Monday, 25 March 2013

A good week for trainin

After a total 'blah' week last week it's great to be feeling good again. 

As an athlete I totally under estimated the importance of and my recovery time needs. After the epic Rollercoaster run last Saturday I had to abort my recovery run after about a km on Monday. 21.5kms of insane hill climbs and descents got to me.

In the gym on Tuesday I hit the Watt bike and had a shorter,  but solid session. That was followed with a long recovery and regenerative session with the Trigger Point roller and a ball under the butt checks. I think my expression in the photos says it all!

On Thursday I did a light bike and short 2.5km run and felt a little better. Friday was a complete rest day.

Saturday I found a great trail that follows the Yarra River from Kew to the city of Melbourne. I ran about 25mins out and the same back. The terrain was great - rocky, dusty, cambered, inclines and declines - everything a trail should be without being too tough. I really enjoyed it and got my Mojo back. 

I was able to do a solid 10km on a mostly rising road route in 46:00 so I feel more confident about my up and coming half marathon again. 

Today I was hammered by Leigh on the bike:

Bike: 90 sec work/30 sec rest x 5 All the intensities were at 80% plus

3 min burpees (I got out 81)

60 sec work/30 sec rest x 6

2 min squat (I got out 65)

30 sec work/30 sec rest x 6

1 min push up (51)

20 sec standing/20 sec seated x 8

20 on/20 off Rope plyo lashes (Think massive rope and whipping it up and down to create waves)

From here I have a 5km power run on Thursday, an easy 8km with the wife on Saturday and then two power and speed runs next week before the half. 

The plan is to go out and run a hard first 10km at the half and then hope to maintain it for the last 11km. This time I will definitely be having a week to recover!

Cheers and safe recovery running and happy training

Lachie the fish

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Saturday, 16 March 2013

RollerCoaster Run 2013

5:15 on a Saturday morning and the alarm goes off. Far too early for some. 

Then I look at the course elevatation map for todays Rollercoaster run: 

Yes, this trail run was to be one wild ride - coasting up and down Mt Dandenong about an hour out of Melbourne. 

What was I thinking. If this is not one of the toughest half marathons going around then I don't know what is. With a goal to run a sub 1:30 on a flat course, I was aiming to run 2:20-2:30 on this one. So, nearly an hour longer over the same distance... Well, it is actually 21.5km so that might explain it. 

With the bag packed and the trailrocs (my review here) on I hit the road at 5:35 and arrived at Sky High @ Mt Dandenong at 5:55 - much quicker than I anticipated. The great short cut (and fully legal mind you) got me there in record time. On arrival I could see the tent set up and the music was already pumping, a great atmosphere. 
My new Inov-8 t-shirt at the start

Before long I saw a few of my fellow Dandy Runners and was getting excited about the race. I picked up my tags and got sorted before the anticipated start. The view over Melbourne was stunning, my pics don't do it justice. As the light grew so did the buzz. Numerous prerace announcements ensured we all knew where we were going and it was just a matter of literally waiting for the sun to come up. As well planned as the whole thing had been so far, why couldn't they have ordered a clear day? The covering clouds meant that we were waiting for about an additional 15 minutes before we could take off. Would my previous weeks hill training run pay off?

Finally, the nod was given and we shuffled to the line. Hear rate monitor on, GPS watch on, 3,2,1 go go go. I took of at a leisurely pace as I knew that the first 4kms or so was down hill. With the thumping of feet on the road we took off and after 300m rounded the corner onto the trails. The first section was a steep descent on the technical Kyeema track - rocks, roots, branches and fairly loose gravel. We descended for a few minutes before levelling out for a good stretch along a nicely made trail before hitting the first of the crazies. Crazy steep, inch thick dust that made it not only hard to know what was under your feet, but damn hard to see as well! This section was called the zig zag track... After a few hundred meters the dust settled and I was able to find my rhythm and early place in the run. Hopefully somewhere top 50ish. This lead to the start of about 2km of down hill on the trail, a nice wide section of track that made running easy. I got chatting to quite a few different runners during this section as I sort of bounced from one person to another as we went up and down the terrain. It was very enjoyable. 

