"It's a treat being a runner, out in the world by yourself with not a soul to make you bad-tempered or tell you what to do." - Allan Sillitoe

Monday, February 28, 2011

Marathon training - Week 2 and Moneghetti Training Camp

Just under 125km for the week with a couple of extra runs (doubles on Friday and Saturday due to the camp).

I got in a couple of medium long runs earlier in the week with 21km on Tuesday and 19km on Thursday.  Early in the week I did some strides (10 x 100m) after an easy Bridges loop and felt like I had plenty of bounce in my legs and got a bit of pace up.  I will try to keep these going and also do a couple of big sessions over the next few weeks.

The Moneghetti Training Camp was held down in Dwellingup again this year.  Main differences from last year were the increased number of participants and the heat.  It was sweltering which made it pretty hard to relax between runs and also to get to sleep.  The river/waterhole got a good workout after each run and was a real life saver getting temperatures back down again.

The format was the same as last year with a recovery run on the Friday evening, fartlek session on Saturday morning, recovery run on Saturday evening and long run Sunday morning.  Interspersed were sessions on nutrition, pilates, physio and training philosophy.

I wore Saucony Kinvaras for all the runs except I changed into Fastwitchs for the fartlek session.  Based on the number of Fastwitchs I saw, they are the most popular racing flat at the moment. I've noticed on the US Saucony website that the Fastwitch 5 is now out.  It looks quite similar to the 4 but there seems to be a white version which is nice and also a dark green for those who don't like the louder colours.

The Kinvaras were great on the trails, only downside was how dirty they got.  I have transitioned into these shoes fully now and will be doing more long runs in them.  I may even race the Darlington Half in them.
With the fartlek session, we didn't start until 9am due to some participants ariving from Perth that morning so it was already hot by the time we started, I'd say between 31-33C.

No idea of the overall time and pace of this but I'm estimating a total of 12km based on Clown’s Garmin. Short warm up of about 2km only due to the heat and then Mona Fartlek around the Dwellingup Oval.

2 × 90 secs

4 × 60 secs

4 × 30 secs

4 × 15 secs with equal recovery after each rep.

Total of workout = 20mins during which I covered about 5.35km (about 3:45/km pace)

I started off well at what felt like the right pace, steady pace with surging on the reps but blew up after about 14 mins and my reps and recoveries slowed accordingly.

Encouragingly, I recovered well though after a drink and then by 4-5mins into the recovery run I felt fine especially aerobically which I think is a good sign for where I should be at this stage of my marathon prep.

On Sunday morning's long run, we got going just after 7am.  It had been slightly cooler overnight and conditions were good when we set off.

Same as last year, the long run was into Dwellingup along the Bibbulmun Track but the pace was bit quicker than last year due mainly to the quality of the runners in the front pack. Clown and I ran with Lochy and Allen after we got dropped by the guys at the front on the way into town. We met up with the guys out the back of Dwellingup and ran with them for a bit before they wound the pace back up again.

I ended up between the two groups and ran back by myself at what felt like a pretty solid pace for me but what turned out to be 5 minutes behind the front guys. I got back to the bridge in 97 mins so ran into the pine forest for about 25 mins to get me up over the 2 hours. 26km is an estimate but a pretty fair one I think.

Happy with this run – and with approx 52km over 4 runs in 2 days. The camp has come at just the right time in my program with a timely reminder of what is needed and some motivation.

Having said that, I was pretty tired yesterday afternoon and again on this morning's run - an easy Bridges loop in just under an hour.  Hopefully a good night's sleep will get me up for a 21-23km medium long run tomorrow, but if not I'll just cut it a bit short.

Also here is the link for the live streaming coverage of the Melbourne, Sydney and Perth Australian Athletics tour meets: http://wcsn.com.au/index.php/videos/athleticstv/2011-aust-athletics-tour.html?pid=100

The Melbourne meet is on this Thursday and features what is probably one of the best 5000m fields ever in Australia outside of a major championship.  It is on at 9.09pm Eastern so 6.09pm WA time.

Here is the 5000m field:

1 Liam Adams VIC

2 Brandon Bethke USA

3 Collis Birmingham VIS

4 Andrew Bumbalough USA

5 Alan Craigie ACT

6 Russell Dessaix-Chn NSW

7 Bernard Lagat USA

8 David McNeill VIC

9 Craig Miller USA

10 Craig Mottram VIS

11 Tim Nelson USA

12 James Nipperess NSWIS

13 Jeremy Roff NSWIS

14 Philo Saunders ACT

15 Chris Solinsky USA

16 Isaac Songok KEN

17 Ben St Lawrence NSWIS

18 Matt Tegenkamp USA

The Men's 800m field (5.24pm Perth time) contains World Record holder David Rudisha.  The 1500m (5.32pm Perth time) has Asbel Kiprop, Nick Willis and Alan Webb and Rudisha is also listed to run the 400m at 5.44pm Perth time with Ben Offereins, Sean Wroe and John Steffenson also in the field.

