Friday, September 30, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

12km Aerobic Base Run

Avg pace: 5:14min/km

Surfers to Southport. First run on the Gold Coast. Hit some nice trail action at around 5k where I had the beach on the right and the bush on the left as well as the screams from the Seaworld rollercoaster.

Pace would have been a bit quicker but got stuck twice at traffic lights.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

4km Recovery

Avg Pace: 5:38min/km
Avg HR: 135 (73% max)

Tried to run at less than 75% HR as per Pfitzinger's recommendation in 'Road Racing for Serious Runners' which I picked up from the library the other day. Left calf still annoying, seems to be the story of the year.

Took out the old Asics Piranha's. Ever since I saw Keith running in them last week I've been thinking about running in them again, they are so light (130g) but there is virtually nothing underfoot and I didn't like the feel at all. So - that experiment is done. I still like the idea of having less heel, but right now the Adios are pretty much perfect. I was thinking of going minimal - like an Innov8 f-lite, but it's probably not for me as much as I might wish it was.

Apparently there is an Adios 2 coming out January 2012 and also a lower drop show called the Adizero Hagio  which looks awesome. Adidas also has the Feather which would be nice to have a run in as well. Similiar 11mm drop to the Adios but about 30g lighter. Not sure how much difference that makes though.

Decisions, decisions.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

6km Aerobic Base Run

Avg pace: 4:50min/km

A little zoom around the back of Wentworthville during work time. Ate too much prior and had GI issues. Awesome.

Monday, September 26, 2011

12km Aerobic Base

Avg Pace: 5:13min/km (inc. warm up)

First proper run for a week post-marathon. Few niggly bits, tried to concentrate on form. Felt very weird, laboured rhythm for the first 5k really. Settled into it and ran some reasonable k's. This is the beginning of my base building phase again. Trying to get a good, consistent base of 80-100k a week, plus some strength work, before getting into Pfitzinger's Marathon Program.

World Record in the marathon was broken yesterday. Watched the race and it was phenomenal to see. Sub 3min k's the whole way. I cant even do one km at that pace...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Running Clinic with Keith Bateman

Today I was lucky enough to get along to a complimentary offering of one of Keith Bateman's running workshops at Centennial Park. I first heard of Keith at the beginning of the year on after he had just broken the M55+ 5000m world record. I also went along to a clinic held by Barefoot Inc in October last year (I thought it was this year!?) at which Keith was one of the coaches. Today I was joined by another runner who had just completed her first half-marathon the previous weekend and was a self-described beginner.

Running form is something that I have worked on for a few years now, first exposed to the POSE method when I was trying to get over some really bad ITB around 2007-09 I'd basically given up running any kind of distance but a combination of a solid physio and a more 'natural' running style eventually got me going again. After running in some big ass Asics with $400 orthotics and  not improving at all, eventually I ended up in Nike Free's and a mid-foot (ish) strike. What I'm saying is that I came to today with what I thought was a reasonable amount of knowledge about running form. Only problem was I hadn't analysed my own running form for a long time. From the wear pattern on my Adidas Adios I knew I was still hitting the heel a bit, but I haven't been too worried about it.

Before coaching (click to see animation I put together)

We began by being video'd. Firstly up a pretty steep hill, and then in the park (see above). The girl I was with was quite obviously a big heel striker and I think for Keith someone he could really make some massive changes for. As for myself I think Keith had to have a bit more of a closer look. Because everything moves so fast in real time, its difficult to tell whats going if its not obvious (hence the pictures). 

After a few run through's Keith picked up that I was just slightly getting my foot out in front of my centre and that I was 'folding' at the hips. This stuff about the hips really interested me, because I've been having pretty tight psoas/hip flexors and I'd say that's related. So two fairly small things, but that in fixing should improve. 