We soon came to the first hill climb - Dodds track. As we turned off the road and onto the trail I went to round the safety gate and leapt for one of the stones that stop the trail bikes. Well, they stopped me flat. Literally as I missed my step and landed flat on my face. No injuries save my ego. After the gasps of all around turned to the are you okays I continued on. This was a fairly steep incline and I was able to reel in two or three runners ahead of me. At this stage I was feeling good until the track took it's next turn - up a serious little incline into a single man track Within 50m most runners were walking so I took a gamble and kept running. Light on my toes, power from the calves I picked of about 10 or so runners before finally giving in about 2/3 of the way up. Hey, everyone else was walking so I was not going to lose any places. Finally the track peaked (well, in a slightly less painful incline kind of way) and we commenced running again. A quick check of the HR and I found it was 173! 

The trail levelled out and widened and we ran on. As it took a turn downwards down school track I picked up a few other runners and got chatting again and the ks seemed to race on past. This section was quite undulating and got me thinking that is certainly was a 'rollercoaster' course. I really enjoyed this section of the trail and before we knew it we were running Doongalla Rd and at the checkpoint. I took on a cup of Coke and rejoined the run, almost missing the electronic timer point. Again I got running with another runner a we chatted briefly as we went through the scenic and reasonably flattish Edgar, golf course and stables tracks. I passed a few and had the first of the 43km runners pass me along this stretch before a runner picked me up and we got running together. At this stage I was glad for a mate. The converastion was easy and the pace he was running at kept me at 160-170bpm and really moving along, quicker than I would have run by myself at this stage of the race. Bills track took us back to Edgar track and the incline began. We pushed through together and hit the Camilia track. At this stage the incline really began to rise and we went our ways as he took backed off the pace a little.

A huge kudos to the organisers at this point. The trail was exceptionally well marked all the way. The few times I was running solo and came to a turn, I knew exactly where to go.

I pushed on an was enjoying the run until the 16km region when my right calf began to twitch. Well, I was not happy and I told him so. Not now you devil I told him, and with all sorts of self encouragement and a change in gait for a while and it seemed to subside. I soon hit link track and my mate caught and passed me as I was really happy with my time at this stage and was thinking just keep cruising and you'll crack 2:10-2:15! From Singleton the track took a steeper gradient and I picked up with one of the female runners and had a great chat with her. We were both finding it hard be the conversation kept us at a great pace and we got through this section without walking. 

At about 19km we parted ways as I pushed on - she was using this as a training run and was running again this afternoon! I also found out she almost won the 43km last year so was an exceptional runner. As I rounded the corner to near the end of Old Mountain Rd I passed another couple of runners and was feeling great. Round the sharp corner to the 20km aid station and into the bush. Literally. This was Trig track, a 500m insane technical section. I literally had to grab a tree to stop toppling over the edge. On a fresh set of legs I would have loved this. After 20 massive kms I felt like I was falling off the side of the track. I don't think I was but that was the feeling. And it was steep. I somehow emerged from the scrub and that's when I was hit. Both legs, major calf cramps. Hmmm, 20kms, Two Bays readers will know that this was when I hit the wall in that run, and at about the two hour mark. It was nearly soul destroying. Less than 1km from the finish and I didn't know if I was going to make it. I pulled over and pushed a tree and stretched out the calves and managed another 200m. Fortunately the steep track ahead meant that other runners were also fatigued and walking. With mind over matter being the mantra I ran a 100m, walked a 100m before I got smacked down again. The place I was holding was slipping but I had to finish. I stretched out again, sacrificing time for sanity. I hobbled another 100 to the top of the hill and with 500m to go up on the same crazy hill that we started on I walked on. I was supported by fellow runners, the same ones I had run with earlier so that was an amazing feeling and with their strength I walked up the last section. 

It was devastating. I knew that I could out run these guys had I had the legs - my HR was sky high all the race and I had learned that I could maintain a much higher threshold than I thought I could. I would have run them down. At as fast a walk as I could muster, me and a fellow runner rounded that same first corner which was also our last. I dug as deep as I could and ran/hobbled/no ran the last 200m. In as much pain as I have ever been in, the emotions, adrenaline and seeing Peter from the Dandy runners got me over the line - where the unlucky medal giver got an emotional hug as I collapsed.

One day I'll be on the podium

I had done it. 21.5km, the hardest 21.5km I'd run and there I was, collapsed on the ground. Lying in the rain.  I assured people I was ok and somehow got up. My calves were burnt out, my knees tight like you would not believe and my quads burning. I found Peter from the Dandy runners and thanked him for all the support over the last few weekends and forced myself to hobble around for a while. After 4-5 minutes I was feeling much, much better and was beginning to walk normally again. As I headed back to the car I thought about what I had achieved. In all honesty, I'm damn proud of my self. 

