Thursday, December 1, 2011

New Beginnings

I am pleased to report that I have now moved this blog to a new and improved site.

This current site will soon become redundant so please use the new link to read up on all future posts.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Post Great North Walk

I started back running this week. Went for a slow 5km run on Thursday on the treadmill which felt great. Then yesterday did a fairly quick 5km run around my new area in 19 minutes. This actually felt pretty good. The 4th kilometer was a struggle but aside from that it was happy days.

This week will be back to regular runs home from work. Its a 14km trip which is a decent amount with a monster hill thrown in at the 6km mark. I'm also going to investigate running into work. Need to find out where the showers are located etc. A few double days a week of 28km's should help to improve me.

I'm going to hold off going to NRG running club for another week as I dont want to rush back into the fast stuff too soon.

Below are some pictures from the Great North Walk that have just been released. Good memories from a great day out.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Great North Walk 2011 Race Report

The GNW100's is now over so now is an opportunity to reflect on the training that went into this race, the race itself and after thoughts.


I think its fair to say that I probably didnt take this race as seriously as I should have - in terms of training. Of course, from all the race reports that i've read from the previous years, I understood that it was going to be a huge undertaking and would require alot of effort - i just didnt follow this up with a large amount of physical training for various reasons.

Mentally, I thought about this race a great deal. After only running two 100km races I really struggled to get my head around what it would take to have to run another 75 km's on top of one of those. Mind boggling and daunting. After both races I have ended up with painful ITB injuries that have sidelined me for considerable amounts of time. I was worried that I would reach the 100km point in the race carrying injuries which would force me to quit or make the rest of the journey excruciatingly painful. Not pleasant thoughts.

I spent a lot of time picturing myself running across the beach at Patonga and how this would feel. Another thought I used was picturing myself or someone else in a wheelchair thinking how they would happily put up with the pain of running GNW100 ten times over to be given the opportunity to walk again. This certainly helped put things into perspective during the times when I was struggling out there.

Ok, now lets look at the stats. The 3 months of training I devoted to GNW100 are below:

Oct: 404 kilometres
Sept: 244 kilometres
August: 0 kilometres

Total of 648 kilometres over 55 hours. This is probably what most ultra-runners would do in one month.

In the few months leading up to August I was hampered with a persistent ITB injury which meant I didnt train a huge amount. I managed to fluke my way through my debut road marathon in 2.48 after wolfing down a fair amount of Neurofen and then I took a whole month off (August). During this time I went on holiday and put on 6 kilos and had a thoroughly good time. I also did lots of core work strengthening the various parts of my body that required it.

On my return to running in September I was quite shocked by the loss of fitness. It was considerable. My HR was elevated and what used to be easy runs became hard. I had to start from scratch again. It would have been suicidal of me to take up Ultra168's weekly offers of weekend long runs of 60+km's. I felt bad having to decline each time but I think I made the right decision. At least my ITB wasnt hurting.

During the middle of September I decided to push myself and do 50+ km's on the 6ft track in the heat. I gave up after 34 km's as I felt so unfit. I came home and told Phill that I was going to withdraw my entry from GNW100 as there was no way I could complete it. The next day I retracted that statement and decided I would run it easy and as a recce for a future attempt at a decent time.

October came and went quickly. With my fitness slowly returning I had a crack at the Fitzroy Falls Marathon hoping to beat my previous years time of 3.09. This was a benchmark fitness test for me. I remember feeling really fit the previous year so I thought if I could come close to this mark then I was probably in ok shape. Against the odds I came in at 3.02 and I was full of confidence again.

In total, during the 3 months leading into GNW100 my long runs looked like this:

1 50km run
3 40+km runs
4 30+ km runs

Not once did I set foot on the course but this approach suits me fine. I'm happy to be oblivious as to whats coming next. I did however go from CP's 4 to 5 with Andrew Vize (winner for the 3rd time in a row in 22hrs 02 minutes!!)  in the early part of the year as part of his Western States training.

The last couple of weeks before the race I stocked up on magnesium tablets and echinacea I didnt want to catch the bug that was going around and I know us runners lose alot of magnesium and i read somewhere that its good to take. Thats about as scientific as it gets im afraid..

