Showing posts from 2012


The stupid season has been in full swing. Plenty of food and alcohol. There was even a reasonable dose of running thrown in there too. As has been the trend for the last month, I haven't exactly trained the house down. I haven't been a complete slacker either. That leaves me far from peak fitness, but probably have enough in the tank to get some good work done over the next couple of weeks to get something decent at the Two Bays Trail Run.

In the mean time I've scored a new toy. Lucky me. A Garmin Forerunner 210. Check out DC Rainmaker's in-depth review if you want to find out more. GPS data, pacing, heart rate and more ways available to me to analyse every run. For a geek like myself, that equals an extra element of fun beyond the running itself.

I've pretty much used heart rate monitors since I first decided to take running seriously back in 1999. Over those years I've measured courses in different ways. From using marked tracks, taking a car over a road cour…


The lack of posting is a reflection on the lack of focus on my running recently. After the lack of sleep catching up with me and some low grade sinus problems my body has been fighting I just haven't had a big drive to train hard. That doesn't mean I haven't been running. What did happen was that I haven't put in any hard sessions for a while and of note no real long runs. Plus there have been quite a few runs missed.

Whether all this has purely been a result of getting run down or not, I'm still not too sure. I'm sure just a lack of motivation has played a hand too. Still I am comfortable with all this. My mind and body now seem back on track, and I have put in three days of reasonable running. The enjoyment in the act of running has sparked back up and I am waking up early with energy.

What to do about training now?

My focus is for the Two Bays Trail 28km on the 13th of January in a few weeks. In the limited time left, training will be directed towards this r…


It shouldn't take so many times to just get the point through. Again I'm finding some difficulty recovering between sessions and attempting to hold off a sinus infection. The training hasn't been particularly hard with nothing stupid thrown into the mix. The problem is I've been down on sleep.

It's been a combination that culminated with far less shut eye than I should get over at least a week. Kids doing their various things from fighting going to sleep, waking during the night and just getting up early. Problems associated with rotating shift work. Foregoing sleep to fit everything in. The main problem is I just haven't been taking it all into account and haven't actively pursued getting better sleep. While most of the elements are just part of my life, I can improve things with a little effort and planning.

I know consistent and high quality training goes hand in hand with getting enough quality sleep. Being a couple of days down is ok, but its develope…

Training Plan Into 2013

This is a long post. Yet, is probably as short as I can be when explaining how I am putting together my training.

My aim is to strive for continual improvement. A system that builds upon current fitness and from race to race. There are a lot of elements common between 10km to ultramarathon and I aim to improve my abilities across this wide range. Of course that will require times of specific focus. I'll just always keep in touch with the other abilities required at the different distances.

My race plans at this stage include:

Two Bays Trail 28km - JanuaryEmergency Services Games - AprilSurfcoast Century - September

There will be a number of races in between. I just haven't worked out which ones yet.

To give myself an objective guide the basis of my training will be aimed at working towards a sub-2:45 marathon. Even if I don't race a standard marathon next year it should give me the basis I need to then adjust focus for my other events. For a 2:45 marathon the pace is 3:54/k…

Time Flies

It's been a while since my last post. No real reason for that, except there has only been enough time for the staples of training and not the extras. As for my training, it's been going ok. Due to a couple of medical appointments and kids interrupting sleep a lot the training has been stripped right back. The key runs have been all there, a couple of the easy runs were missed and most of the strength training was dropped. To me that's ok if it is short lived and doesn't become a habit. In the short term it keeps running specific improvements rolling along. For genuine long term gains the extras do count.

My running is definitely getting better. The majority of my easy runs are feeling very comfortable and natural. The average paces for these runs have migrated from slower than 6:30/km up to around 6:00/km with what now feels like less effort.

At the moment one of the key runs is what I term an Aerobic Run. It is run at an effort level that is steady, a fair bit below …

Needs Analysis

So the new training plan. It needs some explanation. Best to start with the goals.