The final figures. For 2:20.59 my heart rate had averaged 161 BPM and maxed at 193. I had reached my theoretical limits and pushed beyond them. 

I placed 37th over the line and 32nd male. I wanted to run 2:20-2:30, tick. I wanted to place top 50, tick. I wanted to finish top 10%, with some quick maths I finished in about the top 12%. Near enough to three big ticks. 

This is one happy fish. 

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Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Inov-8ive play and pictures

Just a few happy snaps of me in my new T at play in the gym. 

Thanks to for the 1 day turn around time with the T!

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Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Running in the Dandenong Ranges 3 - Puffing Billy Training

This mornings (Monday) run was pitched as 15kms of moderate to fast tempo with some hills to ascend and some others to stride out at pace. A perfect session to check my speed and stamina for the up and coming Geelong Half, The great train race - Puffing Billy on the first Sunday in May and also a reminder of how damn tough the hills will be next week when I tackle the quad burning, lung busting, calves demolishing 21km Roller Coaster Run next Saturday the 16th of March. 

So you've got your entries in and your scouting for tips on Puffing Billy or the Roller Coaster run... To save you the drama, here's this posts Puffing Billy training tip:

Get to know your local hills :) Learn to run them correctly - keeping a regular tempo and stride all the way to the top. It's a training run, do them harder and faster than you think you should. 

Value your rest at the peak. It's a training run so you need to condition yourself for race day. Gradually run at your race pace for a little longer each time - you have to know that you can do it come race day, but remember that you're not racing anyone during your training so build in adequate recovery. 

You wont be running quite as hard on race day (well, maybe you will...)  so you'll know that you can conquer the peaks. 

A small group of 4 met at the car park for our 7:00am departure and we set of at a brisk pace. The first 2 kms were at 5:10 pace and the 3rd was a sneaky 4:48. From here we hit a gradual incline and traversed from the tracks to road then tracks again. The pace was quick and I was working hard - 155-165 BPM, much harder than a usual run. Ah, but this was a power and endurance session so we would be taking adequate rest breaks to allow for recovery. Those were some words that I was happy to hear. 

At about 5km in we hit the first real incline - I think it was Glascow Road and it seemed to climb on and on. Each time you thought you had rounded the last bend another climb to the next bend was waiting. We reached the end point and took to the tracks again - this one about 400m of steady climbing. The terrain was quite a mix of rock and gravel: a bit of a gutter if you like so it was quite eroded. This was a part of the run I enjoyed. To come was the hill training part - What, I've just been running up hills for the last 3kms! 

The main hill in Puffing Billy is a section of gravel road that is about 2km long. I'm not sure of the degree of difficulty but do remember it being a killer. The next section of road that Peter had planned for us was at least 1.6km long and 12% incline - the road signs were there to prove it! Welcome to Old coach Road!

The same sign scares the living daylights out of me at the bottom! Had to prove I made it to the top...

This was going to be tough. The other 3 took off and I hit the road as well. They pulled away from me quite quickly, about 200m ahead for the length of this section. At 12% it's not the steepest hill I've done - cue Boundary and Darling roads near my house but at 1.6km or the imperial mile, it was certainly the longest. 

The final figures: 1 passing garbage truck (an insane driver on a gravel road), 13:24 minutes and an average HR of 171 BPM maxed at 177 BPM. I mastered the hill! The view at the top was worth the effort as was knowing that that was the toughest part of the run done.

Not a bad place to take a breather...

We had a further gradual incline for another 800m or so before we at the top of the mountain and ready for the return home. At Kalorama we hit the water taps and the conversation turned to running form. Is it stride length that matters? Is it the cadence of your legs? Is it both? From here it was to be a speed session, averaging a faster cadence and striding out on the down hill as we returned to the carpark via some really scenic trails. 

I really enjoyed this session. Although I let the others pull ahead, I was never too far behind. The GPS showed a good pace of about 4:15-4:30kms with a km section of 3:48 - that must have been the down hill. I focused on my form and felt really good. I found a great rhythm and was able to focus on my up lift and keeping the arms moving but keeping them straight up and down, not getting any body cross. Once again Peter gave some brilliant training tips - I'm leaning to training harder and faster but at the right distance. I need to call on this training on race day. 

The final 2km down Doongalla RD was to be a time trial, time to stride out and finish strongly. If' I'm going to beat that train it'll happen in the last 2kms. With watches checked we took off. How fast was I? The last 2km were about 3:55-4:00 min kms. Considering what I'd just been through I was really happy with that. 