So after we determined what the issues were we went through some drills that would encourage good form. First up what Keith described in his follow up email as "kick foot out back, stand tall and tilt gently forward", hard to describe. Second we did some butt kicks and then moved into running. What I had to focus on was standing tall and 'picking' the foot up. This 'picking up' has always what I have found the most difficult aspect of this type of running - its what POSE refers to as 'the pull' - thats where the hamstring pulls the foot up, rather than it being driven up by the quads I guess. 

We then got the shoes off and did the same drills in the wet grass. It was really nice to feel the grass underfoot. Unfortunately here my running partner tore a calf muscle. I was watching her and she was really pointing her toes and landing on her forefoot. Right at the end it looked like she had trodden on a piece of glass, but turns out she heard a pop. A real shame for her as she was getting some damn good advice.

 More drills, really trying to get the foot up underneath me, but not too high! Really hard. I did a few more run throughs before getting the barefoot video done (see below).

After Coaching (click for animation I put together)

Overall, I feel like my form is reasonable. But whatever changes I can make to run faster I will attempt. I need to incorporate more drills into my training, and I need to do more barefoot practice. Keith recommended drills as part of the warm up and barefoot running as part of the cool down.

So whilst its not completely new info for me, it's really working on refinement. The only criticism is that the time really flew by. I'm thinking about doing one of the follow up groups later in the year. Certainly recommend it!

Note foot position of leading foot. Image on right is back underneath more,
less chance of it getting too far in front.

Foot is a tiny bit out in front in both. Trailing foot on right is a bit
closer in towards body and slightly higher. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sydney Marathon 42.2km

Sydney Marathon 42.195km
Avg Pace: 5:00min/km

Very tough day out, easily (and obviously) the hardest run I've ever done.

Day began early at around 4:30am after a reasonable nights sleep surprisingly. Had a small bowl of oats and a sustagen around that time too. Checked the BOM website and saw that it was already 20 degrees at 5am and that it was forecast to hit 28. F*ck me, I thought, and already took a little mental hit.

Cleared the system, went through the checklist and made sure I was lubed and taped where I needed to be. I put a little bit of maltodextrin in a water, but not enough to taste, and in retrospect I should have put more. Was out the door at ten to six feeling pretty anxious. Met a runner who was up from Melbourne at the station and we had a chat which eased my nerves a bit, the week before he'd pulled out of a cycling event due to hypothermia - he would have had a rough day.

Got to Milsons Point about 6:40, for a 7:30 start. Tried to stretch a bit and use the loo a few times. Met Max from Barefoot Inc who I'd done a run workshop with earlier in the year. He, of course, had no idea who I was but we had a quick chat anyway. He runs marathons in Vibrams - today he was aiming for sub 3hrs. Saw Adrian who I'd met a few weeks back and met up with him in the starting area.


Right on 7:30 and we were away heading up towards the harbour bridge. Last year in the half marathon I remember having to bolt through here to try and get some room and my heart rate rocketed, this year I was obviously in the right spot because everyone headed out at the same rate and by the time I was on the bridge I felt like I was just jogging it. It was very quiet, no crowd noise or talking at that stage - a bit foreboding perhaps.

Once up on the bridge I could feel the tightness in my shins that I'd developed in the days prior and I just hoped that I'd loosen up as we went. First drink station was at 5k and I was busy talking and not really noticing the time, I'd been checking the garmin and pace seemed ok - except that through the tunnel it told me I'd done a 3:15. I already new before hand it wasn't going to be entirely accurate but was mostly using it for the time. I'd written in pen on my arms the times I'd wanted at 10, 21, 30 and 40k (00:49, 1:44, 2:28 and 3:18). At the first drink stop I continued running and tried to drink at the same time only getting about two sips in and another cup I chucked on my head straight away, as per some of the advice I'd read. At around 6k I noticed that I didn't have any tightness in the shins and that I was feeling good.

By 10k I was happy, talking and almost forgot to get my first plain gel down. We'd been down past Mrs Macquaries chair and actually caught up with the 3:30 pacer group which was quite a lot of people. Once we popped up next to St Mary's cathedral they were off ahead again. Headed down past the church to turn around and come back up past the church before running through the middle of Hyde Park where they'd set up a little bridge where we all had to slow down to get on to. There were some annoyed people but I wasn't too worried.

