Monday, June 29, 2009

A bit flat

Two runs at the back end of last week.

Friday - Lunchtime - 7.52km / 34:04 / 4:32 min/km. Loop along Westhaven, up Curran Street, and back down College Hill. Not a bad run overall but I got pretty hacked off with the intersections towards the end.

Saturday - Early Afternoon - 14.86km / 1:17:16 / 5:10 min/km. Originally I had intended this to a long run (i.e. something over 20) but for some reason I felt pretty flat from about the 4km mark. Not really into it so cut it short. The Waikowhai Park section was nice but after the stairs just wanted to have a sleep.

Didn't get to the pool last week so am going to make it a couple of times this week. Having a bit of a cold last week my eating wasn't that flash either.

Overall this week wasn't that good. Next week will be better!

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Took Monday off work. Taking sick days is really rare for me. Currently have a bit of a chest cough so haven't run since the 10k on Sunday.

Probably running flat tack with a cold didn't help too much. But will try and get out tomorrow morning.

Half Marathon in 2.5 weeks time, really want to race this course and get a good time. Maybe a shot under 1:35 if I turn up on the day.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Run Auckland 5 - Almost Speedy

Nice weather for Run Auckland 5 in Western Springs on Sunday morning. Made a big change to last year when it absolutely hosed down.

At the back end of last week I could feel a cold coming on and wasn't really looking forward to this. It's not all that much fun during a run when you aren't feeling 100%.

This course features two laps around Western Springs and the Auckland Zoo. The first 1.5 km or so is a gradual climb, followed by a flat section along Surray Cres, Old Mill Road, and then a sharpish decline, and another flat section past the Auckland Zoo.

Saw Andrew E and his wife near the start, about to start the 5km version.

The hill climb wasn't so bad and I felt pretty good after the first lap. The second lap started to feel a bit ragged to be honest, the cold was catching up with me near the end. Down the home straight I heard Andrew shout out "give it a burst Aaron!" so of course head down and bit of a sprint finish for the last 100 or so m. Managed to haul in three people. It absolutely gassed me though and I came close to throwing up in the chute! Lovely.

Almost speedy...

9.91km / 42:57 / 4:20 min/km. (gun time 43:15).

Not too far off my PB for the 10km. I figure it was a good race really especially with running with a head cold. What I thinked help a lot was the hill training I've been doing the last few weeks. This hill is pretty gentle compared to Jacob's ladder and Western park so found I could maintain a reasonable pace immediately after cresting. Not sure I could maintain 4:20s over the half distance (although in the ADRA half I did last year did manage 4:30s). Maybe a pace in between might be possible :)

Run Auckland 6 in three weeks which is a half marathon. There is a free 12km run (called the "ringstinger") in two weeks which might be worth a look.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Beware of Low Flying Pohutekawas

Thursday morning was pretty cold in Auckland. Went out for the short variation of the waterfront loop (10.4km). It's funny how I'm starting to refer to a 10km distance as short.

The waterfront has a number of Pohutekewa trees with low lying branches. A Pohutekawa is sometimes referred to as a New Zealand Christmas tree - lots of red flowers in summer.

I didn't hit my head but came pretty close just ducking in time. Easy to do when "in the zone" or in my case looking out over the harbour. Being a short runner probably has its advantages.

Photo by semuthuthan.

This was a great run! The first 5.2 was done in 23:33, the overall time was 46:42 so a bit of a negative split. Pushed harder on the second half, blowing a little hard at the end but all good. Finally getting a bit more speed back.

This route is reasonably flat and a welcome relief from the hills on my last two runs.

10.4km / 46:42 / 4:29min/km

On the run I was listening to soundtracks from 80s martial arts movies. A bit tragic but (retro) songs about overcoming adversity to ultimately triumph fit quite well on a run.

This Sunday have Run Auckland 5 (10km) so no more running for me until then. I might try and get to the pool on the weekend though.

I have been watching my diet more this week with some positive results - weighed in at 85.0kg flat this morning. I think eating healthy along with training for the marathon (135 days and counting!) should help get down to that magic 79-80kg mark. It'd be good to look lean, but not too mean, for the photos... :)

The only negative this week is I can feel a head cold coming on.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Stating the Obvious

Mixing up my weekday runs a bit this week. Both Tuesday and Wednesday I had good intentions of getting up early but had to settle for heading out at lunchtime.
Organising a lunchtime run is interesting. Given the need to change and shower (and the odd city centre intersection) the maximum amount of running time I can get away is about 35 minutes. So I've been developing a number of loop courses around 7-7.5km from work (ANZ building in city). I have read that horter runs during the week are a good balance to the longer slower stuff required to tackle a marathon.

I try and run these reasonably hard, but still being mindful I'm in building mode and my 34 year old body getting used to the idea of 40+km/week.

Tuesday - lunchtime - 6.9km

The Jacob's ladder, Western Park, Meyers Park and back. Recovery after the climbs is still not great but its slowly getting better. I knocked a total of 10s off my previous best on this route ;)

6.9km / 32:22 / 4:41min/km

Wednesday - lunchtime - 7.52km

Mapped out a new route this time. Took in the westhaven marina, past the harbour bridge, and up Curran Street (at the 4km ish mark) . Keeping a comfortable pace on the flat bits up to this point.