I also used the time to decide what bag i was going to carry. In the end i opted to try running with a nathan 2V elite belt which holds 2 bottles and has some compartments and also my inov8 bag  with a 2 litre bladder. I just cant seem to compress all my mandatory gear into small bags like others.

It was during this time that I had to start thinking about nutrition. I took a gamble and decided to use Hammer Perpetuem for my whole run. Risky as I had only done one run using it but I was impressed with the consistent stream of energy it provided. No sugar highs or lows which is key.

The last few days before the race I bought my 6 drop bags and had a banana for each along with 6 scoops of perpetuem and 2 doughnuts per bag. I dont know why I chose doughnuts.  I think because they were on offer! As you can see my pre-race planning was meticulous...

Warners Bay the night before. Had a nice pizza on the way up and I was in bed by 10 for a largely restless sleep.

Race Day

I set my alarm for 4 am and immediately started drinking as much water as I could. I'm a big fan of chia seeds as I like their taste and also because those mad Mexicans use them during their ultra races - if it works for them then i'll give it a shot! So i had 3 scoops in a protein shaker and put that away along with 2 bananas.

I got to the registration at about 5am and said goodbye to Phill and that I'd see her on Sunday at about 1pm if all goes well. I put my drop bags in the various boxes and then set about saying hi to a few people. Good to see Dan Bleakman (read his great race report here) pumped for the race hoping to get the monkey off his back on this particular course. The atmosphere was very low key but there was alot of nervous energy in the air.

I went to get weighed in as this is a requirement. Your weight is recorded and then checked at CP2 and CP3. If you have lost too much or gained too much then you have to stop till you get fixed up.

I weighed in at 83.1 kilos. My fighting weight is normally around 81 kilos but I figured I had probably about 2 kilos of water in me. I certainly hadnt carbo-loaded before hand. Just eating normally seems to do the trick for me. I dont want to start a race feeling sluggish and full.

After the weigh in I said a quick hi to Andrew Vize. He gee'd me on a bit telling me to stick with the front runners. I have to say it was seriously tempting as the pace isnt red hot compared to a marathon but I knew I had to stick to my plan of slow and steady to get through this. I was in for a long day and didnt want to get caught up in any racing from the start. Will save that for another time...

Start to Check Point 1  28.6km in 3hrs 29mins - 5mins at checkpoint

6am and Dave Byrnes gives the countdown and we are off. The front runners have immediately shot off and I settle in to roughly 5.30 min/km pace. Feels super easy which is great. The first few km's are all on road and people are overtaking me and im overtaking people until things start to settle down. Before I know it im pretty much running by myself and I start to get into my routine of a swig of perpetuem every 15 minutes with a swig of water. Every hour on the hour I consume a salt stick cap which is full of electrolytes. I bought these specifically for this race having never used them before. They say you shouldn't experiment on race day but really this whole race is an experiment for me.

I decided to run in my Brooks Adrenalines because of the added support. I had an ankle niggle in training and didnt want this to flair up so decided on these. I had my NB 101's in a drop bag at CP4 and my Hoka Stinsons at CP5 in case i wanted to change.

I bumped into Malcolm Gamble on this course who ran a neat 100km time and came 3rd overall. Nice bloke with a wealth of experience. He was using this race as a training run. We spent some time chatting and he knew the course which was great as I had no idea where I was! At some point on the course Malcolm took off and I was on my own. However I soon saw someone up ahead. There was a turning to my left which I was pretty sure I had to take and the other guy had shot off in front. I shouted out about 10 times to him that he was going the wrong way. Luckily he heard me and luckily I was correct with my navigation! His name was Michael I think from the UK. Had never been on the course before so it was like the blind leading the blind. We didnt run together long as I went ahead and came into Check Point 1 at 9.34am. A fill up of my irritatingly shaped Source bladder which all the volunteers struggled with and a 6 scoops of pertpetuem, 2 doughnuts and a banana I was on my way feeling weighed down with all the water I was carrying.
I peed 3 times during this section and was feeling properly hydrated.