End result of this weeks training - 14.8km in 1:29. My Max HR was 178 and averaged 156 over the course. It was certainly way up there during the hill climbs and faster sections, but as we had built in the recovery sessions it dropped back to 130ish at each break. 

So, The roller coaster run.... Goal time is a 2:20-2:30 over the 21kms. Fingers crossed....

Till next time, Lachie

Ah, the Roller coster course!

Monday, 4 March 2013

Watt Bike Training

Just a short post today - Some crazy pics of me on the Watt bike @ Refine Gym. 

This is a great link that will let you know all about the watt bike - they are the experts:

The feet are a little sore so I used this as my Interval/threshold training day.  
I did 46 minutes on the bike. I am using the bike to a) take some of the strain off my feet and running muscles and joint impact b) vary my training, improve my 'cycle' fitness and keep me motivated and c) hit the higher HR thresholds in a controlled environment much more quickly than I would while running

After a long warm up I rode at 60 on, 60 off (the number being the seconds count) trying to hit about 70-80% of my HR threshold. This attained to about 250 watts on the bike on setting 3 of 10.

The next segment was 30 on 45 off at about 90%. Leigh had me aiming to hit and maintain 400 watts and keep a smooth and consistent output graph. At this stage it was starting to hurt...

Following that we jumped to 15 on 20 off at peak output. Again the target was 500 watts, getting towards my threshold (90-95% max HR)

For the the last '10 on, ten off' threshold session I used the training mask 2.0.(To find out more, head this way). I think I lasted 5 of the 8 sets with the mask on. The feeling was pretty intense. You certainly had to breath hard both in and out and as set progressed I really noticed it. 

Was it a scary feeling having restricted breath? Kind of. I had to give it away but will certainly try it again next week, especially after doing a little bit of research.

I almost wore my HR monitor but gave it a miss. I wish I'd worn it. 

The workout was followed by 50 'tyre flips' that included box jumps into and over the tyre after each three flips. 

I'll update when I have some research and info about the Watt bike (ah, now I have a great link at the top) and I'll let you know how it's been working for me. 

It's now March 27 and it's been a month since I've been on the bike for my weekly session. I'm pleased to say that it's getting easier. I can now push myself to the limit and hit a higher wattage and maintain it for a longer period of time each rep/session. 

My running feels stronger. I don't feel faster but I can hit the higher HR and keep running much higher in my threshold limits. The Rollercoaster run saw me run 21.5km at an average of 161 BPM. I maxed at 193BPM. I feel that the Watt bike has allowed me to shift the limits of my capability. Only time will tell. 

Many thanks to Leigh for the pics and getting me on just the right program.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Half marathon training - My half marathon training schedule

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My half marathon training and half marathon training schedule for the 2013 Geelong Half marathon in April is well and truly under way. In fact, at the time of writing I am more than half way through it. Hopefully this blog will give you a few tips about how you can tackle your training. 

Here’s a look at what I have been running and what is coming up:
I'm in week 7 now

12km @ 155 BPM
10 x 100m sprints
Weights circuit 
15km LSD
Rest or as Saturday
13km @ 145 BPM
8km 1 min to 1 min Fartlek
Weights circuit 
16km Hilly

13km @ 145 BPM
5 x 1km @ 155 BPM
Weights circuit 
17km @ 145 BPM

10km @ 150 BPM
10km @ 145 BPM
Weights circuit 
19km Hilly

11km @ 145 BPM
9km 2 min to 1 min Fartlek
Weights circuit 
23km @145 BPM

9km @ 150 BPM
Interval Threshold
9km 3 min to 1 min Fartlek 
 Weights circuit 
21km Hilly

10 km @ 150 BPM
Interval Threshold
9km race pace
Weights circuit 
22km@ 150 BPM

11km @ 155 BPM
Interval Threshold
10km @ 150 BPM
Weights circuit 
20km @ 150 BPM

10km  @ 155 BPM
Interval Threshold
9km 3 min to 1 min Fartlek
Weights circuit 
18km @150 BPM

9km  @ 155 BPM
Hill 400m reps X 5
Weights circuit 
 LSD 15km

Race week
8km @ 150 BPM
2km, 5x 1min on/off sprints
5km @ 130 BPM
Half Marathon

145 BPM is about my 70% intensity rate rate zone, 155 is my 85% zone and the rough limit/accepted workload for runner during a half marathon. I would class myself as an intermediate half marathoner. 

