Sunday, September 30, 2012

5 Days a Week

Next up on my running calendar is the Xterra Waihi trail race in 3 weeks time which I am very excited about!  I plan on increasing my runs to 5 days a week for the next couple of weeks, adding another easy run during the week, then cutting back for the week prior.

Tuesday - 35 mins slow

Wednesday - 10 mins slow, 1/2/4/2/1 mins fast with equal recoveries, 10 mins slow
I jogged to the park and discovered that winter's rugby posts have been taken down and summer's 400m track had been freshly painted on the field, so how could I not christen it with a speedwork session?!

I have to say, watching the real-time version of this workout is rather comical as it downloads round and round at various paces!  This was my first ladder session and it went alright, although I am sure my speeds are fairly erratic.  Most of my recoveries were slow jogs, but I was struggling a bit towards the end of the third and fouth sessions and walked for a minute.  A fun workout!

Thursday - 30 mins slow
Concentrating really hard on running 7-7:30 pace for endurance.   Running slow is hard!  And I feel like I am spending so long on each leg for every step I take that my form suffers.  And I feel like the beginner that I am...

Saturday - 35 mins slow
I really don't like running slow, and actually feel like I am going through a down phase - like I'm getting worse!

Sunday - 55 mins slow
Felt better after this run - maybe what I needed was a decent long workout, because I've only done one other long run this month.  Still concentrating on running slow, which became easier as the run got longer ;)
Today was warm and sunny so I took my little Nike hand-held bottle - I hate being thirsty!  I discovered another water fountain today en route, so now there are 3 handy top-up points on my long runs.
Used up the last lemon/lime gel, thankfully, because I'm not fond of the medicinal taste.  I'm trying raspberry next!

That's my week!
How many days a week do you run?  Where do you do your speed workouts?  And what is your favourite gel flavour?

Monday, September 24, 2012

The JustWorkout Devonport Classic 5k

Yesterday I raced in the JustWorkout Devonport Classic - there are 5km, 10km and 15km options, but I stuck with the 5km to begin with.  The course is really great and runs through the lovely Victorian villa-lined streets of Devonport, and in and out of a couple of parks.  There are a few ups and downs but nothing major - I'm looking forward to doing this again next year when I'm fitter and can handle the 'ups' better as they really do me in at the moment.  I just know I can smash my time!
DH took this not far from the finish line!

My official time was 32:22, so I didn't manage to run under 30 minutes as I had hoped, but no biggie!  I forgot to switch my watch off at the end until after I had untied my transponder - the watch clocked 33:02 and 5.2km, with a fastest 5k of 31:21, so I'm not sure which time is more accurate.  I was 13/42 in my age group (40-49) - here I am on the results table, tucked in between Paula Radcliffe and Nikki Samuels:

Overall I was 117 out of 270 men, women and children!

Here are a few of my thoughts and lessons learned.

I need to get my warm-up sorted, because I felt sluggish* to begin with.  I was trying hard not to commit my usual race crime and go out too fast, but there was an uphill at the start with heavy turf underfoot and I know my heart rate shot up which was exactly what I was trying to avoid!  So basically my start wasn't great, and I was pleased to finally hit some flat pavement and recover a bit.
  • Lesson 1 - warm up properly
  • Lesson 2 - plan a starting strategy
It wasn't until the 2km mark that I felt I hit my rhythm - I know, that is halfway through the race!  A few people passed me which did my confidence no good, and I found the kids distracting with their inconsistent pace (as you go to pass them they surge ahead to stay ahead of you!) so it was good to finally get them behind me.  It was great seeing so many kids out there having fun with Runner Mum or Runner Dad though!
  • Lesson 3 - run at own pace
  • Lesson 4 - others might pass you now, but you might pass them later
  • Lesson 5 - kids - either avoid them or enjoy them!
I overtook a young woman at one stage, but as I ran around the markers to turn into the next street, I saw her completely cut the corner and get ahead of me - all my hard work reining her in was wasted - gah!  I felt pretty good going up Church St and passed a few more runners, then entered the small park where the drink station was at the 3k mark.
  • Lesson 6 - passing is fun!
I avoided the drink station as it was crowded and the opportunity to get ahead of all those runners was more appealing.  Of course, ten metres past the drink station I began to feel outrageously thirsty.
  • Lesson 7 - you don't need to drink during a 5k, and can advance several places without even trying at a drink station
In the park there was an uphill path which I was running up slowly, behind another runner, at her pace, until I decided I actually had the energy to pass her on the hill.  Even the small amount of speedwork sessions I've done have shown me that sometimes surging over a short hill quickly is easier than jogging up it slowly, especially when there is a downhill recovery to be had shortly after.
  • Lesson 8 - don't get stuck behind people slowing you down