Checkpoint 1 to Checkpoint 2  23.9kms in 2hrs 27mins - 7 mins at checkpoint

I was feeling really good leaving CP1. My pace was easy and I was enjoying the new scenery. The day was warming up but it wasnt uncomfortable.

Found myself running with Mal again briefly until he took off down the Congewai road. This is a fairly flat road and i must confess that I took my first walking breaks on this road. The Sun was now out and it was getting hot. Doused myself with my water bottle a few times which provided some relief. I upped the salt stick intake to 2 an hour and plodded on to the checkpoint. Before i reached it I saw Chris Turnbull running in my direction and another runner. Both looking comfortable. They were probably 40 minutes ahead of me.

I was weighed and came in at 81.04 kilos which I was happy with. I was back to my normal weight and feeling really good. I had some hotspots on my feet which needed attention. I tried to put some blister gear on them but my sweaty feet wouldnt allow them to adhere. Oh well. Dan Bleakmans pacer, Garth,  kindly filled up my backpack and waterbottles and then I was off, back into the heat.

Checkpoint 2 to Checkpoint 3  29.1kms in 4hrs 13mins - 12mins at checkpoint

Back down the Congewai road and then a right turn at Glenagra Farm. I had to pause for a few minutes as my route suddenly seemed to stop when i was following the fence line. There was a gate in the way and the directions didnt mention anything about a gate. So I walked around and then went over the gate and soon enough found the trail again.  The trail went downhill on some nice single track and Darrel Robins (read his account of the race here) of Ultra168 fame passed me here. I'm not a great technical runner and tend to get passed alot on these sections particularly on the downhills. I caught Darrel and passed him up the climb to the communications tower. Thunder was overhead and I was hoping for a storm. We both came stopped at the unmanned water stop and took some time to rehydrate and fill our bottles. We then plodded on together mostly in focused silence.

I definitely hit a low point during this section. The kilometers were going by slowly and negative thoughts were slowly creeping into my head. I had to make an effort to appreciate my surroundings and think how lucky i was to be out there running. The storm came and went and was refreshing.

Some time later I stumbled across Dave Coombs. Proper nice bloke. His ITB had blown up and he was walking along with 2 sticks. Still in excellent spirits and he seemed to take it on the chin happily enough. A great athlete so was a shame to see he was out of the 100km race but that happens some times. He'll be back.

Then it was more single track to the Basin. I had heard about the Basin being a navigational nightmare but I had no troubles at all. I had my wits about me and didnt have any issues so I guess I got lucky.

There is an out and back section here and I saw Chris Turnbull again and Shona Stephenson. She took out the 100km race and came second overall smashing the ladies record! What an animal! When she passed me she was complaining of taking a wee and getting attacked by leaches. I had to laugh. It wasnt until I got the Checkpoint that i realised I had a couple of leaches on me too. They were trying with all their might to get into my shoes but there is a lining in the Brooks Adrenaline that seemed to stop them. Go road shoes!

My feet got patched up here again by the kind volunteers and I even had a good chat with Alex Matthews. Now this lad can run! He mentioned he will be in for the 100km race next year and i'd expect the record to fall if he doesnt injure himself. Its great to see athletes of his calibre helping out. What a sport this is!! Love it!

Checkpoint 3 to Checkpoint 4  22.1kms in 2hrs 25mins - 18 mins at checkpoint

Heading back out onto the trail to the basin i was feeling good. My feet were pretty busted up now though with all the blisters. My running style is pretty lazy and im always kicking rocks and tree roots resulting in black toes. On the way to the turn off in the basin I bumped into Andy Bowen (read his story here). He commented that he was feeling dehydrated. I later learned that unfortunately he had to pull out. Its a cruel race!

I dont remember a great deal about this stretch apart from thinking how decent I felt considering the distance. Legs were still ok and there was no ITB trouble. At the same time it was also hard not to think about the next 80-90km that lay ahead of me.

I pulled into CP4 for my next weigh in. This time I was 81.08 so a slight increase of .04 kilos. By this stage my feet required serious attention and a nice medic spent 10 or some minutes working on me. Was nice to sit down. Not much you can do for blisters really. I just had to manage the pain in my head and try to focus on the things that felt good.

