Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 Goals

Better sneak this in before the clock strikes midnight.

- Run a minimum of 40km a week on average
- Have fun doing it. Be smart and listen to my body (no injuries)
- Auckland Marathon 2010 in sub 3:30
- Shoot for a PB in a shorter distance, either a 10km or the half.

- Swim at least once a week at the pools or ocean.
- Build up to Auckland Habour Crossing Ocean Swim in 2010.

- Continue bike commuting
- Cycle a minimum of say 120km a week (much of this will be in the commute)
- I have just found out that work do a corporate triathlon so that could be something to think about.

Resistance Training
- 3 home workouts a week (Mon/Wed/Fri)
- Complete 100 pushups and 200 situps challenges

- Get my weight down to 80kg by eating healthy and through excercise

- Sit my 3rd dan grading this year. Quite a lot to this from both a physical and technical point of view. I'm going to blog more about hapkido training next year.

- Improve flexibility through stretching. This will benefit both running and hapkido.

I have some thoughts on how better to track these goals throughout the year but that can wait for another post.

Action Packed

Fairly action packed day today.

- Got my bike gear cable fixed for $14 NZ. They even fixed it while I waited - about 20 minutes. Adventure Cycles is really a top rate local bike shop. Another good thing about cycling - costs are cheap and repair times are quick.

- Dusted off the weights this morning and did a proper home workout. My "gym" (aka corner of the garage) is a mess though.

- Later in the day we went for a walk to Big King (yet another Auckland volcano). I was impressed with my five year old son tearing up the hill and then blowing out near the top. Takes after his dad!

The excercise thing is not all pre midlife crisis. Also trying to be a good dad and setting the right example in being active. Hopefully it will rub off on Alex. It is all too easy for kids these days to get stuck in front on the TV. Here he is in full flight - mum can't catch up ;)

Fast for a five year old :)

- After we got back we made this great outmeal and carrot bread. Tasted great and was pretty healthy too. Healthy Food Guide magazine put have an excellent website, we regularly try things at random.

- One of my holiday jobs is to stain some our outdoor table and chairs. Spent a good hour scrubbing down the table. Actually was hard work in the arms but it has cleaned up quite well. Tomorrow will be putting on the first coat.

2009 Summary

Time for a little round up of 2009. This was the year of the marathon and much of my training was geared towards that. So from a very high level I guess it was mission accomplished.

I had some goals at the start I was slack in tracking progress. New years resolution is to track this better. Some goals are quite easy to define (like running a marathon) but others need better metrics. Like km/week to run or cycle or home workouts to complete.

Here are some random ups and downs from the year.

- Highlight was training for and running the Auckland Marathon. Finished in 3:43:00. I'll be back next year!
- Did the Run Auckland series again this year. Best time for 10k of 42:57.
- Only one half marathon this year - North Shore City Half - 1:40:56 with tight calves.
- Started to run at odd times like 5am in the morning and during lunchtimes at work.
- Ran all over Auckland and some other places like Hamilton, Hong Kong, Taupo, Matarangi. The Taupo before work runs in winter were good if on the cold side.
- Picked up a couple of injuries. PF in the beginning of the year, and then a pulled calf in a 10km run. The lesson here was to slow down in training!!!
- Went through 3 pairs of shoes. The latest (New Balance 1223's) are the best.

Cross Training
Cross training in general was lets say sporadic.
- I did get back to cycle commuting in November coinciding with changing jobs. Clocked up about 450km so far including a couple of "big" weekend rides.
- I did get to the pool sporadically but no where near enough.
- Failed completing the hundredpushups program. Still trying though.
- My home workout program was effectively missing in action.

- Didn't do 3rd dan this year. This wasn't entirely all my fault but a lack of planning surely contributed.

- My weight is basically the same as it was last year. As of today my average weight is 85.6kg. This time last year it was 86.2kg. I want to get down around 80...

The spirit of the marathon movie is available on DVD. It would have been good to see it at the movies though.

I'm going to post a set of better goals for 2010 later today. Off to get my bike fixed now...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Spirit of the Marathon

Mostly a rest day yesterday - although I did find my hand weights in the garage and did a couple of drills. Doesn't count as a home work out though more as planning for one.

Started on the house jobs, cleaned down the outside of the house and started the deck but are plenty more things to do. A set of outdoor furniture needs painting apparently.

Last night I watched "Spirit of the Marathon" and it was really quite good. Set as a documentary it follows a number of fun and elite runners in the lead up to the Chicago Marathon. Well worth seeing and quite motivating. Motivating enough for me to go for a run shortly.

In bad news I found my bike's gear cable for the rear derailler has snapped at the shifting end. A bit unweildy being stuck in top gear and will be looking to get that fixed tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

More of the Same

Keeping up with holiday excercise. Feeling better for it (so far).

Morning run on Monday - quicker than Sunday's long run and worked up a good sweat. Pretty flat route.

5.51km / 26:39 / 4:51min/km

In the afternoon biked out to Titirangi to help my dad with some house stuff. It was a tough climb up Titirangi Road and a good portion of Scenic Drive.

Came back a different way to check out the stretch of cycleway along the SH20 extension. It's not finished yet as there is a section along Mt Roskill to complete. Here are a couple of photos.

Cycle bridge to Stoddard Road

"Southern Isthmus" cycle lane looking out to Mt Roskill

Great surface and looks well appointed with lighting.

All up 40.4km in an average speed of around 22.9km/hr. The hill almost broke me...

Monday, December 28, 2009

Run in the Sun

Been keeping up with exercise this holiday break, so far so good. At least it is good at offsetting the Christmas excess.

Yesterday morning I went out for an "easy" run. Again a bit of a tiki tour along a few roads I don't normally visit. Hard work up the hills though...

18.8km / 1:40:41 / 5:32min/km.

In the afternoon we went up to Long Bay for a swim and sand castles. The water was great and just the thing to cool off with. Lots of fun jumping waves with a 5 year old.

Around 7.30pm went out for a bike ride. 17km or so at around 23km/hr - not much traffic around, it was great.

Weighed in this morning 85.1kg. Weight is averaging in the 85's at the moment. One of my goals for 2010 is to pull that back to around 80 (pre marriage weight)...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Boxing Day

Merry Christmas! Christmas lunch yesterday was a typical family get together with all to much eating really. Most memorable dish was a fruit salad with plenty of blueberries and raspberries. Yum!

This morning went on a bike ride for my sins. Lots of people out running and cycling this morning. Almost as many as during peak marathon training season.

My ride was a massive Tiki Tour round Cornwall park, Auckland Domain, Tamaki Drive, Achilles Point, Parnell (via Gladstone Road past the Rose Gardens), back through Domain, Mt Eden and then home. Hardly any cars about so it was nice.

48.1km @ average speed of 24.9km/hr. Interesting I could hold about 32km/hr along the flats easily enough but the hills kill the pace with my heavy bike.