7.52km / 35:13 / 4:41min/km

Curran Street was a bit of a grind after yesterday but no issue with the calves. Worked on reducing stride length and keeping up the cadence (foot strike rate) - a good strategy for me on hills.

A fellow lunchtime runner passed me and commented "its better going this way!". Stating the obvious a little ;)

Rest of the run was down College Hill and then back into town. Bit blatted at the end.

Wednesday is fruit day at work and we get a couple of big boxes to help yourself. Quite nice and healthy after the run to have a couple of bananas, and other assorted healthy stuff.

Been a good boy this week and steered clear of the biscuit container.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sunday Swimming

80 lengths of free this afternoon - not all at once. Mostly sets of 10. Timed the second to last one 6:20. That's slow but I'm swiming slow on purpose! I feel myself getting used to swimming again. I think my speed will pick up some once the endurance builds.

Bit stuffed after the "big" run yesterday.

We made some (roasted) vegetable soup for dinner tonight. A healthy option that tasted great as well. Goes well with some Vogel's original grain toast.

Finally this morning I redid the 100 pushups challenge week 3/day 1, and did the two hundred situps week 1/day 3.

Mike in answer to your question - I'm 6'2" (or 188cm in the new language). Apparently that makes my "ideal" weight 79-80kg (and not 86-87kg where it's hovering right now).

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Unchartered Territory

Long run this afternoon. I went out with the intent of going for a 2 hour run - the furtherst I had ever gone before was the half marathon distance so it is all unchartered territory.

In fact I had mapped out this puppy yesterday. Up Mt Eden Road, along Newton, down Ponsonby, Curran, past the marina, through the viaduct harbour, up Queen, over Grafton Bridge, through the domain, through Newmarket and then cutting through Epsom for home. Interesting mix of scenery from suburban, marina, urban, park, and back to suburbia.

Optimistically figured on 5min/k pace so 2 hours = 24 km. Took a 600ml water bottle with me.

Think the markers are off a bit in the google earth export...

First 12km were OK and was probably ahead of time.

The climb up Queen Street was a bit of a grind, could feel pace dropping from about 16km through 20km but for some weird reason felt a bit better from 22km through 24km.

24.1km / 2:02:14 / 5:03min/km

Pretty close to the target pace - but probably started too fast.

I don't think dehydration was too much an issue, as I was drinking from the bottle through out. Probably running out of energy a bit though.

Calves felt ok, my feet were more an issue feeling sore towards the end - not used to the distance (and current pair of shoes needing replacement soon).

I was pretty much done by the end. Right now the marathon would chew me up and spit me out, still I suppose thats what the 4.5 months of training are for :). I have a lot of respect for people that get out and run anything over a half marathon - it's tough!

No run tomorrow or monday, although I'll go for a swim.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A tale of three runs (and one swim)

Quite a similar pattern to last week.

Tuesday Morning : 6.98km / 33:37 / 4:49min/km

Just up to View Road and back. Pretty average run really. It wasn't cold but there was a hazy drizzle. If I had to use a word for this run it would be "damp".

Tuesday Evening : Lane Swimming (approx 1km in total - slow)

Couple of slow sets of 16 lengths of free (400m). Longest sets ever. I had the pool to myself for the first 20 odd minutes then the pool got a bit busier. Did a collection of single lengths (maybe another 16 lost count) with a now cross-leased lane. Went more for speed on the singles. Rounded out a damp training day.

Wednesday Lunchtime : 6.90km / 32:42 / 4:43 min/km

Short lunchtime hill course. Recovery after the first hill (aka Jacob's ladder) is still average. It is quite a nice run (albeit it tough) though through a couple of inner city parks.

Jacob's ladder is just past Victoria Park. Here is an old post when I first found it. You aren't really supposed to run up it but if no is watching it's probably OK ;)

Thursday Morning : 14:86km / 1:13:22 / 4:55 min/km

For this I extended my run along the waterfront out a bit further following the 2nd half of the Auckland Marathon course. Basically went from the work building to the Mission Bay fountain and back again.

Photo from aaronsimonsen

There is another couple of 2kms out to the marathon turnaround point so at some point will push this run out to that point.

This is a good route not only for the brilliant harbour views as the sun comes up but also the lack of traffic lights or intersections.

My legs were feeling it a bit after Wednesday's hills so didn't push too hard. With enough training (4.5 months) this might be a realistic projected marathon pace. Easy to say now though.

Along the way I saw an elite runner being paced by a cyclist, whom I assumed was a training friend. He was absolutely caning it.

It rained a bit on the way back but again it wasn't cold so not a big deal.

Ramping up the training is keeping winter weight gains in check. 86.1kg this morning which is reasonable - hope this drops a bit as training progresses.

Long run and a swim session planned for this weekend.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Weekend Wrap

This weekend was pretty good for excercise.

