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...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Male running bravado

A couple of interesting perspectives recently with a couple of people I know that run.

(Female) work colleague N talks of running early in the morning down in Taupo. Recently she mentioned going out with 4 layers of clothing. It is pretty cold down there to be fair. Cold and frosty as in -4 deg C or something.

On the other end of the spectrum I had a conversation with my (male) friend J here in Auckland.

J: "Bit cold this morning on my run. Might have to look into some of the winter running gear. Do you run in it?"
Me: "I haven't got any. But if it gets really cold I might wear a second t-shirt."
J: "..."

Nothing like a bit of dumb male bravado amougst friends. I have to quantify that though Auckland never really gets "cold", 10 minutes or so into any run one layer is plenty.

In the same conversation J mentioned doing the Lydiard Legend Half Marathon ( coming up. I will be interested to see how he goes on what is supposedly the toughest road race in the country. To put it in perspective J is a faster runner than me with a HM PB around 1:32. I'll catch him one day though ;)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Race Result

From the HM last weekend...

Gun = 1:42:10 / Net = 1:40:56.

I'm still a little dissappointed with how it went to be honest. I think largely because I've run the distance faster albeit that was on a flatter course. Do other people feel the same way after a race?

By Tuesday my legs were feeling relatively normal so could tackle that days running (3mi/4.8km) OK.

Week 3/18 of marathon training is progressing well but I'll cover that in a separate post. Suffice to say I'm enjoying the structure of a plan. Training is fun!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Being Sensible

Got back from Run Auckland 6 / North Shore City HM this morning. Conditions were pretty cold and blustery but the rain mostly stayed away. It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. I felt good to turn up and do the thing even though my family and some friends of mine told me I was mental. :)

In terms of the race itself it started well but both my calves started to tighten up around the 6km mark. Trouble on this course the first 6km are pretty easy and the rest is a mixture of beach, hills, North Head, hills and beach. It is a pretty tough course.

Coming back towards the finish along Takapuna beach was interesting with the tide coming in. Needless to say my shoes got a bit wet.

No point risking injury so was sensible and took it relatively easy for the back half of the race. Got passed by quite a few people which was a bit demoralising. Times haven't come out yet but I think it was around 1:41 or there abouts. Not what I was hoping for but at least I didn't pull anything.

One positive I'll take out of this it was under my projected marathon pace and I felt quite comfortable from an aerobic persective. Just wish my legs would behave themselves! I think the answer could partly be new shoes and I plan to go shopping for some very soon.

No more racing for a while now...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Mostly Sticking to the Plan

Week 2/18 of marathon training this week. It's going ok but this is early days where the mileage is low. The weather here in Auckland has been a bit wet* but I'm finding that the structure of a plan is keeping me accountable.

This week is a bit disruptive as I have a half marathon tomorrow morning.

Following of from the long slow run on Sunday (16.4km) I did the following:

Tuesday: 4.9km / 21:17min / 4:19 min/km.
Flat round the tank farm - good but in hindsight what the hell am I running that speed in a training run? Interesting thing the run itself didn't feel that tough. Maybe my aerobic capacity is picking up.

Was a lunchtime run and good fun.

Plan said 3 miles - OK.

Wednesday: 8.48km / 40:28 / 4:46 min/km.
Pace more circumspect this time this route along westhaven, up curran, along ponsonby road, down franklin and then back to town. Another lunchtime run.

Plan was 5 miles - OK.

Thursday: 5.15km / 25:12 / 4:52 min/km.
Flat route out east along the water front to just past the end of the red fence and back again. Felt comfortable going slower.

Plan was 3 miles - OK.

Overall the midweek running was too fast however my excuse is peaking for a HM.

I'm supposed to do 5 miles (PMP) today and then 11 miles (slow) tommorrow. However instead I'll do 13 miles (hopefully fastish) in the HM. Normal programming should resume next week.

* Weather forcast is absolute pants for tomorrow. Supposedly rain and wind. Should inspire me to hurry up and finish to get dry.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

On Plans and Slow Long Runs

So I think I have settled on a marathon training plan. At least it looks a good fit to my schedule and the timing (18 weeks). Although week 2 will be tweaked a bit to accomodate a half marathon race next Sunday.

I did most of Week 1 this week.

Saturday was 5 Miles (8km) at projected marathon pace. I did 7.9km in 37:42 (4:44min/km). Still on the quick side (and still trying to slow down). I would like to dream that PMP is going to be 5 min/km. We'll see...

I few new roads on this route - windmill, valley road, pine.

Sunday was 10 Miles (16km) at a slow speed. I did 16.43km in 1:34:44. I managed to go slower on purpose for 5:45min/km. Work colleague N said to aim for 6min/km to slow myself down but this was pretty good. Run was relaxing, definitely a lot easier almost fun in a slow plodding kind of way. This run had a few climbs in it too but at the slower speed it was fine. Found myself looking around at the scenery a bit more.

Week 1 done!

Downside is it looks like my little toenail has punched a small hole through my sock and the upper of my left shoe. :( These shoes are going to get retired pretty soon so not too big a deal. Incidentally I think this happened on the downhills on run auckland 5.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

4 Months Out

4 Months, or rather 17.5 weeks, out from the Marathon. I need to sort out a plan for training quick smart (and allowing for a half marathon in a week and a half). Time to get serious.

Went for a better run Monday lunchtime along the waterfront, pace was pretty comfortable.

10.4km / 47:35 / 4:35min/km.

152km for June which is a bit of a record for me. Hopefully have built up a decent enough base to hit marathon training "proper". When I hit the plan though the miles will go up but I expect the pace to go slow quite a bit. Will have to be very disciplined about this! Save the speed for the intervals and fartlek days.

Last night I went to the pools in the "quiet time" - 7:30pm (it shuts at 9pm). Still reasonably busy but had a lane to myself for about half the time. Lesson learnt though is don't go swimming after dinner. My body just thought about digesting food as opposed to wanting to excercise. :(

Still got through 60 lengths of freestyle in various sets. It was worth going though and I felt much better for it.