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?


Wellington Marathon Training Update

Been a while since I last made an update of my Marathon training progress which was in April after finishing the 34km Makara loop. Since then I’ve done two more 30k + runs and the most recent was a 36km run along part of the Marathon course in Wellington which also was my last ‘long’ run before the Marathon on 23rd June (In 21 Days).

Brooklyn Bays Loop 36km

Brooklyn then Bays Loop 36km – 2nd June 2013

Before I go any further if you haven’t already entered my giveaway please head over to the post and get in the draw.

So after 13 weeks I think I’ve done the most that I can do to prepare for the Marathon. It has not been easy the last few weeks with colder weather and getting dark early my routine hasn’t really been up to what I’d hope it would be. Nonetheless I’ve been able to keep my core mileage consistent with my plan. I had to adjust some of the workouts to suit my work/life balance. Overall I have definitely improved my endurance and also gained a few seconds on speed. Last Saturday I ran a 5km PB at Lower Hutt Park run in 20:19. Which was a net 9 seconds faster than my previous time. Still a few seconds short of going into 19min range. I have a feeling that I’ll be able to hit that in the next few months.

With just another 3 weeks to go I’m officially into the ‘taper’ phase from next week onwards.

So that’s it for the time being, next weekend is Xterra Race 4 which I’m looking forward to.

Again if you haven’t entered my giveaway head over and have a random guess – it will help me keep motivated whilst running the Marathon 🙂

Happy running!

What I learned from the Rotorua Half Marathon

At the Rotorua half marathon on Saturday May 04th I had a goal of running close to 1:35 which I figured was a good target given my previous half marathon times. I wanted to see if I’ve improved based on the training I’ve been doing. Now the fact is my training in the previous 8 weeks was purely focused on my upcoming marathon on 23rd of June. So I was 8 weeks into a 16 weeks marathon program and just the previous week I had just finished a massive week with a 34km run on the weekend.

So the lessons learned in no particular order:

  • Don’t run a 35km (20miler) as your long run before a half marathon if you want to run a PB – in fact a few people told me this when they heard I was running Rotorua half the week after (yeah listening to others is a good thing, sometimes)
  • If your legs are tired and half dead they are tired – no amount of Gels, Sugar, Carbs, Electrolytes aint gonna help!
  • It will hurt bad after 12kms when you think you can sustain a faster km split when your legs are tired and you will want to just stop and lie down and quit
  • Following a Marathon Training plan does not help you prepare for a fast half marathon time – in fact there were no half marathon pace speed sessions apart from a couple of tempos and an interval session in the previous 3 week build up – in contrast when I was training for the round the bays half I had plenty of ‘fast’ runs in my schedule at my HM goal pace
  • Trust your gut when you feel ‘off’ don’t try and run negative splits, just relax and enjoy the run and forget about trying to run fast

Despite all that I enjoyed the Rotorua event. And my final finish time was 1:37:47 which in the grand scheme of things was just around the 4:30-35 per KM pace mark and I am happy with that. (Well just maybe..). The encouragement I got after the event was very helpful and some of the more experienced runners quite rightly pointed out that I am doing well in my Marathon training and should not be disappointed of this result.

Overall the 49th Rotorua Marathon Event was well organised with the event starting and finishing in the Government Gardens next to the Energy Events Centre. Inside the Events Centre was an expo with various vendors advertising and selling running related products. After registration you could wander through the hall and have a look around. What drew most people’s attention was an area where a series of posters highlighted the 49 years of the event with past winners and records. There were some names that I recognized from Wellington Scottish Athletics who have been part of Rotorua for many years. After the event there was a prize giving ceremony in the same hall. Here are some photos.

Registration - Rotorua Half Marathon

Registration – Rotorua Half Marathon

Prize Giving - Rotorua Half Marathon

Prize Giving – Rotorua Half Marathon

49 Years of the Event - Rotorua Marathon

49 Years of the Event – Rotorua Marathon

Rotorua Marathon - Start and Finish

Rotorua Marathon – Start and Finish

I have another 6 weeks to go in my training for the Wellington Marathon and I’ll focus purely on that. Also I’m running a small competition so go check it out here and enter to win an awesome prize!

happy running!