On bumpy ground I've discovered I'm more sure footed than a lot of people.  This could come back to bite me one day, but it sure came in handy on a couple of uneven downhills where I easily overtook 2-3 people making their way down more tentatively. 
  • Lesson 9 - use any sure footedness to your advantage, but never risk injury
My only criticism of this race was that the walkers set out half an hour prior to the runners, and over the next kilometre they often got in my way.  Several times I had to run out onto the road around groups walking three-abreast.  I respect that walkers are part of the event as much as anyone else, but I wish that some would be more aware of runners coming through and keep to the left.  As a slower runner I always try to allow the fast 10k-ers through when they come up from behind.  (I did however, try not to allow any women aged 40-49 running the 5k through, hehe!)  My Sportwatch recorded my distance as 5.2km, so I hope this doesn't mean I ran an additional 200m weaving in and out!
  • Lesson 10 - try to run in a straight line
  • Lesson 11 - think of an energy saving one-syllable word that is easy to say when you are puffing that means 'excuse me please' yet still doesn't sound impolite.
Speaking of walking I walked for about 30 secs up the final hill until I realised people I had overtaken were now overtaking me!  Glancing at my watch it said 27mins so I made a final push for my 30 minute goal and the end - across the road, into the park, up another slope - then I realised the finish was further away than I expected and I was spent!

I had to walk for another 30 secs to catch my breath, which gave me enough oxygen to make a final effort around to the finish line where I finished strongly.  I always seem to run like a yo-yo at the end of races!
  • Lesson 12 - know exactly where the finish line is
  • Lesson 13 - plan a finishing strategy within my limits.
Overall the Devonport Classic is a great well organised run on a scenic course, and I think I did OK for me.  I'd like to tackle it again next year and improve upon my time.  I know that with some hill-training, this year's hills will seem half the size, so that's entirely do-able.  But the best thing is that my son is interested in having a go too, after seeing so many other kids out there having fun!

How was your running weekend? Do you have any race tips for beginners?  Or know a mono-syllabic way of saying "excuse me please" err, politely, whilst puffing uphill?

*I write this as I lie in bed the next day, sneezing, with a runny nose, which might also explain feeling sluggish!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Number 304

Today I picked up my race number for tomorrow's JustWorkout Devonport Classic - I'm number 304!

As usual you get a few discount vouchers and goodies, of which there are a few missing.  I think that has something to do with a 13 year old boy.

I'm organised and have laid out my gear, but still feel like I've forgotten something:

Nike cap
Lululemon Tata Tamer bra
Nike tank
Nike GPS Sportwatch
Lululemon Pace Setter skirt
Adidas socks
Adidas Response shoes
Have I forgotten something obvious?
As usual I am following all the how-not-to-rules and I'm wearing something brand new on race day.   And it is probably the one item that could cause the most brand-new-issues - a running bra.  I don't expect there to be any problems for a mere 5k, but that could be my famous last words.