Feel much better for it. Might even try and get out for a small run this evening.

Going to be really hot's mission is to find a kick board and teaching my 5 year old how to swim.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Peace Mile

Did a 3 laps of the Auckland Sri Chimnoy Peace Mile yesterday morning. Its a measured mile circuit. Had my run straight after riding to work and legs were a bit wooden on the climb up the hill from Carlaw Park. Probably about 7km all up.

Quite a nice place to run and popular too. Probably a good place to do interval training...

Auckland City and the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team established a measured mile running course in the Auckland Domain in 1987 to promote both physical fitness and the cause of world peace. The running course starts at the sign located adjacent to the Grandstand and follows Grandstand Road South, Football Rd, The Crescent, Kiosk Road and Grandstand Road North to finish approximately 100 metres beyond the starting point at the marked finishing point. The Sri Chinmoy Peace Mile links our city with a global family of parks, cities, mountains and natural wonders also dedicated to peace - the Sri Chinmoy Peace Blossoms programme - whose purpose is to kindle the spirit of harmony and oneness and to foster a new millennium of peace.

"The determination in your heroic effort will permeate your mind and heart even after your success or failure is long forgotten"
Sri Chinmoy

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Local - Week 3

7am Saturday and time for the weekly run up Mt Eden. Pushed myself a bit harder today: 11.64km / 57:26 / 4:56min/km.

Tough but I felt reasonably strong on the ascent and breathing was more controlled than a couple of weeks ago. Running fitness coming back - gradually. The progression over the last few weeks on this route:

Week 1, 05 Dec = 59:57
Week 2, 12 Dec = 58:57
Week 3, 19 Dec = 57:26

For further improvement some new running music might help. "Chariots of fire" anyone ;)

Only managed 2 runs this week. Work has got really busy all of a sudden with some long hours but that is a pretty weak excuse. Just a matter of logistics - maybe bike to work earlier and then go for a run immediately after...

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Above is the lockable bike area at work. Just quietly I'm pleased I don't have the slowest looking bike in the lot but there are some that look very flash.

There is also an overflow area outside with another 15 or so hangers. Been at a new job for about a month now. What I have noticed is they have got into encouraging people to bike. Not only the bike storage area with card access but also plenty of showers (with towels provided). I'm impressed really and its certainly better much better than I've seen at past jobs.

Up to week 3/day 1 of the hundred pushups challenge. It's getting tough...

Kate and Phil yep you are right the Domain isn't much of a trail run (but it's very handy for a lunchtime escape). I'll have to give Cascades a go during the holidays. Looks good :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Forest Run

Right next door to work....

Trail running - could get addicted to this...lovely and cool under the canopy.

The path up Lover's Lane. Nice waterfall to the left.

One of the paths through the Auckland Domain. Actually an extinct volcano...was warm out

Didn't time the run itself - bit of a photo expedition this time but was around 30 minutes. Definitely going to be a regular thing :)

17 km on the bike today in commuting.


Crap weather yesterday in Auckland. Well it has been a bit hit and miss. Got wet riding to work but it was better on the way back. Then I decided to cycle to hapkido and just missed the downpour on the return leg.

23km all up on the bike, amazing how it adds up.

Have a lunchtime run planned for today.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Bike Ride and some Pushups

Great day on Sunday and had some time to myself so went for an easy bike ride.

Headed along the North Western Cycleway out to Te Atatu and then the extension to Massey and then back again. All up 30.7km (at a slow average speed on 21.7km/hr). Great day for it. Having a faster road bike would be fun though but I would probably break it commuting.

Then did Week 2 / Day 2 of the one hundred push up challenge. Maxed out at 25 on the last set (16/17/14/14/25). This is the third time I've attempted this (it gets tough in week 4)....

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Local - Week 2

My local hill climb run again to Mt Eden. I'm going to do this once a week to work on running strength. Not doing enough running at the moment which is a problem. However I'm lucky enough to work next to the Auckland Domain. Some lunchtime 30 minute runs around the forest walk tracks might be on the cards.

11.64km / 58:57 / 5:03 min/km.

Beat my last week's time by exactly 1:00. Hot and muggy today but that helped in terms of being limber. The view from the top is great and well worth the climb.

Here is the elevation chart. Starts climbing from the corner of Dominion and Grange, nothing too bad it's just long.

I was good afterwards and stretched out properly too.

This bloke does a good summary of the view from the top. It's as magic as it looks. I don't think he read the sign properly at the beginning though. ;)

Missed Opportunity

This past week I spent a day in Brisbane giving a presentation for work (arrived Wednesday night, presented Thursday and got home at midnight). I was staying in South Brisbane and there was a a great path/boardwalk along the river edge. Went for a walk at around 8pm and there were plenty of runners and cyclists about.

Bloody hot and muggy in Brisbane, was 32 deg C outside. Actually it's pretty hot and muggy here in Auckland too.

In the past when I've travelled overseas for work I've taken my running gear. A great way to see the local area. My fault on missing out this time - it was poor planning on my part...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Local

Every runner probably has a favourite local route. I certainly do. Mine is a run up Mt Eden, and around some of the surrounding streets. Mt Eden isn't all that tough it is more long than anything as it winds around the volcano to the top. Overall the route itself is a reasonable challenge. There are a bunch of smaller "hills" throughout.

The view from the top is great, it reminds me a little of the view from the Peak in Hong Kong but on a very smaller scale.

Photo by James Clay.

Saturday morning was nice and sunny so time to tackle the local. I haven't much running since the marathon - consequently felt too on the ascent. It was an awesome day to go for a run, if anything a little too warm.

11.64km / 59:57 / 5:09min/km

Finished a weeks worth of cycle commuting and have to say have thoroughly enjoyed it. It did rain something awful on Friday night but aside from that conditions have been good. I've been taking a small detour in the morning to make a 8.2km route but starting to feel like that is a bit on the short side. Might try detouring a little further, maybe through Cornwall park.

Weighed in this morning 85.4kg. Not great but not too bad either. Hopefully the cycling will help get that down a little. Basically I have been eating a little too much for the level of exercise I'm doing.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Street Pony

Bike fixed in a day - derailer, tyre, chain, full service. Great service by Adventure Cycles.

As you can see this thing is built for commuting and not racing. Being an engineer I do like numbers so have a speedo on the thing. Average hovers around 22-24km/hr on the commute with full pannier bags. Pannier bags are great by the way - even for lugging a laptop around.

Still working out best routes to and and from work. Yesterday I did the climb up through the domain onto Park Road - hard work.

Cycling in Auckland is a bit hair raising but its a matter of picking the right routes. A suprising number of cycle lanes and paths, mix those with quiet streets and it's not so bad.