I won't be working late on Thursday ...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Marathon training - week 1

Just under 107km for the week - main runs were a couple of 16km runs, an 18km run and Saturday's long run of 27.5km.  One of the 16km runs included 8km tempo.  Tempo was at 3.55/km and I focused on staying below my threshold and not time trialling the run - something I have had difficulty with in the past.

On yesterday's long run with Sugar, Whippet and Liam the pace was pretty quick and I was struggling to keep up from about 10km onwards.  I decided that I didn’t want to trash myself and that running that quick so early in my program will result in me either overtraining or peaking way too early so I just eased off and enjoyed the view which was spectacular at times especially as the sun was rising.

Haven’t run Brooking Road since before Boston and it was as horrible as I remembered.  2 x long and steep hill at about 18km into the run.

Managed to stick with Sugar and Liam for the last 6.5km (whippet continued on in the other direction to run a total of 44km).  We covered the last 6.5km (downhill) in just under 4min/km pace and while they were chatting and I was just hanging on within listening distance, it was good to finish strongly at MP after such a difficult run early.

Very easy recovery run and then a gentle ride with Sammie hooked up to my bike via the Trailgator so far today.

Next week will be fairly big with the Moneghetti training camp from Friday-Sunday.  I won't do much speed  during the week, maybe a some pickups and also some strides as I expect that the Saturday Mona fartlek session will be a hard session.

Feeling good at the end of week 1, already getting used to waking up tired and going to bed even more tired.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

PB at Point Walter 5km! - very satisfying

Got there early to help set up. Sugar and Kim were race directors for this one and they kindly let me run as well as meet my volunteer/helper obligations.

Finished setup in time to register and then do a 2km warm up followed by some drills and a few strides. There was a good turnout for this race – over 200 I reckon and some quality runners, especially in the 16km where Ethan Heywood who will be representing Australia in the Junior World Cross Country in a few weeks was running.

There was a monster easterly wind blowing, but luckily for me they went out fairly conservatively (well, very conservatively for a few of them) and I was able to tack onto the back of the group and this certainly helped with such a strong headwind. I managed to stick with them until just after the 2km mark when an incident with one of the runners just in front of me clipping a pedestrian walking in the other direction caused me to lose contact and concentration.

(Photo taken by whippet - just look for the Orange Saucony Fastwitches at the back of the pack)

I turned at 2.5km in 4th spot with the guys in front of me then putting the hammer down with the wind no longer a factor but I had a decent enough lead over 5th. I was on track to run a PB though and wanted to push through. Things got hard especially as I was now running by myself in almost a time trial situation but I just told myself to give it another minute, then another minute and pretty soon I hit the 1km to go mark. I hadn’t looked at my watch at all apart from at the first km split so just pushed on as best I could. I did get a bit messy in the last km as my form fell apart a bit but by the time I turned a corner and could see the clock at 17:26, I knew that sub 18 and a new PB was in the bag. I wish now that I had sprinted the last bit to get under 17:40 but when I finished I was absolutely spent so there wasn’t much left in the tank, if anything.

Splits by my watch were 3:30; 3:29; 3:38; 3:33; 3:28 - (17:41)

Went for a cool down of 4km which was interrupted by a nasty cycling accident when a young guy of about 18-19 stacked his mountain bike at high speed as he turned off of the path just in front of me. He was badly winded and had a bit of road rash and a bit of claret flowing. A lady and I stayed with him for about 10 minutes until he was feeling a bit better as he was in a bit of shock and could hardly talk and then she offered to accompany him home. He wasn’t wearing a helmet and it could have been a lot worse than it was.

I’m really pleased with this race. I don’t think anyone could say that these were PB friendly conditions so to finally get a time close to what I thought I should be running feels great. I was starting to think that maybe I wouldn’t be able to run any quicker than I was before I got injured in 2009 but now I feel like I am perfectly set up to really nail my marathon preparation as I am well ahead of where I was this time last year in regard to both base mileage and now speed.

Thanks to Sugar and Kim for putting on a great race and to Clown, Whippet and Simon C for the encouragement today.

First day of marathon training tomorrow - motivation level = very high

Friday, February 11, 2011

Advice from Steve Jones

Anyone who knows me knows that Steve Jones is one of my all time favourite runners.  I was lucky enough to meet him at the 2009 Boston Marathon expo.  He is very generous with his advice and while the stuff in the video below is pretty basic, it is good stuff all the same.