn off to Port William hut. I continued on since I wasn’t planning on staying overnight.

Rakiura Track

Rakiura Track

The next bit of the track is a bit tricky to run with uneven surface and tree roots and a bit of mud. I could see that if it rained that progress will get slow as it was a bit slippery underfoot even with no rain and the mud sticks to your shoes.

Around the 15km mark there is a steady climb before descending to the North Arm Hut. From the turn off to the North Arm hut the track is quite undulating and crosses a few bridges and creeks. All in all I was feeling very good and have been running/walking about two and a half hours. I surprised a few trampers on their way of course and got the all too familiar “you must be mad” response to me running the track in a day.

The last part of the track is known as the Kaipipi saw mill road which apparently was built for transporting logs to Oban for transporting back to main land.

All in all it was a great run and I managed to get back to Oban in 5hrs 12mins & 36seconds with an average pace of about 9 min per Km including breaks!

Here is my Garmin data for the run.

Rakiura Track Summary

Rakiura Track Summary

Rakiura Track

Rakiura Track Lap Times

Rakiura Track Lap Times

Rakiura Track Elevation Profile

Rakiura Track Elevation Profile

So if you are in Stewart Island I highly recommend the Rakiura Track for a great day of running or walking!