During this period I have been avidly following the blogs and advice of Stan and and enjoying the differing approaches that these two runners have towards their half marathon training. I feel that I've gotten a lot of half marathon tips as well from both of their blogs.

On my last Dandy Runners run I was able to get some terrific advice from Peter, a very experienced runner who has posted a 2:15 marathon! So what’s the next phase of my marathon training schedule?

I have to say that until the last week I have been leaning towards the slow and steady longer mileage approach that Stan employs, but it’s time to start pushing the body and mind ready for race day. I say race day as I aim to finish in the top 10% of entrants in this race, not just be another runner.
My training has been based around my Heart Rate (HR) training principles – running the longer mileage days at 145 Beats Per Minute (BPM). As we have been experiencing a hot Aussie summer I’m not sure if this has been compromised as elevated temperatures will naturally give you an elevated HR to begin with. Some of my runs have felt quite slow and I have found it difficult to keep at the lower level, other mornings I have gone out and found I can really push the pace and still remain at the 145 BPM average. Perhaps it has allowed me to listen to my body and not over train. My two weekday runs have been strict 145 BPM runs and on the weekend my flat(er) long runs have stayed in this zone as well. 

My weekend runs with the Dandy Runners have been more like interval training as the terrain is often quite hilly and varied. On the hill climbs the HR hits 170-180 for the length of the climb and then I am allowed some rest as we wait the slower runners to regroup or as we descend down the hill. My average HR over these runs is often 155-160 BPM over the 2 or so hours of running. Hey, that’s almost a race pace HR. The hill training is also brilliant for strengthening my feet, ankles, legs and core as the varied terrain means you are always adjusting your stride.

I have substituted some of my interval days with Heart RateThreshold/ High Intensity Training on the Watt bike (complimented by some high anaerobic circuits) to help relieve the legs and feet but also hit the higher HR as well. For the remaining weeks I will incorporate more HRT and HIT training on the treadmill during these sessions to push my upper limits and build/reignite my leg speed before the Half Marathon. I have also been rotating the Inov-8 Road X - 233 and the Inov-8 Road X -155.

This Thursday (highlighted in the table) I ran my baseline course at what I felt was race pace. The regular 145 BPM training sessions have seen me run it in 47-48 minutes, this time I ran it in 40:30 and the average HR was 156. Just over my target km/min time of 4:10 This is the 85% range that is the ‘recommended’ rate or ‘theoretical’ rate that can be maintained for a half marathon. To be honest it felt a little challenging and supports Peters advice that I need to now up the speed and intensity of my middle distance runs (8-12km or half to 2/3s of a 20km plus run) and build them towards running at race pace to condition the body. This is also the point of view taken by Patrick and his half marathon training schedule – go harder and make faster your norm.

From here I am aiming to run the two weekday runs at 155 BPM and let my longer runs be run at 150 BPM to give me the mental conditioning I need to know that I can maintain the pace over (hopefully under) the 90 minutes I hope to complete my future half marathons in. If I can fit in some Dandenong Ranges running I will push the speed on the flatter sections and try to average the HR at 150 on the hillier parts, which will mean dropping the pace on the ups.

Update - Today's  7/3/13 Thursday run was at 156 BPM and at a pace of 4:01 - Yes! Speed is back :)

How is your half marathon race training going? Have you stuck to a plan or had to modify it. It's been tough with hot weather and weekend commitments but I feel as though I've done ok. 

I guess the final part of this blog is shoe choice. The Inov-8 155s that I’ve been running in have nearly 400km on them and are starting to feel a little compressed under the forefoot area. With 5 weeks to go, how much time is enough time to trial a new pair of shoes and be comfortable with running in them at the Geelong Half Marathon? I’m looking at maintaining the 3mm drop or even going 0mm or ‘racing flats’ as I am most comfortable in my Inov-8 trailrocs which are a flat trail shoe, though I would not use them (the rocs) for a road run. I'm just not sure that I am quite ready to go racing flat on the road for 21kms. 

Would you wear out the old shoes or jump into something new?

The new Inov-8 road range is out. I'm seriously considering the Inov-8 Road Extreme 178 or the F-lite 232s (my pre-review here). Just not sure which way to go yet. 

The (below) also have the new Inov-8 range, Merrell, Skora and New Balance Minimus -these in particular look, and feel really good as well. 

Happy training, I hope to one day see you at the start line!

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