Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Busselton Half

1:27.12 for the half and I seem to be getting slower every year!!! But before I get all depressed about a disappointing result, I actually feel like I had a pretty good race. Went out at a good pace 3:50 through the first k, 16:00 through 4k and then held 4min/k until 9k. The course is flat but it was a very windy day and I found I struggled when running into the wind (2nd and 4th 5k sections). At about 7k I was passed by a group who I guessed was the 84min group and I held onto them until about 9k and then let them go as the pace was a bit hot for me. In the group was a women and I resolved myself to the fact that I would be beaten by a girl. I later found out that it was Kate Bevilaqua, who I'm pretty sure won the Busselton IM last year so that was comforting.

Anyway I felt like I finished quite strong over the last 5k and picked up a few places. I could have dipped under 87 but didn't want a sprint finish. I felt controlled today and certainly much more comfortable at 4min/k than in previous years, even when I had run faster. All in all I am pretty happy with the first race of the year.

What I have noticed is that the 400's I have been doing seem to have had little effect on my speed. After speaking to my 'Coach' it was decided to extend the intervals to 1k. My first sesion was last night with a 4x1k w/ 2 minute rest. These were completed in 3:45, 3:43, 3:41, 3:38. What I noticed was that in a 400 I'd run about 83-86 seconds and be stuffed, but I was able to comfortably run 90 second laps yesterday and then kick hard over the last 200m. It seems the longer the interval the better I can do.

Feb is a really key month for me this year, being my main training month for the 40 miler in early April. I'll be looking to average about 120k/week with long runs of 4hrs @ around 5-5:15min/k. Uni begins this month as well, which in turn means dropping back to 2 days a week at work. I think I'll be busier that I am now though so hopefully this doesn't affect my training too much.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Strong Training Continues

January is almost over and although the 3rd training week was a little down (100k) I was still happy with the quality of some of the sessions. Main reason for the k's was I only managed 2hrs on Saturday as Kate was on a retreat and I was looking after Noah, who was sick. After easing back into it on Monday and Tuesday this week, I discovered that the Bunbury Runners Club were holding an Australia Day 5/10k on Wednesday. I was already in Bunbury and decided to run the 10k instead of a tempo run for the week. The goal was to go sub 40 and I wanted to be conservative in doing so. I have never broken 40min in a 10k race (although I have during a HM) so decided to go out at 4min/k and then kick at the end to go under. After getting stick at the start behind some very inconsiderate 'Runners' I was happy to go through the first k in exactly 4:00 and held this pace nicely to get to 9k in 36:00. A strong finish and I ended up finishing in approx 39:45. Very happy with the race as I went perfectly really and was a good solid hitout in preparation for the Busselton half in 10 days.

This will be my final training week before a decent taper leading into the half at Busselton, where I hope to go close to 84:00.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

First 2 weeks done

'Train hard and race easy' a little mantra that the African runners live by and I really like. At the moment I'm in the 'train hard' phase and I can tell you that it is HARD!!! I've just completed the first 2 weeks of training in 2011 and I feel like I need a rest week already. 110k and 111k respectively so the k's aren't incredible but still it's been hard yakka with some good quality mixed in there. I've been doing 3 quality sessions a week with a track session on Tuesday (400's), Tempo run (6k 2 4min/k) on Thursday and then Long run on Saturday.

The week just gone I was showing some real signs of fatigue (and probably suffering a little from the heat). Track session at AK was tough with the 400's being 3-5sec slower than usual, but is was about 35 degrees! Tempo on Thursday was a disaster, definitely the worst tempo I've ever done. First 2k in 8:06 and I started to think I might be in trouble. Again it was well over 30 degrees and the course was extremely windy. When I hit 3k in 12:09 I knew I was gone. Struggled home to finish in 24:48 (4:08 pace) and almost a full minute slower than last week. Not too upset after the run, they can't all be good sessions and I have a feeling I was still struggling from the track session on Tuesday.