Commuting time to and from work is pretty quick now :)

Also it is pretty good working on the city fringe, I prefer it to Albert Street. Being right next to the domain is good too, I can see a few lunch time runs when time allows. Now cycle commuting need to mix in more stretching and fit in some running. Need to give this some thought...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

New Commute

Two weeks into my new job and it has been hectic. Certainly more pressure in the private sector but so far enjoying the challenge. Feel like I'm settled in now.

The new office, in Carlaw Commercial Park, has some good facilities for commuting-by-excercise. Showers, towels provided, and some secure bike facilities. So once I got a locker sorted out I tried a run commute - and it was good too. The scenic route is a mere 6.69km and is a good mix of suburban and park. Best part is the last 1.5 km through the domain and along Lover's Lane. Neat forest setting with a waterfall and stream. Around 32 minutes door to door at the moment but should get a little quicker once my fitness picks up again.

Good to get back running haven't done all that much since the marathon.

Plenty of scope to vary the route as well through Mt Eden Village, or over the hill itself.

Seeing the bike sheds at work has motivated me to get my bike repaired and serviced (at Adventure Cycles) and it's in the shop now. Long story but I trashed the rear dérailleur a few months ago with a stray pannier strap. Not a flash or fast bike by any stretch - it's a heavy hybrid - but should serve as a good cross training exercise. The bike commute will probably be slightly different route. Probably via Parnell as it is easier to get to work that way by road.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Made it to the pool yesterday morning and managed 34 non consecutive before a bus of school kids invaded. Even though there was a couple of lanes left open I didn't quite trust the pools chlorine system against any "accidents".

My swimming has dropped off as I haven't been doing it much and it was pretty slow going. Very hard to believe I was actually competitive in my school days.

One goal for 2010 for me is going to be the Auckland Harbour Crossing. This is a 2.8km open water swim across the harbour. It is over a year away so plenty of time to build up. That is going to take me out of my comfort zone...

I have a few more goals to come...

Ann: in answer to your question on my last post re: Marathon. I did a 3:43:00 and was pleased for a first half effort but plenty of room to improve.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Sure I'm taking in to many kJ*. Still eating this week like I'm still in training for a marathon.

Maybe I'll start logging what I'm eating until I get back into normality.

I have a pool swim lined up for tomorrow morning. Haven't done that for a while and I'm looking forward to that.

* A Joule is the energy exerted by a force of one newton acting to move an object through a distance of one metre. More interesting facts on wikipedia.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

These Toes Were Made For Running

Now this article is interesting :

If you’ve ever wondered why humans don’t have long, prehensile toes that would turn our feet into extra hands, here’s an answer: stubby toes may be custom-made for running.

Biomechanical analysis shows that long toes require more energy and generate more shock than short toes, making them one of many adaptations that may have helped our savannah-dwelling ancestors chase their prey.

"Longer toes require muscles to do more work, and exert stronger forces to maintain stability, compared to shorter toes," said University of Calgary anthropologist Campbell Rolian. "So long as we were engaged in substantial amounts of running, natural selection would favor individuals with shorter toes."

With my "flintstone feet" the short stumpy toes are probably the only thing going for them in terms of running.

In terms of post marathon recovery, my legs have been quite stiff and sore. However have been doing quite a bit of walking and that has helped. Thursday morning went for a very gentle untimed 2km jog, and this morning blew the cobwebs out with an 8km run (7.95km / 38:44 / 4:52min/km). It was good too and I wore my Auckland 2009 Marathon shirt (feeling good after "earning it" last Sunday!).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Some Photos

I forgot to mention in my race report a couple of things that I have just remembered:

1. Around 4km or so in to the race there was a spectator with a bugle. Got quite a few laughs when he played "the last post" when we went past.
2. The courier company Pace had a few signs out along the course. Slogans like "Pain is temporary, pride is forever" etc. I'm sure just before the bridge there was an "You are almost at the finish" which was almost as good as the bugle.
3. A few nutters were running in costumes. I saw Darth Vadar and Bobba Fett from Star Wars. Doing it hard under those helmets. There was also someone in what looked like a red diving suit.

Anyway here are some photo previews from marathon Suprised I don't look nearly as bad as I felt towards the end.

Auckland Harbour Bridge - what an experience going over this.

Feeling quite good after the bridge.

The hat is off and that is normally not a good sign. I read that everyone feels pain over the last 6 miles and you have to suck it up. I guess this is my entry.

Through the finish. I saved the smiling until afterwards...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Finished! Auckland Marathon 2009

Gun Time = 3:43:35
Net Time = 3:43:00

The longest and hardest 8km ever from 34km. However I'll start at the beginning...

The Night Before

Spaghetti on Saturday night and went to bed early at 8pm. Unfortunately the nerves had really started to catch up with me and I didn't really sleep much at all. I'm guessing this is fairly normal. At around 3.30am I thought stuff this and got up...


Breakfast consisted of the pack of muesli that came with the race bag, a peanut butter on toast, and a black coffee. I had organised to park in the work car park (ANZ tower it the city) and walk to the ferry. However on the way stopped off at the 24hour Foodtown to buy a packet of jelly dinosaurs (I couldn't find the jet planes!) and some vaseline (to prevent chaffing).

The dinosaurs were quite good, had some in each pocket of my shorts. Different to be eating lollies during a run. Good idea this (thanks N!), I never really hit the wall on the run, although I was getting close. Cramp was more an issue but more on that later.

Along the second half of the course people were handing out jet planes but it was good to have my own.

Caught the 4:30am ferry from downtown and got chatting to a few other marathoners. Everyone looked in pretty good shape - no suprises there I guess. Training will do that for you.

Got to the start at Devonport at just after 5am. Spoke to a few people - saw Andrew and also S from work (who I didn't know was running). Work colleague N caught up with me at the start line and wished me luck. This was her 7th marathon for the year and she was aiming for sub 4 this one.

I had taken a bottle of water with me and had sipped myway through this in the hour leading up to the start. This was a good tip.

First Half

The first half was quite good. I was being good, holding some back, and keeping close to 5min/km. There were a few hills but not nearly as bad as I had thought.

Chatted with a fellow first time marathoner from 6 through to 9km. Interesting getting perspective on what motivates people to do this.

The Auckland bridge was quite a novelty to run over. Great views - shame you can't do this all the time.

Split time at the half stage was 1:46:40 (5:03min/km). Pretty close to my planned pace.

Was feeling pretty comfortable at this point although it was starting to warm up. One person I passed remarked I was looking "quite fresh".

Second Half

The second half started well tracking pace roughly the same through to about 28km. However after that I could feel myself slowing up.

I was starting to feel the onset of calf cramp and tried to combat it by taking on more fluids at the stops. In hindsight really should have hydrated more on the first half.

The return leg from St Hellier's Bay wasn't pretty. However some of the other runners looked in much worse shape than myself. Carnage but misery loves company. Passed a few people walking. Saw N and Andrew heading out to St Hellier's and waved. :)

Longest 8km ever after the 34km mark. I was trying to keep myself districted by coming up words to describe how it felt, by about the 38km mark I settled on "brutal". I guess the hardest part is the part you don't train for. It is true what what you read - this part is all mental toughness to keep going.