Next we were running down Oxford St at around 8am - very, very quiet. I was hoping there'd be a few amped clubbers heading out into the street, but no one was around except a few tourists and security guys. I was feeling good started getting a roll down Flinders St into the SCG - the course is a bit weird here, doubling back on itself in front of the SCG and then getting into Centennial Park and doing all kinds of loops. you do get to see some of the leaders through here though which was awesome.

I started to pick up pace here thinking that maybe I'd been a bit conservative, I also lost my running mate (I later found out he cramped up and didn't get through). I was trying to keep the 3:30 flag in site, but they seemed to get away pretty fast. I also saw Max from Barefoot Inc. in here and he looked like he was having a real hard time. Had my first Roctane GU at 20k, I felt pretty good and passed through the 21k point just over the time I'd set for myself. I think I was hitting a few 4:50's and started to get cocky thinking I might be able to hold that pace and get well under 3:30.


Around 25k, just towards the end of the Centennial Park section, I started seeing people dropping their pace or walking and was able to start passing. I'd been grabbing drinks at every aid station along the way, but just coming out of here I made the note that I really had to walk through and drink the entire cup as I was starting to feel dry mouthed. I think I grabbed an extra gel here just in case.

At Anzac Pde you head down a bit of a slope but then you have to double back and go twice as long up an incline, which looks flat, but when you've been running for 2 hours starts to grind at you. It's probably about 2k-ish of uphill. Here I noticed I'd dropped the pace a bit and so once back up onto Oxford St tried to roll the legs down the hill towards Hyde Park. I'm trying to remember when I first felt my quads start to tighten and it was probably at the bottom of this hill, maybe I went too fast downhill to try and make my time for the 30k point - but I was about a minute off anyway. I hit another Roctane GU and quickly walked and drank and poured water all over myself.

I remember getting in to Hyde Park and there was a couple of viking hatted girls ringing cowbells and I wanted to yell out that this was just like being in the tour de france, but I couldn't talk I was really, really dry and needed fluids. I knew at that stage I was starting to feel pretty shitty, I was hoping this point would have come a bit later - like 35k or even 32k, and I started to have the conversation with myself about how to dig in.

Back through the city down towards Circular Quay I got to fly down another hill posting a 4:30k on the garmin. There's a bit of a crowd so you pick it up, but at the same time you're so close to the finishing line it's slightly demoralising knowing that you still have at the very least another 10k to go. We ran down through the Rocks and one of the volunteers was calling out "You're right on 3:35 pace keep going!" which was supposed to be encouraging, but by this stage I was feeling pretty bloody ordinary and that pretty well destroyed my hope of hitting the goal time. We went under the harbour bridge and then up Hickson Rd up towards Pyrmont and Ultimo, I tried to take in some of the views but was really starting to feel bad. I could see where the aid station was but it just didn't seem to be getting any closer. Eventually got there and drank one cup, poured one cup. In my mind I hadn't wanted to drink powerade at the aid stations because of the sweetness and the fact my mouth was drying up so quickly.

After that station we head up onto the Western Distributor which I'd been on before last year and hadn't really regarded as an issue. This time heading up it was psychological torture. It's concrete, it's freakin' hot, my legs are starting to feel on the verge of cramping and some poor bastard was in the worst possible way. He was unconscious and was drooling, he had St Johns guys pouring water on him and you knew they were thinking "hurry the f*ck up paramedics". I was already in a bad way (not as bad as some obviously) but this just put me on edge thinking about dehydration. There's another loop around through Ultimo and then back up Harris St where another hill had people stopping to walk. I just had the mantra 'don't stop, get to the aid station, walk, drink' and somehow I managed to do that. Probably another GU here too.