Long runs at the moment are alternating between a long slow distance (40-50k somewhere below 6min/k) and a shorter, sharper effort (30-40k somewhere below 5min/k). After last weeks 44k, this week it was time to get some speed on. Got up at 3:30am on Sat and was back in bed but 3:40am, I was so tired and figured I needed some more sleep. Long Story short was I started my run @ 10:15am!!! Plan was to go about 35k at a decent pace. I decided that because I was running in the middle of the day I wouldn't push the pace early but just work into it. Got to 3k in 13:45 and couldn't believe I was running that fast as I felt like I was just cruising. I decided to check my pace using the bike path markings which are very accurate and it turns out I was consistently running 4:40's or just below. I was running into a slight headwind so the heat wasn't a factor. My 10k between 3k and 13k was 45:56 and I knew I was in for something a bit special. I turned around at 1:21 (which I calculated was about 18k) and set about the run home. Tailwind made it pretty hot and I struggled to push the pace over the last 10k or so. This was probably a combination of the heat, pushing hard early, and the fact that I did the run on a single gel. Filled my handheld bottle twice over the last hour (about 1lt) and finished in 2:44.23 for the 36k. Very happy with the run and the time and even happy to park myself in front of the airconditioner when I got home.

All in all, I'm happy with the first 2 weeks of my year, slowly building up the k's and getting in shape. I'll have another 2 solid weeks before kicking off my year with the Busselton Half Marathon in Feb.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A new Year

Well I've been getting back into training this week after a few weeks of little running (although 50hrs of paving has kept me in good shape!). Struggled on the first 1hr run of the year because it was so hot, but seemed to have hit my straps now heading towards the end of the first week. Speed sessions also kicked back in this week with a disasterous track session on Tuesday. Managed to get through 4 x 400 with a 200m float recover @ an average of about 85sec, up about 2-3 seconds from last time. Could only manage 2 x 400 after that before my stomach went and I headed home. Although I didn't complete the full session I'm still happy with it.

Tempo run last night was great. Haven't run hard since Six Inch and was not expecting much, however I managed to run 23:50 for my 6k course to go sub 4min/k. The course isn't real friendly (2k square loop, very windy and 2 U turns) so really with happy with that. I'll stick with 6k for the tempo next week before increasing to 8k the following week. Sub 4min/k will remain the target time.

Long run tomorrow will be 40k+ how much depends on how I'm feeling. My next major race will be the 40 miler in April so I have about 10 weeks of prep time but am keen to get back up to 50k Long runs ASAP.

I'm looking forward to a big year in 2011, not big in terms of distances, but rather consistency and quality performances. My goal races at this stage are:

40 Miler - April
Kep 75 - June
Dwellingup 50 Miler - September
Six Inch - December

Marathons, halfs and others races will fit in around these 4, but in the mean time there is lots of training to do.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Six Inch 2010

Woke at 2:30am ready and raring to go. I must admit to not being totally focused on the race this year, with lots of work stuff on. I was over the training and talking and just wanted get out and start running. The massive increase in numbers this year meant that I had a few others who were looking at sub-4, namely Big Kev and Brett.

Heading up Goldmine hill I was feeling great. As usual I was passed by quite a few in the first few hundred meters of the climb, but I pulled them all back not long after as I worked into it. Summitted in just under 10 minutes and only about 15mtrs behind Kev and Brett so jumped on the 'sub 4 Bus' without too many issues. We ran together until whitakers where we were joined by Nathan Doig and Ray Lampard who almost got lost and decided to stick with us for a while.

The group set a cracking pace, going through 10.5k in 50:02 and not really slowing much. I was feeling good but had the sense that we were going a little too hard too early. Crossing Del Park I decided to easy off a little and Brett and Kev got a 15-20mtr lead on me. Running into Aid #1 I had a well thoughtout plan ditch my hand-held bottle and pick up a fresh one. This all took about 1 second and I managed to pass Kev and Brett and get about 100-200mtrs on them. I wasn't too fused as I knew they would catch me as I was really starting to pay the price for the early pace.

I decided to take it easy and try to recover. I started to have some stomach problems and was forced into the bush just before the conveyor belt for a toilet stop. I lost almost 3 minutes here but immediately felt better. I was 30 seconds down on last years time at the conveyor belt (2:17.30) and I started to get concerned that my sub 4 chances were gone. I decided that I would take it easy through Oakley Dam (a tough part of the course), focusing on running strong and not spending too much energy. I continued to run strong, ignoring my pace and found myself at Aid #2 in the same time as last year 2:58.30 but in much better shape. This is where the race begins.

The equation was simple run the last 11k in less than 1:01.30 and I'd go sub 4. I was nervous, knowing what happened last year, but i kept telling myself that I had saved myself for this section. Interestingly enough the gradual downhills were the toughest as I couldn't generate too much pace on them due to my legs being sore. I was climbing well and running the flats ok. I knew that if I just kept running, I'd be able to go very close to 4hrs but it was always going to be tight.