Plu was here and what a godsend. He set about filling my bladder and water bottles which saved me some time. Very grateful for that.

Checkpoint 4 to Checkpoint 5  26.8kms in 4hrs 34mins - 10 mins at checkpoint

It was beginning to get dark now so I had to get my Ayup on. This was my first long run wearing it and man it lights things up! loved it. I wanted a decent headtorch as I envisaged I would be running by myself for most of the night and I was right. This section was fairly uneventful. I remember running quite well and being confident that I would now finish. Came across a dead snake which was disappointing. I've heard about all the wildlife and I was hoping to see more snakes than I did. Maybe it wasnt hot enough this year.

Meredith and Spud caught me towards the end of this section.

I changed out of my Brooks into my Hoka Stinsons here. Anything to alleviate the blister pain.

Checkpoint 5 to Checkpoint 6  17.8kms in 2hrs 27mins - 4 mins at checkpoint

I started to have some low moments at this stage. I took a couple of silly wrong turns. One was on some single track and I just didnt see the path ahead of me for whatever reason and ended up in a bit of a bog. The other time I took a right turn when I should have just kept going. I ended up running downhill for about a kilometer until I took my maps out and then had to track back. Demoralizing at the time but thats what this race is all about. I figured I probably lost 45 minutes due to navigational errors.

I bumped into Mick and Meredith on this section. Mick was in good spirits geeing me up about not breaking 3hrs at Fitzroy. Meredith was concerned that I may have been Jess hunting her down. I passed them by but I was overtaken by them when a took another wrong turn then didnt see them again till the end. Meredith went on to smash the womens record. Awesome result!

I rolled into CP6 to find Chris Turnbull there along with Spud. I went to go through my usual routine of finding my drop bags and filling up my bottles but for some reason my bag didnt make it to the checkpoint so I had to go without my perpetuem for the next leg. I couldnt have cared any less here. A volunteer gave me 3 gels to carry instead which would have to do. Spud left the checkpoint pretty sharpish about 5 minutes before me and I went off in pursuit conscious that Chris probably wouldnt be too far behind.

Checkpoint 6 to the Finish  25.4kms in 4hrs 17 mins.

After 15 minutes or so I caught up with Spud and proceeded to hack him off with my light casting a shadow on his footings. He kindly let me overtake him and I ran fairly strongly to the suspension bridge then up the climb to Scopas Peak.

Everyone always talks about the second wind you get when dawn breaks so this is what I was waiting for. I was constantly looking up at the sky waiting for the sun to poke through to inject some life into me but it was dark for an eternity.

The exposed section of running during the middle of this leg really sapped it out of me. I walked alot when I should have been running and the surface of the terrain was playing havoc with my feet.

I had a small celebration when i reached the 100 mile point. Patted myself on the back for passing that milestone in under 24 hours  then I gave myself a kick in the head by calculating that it was still another 12km's until the finish.

There was a section on this course when you could turn around and look quite far behind at the track above. It was about this time when dawn was breaking that I saw 2 figures running well. Damn it, they were running strong and I was barely moving. I didnt want to lose another place so I had to get going. Within half an hour and I had been caught by Jess and her pacer. I was easily overtaken and was suitably impressed how Jess ran absolutely everything. The small gradients were forcing me to walk but not for Jess. I was quickly gaped and had to work hard to keep them in my sights. When I figured that I was about 1.5km from the finish I put my foot down in a bid to catch them up. I finally did so as we were descending down the single track to Patonga Beach. Having to ignore all pain I flew down this part and was greeted by the wonderful sight of sand! I had to stop momentarily to figure out which way to head then followed the footprints round the beach and towards the boat ramp and back onto the beach. The soft sand was cruel to run on but the finish was great. I have to say it was pretty anti-climatic. Im not sure what i was expecting but I didnt have any waves of emotion or feelings of elation. I just fancied a sit down! Dave put the medal round my neck and I was told to touch the Patonga post. Job done! Final time of 25hr 15 minutes good enough for 8th place out of 121 starters.