My racing plans are far from set in stone over the next year. I will be working from the assumption of racing the Surfcoast Century next September and aiming to go considerably faster. Before then I am racing the 28km option at the Two Bays in January. Between these two races I haven't worked out any particular events. However I am likely to have another crack at the Emergency Services Games.

So how do I direct my training based on the above?

The key component across all potential races is the need for exceptional aerobic capabilities. Whether referring to substrate use, aerobic threshold, anaerobic threshold, speed at certain heart rates, or fatigue resistance, they are all interrelated. Of course there are ways to focus on the individual aspects, but my main goal is to progress my aerobic running capabilities as a package.

The aerobic development needs to be supported with a reasonable level of sp…

The First Few Days

Now I'm back into what I consider proper running. Not just getting ready to do the running. Naturally I will build up from here. Both in terms of volume and speed. So without much explanation below is what goes into the training diary (the dates of yyyymmdd format to allow easy searching).


am:Very Easy 45:29, 6.44km, 7:04/km Commute w/ pack
pm: Easy 32:36, 5.81km, 5:36/km Commute w/pack
Total: 12.25km 20121028 am:Easy + Tx wu 3.5km, 23:106:38/km Tx drills 3.4km in 31:30 30m/70m slow drills 40m/160m fast drills 4x50m cadence sprints/380m cd 3.2km, 21:166:39/km
Total 10.1km 1:15:56
pm: 3km, 16:005:15/km Commute w/pack
Total: 13.1km 20121029 Aerobic 8.4km, 41:05, 4:53/kmDCT wu 2.8km, 17:386:17/km cd 2.8km, 18:296:36/km
Total 14km 20121030 Easy1:02:48, 10.7km, 5:52/km PRT-aque loop
Intensity crept up on hills to maintain form. Originally meant to include hill springing, but the plyo was taken care of w/ hopscotch with kids earlier 20121031 Walk 3.2kmPost night shift. Tired.


I've been through a couple of weeks of rebuild. Definitely far from high mileage. A collection of technique work, hill plyometrics and intervals with plenty of recovery, plus a lot of tissue manipulation and stretching. Looks like I've ironed a few problems and built back a bit of structural conditioning and strength.

Now it's time to get right back into what I consider proper running. Now it's about getting in lots of kilometres. So the challenge is to build the aerobic engine, increase workload tolerance while still keeping development of speed and strength reasonable. Consistency will be the ticket.

So the simple goal is get in as much running as I can that leads to improvement. That doesn't mean the maximum I can fit in. That will be a little less. So I'll take it a few days at a time, pay attention to intensity and recovery. Then see where that takes me.


I've felt pretty damn good for the four weeks since my 100km race. I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly my legs came good and how easy it has felt to get back into some running. However, underneath all that there is still some damage and weak points that require addressing.

Earlier this week I received a good massage. Separate to the massage work of loosening and lengthening out my connective tissues and muscles, the most important element was the identification of the many areas the are damaged. There are plenty of adhesions that will become problems if not dealt with. One example is an adhesion of decent size on one Achilles' tendon that is limiting movement of the tendon within its sheath. It's not causing pain, but will only be a matter of time before it becomes a noticeable problem.

Nothing is a true injury at this stage. Just simply part of the recovery process from the damage training and and running 100km causes. The trick now is to have all that rebuild back …

Back Into It

It's been a bit of time since my last post. Main reason is I've taken a good mental break from training in the time after the Surfcoast Century. That doesn't mean I haven't been running.

Since the race I've taken things quite easy. I took the 8 days completely off running. That time was filled with work in the garden and basically anything unrelated to running. My mind really wanted me to head out a run by day 5, but I made a point not to.

Next up I gave myself 10 days to run however I wanted to, with the only caveat of erring on the side of being comfortable. The result was a variety of runs between 40-90 minutes. I didn't worry about pace or times. I just ran. It is good to have that freedom away from a designated training program.