Second half split was 01:56:19 / 5:30min/km. Which is almost 10 mins slower than the first half. Ouch!


The 500m I managed to "sprint" or at least run semi normally. Crowd support was especially good at the finish - lots of people cheering. Fantastic!

Pulled up just over the line with a wicked cramp in my left calf. Got to the end just in time! The St John ambulance person asked if I needed help and then suggested I take in some fluids. Hobbled over to the drinks table. Helped a bit. Looked in the mirror afterwards - covered in salt crystals!

Absolutely stoked to have finished! This was a big challenge for me :)

Would I do another? Actually I probably would - perhaps another crack at this next year. A number of lessons learned here - the importance of early hydration being one big one. That and more endurance training. Now that I know what is involved my next goal is that 3:30 time :)

Congrats to everyone that participated!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Final Countdown

Had this in my head a while back for posting just prior to the marathon. So bad its almost good.

But anyway on to more important things...

Going to be hot tomorrow! Only 8am now and its getting warm, looks like it will be a cracker of a day. I'm going to have to wear a hat.

Good luck to the other (mental) people I know doing this.

Getting a bit nervy to be honest but thats all part of it :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Under a week

Less than a week to go before the marathon. Suprisingly I'm quite calm about it, maybe just resigned to the fact that it is going to be tough, or that I stressed out enough recently with job interviews, subsequent negotiation and handing in notice...

Did an easy 12km on Sunday and have gentle planned for Wednesday morning (in Taupo).

Monday, October 19, 2009

Not Afraid (of hills)

Running distance is tapering off quite pleasantly.

Did my 16.4km distance through Cornwall Park/One Tree Hill on Sunday. The hill climb was not really too much of an issue.

Thanks everyone for your comments about the job change. The new company has offices in the new Carlaw Park office development. The Auckland domain is right next door which is handy - not sure about lunch time runs though.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I'm back

Tapering now for the marathon. Only 2 weeks to go. Getting nervous!

Couple of weeks ago I bought some new shoes - New Balance 1223's. Have essentially broken them in and they are pretty good. Wide fitting which helps with my feet.

Running has been a bit disjointed this week. Did a early morning 7km with hill repeats Wednesday with N and a 7.95km pace run today. (39:59 which is pretty close to idea PMP).

Quite stressful work wise - handed my notice in a couple of days ago and take up a new position in a month. Project Manager role at an engineering consultancy. New challenges and all - bit like the marathon really :)

Here are a few photos from last Tuesday after work in Taupo. This run was on grass with forest scenery a 10km ish run along the thermal explorer highway (a section of SH1 near Wairakei).

It was nice. Wednesday morning was really windy and cold in contrast.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Twice in Taupo

Just got back from Taupo from a work trip. Was down Tuesday/Wednesday and got in two runs.

Thanks to daylight savings Tuesdays run was a nice afterwork run along the lake waterfront. It had been pouring down with rain a few hours before so was good that it largely held off for me. 7.77km / 39:28 / 5:05min/km.

Couple of photos.

Path along Lake Taupo.

Unintended artistic photography due to the light :)

In the morning I went for a 6am run with work colleague N. This involved a 3km out to a small hill, a set of 5 "hill repeats" which involve a reasonable effort (70-80%) for each one and jogging back down. N has done a number of halfs and marathons and reckons this is good for running strength. Was a bit different, variety is good after all.

Didn't time this run but it was probably 7km all up including the 3km back to the start.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Absolutely Stuffed

Stuffed after my long run yesterday! Was intending to leave early but didn't get my act together until about 3pm. I did finish it but was starting to feel fatigue on the return leg. The effect of yesterday's 16km on the return leg?

31.72km / 2:46:39 / 5:15min/km.

The plan did say to pick up the pace a little on this second long run (~60s per mile slower which equals 38s/km). I pushed too much in the easy first half (1:21:23 split) before starting to fade on the return. Marathon day I'm going to need to need some self control and start off easy.

Still I'm happy of getting through a big chunk of weekend running. Feel a bit stuffed - thankfully this week is a step back week with reduced distance.

At the turnaround point stopped for a couple of obligatory photos.

End of the line. Rather the end of Tamaki Drive and close to the turn-around point for the homeward stretch on the marathon course.

The best thing about where the turnaround point is the view of the city (and therefore the end of the course) is in front of you. You can just see the sky tower beckoning...

The hardest part of the run? Coping an elbow in the ribs from the wife after falling asleep on the couch in the evening ;)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Meditation is a 16km Pace Run in the Rain

Great training run this morning - had been a little niggly earlier in the week but this was good. Some light rain but a good chance to think through some work related stuff that have been a challenge recently. The sound of your own foot strikes on the ground is a bit self hypnotic but in a good way.

16.43km / 1:18:24 / 4:46min/km. Running it faster than planned or should have. I'm sure I'll pay for it as tomorrow morning I'm backing up with the second longest (~32km) run of three planned. Should be interesting.

This week in Auckland has been pretty grey and dismal. Although saying that it is a fine now so go figure.

Here are a few photos from my midweek runs in Week 13.

Auckland Harbour Bridge. Looking forward to this part of the marathon course. Only time you get to run over the thing.

Western Park, Ponsonby. Nice inner city park.

Discovering a boardwalk along Westhaven, just east of the bridge. A little statue of a bear and a sailing boat looks out to the harbour.

Recapping the midweek runs:
7.81km / 38:25 / 4:55min/km
12.00km / 1:00:02 / 5:00min/km (plan said 16km but I ran out of time in the morning and cut it short)
7.97km / 42:22 / 5:19min/km

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Week 12 Photos

Some photos from my running this weekend. Spring in New Zealand with nice weather.

Centennial Park running home from work Tuesday.

Westhaven Marina running to work Wednesday.

Twin Oak Drive, Sunday long run.

Week 12 was a step-back week in terms of kms. Made the mistake of running too fast with the reduced distance - Tuesday was OK though.

Tuesday: 7.39km / 39:07 / 5:16min/km
Wednesday: 12km / 59:56 / 4:58min/km
Thursday: 7.81km / 38:34 / 4:55min/km
Saturday: 9.99km / 46:28 / 4:39min/km (too quick!)
Sunday: 18.8km / 1:36:31 / 5:07min/km

Week 13 is a larger block of distance with the 2nd go at 32k. The mere thought of that distance is going to make me slow down on the midweek stuff.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Taking some lessons from last week's long run failure did the same course again but this time with a small bottle of orange soft drink. The sugar made all the difference and managed to feel OK through the entire thing. Felt pretty slow but running this sort of distance is all about discipline and control. Well thats what I'm telling myself.

Also started at 6am this time which is more realistic in terms of what will happen on race day.