I went over to where the other guys were and had some food and drink and waited for Phill to arrive. I admit to being pretty antisocial at this stage. I was pretty wiped from the race and just fancied getting home for a shower and some hot food. I didnt really have the energy for much conversation.

Post Race

After collecting my drop bags I was driven back to Sydney. I funny thing happened when I got out of the car. I commented to Phill that I felt a bit nauseous. One minute I was standing there then the next minute I was on the ground. Phill was a little shocked but after lying in the garage for 10 minutes I was ok. I can only think this was due to low blood pressure, exhaustion/lack of sleep.

On Monday I couldnt quite believe how good my legs felt. Very little soreness and I could freely run up and down the stairs without any pain. I can only attribute this to the low intensity of the race. I took it relatively easy the whole way and was never out of my comfort zone. I was well hydrated and fueled up which probably all helps.

Having said that, my body has been tired. I have been feeling more fatigued this week that usual and my legs have felt tired even after doing very little. My appetite has been ferocious and I have been eating everything in sight. This is now beginning to slow up.

Food and Drink Stats During the Race

  • 36 scoops of Hammer Perpetuem (orange and vanilla flavour)
  • 29 salt stick caps
  • 5 bananas
  • 5 jam doughnuts
  • 2 Hammer energy gels

  • 25 litres of water
  • 2 cups of coke

This is definitely a race I will run again (sorry Phill). I wasted at least 45 minutes going off course and 56 minutes at checkpoints. For my next attempt I'll know where im going and I'll have a crew to aid with quick checkpoint turnarounds. aka Vizey in and out in a minute styley (providing I have no blisters of course!)

I probably wouldnt change my pacing strategy too much in the early stages as looking back I still feel I got this spot on. Certainly in the later stages I would have liked to push it a little harder but thats there for the taking next time. Given the same conditions I think sub 24hrs isnt beyond the realms of possibility. 

Next year is the year of the marathon PB for me with the aim of cracking 2.45 potentially at GC Marathon. With that in mind I have decided to put ultras on hold for a year to concentrate on getting some speed into my legs whilst im still young (relatively!!). I havent yet had a consistent year of training and and im excited at what i might be able to achieve if i have a solid foundation underneath me.

I also firmly believe that I need to have a break from the long stuff as there is only so much the body can take (or my body can take). I want to run for as long as I can so it would be silly to burn out so soon. I think a focus on speed vs long stuff will improve me as a runner massively.

So next year will be plenty of 5kms and 10kms with way more strength and conditioning thrown in. I would like another crack at GNW100 in 2013. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Great North Walk Build Up

Great North Walk 100 miler next saturday and im super excited.

I certainly havent done nearly as much training as I should have but regardless it should be a fun day.

The only concern is a lingering ankle niggle which is bothering me. I think I landed awkwardly jumping from a height a few weeks back in minimal footwear and may have tweaked something. Seems to scream when I turn a sharp corner so I need to be careful. Not sure if i'll strap it or not as I havent practiced running whilst strapped up and it could cause blisters. Will see.

In the meantime my nathan elite 2v water belt has come. Great piece of kit. Sits comfortably round the waist. Will have one bottle rammed full of perpetuem and the other with water and nuun. I will also carry a small camelbak. Need to test this out  but I think I should be able to carry all my kit using this equipment. Will  be tight but i'll test run this week.

Tapering is going well. Seems like the last 4 months have been a taper for one reason or another. Highest mileage month in ages was last month where i only hit 400km. Pretty minimal for what im about to encounter. Having said that my fitness feels pretty good lets just hope the body holds up. I'm mentally feeling super solid, have never really suffered from that aspect though. As long as I dont suffer a serious injury i should be a safe bet for a finish next Sunday.

Looking forward to seeing everyone out on the course.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fitzroy Falls Marathon

Last Saturday was the 11th running of the Fitzroy Falls Fire Trail Marathon. I ran this last year as my first marathon and was surprised to finish second to Mick Donges in 3.09 behind his 3.03. This year I was determined to do better even though my build up was half of what had been last year. 

