Thursday, 22 March 2012

Coatesville Classic...

Last Sunday I ran the Coatesville Classic Half Marathon... Apparently it is the most scenic half marathon with the world's best finishers medal... If that doesn't make you want to do it then I don't know what will!

It was a very beautiful and scenic run and the weather was absolutely beautiful. It was the calm before the storm that was the 'weather bomb' that hit the regions starting later that day.

I did this run in the hopes that it would help me to gauge my running progress for my up-and-coming marathon. It really did help, but not in the way I was expecting.

Firstly, I had set a time goal in which I hoped to complete the run in, which I did not. However, what I did not realise when I set this goal was just how hilly the whole course was. This is not a problem though, as I love running hills, I train on hills, but it is not the best if you are trying to obtain a personal best (PB).

So... Although I did not break my PB, my progress is coming along nicely in that I managed to run the whole course, hills and all really strongly and I even managed to up my pace somewhat for the last 1km to finish strong... This hasn't really happened before, I usually am just about dead when I cross that oh so lovely finish line. But my energy levels felt great, as did my body - bonus!

Here is a pic of me (thanks to of me crossing the finish line in a time of 1 hour and 57 minutes (I was hoping to do it in under 1 hour 50 mins, but we'll save that for the next one - perhaps flat!).

I would have had more (and better photos) to put up but we had a minor camera malfunction, thus the stolen pic :)
And, as always, my wonderful husband was there to encourage me at the start and cheer me on at the end. What a treat!  I know it's a-whole-nother year away but I would totally recommend this run as one to do as it is challenging and very enjoyable in terms of scenery and the whole atmosphere of the run. Would be a great goal to aim for!

So how have your running ventures been coming along lately? I would LOVE to hear!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Speed vs distance #2

Last week was not the best week of training as I had to have a few days off resting whilst unwell. Not to worry though, I am all back in working order, feeling fit, healthy and blessed as per usual so I'm back to old tricks!

However, while I was not running I had plenty of time to read about running. I was recommended a website by my running mentor after asking her about how I could take time off my next marathon and how to add speed training to my marathon training. It is called the Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training (FIRST), and as the name suggests, they have done plenty of research themselves! You can access that site here, it is absolutely awesome and my new go to for any training advice.

So as I was surfing their site I came across the name of a book that they have written along with Runners World, found it at my local library and it is now my running bible. The book is called Run Less, Run Faster and you can find it on their website (as above) or here, where you can see a preview of some of the content. This is what it looks like:

Their theory is that you can get away with running only 3 times a week, which I love, and do two other training sessions a week (such as cross training like swimming, biking, weight training, etc). Their 3 run sessions consist of one speed session such as track repeats at a sprint pace (or as fast as you can consistently run them that is faster than your usual steady running pace), one tempo run (e.g. running 10km total but the middle 6km are done slightly faster than the rest), and then your one long run per week (self explanatory). They call this their 3plus2 training method.

Now, you might like to look into different tried and true methods of training but I have to say that I think Furman have it sorted. I like the idea of only running three times a week as the busy-ness of life can sometimes get on top of you and the stress of having to go for a long mid week run, or training run every week night, can sometimes just become too much. Also, I am a big fan of cross training as it mixes up the training and keeps things fresh, fun and interesting. As much as I love running and am a keen advocate for it, I have to admit that just running all the time can at times feel a little monotonous.

Anyway, I have done three sessions so far this week, one spin class on Monday, strength and weight training Tuesday and tonight I did 6 x 800m repeats with a 200 metre walk in between. This sprint session killed me but I kept thinking as I was running that this is going to make me fitter, faster, and just all round more awesome! Well, I had to tell myself something to get me through it didn't I? Tomorrow night I am doing a 5km time trial which will be a good progress indicator towards my training.

I did my sprints on a 400m running track that's on the field at the High School just up from my house (how convenient), but you could use a running track (which you may be able to hire for an hour or so if there's one in your town). You could also map out a loop near you to repeat, go to a local school, or you could just do timing sprints, such as sprint 4 mins, jog/walk 1-2mins, and repeat that pattern. Whatever one works for you, but I may just add that you will want to do it on the flat as it is hard yakka! We will get to hill training in another blog post.

So here's my conclusion...
I think that sprint training, as hard and awful as it may feel at the time, is beneficial for the following several reasons:
- It improves fitness for running, no matter what distance you are training for, as well as pretty much any sport you may do too (I am also a hockey player so it's great for this)
- It will help to improve your race time (with other added training)
- It will keep you in good shape
- You can boast about how awesome you are because you do sprints
- You'll finally be able to challenge that annoying 'someone' to that running race with the confidence that you will actually be able to beat them :)

Did I miss anything?