Over this time I was pretty happy about how well I recovered from the 100km. Other than a few right spots the only trouble I noticed was both Achilles' tendons seemed to be a bit of weak point. A couple of days off seemed to fi…

Surfcoast Century - Race Report

Well I did it. My first 100km trail ultra is done and dusted. In short, it was an amazing experience. This is how it unfolded.

I stayed down with my wife, kids and sister in a nice house a short distance from the race. A pretty chilled evening, some simple pasta and disappointing loss in the AFL prelim. In the middle was race registration and briefing. Signing in had me feeling nervous for the first time, but I soon relaxed after catching up with a few people. Though it played on my mind I couldn't check and recheck my drop bags after I handed them over, even though I'd already checked them at least ten times.

The sleep was a little disturbed, but that's no problem. I'd slept well during the rest of the week. Up early, liquid breakfast, coffee and a selection of stretches and movements had me feeling loose and ready. Soon enough I got my way down to the start. The weather was brilliant. Bright blue skies, plenty of sun and a light cool breeze. I couldn't ask for a …

Surfcoast Century: Final Prep

I've well and truly gone past the point where I can add any fitness. I have what I have, now all I can do is make the most of it to get the best result race day. The plan for the last couple of weeks was penned with the proviso:
Naturally the plan will change if it needs to (and it probably will)
Of course it did, and what I did put on paper was a bit too much. So I listened to my body, and I think I got that in the strange period that is a taper. Anyway, as of 14 days out the training went a little something like this...

Trail Run 44km with race kit, race nutrition at race pace. All went to plan, plus I felt great.90min @ race pace1h45min @ race pace, maybe a little quicker over the last 30minEasy relaxed run to and from track, with 10x80m building strides. All relaxed and comfortable, took 60min all upPlanned 4 hour trail run, but legs felt heavy and I felt tired, so just a very light 60minDay OFF. Legs still heavy, and I was wondering if I am fighting off the cold the rest of the…

Nutrition For Surfcoast Century

Over the last few months I've experimented a reasonable amount with my nutrition during the long runs (4-6.5 hours). I've tried a few different regimens, and varied my amounts. In the mix has been low to high calorie levels (100-340kCal/hour). Different fuel mixtures which have included testing of maltodextrin, fructose, glucose, protein and electrolytes. From this experimentation combined with a good amount of study, I have come up with a plan that seems like the right plan for the Surfcoast Century.

For the most part my plan falls close to the Hammer Nutrition Guidelines as found in their free eBook: The Endurance Athlete's Guide To Success. Well worth a read. Now I have to point out that I am not necessarily an advocate of Hammer Nutrition, and other than a few gels, don't tend to use their products. However, they do provide some very practical information that I have put to test in training. I was also fortunate enough to win a free entry into the Steve Born Nutrit…

Peaking: Change of Plans

Due a reoccurrence of the sinus infection I thought I was getting rid of, the training over the last week hasn't matched what I planned on paper. I took an extra couple of days easy, the a day later than planned I hit the a nice steep hill for 6 x 40 second efforts, with about 2 min recovery, followed by 2 x 2min of fast, technical running over some twisting a jagged trail, with a good dose of rest in between. The run felt good and I had that flow I really wanted.

Thanks to Dazzler I managed to score a free massage that put my legs into a better state than they had been. No surprises from the work, all the problems I thought I had were there, and nothing extra. The legs are looser, and my own tissue therapy now seem s a little more effective.

The long run got scrapped for two reasons. First was with the sinus infection still causing a lot of grief, it would do more harm than go to go long. Seconds was 100km winds whipped some of the tiles from our roof and I some temporary repairs…

SC100 Training: Focus 6

Easy 60 and 45 minute runs marked the first two days. Enough to recover from the injury side of things, yet not to the level of a taper. I still carried a few aches, pains and stiffness into the Salomon Trail Series Race 3: Silvan 14.3km. A long warm up had me race ready, and the 69 minutes of racing over a brilliant mixture of trails and hills had me working harder than I could achieve in a training session. Plenty of good points came out of this race. There was clear evidence of substantial improvement compared to a few weeks ago. Including the warm up and cool down, the day netted about 21km worth of running.