31.74km / 2:53:06 / 5:27min/km. Second half slightly faster than the first.

Great for a much needed confidence boost. Two more runs to go at the 32km type distance. I'll probably repeat the same course again as it has a decent section of the marathon course in it.

I missed Saturdays run due to hosting a five year old's party at home (a good reason to have orange soft drink!). While I'm a little dissappointed in myself for missing this run family does come first. It was a neat little party too and much fun had by all.

The other midweek runs were all slightly over 5min/km - a good thing when you are supposed to train mostly slower than PMP.

7.97km / 40:42 / 5:05min/km
18.01km / 1:33:56 / 5:13min/km
7.19km / 36:49 / 5:06min/km

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Not a great long run

Did a long run on Sunday morning and overall it was less than ace. I should quantify though the first half was pretty good. Ran through Mt Eden to the Strand and out to the bottom of Cliff Road in St Heliers. This is just past the turn-around point at the back-end of the actual marathon course. Bumped into Andrew at around Kohi and said hi. He was just finishing his run and had got the timing right as it was starting to heat up.

Got to the turn-around point, 15.87k, in 1:23 and change. Too quick it seems reflecting on what happened on the second half.

Second half was still ok till around 27km and then I just ran out of steam suprisingly quickly. Felt like no energy at all(!) and ended up alternatively walk and very slow jogging the last 4 or so km. If that was the wall I don't want to go anywhere near it again, a bit scary really.

I think I did ended up doing whole thing in around 3 hours.

Since training is all about learning something here are some things I am going to remember.

- first time I've tackled something over 30km, its a different kettle of fish
- make sure I'm adequately fueled up to handle the long run
- start earlier than 8:30am to limit dehydration
- water alone just doesn't cut it over 21km
- improve the mental game

On the positive side the weather was glorious and lots of runners around along the waterfront. Quite a nice atmosphere almost like a race.

The other "positive" is I'm trying to shake a spring cold, running without one should be easier.

This Sunday I'm going to tackle this course again but will be starting earlier. We'll see whose boss this time. It's a bit like a Rocky sequel ;)

Today, though, I'm doing a "short" 8km home. Nice day for it.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Half Way Point - On Location in Matarangi

Week 9/18 of marathon training is done. This week was a bit disrupted because the family and I had been invited to the Whitiangi Scallop festival over the weekend. As part of this we were staying with friends at their bach in Matarangi. Of course I brought my running shoes for the off chance of getting my long run in. I did get to go running but was a little constrained by time pressures.

The scallop festival was quite good - typical food and wine thing with a scallopy theme.
My 5 year old son was getting bored by around 1pm so we headed to Matarangi early. In the afternoon I had convinced my wife I was only going to go running for "about an hour" and went for the following run. Put together the route by looking at one of the local tourist brochures.

A couple of moderate climbs in the middle to keep it interesting.

15.37km / 1:20:05 / 5:13min/km

Should have taken my camera the scenery was absolute magic. Pretty rural along the gravel/dirt Bluff road. Not exactly the planned 19k slow run but I didn't get in too much trouble by taking longer a little bit more than an hour. All about compromises ;)

Probably just as well I was a bit short on the distance - a few days running in a row is pushing things quite a bit so had Sunday and Monday as rest days.

Normal programming resumes this week.

We went for a walk on the beach later that afternoon. As you can see it was absolutely deserted. Bluff road follows the coast at the end of the beach.

Great to get out of Auckland for a weekend. Matarangi is a nice place too and a little off the beaten track compared to some of the more popular places in the Coromandel.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wednesday : Weigh Ins, Wet Runs, and Work Fruit

Multi Topic today:


I've shifted my weekly weigh in to Wednesday morning away from the long runs of the weekend. Not sure if this improves the accuracy at all.

I don't expect this trend to last - my body is working out what is going on and the long runs are making me hungry. I've increased the portion sizes a bit but keeping with the healthy options.

Still going well so far!

Wet Run

Have been mulling over how to fit in my Wednesday "sorta-long" run in for a while. It has crept up to 14.4km and will max out af 16km in a few weeks. That's too far to tackle at lunchtime, and the very early start doesn't always appeal. So what I've decided, after some logistically planning involving changes of clothes, is to run home on Tuesday (short ~ 6.3km) and run in Wednesday morning on a longer route. Today I did a route through Cornwall Park and the Auckland Domain. It was good even though it did start to rain a bit on the second half. Still nothing to worry about when there is a nice hot shower to look forward to.

and here is the map:

Tuesday - 6.38km / 31:03 / 4:52 min/km (too many intersections and traffic though)
Wednesday - 14.9km / 1:13:55 / 4:57 min/km (lovely through Cornwall park - nice clean air)

I've got the PMP pace sorted in my head but shouldn't be running it in my weekday runs. My excuse today was song selection on the ipod. Stuff like "Eye of the Tiger" and "Highway to the Dangerzone" should ideally come up at the end of the playlist...

Today I definitely did the second half faster which is good. The plan did say this was something to try depending how you were feeling.

Andrew/Kate: those are some pretty ambitious times you are predicting. You sure have more confidence in my abilities than I do! As its marathon #1 and unchartered territory for me I am aiming to just get it done and not worry too much about the times. Have to say the plan I'm following is pretty hot on following PMP on the Saturday run - trying to teach your body the consistent pace you con do the whole thing on.

Get through the plan and day should take care of itself.

I note with interest the T-Shirt colours for the event have been announced (they change every year).

Racing Red - looks great!

Work Fruit

Wednesday at work is fruit day. We get two big boxes provided gratis and it is aimed as an initiative to make people eat healthier. Needless to say I get my 5+ a day on Wednesday. In general people here are in pretty good shape anyway. The guy next to me is a marathoner, there is an ironman three desks down etc. Quite fun to talk training around the water-cooler as such.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Long Run through the Sunrise

I'll start this off by reporting on my Saturday run which was more moderate length. Decent Saturday morning run around 9am. Pretty close to PMP on rolling terrain.

13.68km / 1:07:33 / 4:55min/km.

13 odd km on its own isn't too bad. Backing that up the next day with a longer, albeit slower, run is tougher. I think thats part of the plan.

This morning I was out the door at 5:30am on a there and back to Kohimarara beach of all places. 14km each way. The middle 12km from the strand to Kohi and back is a flat part of the Auckland marathon route.

28.03km / 2:33:37 / 5:28min/km

Split time at the Kohi Road turnaround was 1:18:32. So suprisingly did the second half a little quicker. Didn't really feel like it but positive in that the pace was a negative split (second half faster than first).

Mentally I had split this into 4 sections. 8km to the waterfront, 6km to Kohi, 6km back, 8km from the waterfront home.

The first section was running in the dark sort of stuff and then the sun started to come up. Running along the waterfront with the sunrise is pleasant :)

Lots of cyclists around and one or two runners.