For the record, this week things were scaled back a bit in preparation for the race (I still feel funny calling it a 'race' because I'm not really racing against anybody, just me!):

Tuesday - 25 mins slow with 6 x 30 secs fast

Thursday - 25 mins slow

I hope my GPS works tomorrow - on Thursday's run it wouldn't connect to anything for some reason, but I suppose I can survive without it.  My race plan is to make sure I don't go too fast at the start, to not let the hill kill me, and to run under 30 minutes.  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

RunLog + 100km

Since I purchased my Nike Sportwatch, I've run 100km in these shoes:

They were white once upon a time!
What I'm really surprised at is how quickly those kilometres accumulate.  As these were bottom-of-the-range shoes rather than top-of-the-range, I probably should be looking around for a new pair!

Tuesday - 10mins slow, 4 x 3 mins brisk with 3 min jog recoveries, 10 mins slow

I'm going to have to start writing my speedwork sessions on my hand or something, because I forgot what I was supposed to be doing and only did three repeats:

And should I be trying to run at a consistent pace for each one, or does it not really matter?

Thursday - 35 mins slow

Usual route, concentrated on going s-l-o-w.  In fact I overtook two mothers out walking with a young boy who ran next to me for a few metres, he suddenly stopped and said "Mummy why is she running so slow?!"  I didn't hear her reply, but I'm sure it was something like "She's working on improving her aerobic endurance honey, so she can run a really fast marathon one day".

Saturday - 30 mins steady

Today I felt really good running my usual route, and when I realised that I was running about 6:10 pace I decided to keep it up and try to break my Nike+ 5k record - feeling the need for some totally self-indulgent ego-boosting.  I'm sure this has nothing to do with the young boy's comment on Thursday.

I finished in 31:23 - remarkably close to the 5k time predicted using the McMillan Calculator (31:16).  I don't know how realistic my goal of running under 30mins is next weekend, especially if there are hills (hills to this beginner are anything above a gradient of 5%!)

Sunday - 45 mins slow

Today I ran all the way up Chinaman's Hill, slowly but surely, but I did it.  Once upon a time this wasn't such a challenge for me so it is good to accomplish this goal again, and a real confidence booster going into my 5k next weekend - where there may or may not be a hill!

That's my week - how was yours?  How often do you replace your running shoes?  And do you love hills or loathe them?  I think they're a necessary evil, but always feel great after knocking one off!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

RunLog + 1 km Time Trial

Sunday 2 Sept - 10 mins slow, 25 mins fartlek, 10 mins slow

I ran my Cox's Bay route - this was a regular run of mine 5 years ago and I've been avoiding it until now because the gradual upslope home sends my heart rate through the roof!  I've decided it is a good fartlek workout route that introduces me to some hills.  And the boardwalk along the creek is fun to speed up on - as long as there are no runners coming the other way!

Tuesday 4 Sept - 30 mins slow

Thursday 6 Sept - 10 mins walk/slow, stretch, 1 km time trial,  20 mins walk

My first time trial!  Today I accompanied DH on his walk and once we got to Cox's Bay park I measured out 1km and then did a time trial around the park:

You can see I started out conservatively (orange) and got faster (green) as I became more confident I could finish at my 'guesswork' pace.  I ran it in 5:19, but I had to slow down to pass someone walking their dog on the boardwalk, and then I absent-mindedly thought .96km meant I had 4m to go so I stopped and pushed the finish button to end the run a bit prematurely at .98km - so I didn't break my 1km record because I was 20m short - gah!

According to the McMillan Calculator this makes a 5k time of 31:16 possible, but for my 5k in a couple of weeks I'd like to will beat that and run under 30 mins. You can be sure you'll hear about it if I do, and if I don't it will be like:  "5km?  Err, what 5km?!

Saturday 8 Sept - 40 mins steady

I'm on the next stage of the training schedule in my book, which introduces a steady run each week in preparation for a 5k race.  I had a nice run down Chinaman's Hill to Western Springs, around the lake, and ran halfway up Chinaman's Hill  before walking the rest.