And then we head back along the Western Distributor and back onto Hickson Road. I think the top of Hickson Rd is the 39km point and I was in a WORLD OF PAIN. I was feeling nauseas and starting to worried I would puke, knowing that could be a sign of dehydration. I had also been feeling the urge to pee for the last 2 hrs or so. I think I finally had Powerade here too, but only a sip (a bit late). I now took the excuse (and yes it was an excuse) to stop and urinate. I figured the extra little bit of rest and the empty bladder would help me get through this final stage. I was also concerned that my legs were going to cramp once I started running again. I was seeing people getting stung by cramps all over the place, people running along and then bounding off to the side hoping they weren't about to collapse and die.

I was able to dig a bit here and pick up the pace slightly until I started getting worried that the 39k aid station was the last one and I'd see. Must mention the girl who had set up with a cowbell to cheers runners through this section, not sure if it picked me up, but appreciated. It's all a bit of a blur from here, just one step in front of another thinking about where the next water was. Checked the 40k time and I was roughly 2 mins over what I had written on my arm. Now all I had to do was sprint the final 2k home.

Not. Going. To. Happen.

Just keep struggling onward, get to the final aid station walk it through and suck down the water and get another cup on my head. Around here you start getting the photographers - so I attempted to put on a smile and not look like I had crumbled inside. And then the crowds start to cheer the finishers in - which is pretty cool, but I was so focussed on not stopping at this point even though everything inside me said I should. I tried to push but really I was just holding on. I heard my name called and boom! 42.2km done.

In the finishing video I reach over to the hand rail to grab on but can't even make that and the head goes back. They put the medal straight on and hand you a bag and start asking what size t-shirt I wanted. I was just repeating - I need water and hoping I wouldn't pass out. I had the wobbly legs too. Found some water and powerade and sat and drank and hoped like hell I would be able to get up and not cramp.


For a while I was a bit bummed about the result. It was pretty close to what I wanted, and after hearing all the horror stories about DNF's, cramps, ambulances and people being 30 or more minutes away from their target time I feel like I did ok.

I made a few mistakes - the first of which was not drinking enough, early enough. I should have slowed and drunk a full cup at the earlier aid stations. I did have water at every stop, just not enough. I should have had a few more gels earlier too. I'm glad I took the Roctane, really pricey but I think, maybe, the extra sodium and potassium got me through. I saw some people with 6 - 8 gels on them. I should have had some Powerade too.

Looking back at my training over the year I think I did ok, but just ok. Really low to mid volume. Have to get more consistent and be able to handle the big weeks. I want to get up to 100k weeks consistently and see where I could get to. I also know I have to have a strength and flexibility component built in.

So despite feeling like I never wanted to run again on Sunday night, I'm now thinking about what I can do to get better.

My congratulations goes out to anyone that's ever done one of these things and a big thanks to the people who got me there and through. In particular my wife who thinks I'm an idiot on so many levels but continues to love me anyway.

Friday, September 16, 2011

3km Loosen up

Avg Pace: 5:04min/km

Didn't go well at all. Went slow for a km then pushed it too quick with a 4:23k and my left shin just tightened up and didn't want to play anymore. Third km was 4:42 and then just jogged it in after that. Need to make sure my hips are stretched before running as well as everywhere else.

Next update will be marathon report.

A goal: sub 3:30
B goal: 3:30 - 3:35
C goal: 3:35 - 3:40

I think something fairly bad would have happened if I don't come in under 3:40. My training and times suggest 3:30 should be ok, but it's an unknown.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

3km Easy

3km Easy
Avg Pace: 5:09min/km

Just a loosen up and see how the legs were. Had a bit of shin/ankle tightness so wanted to loosen that up. Bit of stretching at the end. I think my cold has cleared up after double dosing the multivitamins, throat gargles and panadol.

I'll have a quick 3k tempo tomorrow to clear out the cobwebs and then that's it, lots of stretching and fluids. I feel like going to the bathroom every time I think about the race.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

12km Base Run

Avg Pace: 5:07min/km

Not as easy as I'd hoped. Yesterday was a really off day, headache and very tired. Today was better, but towards the end of the run I could tell my body is 100%. Slightly mucosy. I think I drank about 3 litres of water today so hopefully that will help. Ate a reasonable amount of fruit too. Need better sleep. I woke up in a panic about not having tried one of the flavours of gel I bought yesterday. So I had to try it today.