The last 8km were tougher I was starting to feel the effects of the weekend's running catching up on me. The run up Grafton road was a bit of a grind to be honest and just plodded along. I suppose it was good for mental training if nothing else. Past Mt Eden Village started to get it together again. The bottoms of my feet starting to get a bit sore towards the end but calves were OK. Feel OK now though.

That's week 8 done. Week 9 is an easier "step-back" week which is well overdue.

Now for some questions:

Mike: Wouldn't really say I have this training sorted. It's more like I have my head above water at the moment and my body is keeping up with it. It's getting harder though as the weeks progress!

I'm learning a lot on the program as well as well as getting in pretty good shape. Close to 70km this week.In terms of times I think I might be capable of 5min/km's which would get me something close to 3:30. I've never raced this distance before so not confident of that at present. Not too worried about the first half its the second that will be tough :). I do have 10 more weeks of training to help me along though! That all said my main aim is to get to the finish in one piece and not looking like something the cat dragged in.

Bruce: The early starts seem bad initially but once you get going its actually very pleasant. Hardly any traffic, very quiet etc. Helps now that we are getting more sunshine hours.

Friday, August 21, 2009


This week so far it feels like I have been going a bit on autopilot. That's good and bad - good that I'm fitting the runs into my day without too much thought/effort but bad going too quick on the shorter stuff. Running at lunchtime probably doesn't help as I'm always concious of getting back at my desk. Might have to shift the weekday stuff to early morning.

Week 8/Tuesday: Work to Harbour Bridge and Back : 7.30km / 33:37 / 4:35 min/km
Week 8/Wednesday: Local 13km : 13.19km / 1:07:58 / 5:09 min/km
Week 8/Thursday: Work to Harbour Bridge and Back : 7.30km / 32:30 / 4:25 min/km

Tuesday and Thursday were lunchtime runs in lovely conditions. Wednesday was a 5am start - this was quite good too with a suprising amount of bird noise through the leafier parts of the run.

This weekend have some an 8mile planned for Saturday and a 17 mile for Sunday. My marathon training plan sometimes has the Saturday runs at Projected Marathon Pace but this week isn't one of them. That means just time on the feet and not going to quick.

Have mapped out where I'm going to run on Sunday and it doesn't involve any volcano hill climbs. Planning on an early start and running through the sunrise - should be good!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Portion control is working quite well. Had a couple of minor blowouts during the week but those were only small indescretions.

What I have been trying to do as well is follow the "caveman" diet principle that ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes aludes to in his book 50/50. Its pretty simple really if a particular item of food was around back in the (caveman) day then that is OK to eat. Put another way wholefoods (fruit, lean meats, vegetables, nuts, seeds) instead of processed. Not suprisingly am feeling better for it too.

At a fundamental level weight loss is pretty simple - move more and eat less. Of course its easier said than done it really requires some discipline. Tracking the weight in a journal helps. Hopefully I can maintain this momentum through to my goal weight of about 79-80kg. Its a challenge during marathon training and a fine line to make sure I'm eating enough but not too much. I think the trick is to eat the same as pre-training but try to be a caveperson. Just don't eat like one at the table otherwise you'll get in trouble :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Week 7/18 Done

Rained most of today. Battled with the idea of going running or staying warm and dry inside. In the end I did the right thing and got out there.

13.19km / 1:04:37 / 4:54min/km

Pretty close to PMP (5min/km) and managed on legs that were a bit cooked from yesterday's long run. All good but feel a bit stuffed now though. Thankfully tomorrow is an easy cross training day.

Summary of the week's running (it's been a pretty big one, well for me anyway)

Tuesday - 6.98km / 35:00 / 5:00min/km
Wednesday - 13.32km / 1:02:27 / 4:41min/km
Thursday - 7.30km / 37:12 / 5:04min/km
Saturday - 26.18km / 2:29:37 / 5:43min/km
Sunday - 13.19km / 1:04:37 / 4:54min/km

Week 8 of the plan is pretty similar really - just a very slight build on mileage for the long run.

This week I think I got the slow pace about right on the long run.

Did quite well on the food front too - made a nice vegetable soup for lunch today. Not to the liking of my (almost) 5 year old though, he opted for peanut butter on toast instead.

What is starting to scare me a little is the marathon is only 2 and a bit months away! Still I'd be even more worried if I hadn't been following a plan.

Here is a promo video from the 2008 event which I thought was pretty cool. It gives some insights into the course and the highlight run over the bridge which I'm looking forward to.

Long Run - Tourist Attraction

Yesterday midday my wife was out getting her hair done and my son was staying over with his grandparents. This meant I had a window of around 3 hours so I decided to shift Sunday's long run to Saturday. This turned out to be a good idea as the rain stopped.

Last week's long run I felt was done a bit fast (16.43km @ 5:15min/km) so for this one really focused on keeping it slow and easy. To make sure added a couple of "judder bars" - One Tree Hill and Mt Eden. Worked quite well too the hills weren't too bad with a slower pace.

This is the longest I've ever run in one go before so somewhat of a milestone. Got a bit ragged towards the end I suspect I was starting to hit the wall just a little.

26.18km / 2:29:37 / 5:45 min/km.


Lots of interesting scenery on this run. Notably at about the 7.5km mark is Acacia cottage - Auckland's oldest surviving building - from about 1841 moved to Cornwall park in 1920.

Photo by therebmeister

Listened to music on this run and had some U2 from the "Joshua Tree" album playing when I was going round Cornwall Park. Very fitting.

Second half of the run was a little surreal. At the top of Mt Eden about 17km in I was asked to pose for a photo with some tourists from India. Maybe they needed evidence for someone mad enough doing the run up to the top? Oh well :)

I don't think I could tackle this sort of course every week. The calves wouldn't like it all that much.

Sunday will be doing Saturday's run of 7 miles at PMP. That should be 'interesting' - legs don't feel all that bad but will be doing something flat.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Rest Days

I have a rest day today which is a good because after three mid weeks runs (6.9km, 13.2km, 7.3km) starting to feel a little sore. Yesterday was good by the way a nice little sojourn along westhaven drive to the harbour bridge and back. Lots of other runners about.

Read somewhere that the benefits of training manifest themselves during rest days rather than training itself. I'm not sure if that is muscular, cardio or other? Regardless I'm glad I have today off!

On my marathon training plan Friday is specified as a rest day and it makes sense. It splits the midweek shorter stuff with the weekend longer slower stuff. It is important to be a little flexible and take an extra rest day here or there if required. Haven't got to that point yet so am keeping my head above water regards the training.

My hair can grow longer but unfortunately not all at the same rate. Rather looking like a Donald Trump wannabe it's better to be consistent. Plus I'm sure its better to have a good aerodynamic profile :)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Better Portions

I weighed in this morning at 84.2kg which I'm pretty pleased about. For some context my BM weight (that's before marriage almost 11 years ago) was about 79kg. Don't let the hair fool you - I'm not all that old ;)

Between then and now I had got to 100kg due to a desk job and largely sendentary lifestyle. Part of the cue to take up running in the first place about 3 years ago.