The GPS even tracked the small diversion I took at Western Springs - locals might recognise that is the exact position of the toilet block ;)

Sun 9 Sept - 70 mins slow

I felt tired for most of this run, and walked a few times.  If it wasn't for the fact that I was meeting DH at Meola Reef (he walked there taking a shorter route) I may have turned around and gone back home!  This is the first time I've felt jaded in my running - I think my week has been busy both work and run-wise, but next week is a bit lighter, and then I have my 5k race, so I guess this is the peak of my training and to be expected.  Right now I am liking the sound of the taper!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Upcoming Race Options

The training schedule I've been following has a 5km race planned for 5 weeks time, so I've been scanning around for one to do in the near future - here's what I've come up with:

Saturday 15 September - Titirangi 5km (in conjunction with the Lydiard Legend marathon event)

I thought I'd like to be involved in this iconic event even if I was only doing the 5km, but the other day when we were out west I reviewed the course - and it is uphill for about the first 2km!  I think I will leave this one until next year as I haven't been running any hills yet, and I don't want to stress my muscles and risk injury - is that a good enough excuse?!

There is no course profile for the 5 km, but here is the one for the third quarter of the Lydiard Legend Marathon - not your average walk in the park!

Sunday 23 September - Just Workout Devonport Classic 5km

With a little rearrangement to my schedule, I think I can fit this race in.  It looks fun, friendly and my husband ensures me that Fort Takapuna is not a hill.....mmm.....

Oh well, I've entered now!

Saturday 13 October - Xterra Trail Challenge Waihi short course (7.8km)

This is a definite and I'm excited to do this - a trail run through the Waitawheta Gorge near Karangahake.  We explored this area at Christmas time, and it will be amazing to run all those tunnels, winding trails, and swing bridges - can't wait!  There will be some climbs too, but for some reason I am prepared to handle hills on a trail, yet not on a suburban street.  I just love trail runs, and my most painful favourite running memories are trail runs I've done in the past.

So it's official - I have something to train for!  I've rejigged my schedule for a 5km in three weeks time, and a 8km in six weeks time - hopefully I don't hurt something between then and now!

Do you have any exciting races coming up?  The Lydiard Legend Marathon anyone?

Friday, September 7, 2012

RunLog + Energy Gels

Sunday 26 August - 10 mins slow, 2 x 5 mins brisk with 4 min jog recoveries, 10 mins slow

Today I ran along the NW cycleway because it is flat.  I felt flat too.  I don't think I'm very good at running such long stretches of straightness, although the lack of traffic intersections is extremely positive.  I took Jenn's advice and ran later in the day!

Tuesday 28 August - 30 mins slow

Thursday 30 August - 30 mins slow

Friday 31 August - 65 mins slow

I'm loving my long slow runs!  I get to explore new areas and running routes, each time running a little bit further - this time I made it to Meola Reef.  Like last week I ran early afternoon when it was fine and warm, and so made sure I took my little wrist water bottle.  At my halfway point I took an energy gel which used up all the water, but I refilled at Western Springs (the water fountain, not the lake!).

Did the energy gel work?  I don't really know!  I suppose I did have a bit of a second wind a few minutes later, but that could easily be attributed to other factors - some shade finally, interesting distractions, or simply the placebo effect.  I used Horleys Replace Gel that somehow found its way into trolley at the supermarket.  One sachet slides neatly into the cover of my water bottle which is handy:

You're supposed to consume it with 300mls of water, and you will understand why as soon as you start to do so.  My water bottle is only 200mls, so I made sure I drank more at my next water stop just in case I dehydrated and frizzled up before I got home.

I suppose you'd need to take a couple of runs under similar conditions and compare results with and without energy gels, but then how do you know if you are just having a bad/good day or not?  Time and experience will tell I suppose.

Have you tried energy gels before?  And have you found them to work?

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