I'm so stupid. I bought these super-expensive Roctane GU's which have extra sodium, potassium and BCAA's in them. They're bloody $6 each! I'm just over anxious because I seem to sweat a lot, my visor is all white, and I'm keen to keep the electrolytes up, but not too much, so I'll alternate them with regular GU. The nutrition plan, as I previously wrote is: Plain GU 10k and 38k, Roctane GU at 20k and 29k. Pretty much a constant stream of carbs into the body.

Had a massage yesterday from Easy Tiger, there's not really much more that I can do except stretch try to slow down on the junk food and accept whatever happens...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

21.1km @ Marathon Pace

Avg Pace: 4:50min/km
Avg HR: 151
Max HR: 166

Last medium/long run one week out from the marathon. The aim was to go through the motions i.e actually start out at marathon pace rather than easing in at 5:30's. I actually ended up going a bit quicker than planned. Today would have been a bit easier but I missed the tempo session yesterday. I think this makes up for it. Being able to hold 4:40 - 4:50 at a relatively low HR gives me some level of confidence that I can average 4:57 across 42.2k. I think...

No nutrition today, just a bit of water. Pre-run was a protein shake and carbs with some coffee mixed in approx. 1.5hrs prior to running. I'd say this is what I'll do next week.

Friday, September 9, 2011

6km Write off

Headed off for a 10k @ half marathon pace with a slightly sick feeling in my stomach which developed into a nasty case of the runs at 3k - promptly headed home with butt clenched tightly.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

6km Easy

Avg Pace: 5:24min/km

Bit of a fartlek. Didn't feel up for running but forced myself out to loosen up.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mixed Intervals

Mixed Intervals 90sec recovery

3km: 13:23 (4:27min/km)
1.6km: 6:50 (4:15min/km)
1km: 3:59 (3:59min/km)
800m: 2:49 (3:32min/km)

Good session with JT who struggled to hold on (almost literally - bathroom visit 1200m into the 1600).

Quickest 800 I've done, but bloody hard. Probably 2:30 rest between 1.6k and 1k as I was waiting for JT to finish in the toilet.

Monday, September 5, 2011

12km @ Marathon Pace

Avg Pace: 4:58min/km

If I can hold this pace for 42.2 I'd be happy. Still not sure whether that will happen. Felt ok - 2 days after 37k run, so maybe it's doable.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

6km Recovery Run

6km Recovery Run
Avg Pace: 5:38min/km

Not very pleasant. Left hip flexors very tight and everything else just fatigued. Did this just to get the volume up for the week.

Weekly total: 
84.89km running
81.23km cycling

Saturday, September 3, 2011

37km Endurance Run

37km Endurance Run
Avg Pace: 5:14min/km

Substantially easier pace than the last long run I did which was 5:03's. Some garmin weirdness under the harbour bridge and through the city, but I don't think that made a huge difference. Fair bit of tightness in the hip flexors, calf ok. Felt pretty good even at 35k. Had two jelly beans every 5k, 15k, 25k, 32k and a gels at 10k, 20k and 29k. Drank at most points along the way.

Happy to have gotten this long run in - I'm not too worried about the pace. I think I've done enough pace work to hold on on race day. I'm pretty certain I can go under 3:35, definitely under 3:40 - still not 100% if I can go sub 3:30. I'm hoping race day adrenaline and the competitive urge will drag me under.

And the taper begins...

8km Easy

8km Easy
Avg Pace: 5:17min/km

Pretty concerned about what I am thinking has been a really tight tibialis posterior. Had acupuncture again yesterday. Still not sure how 5 mins of painful elbow massage helps the calf (amongst other things). Went to a new acupuncturist and she immediately identified that my ankle/foot had some weird alignment. Seemed to help today, felt much better but still some residual tightness there. Ran on the grass around Ashfield Park cross country style.