Once at the start line it was obvious that it was going to be a fast race with aussie reps Brendan Davies and Mick Donges  up for some fun along with other serious competitors like Andrew Tuckey and Alex Matthews. 

My stretch goal was to try and break 3hrs which i knew would be ambitious but I set off with that in mind. I let the fast guys speed off whilst i settled into a decent rhythm. I had my ipod with me but only started wearing it after 5km as it became obvious that this wouldnt be a day for chatting on the trail.

I wore my NB MT101's for this race as they are so damn comfortable and super light which makes uphilling relatively easy.

The halfway mark was hit in 1hr 28 minutes and 30 seconds so i knew 3hrs would be tight as its mostly uphill from there.

I was thankful for my conservative start as I started reeling people in around the half way mark. Around the 28km mark I caught up with Ewan Horsburgh. This was timely as I was beginning to feel the effects of the race and it would have been all too easy to step off the gas. We seemed to take it in turns running in front. I tended to pass on the inclines whilst Ewan would maintain a decent clip on the flats. This kept the pace honest but I was also conscious I was falling off the required pace for a stab at 3hrs. 

At about the 35km mark I managed to lose Ewan and I was on my own for the next few km's. This didnt last long as David Hosking caught me up running fairly lightly. In the distance we could make Alex Matthews who was obviously having a hard day. As we passed him it looked like he had taken a nasty fall and was nutting it out to the finish. Towards the 40km mark my legs were beginning to cramp up and David was looking hard to chase down. All my thoughts were on the post-race burger.

Finally I was on the home straight and I tried one last sprint for glory down the straight. This was thwarted however by the amount of mud so i was slipping and sliding rather than making good ground.

In the end I crossed the line in 6th place in 3.02.45. A 7 minute improvement on last year which is good progression. I probably lost a couple of minutes in the back half of the race but there is always next year to crack 3hrs. Before this race only 10 men in the 11 year history of the race had broken 3 hours. This year the top 4 all came in under 3. 

Top 10 results below:

1.   6   Andrew Tuckey             ASQUITH                 NSW 35 M  2:47:05  3:58
   2. 163   Mick Donges               BLUE MOUNTAINS       NSW 28 M  2:48:10  4:00
   3.   4   Tim Cochrane              WESTMEAD             NSW 31 M  2:54:11  4:08
   4.   3   Brendan Davies            BELFIELD             NSW 34 M  2:55:23  4:10
   5. 141   David Hosking             BROULEE              NSW 43 M  3:02:35  4:20
   6.   5   Ian Gallagher             GREENWICH            NSW 29 M  3:02:45  4:20
   7.   1   Alex Matthews             TURRAMURRA           NSW 27 M  3:06:19  4:25
   8. 183   Ewan Horsburgh            KATOOMBA             NSW 33 M  3:09:16  4:30
   9. 166   Stuart Spencer            CAMPERDOWN           NSW 33 M  3:09:43  4:30
  10.   9   Martin Pengilly           TURRAMURRA           NSW 44 M  3:11:59  4:33
My focus is now firmly on the Great North Walk 100 miler in November. I feel massively under-cooked for this compared to other training diaries I often look at. There are many different ideas out there as to how to train for a 100 mile race but at the end of the day everyones body reacts differently to various training methods. Some guys love the mega mileage, others  prefer short intense workouts, whilst a few (ultra168) like mega mileage intense runs!

The main point I keep hearing though is that one of the biggest battles is getting to the start line in one piece. There is a fine line between doing heavy training and becoming overtrained. Once the symptoms of overtraining set in then your pretty much screwed. On the same note, if your under trained then its going to be a hell of a long day on your feet! 

There have been 44 withdrawals from the race so far most notably some of the big guns in the womens race including last years champ Beth Cardelli and Allison Lilley. Hopefully the withdrawals arent a result of anything too serious and i hope all the other competitors make it to the start in one piece.

