Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Running into Easter

Gold Coast Marathon - 12 Weeks to Go

Tuesday 15 April

My first run for the week and my first time back at the aths track in five years. To be honest, I had not missed it one bit in that time, but I was itching to get down there early this morning for some mile repeats. So at the ungodly hour of 6.20am I headed out the door.

The weather was good - cool and dry with a bit of fog around. At the track it was me with one other guy walking laps with huge headphones on and flapping his arms about, and a woman who seemed determined to stay on the opposite side of the track to arm-flapping man!

My legs were still feeling quite heavy from Sunday's race, but the plan only called for 3x 1600m efforts in 6.40 (4.10m/k pace) with a 1 min rest between. Easy ... or so I thought.

The first rep I kind of cruised around for the first half, not wanting to go out too hard. I'm not exactly sure that I actually went any faster when I picked it up; crossing the line in 6.50. Hmm, a bit slow. Not sure if that's tiredness or laziness. Anyway - two more to go.

These were much better and I got my act together for two nice reps, both on the target time of 6.40. So happy to get that one done and dusted.

Thursday 17 April

Second run of the week was last night with my favourite Nike+ Run Club, only this time was my very first as a run leader! It was so different being on the 'other' side and was so much fun. For this week I had been assigned to lead a 10k run at ~7.00m/k pace - the designated beginner group. We had heaps of fun as we ran through the dark streets and parks of Melbourne with the group staying together beautifully through 7k. At that point, with the end coming up and a co-leader keeping pace at the back I led about two thirds of our crew as we picked up the pace a little. We finished the run at 6.45m/k overall and the smiles on their faces told the story! To finish I took the crew through a stretching routine - those of you who know me will see the irony in this!

Nike really look after their run leaders and have outfitted us all with some beautiful gear. A pair of Lunarglide+ 5 shoes, a Dri-FIT running hoodie (this is nice!), a Dri-FIT knit running shirt (even more comfortable than my regular Dri-FIT shirts) and cool Phenom 2 in 1 running shorts (I am hooked on these). Of course, now all my other Nike gear takes a back seat to this new stuff. It's fantastic!

Today, during a beautiful sunny lunch break at work, I headed out for my third run, a 10k tempo session. I have a path that takes me out along the Yarra River which is just really beautiful to run beside. After a 3k warm-up the main set was 5k @4.23 pace, followed by a 2k cool-down.

I did the main 5k right on 4.23 pace (4.23/21/20/32/17) though my heart rate was up in the mid-160's which is a bit higher than I'd expect when going this fast. It felt harder than I would have expected, but I was very pleased to nail the pace and complete the set.

I am finding that my legs are almost constantly sore at the moment and recovery between days is hard to achieve. Tomorrow is a bike ride up in the Dandenongs - we do 'The Crucifix' which is aptly named for our Good Friday ride. Long run on Sunday - a bit nervous ahead of a 29k journey.

Strava links for the week:

Tuesday - Track 8.9k @5.00m/k; 3x 1600m repeats
Wednesday - Nike+ Run Club 9.9k @6.45m/k; Run Leader
Thursday - Tempo 10.3k @4.41m/k; main set 5k @4.23m/k


3 runs
29.2 km
2 hours 40 minutes

Monday, April 14, 2014

Run for the Kids

The last run of the week was one of my favourite events, the annual Run for the Kids. I've done this event every year except for one and love it. So - regardless on what the training program wanted me to do - I was going to substitute a 15k hard run. The weather was amazingly good and I lined up in brilliant sunshine alongside a few friends (Judy, Phil and Peter). My legs were feeling quite tired after a couple of big weeks (for me) and so I hoped to do around 1:07 when last year I did 1:05.

I know my achilles heel is going out too quick so focussed on running conservatively at the start. This worked (kind of). So whereas last year I blasted the first km in 4.01, this time round it was only 4.07 So far so good. Down through the tunnel and we bumped into Phil's mate who was running faster than us. So Phil ran a bit quicker. Then I ran a bit quicker. On the way out of the tunnel I let them both go. Another km or so later I caught and passed Phil (not sure what happened to him in the end - suspect the Ironman from a few weeks ago probably caught up with him)!

