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.