16 week Marathon plan update – week 1

So I am now 1 week into my 16 week Marathon training plan! This was a good week and I was able to complete a 7 days of running from Monday to Sunday with a net total of 102kms which incidentally also is the most number of kms in a week that I have run.


Week 1 Run Total

Week 1 Run Total

The last week was a pretty good week in terms of getting to the total 100km net goal without hurting myself too much. Also I’ve got used to having shorter recovery times in between runs. The highlights were being able to do 2 x 16km steady runs and 2 x 20km runs as well as 2 x 5ks @ my race pace.

During this period of marathon training I’ve also scheduled the following sessions:

  • Fortnightly deep tissue massage from Gary Moller – Gary has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to running and sports recovery and has been taking care of my aching legs for over an year now. The intense sessions are not easy but they do a lot in terms of my recovery.
  • 3 times a week (Usually Mon, Wed, Fri) strength and core exercise sessions (Bootcamp style) with the team at Power of S. 
  • Group runs with my running buddies from Wellington Running Meetup – great for easy pace recovery runs!

Today (Monday) was my rest day. This week I’m going to do some hill running (Multiple times up Mt Victoria or Tinakori Hill) in preparation for Mt Lowry challenge 22k run on the 24th of March.

Happy running!

Marathon Training starts – next week..

After three years of running I think I am ready for the next step and that is to complete a Marathon. I know that some people do marathons within a year or even six months of training which is great. My focus has been to gradually get there and this year (2013) feels right to me. As some of you know I finished my sixth half marathon with a personal best of 1:33.54 on 17th Feb 2013. Based on that the McMillan Running Calculator tells me that I should be able to complete the Marathon in a time of 3hrs:17mins!! (Yeah right!) However I have no time goals since this is my first Marathon, the goal is to finish the 42.2km distance with a smile on my face (well not while running maybe). 🙂

McMillan Marathon Prediction

McMillan Marathon Prediction

If you haven’t tried the McMillan Running Calculator – do try it. It is fairly accurate. Example when I entered my half marathon time it pretty much calculated my 5km time spot on! It also gives you guidance on at what pace you should train on in order to race a certain distance under a certain time goal. For me this is what it means. Although I am not going for a time goal I will still train at these paces since they match my current training runs leading up to the last half marathon. And theoretically this should provide me with a good base improvement overall on other distances.

McMillan Training Paces

McMillan Training Paces

All the advice I have had is that training for a Marathon should not be taken lightly, meaning that it is very important to get the mix of running, recovery and nutrition right. Also there is no point in going hard out and getting injured. Key is gradual build up and maintenance of core endurance and stamina. After the RTB half, in the last two weeks I have reduced my weekly mileage to about 40-50k with some easy runs. This is so that I have a break and be ready for the start of my training program towards the Marathon.

I created a plan consisting of 16 weeks – and this is posted on under the heading “16 Week Marathon Plan” on my blog. So officially my training starts next week on Monday 4th of March. I won’t do a week by week update as I did for RTB but rather do maybe fortnightly updates on my progress leading up to the Marathon day of 23rd June 2013! The Marathon I chose is my local marathon in Wellington. June in Wellington is not the best time of year for running (early winter/cold) but it’s local and in familiar surroundings plus I don’t have to travel far to get to the start!

Also during the training time frame of 16 weeks I am doing a few events as well. So the plan is largely also accommodating these events.

And of course the 5k races on the waterfront and Lower Hutt Park run. These provides me with the motivation to keep going. We have been lucky with great summer weather locally in Wellington and with autumn and winter on the way this will change. Having some events to focus on will keep me motivated to get out the door and run!

I’d love to get feedback from others on their first marathon experiences! If you are like me and love watching running documentaries check out “Spirit of the Marathon” on YouTube below. This is a full length movie of 1hr 45mins about a bunch of runners elite and non elite on their marathon training for the Chicago Marathon! Connect your PC to the TV and watch it on the big screen!

Happy running!