I'm finding running on its own isn't shifting the last 6 or so kg. Sure I'm ramping up the km's in marathon training which is burning more calories. Countering that though is a higher fuel requirements and it is pretty easy to overeat after a long, or for that matter any, run. I guess there is a pretty fine balance to be had.

What I've been trying recently is to slightly cut down on portion sizes. For instance for lunch today have one sandwich where in the past would have had two. We are pretty good at home with healthy food choices. Not entirely a Spartan diet still allowing room for a glass of red every so often. Also treating sometimes foods literally and not as in 'sometime in the evening'.

Getting some progress happening as per the graph. I think come marathon time carrying around a little less weight is going to help.

Let's see how it goes.

On that happy note off for a lunchtime 7km run in an hour. The weather looks OK if a little overcast. I had a great 13k yesterday and I reckon this run should be just as good. The plan is to do this one at a comfortable pace so I plan to just run and chill out.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Week 6/18 - Done

Step-back this week on the plan. This is apparently a mini recovery week in the middle of a training program. Slight difference this week - suggested a test 10k race on Sunday but I didn't manage that. Ended up doing Saturday and Sunday runs slightly quicker than desirable though.

Back in Auckland from Thursday so my runs were in slighty warmer conditions compared to Taupo.

Thursday - 5.55km (plan said 3 miles or 4.8km) / 24:40 / 4:28 min/km
Friday - rest
Saturday - 10.81km (plan said 7 miles at PMP) / 51:03 / 4:43 min/km
Sunday - 16.43km (plan said 10 miles or race a 10k) / 1:26:23 / 5:15 min/km

Too quick on the long run this week. Incidentally I did the One Tree Hill route again and there were quite a lot of runners around at 8am in the morning. Not suprising this area is very popular its like running through a postcard :)

Week 7 beckons and this is where things start getting serious and the km's start ramping up. Thankfully the mornings are starting to lighten up can see a few 5am starts to fit it all in.

I find the pace will slow up a bit when the weekly distance goes up. Is that normal?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Beetroot Juice

This article on is interesting.

British scientists have come up with a novel approach for people needing a bit of extra stamina to exercise for longer - beetroot juice.

Researchers from the University of Exeter have found that drinking beetroot juice boosts your stamina and could help you exercise for up to 16 percent longer.

Not sure if I could go for it in juice form though.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

It's Cold Outside

Fitted in a couple of runs in my work trip down to Taupo. Running to a training plan is keeping me honest, in the "old days" I probably would have just bothered to fit in one.

Tuesday the plan (Week 6) called for a 3Mile run at "normal pace". I'm not sure what normal means anymore but I figured 5min/km was a good round number. The place I was staying at (Wairakei Resort) has quite a nice gym so the treadmill was an easy albeit it boring option.

5km / 25:03 / 5:01min/km

Actually the back end of the run was at a quicker clip to counter for the fact that the treadmill starts up slowly. I don't belong to a gym so took the opportunity to do a light workout afterwards. Was pretty good - note to myself to start using the dumbbells at home again.

13.03km /1:15:00 (estimated included a couple of stretching breaks) / 5:45min/km

The plan said 7miles for your midweek sorta long run. I ran this with work colleague N at 5:30am, easy and slower than my normal long run pace, and probably a tad quicker for her. Interesting running with someone else something I haven't done before on a training run. We could hold a conversation for the distance so definitely in the aerobic zone.

Colder than in Auckland I'd estimate it was about 3 degrees. For this I had two running shirts on and a sweater.

The run itself was quite nice along the lake front and back again. Always good to run in different places for a change in scenery. I found out later that this forms part of the Taupo HM course - at least the bit from the domain out along SH1.

Today I'm back in Auckland and will be doing a shorter run similar to Tuesday.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

On Location in Taupo

I'm on location in Taupo today and tomorrow for a work project.

Work colleague N (who has done a number of marathons and an ultra) has suggested a 14k training run tomorrow morning at 5.30am. Likely to be cold and frosty so may have to wear that second (or third) running top.

I have no idea of the route - it is going to be quite the adventure.

The motel I'm staying at has a gym so looking to get my Tuesday 3mile planned run sorted on the treadmill.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Week 5/18 - Getting Used to the Long Run

Still sticking to rules, just completed everything the plan threw at me for week 5.

Saturday : The plan said 7 miles - no pace rules.
Did: 11.57km / 54:40 / 4:43min/km.

Nice winter's morning to go running. Only a very brief smattering of rain. For some reason felt really positive on this run. Maybe it was being out in the sun for a change.

Sunday: The plan said: "14 miles at a slow pace. Does this workout seem too easy for you in your advanced state of condition? I'll give you permission to convert this into a 3/1 workout. That is: run the first 3/4 of the workout at your normal, hopefully comfortable, long-run pace. Then over the final 1/4 of the distance, pick up the pace by about 15-30 seconds--not all the way to marathon pace, but somewhat close"

Did (at 7:30am this morning)
24:18km / 2:13:34 / 5:31min/km.
This run was great. I really concentrated on keeping it slow but with better running form. In a comment Phillip offered some good advice which was "The key is a slightly faster turnover and shorter strides with less power, rather than tensing up to keep the pace down.". So concentrated on shorter strides, keeping the cadence up and dropping the power. Works quite well.
Added a little pepper on the last quarter and finished the run strong.
As the plan says: "If you can finish these long runs feeling and looking good, it will be a big boost to your confidence".

The run itself is as below:

After a few streets through leafy Epsom, into Cornwall Park, up the hill, round the park again, through Broadway, round the Domain, down Lover's Lane, up Grafton Road, up Mt Eden Road, and then along Balmoral to home.

I even got cheered, or rather crowed at, by roosters at about the 6km mark. Roosters have nasty spurs but these guys are tame. Which is lucky because on a slow run I could have been in trouble...

Conditions were great.

Andrew in answer to your question on my last post. Angelsea road isn't the same climb as the one in Run Auckland. Ponsonby being on a ridge there are plenty of 'fun' hills from the city. Angelsea, Franklin, or even College Hill. I reckon Franklin road just before Christmas would be quite cool. That street is well renowned for christmas lights.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Leave enough time

So I had planned a 12km run in this morning along this route:

except I miscalculated the amount of time it would take at what the plan said -"Seven miles. Don't worry about the pace. Just cover the distance"

Leaving home at just before 7:20 for an 8:30 start was quite dumb. Lesson to be had is to leave enough time to commute by running! So was a bit concerned about pace.

12.00km / 1:00:39 / 5:03 min/km.

I didn't thrash it though although just before the 6km mark there is an evil little climb up Angelsea Road (from Western Park) up to Ponsonbly Road which was tough. Plain sailing after that. Conditions were a little misty/drizzly so care needed on the red footpath down there (bricks/cobblestone).