Arrived at Marrinup in 3:33 and I knew there was about 4.5ks to go and I had 27 minutes to do it. The mantra 'just keep running' was echoing through my head constantly as I thought about my push to the finish. I knew I had a kick but was very wary of going too soon and blowing up. Should I go 2k? 1.5k? No, I was confident in my pace and decided to save my kick for the last 1k. My left foot had been threatening to cramp for a few k's and I was a little concerned that if I went too early it would cramp and ruin my race.

I had been deliberately ignoring my watch for most of the last 11k and had a quick glance with 1k to go, this was the moment of truth. 3:54.40ish - I had 5:20 to make it under 4hrs. Great, I was confident as I picked up the pace for final stretch. As usual the last k goes on forever and the foot spasm became more and more frequent. The cramps would last only about a second or too but enough to keep me concerned. I was glad to emerge from the trail and started to sprint, not leaving anything to chance. Appoaching Del Park road the marshalls told me to stop for a car, like hell I was stopping!!!I motioned to the car to keep going as I sprinted up the road and around the back of him. That cost me at least a few seconds and made me really angry. 'If that damn car cost me a sub 4hr finish I won't be happy.' Put the foot down for the last 100mts and crossed the line in 3:59.33 to run 7th, running the last Km in about 4:50. I was spent, and knelt down by a BBQ to catch my breathe and you guessed it my foot cramped up Big time, but that was ok now - had finished.

Hard to express the relief of finally going sub 4 at Six Inch. I ran 4:00.34 in 2008 and was on target last year before really struggling and this year I finally managed to hold on despite spending too much in the first 23k. Incidently Kev and Brett went on to run 3:51 and 3:52 respectively.

My race was not perfect and I know I can go faster. The key for me is working on my 5/10k speed so that I can match it with the sub 3hr marathon crew. The race was a huge success with 80+ finishers and course records falling all over the place. I'll definitely be back next year, hoping to lower my time and maybe even dip under 3:50. Until then it's recovery time!!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A need for speed

Had a bit of a breakthrough last night. Spur of the moment decision to do a 6k tempo last night. 10min warm up then 6k on a squarish course with 2 U-Turns. It was very windy and I knew I had to go out hard as half of the run would be directly into the wind, 1st k in 3:48 and 2k 7:43, wanted to really push the 2nd lap and the 4th K is always the slowest on this course as It is directly into the wind for most of it. 2nd 2k in 7:53 with the 4th k in about 3:59. Happy with that lap and really tried to hammer it home over the last lap, which I managed in 7:48. Total time was 23:24 for 6k (29sec PB) and 19:27 for 5k (26sec PB).

This was the run I really needed as after about 6 weeks of speed training I wasn't seeing the results I had expected. Turns out all I needed was to test myself during a rest period. Very confident now that I can go sub 19 in a 5k race with good conditions and these times will just continue to go down as I get more speed work in.

Very Happy

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's been a while

Well after a few months absent, I decided it was time to update the blog. Training has been geared towards Six Inch for the last 5 months or so and I'm now in taper mode. I am feeling really good about how things have gone over the past few month training with some really solid sessions.

Speed work is becoming a big part of my training and after Rotto in October I decided I needed to work on my 5/10k speed. I am now doing 2 speed session per week, with 1 track session (400's) and also a tempo session (currently 6k @ 4min/k or less). I really notice the effects on the days after the speed work when I just don't have the zip that I usually do, but I know that come January, the effects will be seen.

Long runs have been consistent and generally much faster than previous years. Been hitting the trails hard for about 6 weeks with the highlight being a new PB for the Jarradale to North Dandalup run on the Munda Biddi. This is a very hilly 35k and I stopped the clock at 2:57 to knock 17 min off my previous PB. I am very nerrvous about Six Inch this year as I know I'm in sub 4hr form but very wary after last year. Six Inch is really all about the final 11k which will make or break your race. Last year I left the last aid station at 2:57, needing to run 1:03 for the last 11k to break 4hrs and I missed it by 11 minutes!! In the end I know my training has been good and I just need to pull it all together on the day.

2011 I'll be returning to the local races that really helped me develop as an Ultra runner. Speed will continue to be an important part of my training and I look forward to some good performances between 50-100k.

I'll post again after Six Inch, hopefully with good news