Through 5k in under 21 minutes (faster than last year) but HR was good at mid-160's so I just kept going. Legs weren't feeling too bad so all was ok. Down the back through Docklands to 10k and I started to feel a bit tired. Aargh! Need to tough it out for five more k.

I have a real dislike for the climb over the bridge at Collins St and no matter how I am feeling it never gets any easier. Once that is done it feels easier as you run through Spencer St then along the casino promenade.

As the picture here shows I was really feeling the pinch along here. Not sure I even knew my own name at this point. After two k's in 4.13 and 4.18 it was only the final push around the boatsheds, up the last incline to St Kilda Rd and then to the finish line. Even though I was pushing hard along here my HR never got above ~167 which is unusual - normally I'd get to 170+. Not sure what this means but I think I felt the lack of any runs over ~one hour.

Crossed the line in 1:03.55hrs (4.19m/k) so was very pleased. Just over a minute faster than last year. Obviously all the training with Nike+ Run Club #WeRunMel had paid off. A great end to the week and I'm super motivated for the week ahead!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Oops, I've Done it Again!

Gold Coast Marathon - 13 Weeks to Go

In the dark ages (aka 2009) I trained for and ran the Melbourne Marathon while keeping this blog. Since then I've just written the odd race report, but mostly it disappeared into blog-scurity. Even last year, when I completed three marathons I didn't write up anything ... though for a funny look at how I unravelled during the Great Ocean Road Marathon you can watch this little video :-)

Fast forward to 2014 and the need for me to do another marathon with "proper" training when I see that one of my friends (hi Kim!) has entered the Gold Coast Marathon in July. Boom - there it is! 2 hours later and I had entered, booked flights and somewhere to stay.

Now for the training!

So I've dusted off my old Furman "Run Less Run Faster" program and put together a 13-week plan to get me to the Gold Coast in good shape. This is week one of that plan. And, just like last time, I'm going to use this blog to record my training and other random thoughts along the way.

It's Thursday today and it is my first day of no running this week (my legs are glad of this!)

On Monday I completed an easy 9k @5.12 m/k with Nike+ Run Club as part of their Run for the Kids training sessions. I also ran with them last night, winding it back even more for an easy 5.7k @5.06 m/k in the rain. Even better, the folks from Ben and Jerry's were handing out ice-cream which I managed to grab and eat whilst running along. Mmmm.

Sandwiched between these two easier run was my first Furman session - a speed/interval set of 5x 1km efforts with a 400m float in between. Last time round I did all these sets at the local athletics track, but I'm trying new things this time and so decided to run it on the footpaths around home. BIG MISTAKE!

It was a rainy night and within ten minutes my glasses were covered in water droplets and fog from my breath. Add in a steady stream of oncoming headlights from cars and I could not see a thing. To make matters even harder, there are so many low hanging trees on this path that I was getting wacked in the head every few hundred metres and had to dodge numbers of obstacles/path closed along the way too.

Suffice to say that my five efforts were somewhat slower than planned and slower than what I think I could actually run if I wasn't worried about just staying upright. I completed these in 4.08/07/10/15/12 against a plan of ~4.00 even. I'm not really too worried about the time, it was just good to get out and run hard again.

My first video blog in this series is also up on YouTube:

Friday 11 April

On Friday I took time at lunch to head out for my tempo run. After the run in the dark and rain it was great to run in daylight when you could see where you were going. The program called for 7k @4.31 pace with warm up and cool down bringing this to about 10k. In my rush to eave home I had forgotten to pack my running socks and paid the price for this with a few blisters by the end of the run :-(

I headed out along the Yarra River and began my effort when I got to Punt Rd bridge. The path here is wonderful and twists and turns as it follows the river on one side and the freeway on the other. I was really determined to run on target pace and not get carried away. That said, the first kilo was a bit fast, but I got back on track through the second k and ran evenly thereafter. I finished off with a couple of slightly quicker k's and finished with 7k @4.31 pace. Woo! Hoo! My best run in a while, very happy!