On the positive side, this route is quite good it provides quite a lot of variety both in terms of scenery and terrain. Also made it to work in time (just!). Alls well that ends well.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Sounds like something rude to yell if being passed at the finish line doesn't it? It simply translates as "plum dumplings" - a traditional Austrian desert. Haven't had these in years but thought how hard can it be...

Turns out a bid fiddly and time consuming but the results are well worth it. Not sure its up to my Grandmother's standards but they got the thumbs up from my four year old boy. As the recipe says "do not count your calories" - it is definitely a sometimes food, best to have in summer when plums are in season. I cheated with some US imports.

The dumpling shell is a mix of potato, flour, and egg with a breadcrumb, cinamon and icing sugar coating.

Zehr gut!

Good nutrition is a key factor when training but not only that my wife and I have been trying to set a good example. Part of that is trying to make meals with mostly wholefoods (not processed). Last weekend we made Pear and Parsnip soup for Sunday lunch - thanks to the healthy food guide website. Tasted really nice and must have been good as it kept me going for my 22k long run in the afternoon.

I don't feel all that guilty after eating that picture, Monday I was at the pool on my cross-training day with 80 fairly slow lengths. Different size sets mostly 10's but I did one of 22 so its getting better. Had hapkido class in the evening which was good but a pretty light workout.

Ran home from work tonight (Monday) as well: 6.65km / 32:45 / 4:55min/km.
Am planning to run in to the city in a more roundabout 12km route. Should be good.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Week 4/18 Weekend

Two contrasting runs this weekend - one at projected marathon pace and the other a long slow run.

Saturday: 9.99km / 47:57 / 4:46min/km.

Perhaps a little quick but this was a great run for a winters morning. Felt strong throughout.

Sunday: 21.89km / 2:00:03 / 5:28min/km

Easy pace. I got spotted running by a friend who texted me asking why I was "flouncing up the road all blinged up". No gold chains here but a nike singlet to take advantage of some rare winter sun. Apparently I was looking like I was wanting to run faster - in which case I was probably doing an OK job at slowing down. Still struggling with it a bit though to be honest - I feel more "natural" running somewhere between 4:30 and 5:00 min/km.

I like variety on long runs so did this route. It has some suburban, parks, waterfront, marina, a few hills, and even a little urban. Good stuff!

Week 4 distance: 51.67km.

Today is a cross training day - I'm thinking the pool looks like a good option for some lane swimming.

Incidentally here is that photo of my now retired Asics. I'm still impressed my little toe managed to do this.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Measuring Progress

Earlier today my wife commented she likes the "running legs" I'm getting.

How's that for progress? :)

Midweek training

The marathon program I am following calls for three midweek runs on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

The Tuesday and Thursday runs are currently 3 miles (~4.8km) and that builds to a peak of 5 miles (~8km). Since work has showers doing these runs at lunchtime works out quite well. Especially good in winter being able to go for a run in daylight.

One thing I'm finding with this training is trying to find time to fit all the runs in. Currently I'm doing 5 runs/week and the distances aren't too bad (its only week 4/18 after all) - will be harder as the runs get longer.

Wednesday is longer and not really enough time to go at lunchtime. This week I did 6 miles at 5:45am. For once it wasn't wet and awful and the pre-dawn run was good, conditions quite still with a few stars visible.

Thursday after a pretty average morning at work my supposedly run at "comfortable pace" somehow turned into a go fast and destress tempo run. Bit guilty not following the plan but running this one hard felt good at the time :)

Tuesday: Tank Farm Route / 4.9km / 22:03 / 4:30 min/km. Plan said "normal pace" but I suspect this is the wrong sort of normal.

Wednesday: Local 10 / 9.99km / 52:38 / 5:16 min/km. Actually going a bit slower and following the plan a bit better.

Thursday: Tank Farm Route / 4.9km / 20:43 / 4:13 min/km. Enough said on this one.

This weekend the aim is to follow the plan with regard to pace. The long run especially is key to go slow.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

New shoes with silly names

When I drove past Smiths Sport Shoes on Dominion Road last Sunday I noticed a sign up for 50% off. Occasionally they have these good sales where older lines get cleared.

I lucked out and picked up a pair of Brooks Vapor 7's for $99NZ. My size US13 is unusually popular it seems and it was the last pair left. Maybe we are a nation of people with big feet?

They shop assistant told me this is a good shoe for moderate pronation. Since they were cheap I splashed out on some new running socks (3 pairs for $25).

So far I have gone for two runs in them and they feel pretty good.

People that name shoes get to have fun. Vapor doesn't sound as "cool" as my last pair of Brooks which were called Adrenaline. Mind you they were 2.5 times the price.

The pair of Asics I'm retiring look like they have been through the wars. I'll post a picture soon of the damage a little toe can do.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Week 3/18 Roundup

Week 3/18 of my marathon training program is bought and paid for. Well I got through it at least.

Apparently it is a step-back week which is just as well because still initially I was still feeling the HM a bit from last Sunday.

It didn't go exactly to plan (still need to slow down more on Sunday) but still it was good. Here is how it went down:

Tuesday: Plan said 3 Miles (~4.8km) at normal pace. I'm not quite sure what normal is these days though.

4.76km / 22:26 / 4:43 min/km. The route was just a rectangle around Peary, Mt Eden, Fairview/Croydon, Dominion.

Wednesday: Plan said 6 Miles (~9.6km) at a comfortable pace. Plan said "I wouldn't push the pace too much".

9.68km / 48:45 / 5:01 min/km.
This route was a new one for me leaving work, along Quay Street, along the Strand, up the domain, round the park and down the same way but this time along Lover's Lane. I've never gone run that track and it was like being in Titirangi with a waterfall and bush surrounds. Shown around 6km on the map below. Skived off work at lunchtime and was the best run of the week. Great to get out of the office for a bit too.

The path up to the Auckland domain. Photo from "InternetAge Traveler's".

Thursday: Plan said another easy three miler (~4.8km)

4.9km / 22:37 / 4:37min/km. Dead flat route around the Tank farm in Auckland.

Friday was a rest which sounded like a good idea to me :)

Saturday: Plan said run 6 miles (~9.6km) at marathon race pace

10.81km / 52:58 / 4:52min/km.
Pretty happy with the pace its a whisker too fast as I was aiming for 5:00. Did this route - nothing special really, terrain was rolling.

Sunday: Plan said run 8 miles (~12.875km) at a slow pace.

13.68km / 1:12:33 / 5:17 min/km.
Too fast. Must slow down a bit more. Run was OK apart from that - rain stayed away.
Did a loop towards the city and back.

Total : 43.83km. Sat and Sun were a little longer than planned but nothing to really worry about.

Mapping a running route adds a bit of fun to training. It's like planning a little adventure. I also find doing different routes provides variety which helps...