Sunday, June 29, 2014


Gold Coast Marathon - 2 Weeks to Go

With just two weeks to go till race day it is time to start thinking and making my final preparations. Everything from travel and meals on the weekend through to race day nutrition. What I will wear (before and during) and - most importantly - how to get my body into tip-top shape. All the hard training is done. I just need to make sure I get the most from it.

For most of this training block I have battled either minor injury (popliteus) or borderline sickness (touch wood, I've still avoided this). In the last week and a half it has been a new nemesis - the achilles tendon. When I run it has (thankfully) been mostly just a niggle; but at times during the day I can hardly walk - it is really diabolical. My home remedies (stretching, ice, tiger balm, compression socks) are not getting this one any better so time to get some help. Physio Rob here I come!!

Tuesday 24 Jun

It is hardly possible to describe the conditions that I ran in today. In one sense, the fact that I actually did anything at all is very satisfying. That it wasn't really what I wanted is not great, but hey, who cares! The program was 5x 1km (sub 4.00min, hopefully sub 3.55) with a 400m rest interval. The first time I tried this run, way back on 8 April, it was a disaster. "Street Speed 1" was on a rainy night and I was molested by tree branches as I tried to go fast on the streets near home. I wanted redemption!

This time I ran at lunchtime (to avoid the dark) and planned to run along the Yarra (to avoid the branches). Unfortunately the weather was horrendous today. As the ABC news said, we were hit by a "weather bomb" which is not quite anyone's idea of fun! When I made my way down to the river I could see there was no way I'd be running there. The running path was inundated in numerous places. Forget the Nike's, I would have needed flippers to go along that path.

So I made a last minute decision to run the upper path. Which kind-of worked, except there wasn't really a 1000m stretch to run along. So my first interval was a bit up and down, across a bridge, then along a bit more ... until I realised I'd run 1.1km ... and, oh heck, who cares; it is pi$$ing rain, wind at 10-million knots and my achilles hurts.

Another change of plan and I headed over to Westpac Centre track to run there. This would mean 2-laps (just over 1km) with 1-lap (just over 500m) recovery. I ran the hard reps in 4.15/19/19/18 - so a very slow pace, but it was a hard slog. At times it felt like I was jogging on the spot. I could not go fast enough to raise my heart rate above 160. This was "ugly running" but I completed the session (or at least completed "a" session) and am pleased with that.

Of course, my achilles tendon is now in revolt. Not such a good day!

Thursday 26 Jun

Two days have passed since my run in apocalyptic conditions. My achilles tendon (did I mention it was the left one) has varied between "I feel good" and "I can hardly walk."At run club yesterday I asked to lead one of the 5k groups and was lucky enough (thanks Dean) to get the beginner group so 7m/k it was which is about as stress-free as a run can get. So that was good. After the achilles warms up a bit it seems to settle down somewhat so that is promising. Hills are not so pleasant but flats (lots of those at Gold Coast) are ok. I ran with some 'heel raisers' in my shoes too to take some of the pressure off the tendon.

Of course the real question is why am I running at all??? I don't really have a great reason for this. I am suffering a classic case of "I'll just monitor this one and if it gets really bad I will stop" which of course means "I am just going to run through it." To find out how the story ends ... keep reading this blog!

Oh, and of course, as of this afternoon I can feel a chest cold coming on. Waaahhhhhh!!!!!!!!!

Friday 27 Jun

This morning I fronted up for a massage - my first in very many years. Ryan down at Southern Suburbs Physio got a quick briefing from Rob and away we went. Obviously the focus was on my legs, calves in particular and anything to get this achilles back in business. Suffice to say Ryan is good, my calves were like rocks and now my legs hurt from the process. In a few days I will be all the better for this (thanks Ryan)!

A lot of thought was given on whether to run today or not. With my dodgy achilles, a full-strength massage in my legs and wind blowing-like-crazy it would have been an easy decision to pass it up. Of course, I ran.