Saturday - Running : 7.53km / 35:20 / 4:41min/km. Local round the block course I do (Dominion Rd / Mt Albert Rd / Mt Eden Road / Balmoral Road) but in opposite direction.

Good pace and a reasonably hard effort. Legs felt good no complaints.

That brought up 41.5km for the week.

Rather than do too much too soon didn't do a long-run this weekend.

Sunday - Swimming: Working on swimming slowly and building up endurance. Turns out Sunday afternoon is a good time to get a lane to yourself.

Did the following sets of freestyle.

10/8/8/8/6/10/8/8/8/6 = 80 lengths of a 25m pool (2km)

2 lengths of breaststroke between each set and 30s rest. Pace was real slow (something like 4:20 for 200m) but that's cool - working on endurance. Pace will come later. Next time I'll try and push the sets out a bit further and start thinking about proper form as well as making it to the end without drowing. :)

A good workout and quite "relaxing" compared to running. Tired now but definitely a different tired.

Friday, June 5, 2009

A trifecta of runs

A trifecta of midweek runs this week. While my calf is behaving itself so didn't go crazy on the distance or speed and am continuing with building up to say 40km/week distance. Should be able to get there this week.

My current thinking is to have a good solid base before engaging on a marathon training proper. The key thing for me is going to be *endurance*. I know I can run a 10km comfortably, and manage the half distance but I have never gone further than that. The weekend long run is going to be part of this.

5 months out from Auckland. Started looking at a few plans that are 18 week but haven't decided anything yet.

Tuesday : 6.98km / 33:00 / 4:43 min/km

Left home at 5.45am. Quite cold so I ran with a sweater on. However 3km into it started to get hot and ended up tied around the waist. Saw a few other nutters about in the early hours. This route was a gradually gentle climb past Mt Eden Village, down View Road and a relatively flat section along Dominion. Easy(ish) pace

Morning at work I felt good but started to slump a bit in the afternoon. Could have gone for a nana nap but not appropriate in an open-plan office!

Wednesday : 6.90km / 32:32 / 4:43min/km

Wednesday had me set my alarm for 5 to get up early for a similar distance. However it was 2 degrees outside! I wimped out and decided on a hot cup of a tea instead. As penance I took my running gear in to work and tackled a similar distance route which takes in Jacob's ladder, Western Park, and Meyer's Park. A good sharp run with two sharp hills (one is stairs!) in the inner city. Legs were pretty heavy after each climb so good recovery training.

The sun was out and weather conditions were perfect. Interesting it was the same pace as Tuesday but the route is more challenging.

Running along the top end of Ponsonby Road, along Karangahape Road, and Mayoral Drive during lunchtime is something else. Lots of people about so it felt a bit like free-running. Keeps the mind active anyway picking the right 'line' to run.

Thursday : 10.4km / 48:12 / 4:38min/km

Yesterday morning did the flat route along the waterfront and back leaving the city at 7am. Cold but sun coming up while going along the coast was very nice. I might extend this route out gradually to make it to the St Heliers turnaround point and it'll be close to the second half of the Auckland marathon course.

Pace felt reasonably comfortable.

Tomorrow I'm not running but rather am going to go hit the pools after work. My distance "record" so far is 8 in one set so I will be trying to beat that.

Monday, June 1, 2009

A 10km race and more swimming

Queen's Birthday weekend here in New Zealand - that means a holiday today (Monday). Not really her actual birthday but each country in the commonwealth has a turn. Can't complain really...

Anyway I had Run Auckland Race 4 on Sunday morning. This was a 10km race in the North Shore of Auckland and it is a hilly course in Milford. There was a short stretch along a coastal wall and a bit along the beach. Went into this quite apprehensively not wanting to aggrevate my left calf. As such I didn't really race it but it was more of a training run type pace - turns out the calf didn't complain in particular but both legs were getting quite tight at the end. Put that down to lack of condition on hills.

The weather had really threatened to pack in but it actually turned out very nice. Cold but sunny. Lots of people at the event and the first couple of km's quite congested. There are no road closures on these events so it's footpath space only or a few sneaky sections on the grass verge.

Results haven't come through but according to my watch it was something like 46:14. Update: Actually my official result was 46:45 - I'm pretty sure this was the gun time. While I ran this thing flat out last year in a time 3 minutes faster it absolutely stuffed me. This time round the run was much more controlled, felt comfortable throughout and could have kept running further at the end. Limited more with holding back on the legs rather than cardio so that is all good. In fact suspect it may have been a negative split. All in all a good run.

The ocean scenery was lovely as you can imagine from the course...

Today I hit the pools again and took Kate's advice on slow swimming being the key to build up endurance. Turns out it was good advice to take because it worked :)

Did 64 lengths of non-consecutive freestyle this time in sets of 4 (100m) with a couple of 6's (150m), and one set of 8 (200m). Still taking some time to get my form back but things are getting better. Did maybe 14 or so lengths of breaststroke in between sets.

Will aim to get along again later this week and see if I can build on this start. Who knows might be a regular thing?