Until next time I will leave you with this food for thought and watch this space for speed vs distance #3. 

Friday, 9 March 2012

Speed vs distance

So after my LSD run on Saturday I was extremely sore afterwards. Now this is not a new thing to happen to me. When I did my first marathon last year I was sooo sore at the end. My muscles all seem to be fine but my joints suffer... Badly! However, the pain doesn't seem to last more than a day. I have trouble with my hips, mostly - not my hip flexors in the front, but on the sides of my hips (must find out what this is actually called). Now what I want to know is how I can keep running without causing any pain (or damage for that matter) to my joints. I worry that the only solution is to not run, which is not really a solution at all for me, so I have to find a better way!

So anyway, I have been hearing a lot of different things lately about different types of training for endurance running and it got me thinking. Do my joints get sore because they are not used to the long distances yet, and therefore I need to keep going further to condition them for this. Or are they getting sore because of the long distances and could I look after them better by doing some other types of training?

So what I am going to be looking at over the next few weeks (and trialling to some extent) are some different theories I have heard/read about regarding less running and more of other types of training, or just pure distance running to help me go the distance. What I am also going to be practicing is my speed training. Will I be able to improve my marathon time just by getting in as many kms as possible, or do I need to include a mix of speed training and distance? Lots of people think different things regarding these topics for running, so please, if you have any experiences or comments about any types of training mentioned here (or not mentioned) please do leave me a comment, I'd love to hear.

And, if you are a newby runner and this is all sounding a little bit too much, don't worry because this little quote sums it up just nicely...

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Done and dusted!

So apparently today was forecasted to have destructive winds and heavy rain but it has been a beautiful morning for a run. I hauled butt out the door for the 26km run I had been dreading this week (just wasn't really feelin the running this week) and it turned out to be great!

It was windy, yes, but not too bad and actually found the breeze cool and refreshing when I was sweating it out. I also finished before any huge bouts of rain pummelled down on me and it was sunny pretty much the whole time.

Anyway, I know you are dying to hear about the actual run itself so here you go...

The first hour and a half of it was ok (the whole run took me 2 and a half hours total), but then I started to get the ol' attack of the mind going on - little evil dude on one shoulder whispering in my ear 'You're too tired, you're sore, who cares if you don't finish, an hour and a half run is still really good... blah blah blah!'

And just as I was about to go 'evil dude, you are making a good point there' I ran (literally) into one of my running mentors for the Auckland marathon. None other but the true legend herself, Ady! Woop! She really is a running legend and the NICEST and most ENCOURAGING person out btw!
Anyway, she had just started and I still had another hour to go so we joined forces to beat the running game together... And it was great! I'm tellin ya, you NEEEEEEED a running buddy! As this lame little add that I just found on google says:

It sums it up perfectly even if it is in a cheesy sort of way. I pretty much did all of my training for the Auckland Marathon by myself (bar a few that I ran with Ady) and thought that I didn't need anyone to run with. However, it's getting a little different now, a little boring and a little lonely. Especially when I know all the words to all 400 or so songs on my iPod... Yikes! So I encourage you to find someone who likes to run, or maybe even someone with the same goal as you, or just someone who wants to help support you in your running to get out and pound the pavement with. It makes the runs go faster (especially those LSDs) and it is just plain nice to have someone alongside to chat to (or not) and to share the running with.

So do you have a running buddy? If so, what do you like about having them run with you? Please do share, would love to hear any stories.

P.S. Now I am enjoying a guilt free relax on the couch and am about to go bake a cake for my Grandad's 85th birthday - which I intend to eat a HUGE piece of BECAUSE I CAN... Suckers!!! Yuss!!

Contemplation... A.K.A Procrastination

Contemplating my long weekend run (26km) in a potential storm... Doesn't sound that fun. Have not prepared mentally and haven't got all my things laid out like I usually do when I get up nice and early to go running...

It's almost as though I have already written the run off, which I wouldn't feel so bad about as I sooo don't feel like going. However, I will feel worse if I have it hanging over me all weekend knowing at some point I still have to run. So, I guess it's time to suck it up and take some words of advice that I have been known to throw out there for others...

Just run! Just get out there and start running. That's all there is to it!

Watch this space for how the run goes (hopefully I don't get blown away from the 'destructive wind' set to come) and I will leave you with this question...

What are the things that put you off running? And how to you side step those to get out there and just do it?
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