The main session today was 5k at short tempo pace (4.13m/k) and with a warm-up of 3k I thought at least I could see how I was feeling and skip the hard effort if needs be. With a 30-50 kph north wind blowing it was easy going at first and I felt pretty good so decided to up the pace when 3k rolled around. Even so, I took the first 1-2k of this at a steady tempo to ease into the work and make sure everything was ok. Whilst I could 'feel' my achilles it was not overly troublesome so I worked through the remainder of the effort into the wind and feeling strong.

I am very happy with the time for this 5k (20.55) as it is right on target @4.11m/k and did not feel super-hard at all. There is a Strava segment of ~4k along here that I had previously run (quite hard) in 16.49 and today I did 16.11 so I think this is a great indicator of just how good my form is right now.

Feeling good. Just need to keep it going and get my body strong and healed.

Sunday 29 Jun

As I look back this has been an unusually hard week. Tuesday's lunchtime run in horrendous weather signalled the start of winter in Melbourne and didn't bode well for me. A dodgy achilles but then a massage (it felt ok again) and a good run Friday followed by another ordinary run today. It has been one step up - one step back for quite a while now. I felt sick earlier in the week, ok in the middle, and no good again now on Sunday afternoon. Everything is a bit of a crap-shoot for me right now and I just hope the gods smile on me come next Sunday!

Apart from running, today was the annual Melburn Roobaix bike event which I do on the tandem with Brooke. We were entered and looking forward to this one for quite a while and even though the weather forecast for today was miserable we were committed and going to start.

All of which meant that I needed to do my 16k run early if I was going to get it done at all. So at 7.30am I was out on the road and running! I had not eaten since last night and I think the lack of energy, cold temperature, wind and a little rain conspired to take away whatever oomph I might have expected to have. It was a genuine slog and I had absolutely no rhythm at all. Compared to last weeks long run which felt beautiful and controlled, this one was all over the shop.

Although when I look at the splits it doesn't seem so bad - a slower first kilometre then reasonably even splits through to 10km, then another bizarrely slow kilo then some faster splits to finish. In the end I finished right on target pace (4.40m/k) though slower than I had run this twice before in recent weeks.

In any case, this run - and the riding event in the afternoon - certainly took it out of me. I am quite tired now and will need to have a good start to race week!

Training Program:
Full session details for my whole training plan are here.

Strava links for the week:
Tuesday - Horrendous Weather 11.5k @4.42; 5x 1000m with 4-500m recovery
Wednesday - Nike Run Club 5.7k @7.07; easy lap of the Tan
Friday - Yarra Tempo 10.4k @4.36; brisk 5k in the middle
Sunday - Ragged Run 16.1k @4.40; rough and ready 16k at marathon pace

Weekly Summary:
Week 13 (this week): 4 runs, 43.7km, 3 hrs 37 mins
Week 12: 4 runs, 46.0 km, 3 hrs 45 mins
Week 11: 4 runs, 61.2 km, 4 hrs 59 mins
Week 10: 4 runs, 55.8 km, 4 hrs 28 mins
Week 9: 4 runs, 66.4 km, 5 hrs 39 mins
Week 8: 4 runs, 57.7 km, 4 hrs 37 mins
Week 7: 4 runs, 60 km, 5 hrs 10 mins
Week 6: 4 runs, 54 km, 4 hrs 36 mins
Week 5: 4 runs, 46.3 km, 3 hrs 57 mins
Week 4: 5 runs, 71.7 km, 6 hrs 24 mins   (biggest week ever!)
Week 3: 4 runs, 57.7 km, 5 hrs 9 mins
Week 2: 5 runs, 48.6 km, 3 hrs 51 mins
Week 1: 4 runs, 41 km, 3 hrs 28 mins
Total: 54 runs, 710.1 km, 59 hrs 40 mins


  1. Geez, you're having some last minute disasters. Hopefully the achilles will settle with the taper and it'll like the flat going of the GC. Nice going to get the 1k intervals done in such atrocious conditions. I'd be delighted with 4:19s by the way - sounds super fast to me!

    1. Thanks Ewen. You'd know better than most that at this point in a training plan lots of little niggles can raise their head. Just trying to stay sane and deal with them as they arise. No excuses!!


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