Fourth day was designated for an easy 60 minute run. My heart rate and effort was very low, but I surprised myself with quite a fast a pace throughout. Then it was night shift, followed by a day off as I continued the pattern of catching up on sleep.

Now for the long run. Kitted and stocked up, out into the hills and trails I went. The legs were feeling pretty good. No signs o…

Salomon Trail Series Race 3: Silvan 14.3km

The easy days leading in seemed to be what I needed. Not exactly a taper, but enough to get my tendon and leg issues under control. Pre-race I was still aware of a certain level of stiffness and the generalised low grade aches that goes with a heavy training phase. So I gave myself a long gradual warm up of 45 minutes to get everything primed. On the start line I felt more relaxed than usual.

My knowledge of the course was based on the info on the race website and the areas around the start and finished I covered during my warm up. I brought my racing flats along in case the surface was more straight forward than the previous two races. After the recent rains, a lot of the tracks had turned to sludge and trail shoes with grip was definitely required. Looking at the times for runners I knew from last year, I guesstimated that if I ran okay I'd probably hit a bit under 75 minutes, and sub-70 would mean I was firing.

All runners will gather in the start / finish chute in Silvan Region…

SC100 Training: Focus 5

Coming off the tough week of Focus 4, I was hoping to maintain a similar level of training. The first two days involved only light recovery running to absorb the previous long run. On the 3rd day my lower legs still felt stiff and there seemed to be a deep soreness that I probably won't be able shake until the taper in a couple of weeks. Not fresh, but recovered enough for the pace run.

Following the trend for this run, it was again better than the previous week. Easier and faster. I followed this up the next day with the hill run. A course change to a steeper circuit with an average slope of 12% and no flat section. Aiming to hit 45min of hard work I only managed 36 before my legs gave in. The terrain alone forced the intensity up.

Two hard sessions were followed up with the obligatory recovery runs for two days. On the third I hit the track for a bit of speed work. I chose the flat option this week as my legs weren't handling the down hills and there were plenty of warning s…

SC100 Training: Focus 4

An interesting week. Definitely my toughest week of training. Starting with a basic run I was surprised at how easy it felt. The speed was quite high for this type of run, and it felt like I could go forever. A good start.

For my hill/speed run I was flying. The plyometric drills and uphill sprints came naturally. Nothing was forced and it felt fast. I got in a few extra repeats since it was going so well. Then some downhill sprints. The plan was for 6 x 15 seconds here, but I called it at 4 when the legs started feeling tight and on that last repeat I really felt each foot strike.

Next morning I knew I'd been training hard. Plenty of pain and a bit of swelling of my left patella tendon, especially over the tibial tuberosity. So a day without running and icing was called for. Then I was fresh for the pace run. Into the south side of Plenty Gorge covering the awesome single track. I ran a course that has taken me 2:15-2:20 to cover in the past. This day my legs were definitely movi…

SC100 Training: Focus 3

Clearly I under estimated how much the race at Plenty Gorge was going to take out of me. Backing up with 2 hours the next morning did nothing to improve the situation. As a result this week started with two recovery runs. My legs were so thrashed that I found myself walking up slopes I wouldn't normally consider hills.

Next I felt recovered enough for my pace run. 2.5 hours, with race gear on at a solid clip over a variety of terrain. The spring I had in my legs last week wasn't quite there, but I still felt pretty good and as though I could just keep running for at least another hour.

The following day was a different story. For the most part my legs were pleasantly sore. In the way that lets you know you've been training hard. However I there was some swelling across the top of my left foot, extra pain in the tibial is anterior and new level of tightness in the lateral muscles of my left leg. I've learnt in past that's not a group of symptoms to push through. Fa…