For me, completion of the race is going to come down to managing the pain. It's going to hurt, alot, and i'll have to prepare myself for this mentally - embrace it even. I've been reading Marshall Ulrich's new book 'Running America' where he talks about managing the pain he experiences whilst running 60+ miles per day. At one stage his foot is so badly injured that he can barely walk let alone run. He decides to 'disown' his foot. Refuses to acknowledge that the foot or the pain associated with it is his. Crazy stuff. But he plugs away and his foot ever so slowly heals. Hopefully for me i wont encounter any serious injuries and i'll just be able to methodically plug away until the finish. Im super pumped for this!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Speed Work

Tonight was my standard run home. However, in the lead up to the Fitzroy Falls Marathon this saturday i decided to introduce some 1km reps and fartlek.

The first km was a warm up and then straight into it. Felt pretty good hitting a 3.15km then i recovered for a km then hit a 3.16km. After the recovery rep the terrain of the run makes it too awkward to do 1km reps so i moved into fartlek, essentially sprinting for 400-500metres then recovering and doing it again. Finished up the last km in 3.26 and felt awesome!

This is a great workout as its high intensity and teaches your body how to run faster and recover at the same time. Also doesnt leave you feeling stuffed.

All up this turned out to be my 3rd fastest run home ever - very pleasing!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fitzroy Falls Marathon - Plan for the week

With the Fitzroy Falls Marathon less than a week away my training is now going to focus on getting some speed in the legs. Since returning from Europe last month i've been slowly ramping up my training. September was by no means a big month with just 245km of running. However this was 245km's more than I did in August due to my ITB issue. This now seems to be behind me (fingers crossed).  September was all about learning to run again and this hasnt been easy. My heart rate has been elevated and ive been finding it hard to add any speed into my workouts. However, on saturday I went caught a train up to Brooklyn and ran/hiked through the bush for 6 hours. I wanted to spend some decent time on my feet without smashing up my legs (after all i am racing on Saturday). I wore my NB Minimus Trail which are awesome. I bought these at the same time as the Hoka Combos and I have to say I way my Minimus way more. I find them extremely comfortable and I seem to run much faster in them than the Hokas. Lots of hype surrounding the Hokas but for me they're going to be a 'recovery' shoe. Certainly fun when running down a hill but thats it. Definitely not a performance shoe. Having said that there will probably be a point in the GNW100 when i'll slip them on just due to the cushioning they provide. Anyway, im sidetracking...

I only ran 45km on Saturday  but my legs felt good and it gave me some much need confidence that i'll be able to complete the GNW100 as long as i pace properly. The next day was just a short recovery run and then today i started thinking about the Fitzroy Falls Marathon. If im to have any chance of breaking my 3.09 time from last year i need to start working on some speed - better late than never. So i slipped on my NB Mt101's and went out for a 16km progressive road run - the aim being to start of slow and ease into my run then pick up the pace at the half way mark. I felt pretty ordinary for the first couple of km's then things started to click - finally!! The last 6 of the 8 km's were all sub 4 with the final km being a 3.37. My heart rate was where it should have been (below 180 bpm) and i finished up feeling like i could i have run 5 more kms at that pace.

Last years race was my first ever marathon and as such i didnt know what to expect in terms of how my body would cope running a certain pace or with a certain heart rate. As you can see my pacing was not very even (taking into account its not a flat race) but i was able to maintain a heart rate of 170 which is good. I also think that during my marathon last July my heart rate would have been around the 175bpm mark. I wasnt wearing a monitor so this was my perceived effort. Since I now know how to pace a marathon and since ive ran the course before i know what to expect and im confident of doing better and most importantly finishing stronger. My pacing really fell off towards the end last year and this is what i plan on improving the most.

So my training plan this week will be short efforts at pace. Simple as that. After Saturday all thoughts will be on GNW100. Im by no means as prepared as i should be for this one having only been on the course once but if i push the km's too much in training there is a chance id be a no show and thats the last thing i want. Id rather turn up fresh and under prepared than blown out. Besides im actually excited about running on a course ive never been on before. Target time for me is under 30hrs. If i can somehow hit that i'll be chuffed to bits.

My AYUP light set arrived a few weeks ago. I ordered this especially for the race as im bound to be in the bush all night by myself (i wont be having a pacer). Wow, what a light! Its like having a set of car lights on your head!! Pricey but well worth it!