Strava Links for the week:

Monday - Nike+ Run Club 9k @5.12; easy cruise
Tuesday - Street Speed Session 8.6k @4.55; hard and wet 5x 1k
Wednesday - Nike+ Run Club 5.7k @5.06; eating ice cream in the rain
Friday - Tempo 10.5k @4.43; minus socks plus blisters
Sunday - Run for the Kids 14.8k @4.19; hard race - great time!

Weekly Summary:

5 runs
48.6 km
3 hours 51 minutes

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Running for the Kids ... With Friends!

This is the eighth time the Run for the Kids event has been held; raising funds for the Royal Children's Hospital (another $2M this year); and I have been lucky enough to do seven of them. But this year was different. Not only had the course been changed (and lengthened) slightly to 15km, but I had a few of my cycling buddies - and some of their families - along for the run too. For Dave Weeks it would be his first ever race, having only taken up running a couple of months ago. For David Wilkinson - with wife Alison along too - it was a return to running after a marathon a couple of years back (he and I are currently in training for the Great Ocean Road Marathon in May - aargh!) And for Andrew Matthews it was also a return to running after many years of other stuff; this time with son Darcy running. 15k for all these guys was a big achievement. Very well done!

Race morning dawned beautiful temperature wise, though just a little windy, enough so that the Ironman race a little further south in Frankston had the swim cut in half. And I thought those guys were tough ;-) Thankfully it would only be a minor nuisance as we crossed Bolte Bridge, the high point of the course, where it would be directly in our faces for a couple of km's. Otherwise, no big deal.

Also for the first time I caught the train to the start. And wow, it was busier than peak hour during the week. Standing room only and lots of people left on the platforms who could not get in as we made our way into town. I think maybe next year I will be back on the bike!

The start for the 15k event was at 8.50am and about ten minutes before this time I made my way down to the marshalling area. With a little know-how and bravado I managed to find myself a great spot just five-people deep from the start line. No point running further than the allotted distance I say. And as I was to find out later, my friends who started in the Orange group spent the entire race dodging and weaving their way through crowds. So even though lots of people ran past me early on it was fairly good going and I could run unimpeded the whole way.

The most important thing for a longer race like this is not to go out too hard. It is so easy to get carried away with the momentum and excitement and find yourself swept along running a way-too-fast pace only to blow up spectacularly later on. So with a target average pace of 4.30min/km it is possible to say that my first km in 4.01min was a little quick! The second in 4.01min wasn't much better. (Ok, the entire first 5km in 21.00min flat probably wasn't the smartest thing I've ever done.) By this stage I was just trying to recover a little before the "small climb" up Bolte Bridge at about 6km.

My time up the Bolte was about 15sec slower than last year; and I felt every one of them. I found it hard going into the wind and with tired legs under me. I had not paced well and was paying for it. Last year I had paced really well and ran strongly over the bridge and through to the finish. That said, my split for 5-10km was 22.10min this year, only one second slower than last year, so perhaps it just felt a lot worse. At the top of Bolte I also suspended photo taking. I needed to save all my energy for running.

I ran comfortably along Docklands, wanting to save something for my nemesis - the small rise over the Collins St railway bridge. For some reason this little pinch has always troubled me. I guess when you are flat out and getting tired it doesn't take much and again today I really struggled over here. Still, it was a fast split through here averaging 4.17min/km over the bridge and along Spencer Street through to Southbank. The path narrows through here and so did my vision. I hardly recall this section, remembering only the busy Sunday morning crowds of people being very close to us.

The final kilometre was a real struggle. This is where the course had changed the most and it did my head in as I thought I was closer to home than it turned out to be. Add some solid fatigue into the mix and you have the recipe for a slower run to the finish rather than the "final kick" you try to muster. In any case, my time of 1:04.59hrs (ok, Strava thinks it is 1:05.00) was my best pace ever at this race. A very satisfying last 5km in 21.49min also meant an average overall of 4.20min/km, something I have not run for a distance run over 10km in more than a decade. Very happy :-)

Next stop: Puffing Billy, then the Great Ocean Road Marathon. Best I don't get too carried away!

Previous Run for the Kids blog posts:
2011 - "Doing it for the Kiddies"
2010 - Run for the Kids

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