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Showing posts from April, 2014

Half Marathon APESG - Race Report

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I have absolutely enjoyed the Australasian Police and Emergency Services Games. Most years I get to compete in the state version, this year adds in competitors from around Australia and neighbouring countries and has created a new level. The level of competition stretches across all the sports from complete beginners to elite and everything in between. I've had the luxury to enjoy a lot of the track and field both as a competitor in the 5000m and as a spectator for the other events. The great culture amongst emergency service workers appears to be universal and delivers a friendly, but intense rivalry and competition.

My second and last event at these games was the half marathon. It was the race I was really aiming for. Not to take away from the 5000m, but my heart definitely was for the 21.1km. I do tend to favour the longer stuff. Plus with less than two months to my next marathon I probably need to be better at the longer event.

Conditions were great. A cool and sunny morning. …

5000m APESG - Race Report

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With all my years of running, I would I don't have much experience on the track, and 5000m definitely hasn't ever been a feature. At the end of last year I was struggling to find any sort of speed in my legs. To find the improvements I wanted, the 5000m was the perfect event to put me out of my comfort zone.

From all around Australia and from New Zealand, across the various emergency services 33 lined up on the blue at Lakeside Stadium. In my Ambulance Victoria colours I felt as ready as I could be. There was clearly a vast range of abilities and it was too hard to tell pre-race who would be at the pointy end. I was happy to see fellow ambo and semi-regular rival Mark Clarence in the mix.

We all crowded the start line, but once the gun sounded the spaces opened up immediately. Looks like my recent training had dialled in the pace and I moved through the first 1000m right on 3:36 as planned. This was my opening bench mark, setting up a reasonable first kilometre and allowing ev…

Peak Versus Taper

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Leading into the Australasian Police & Emergency Services Games, I was a little conflicted with how to lead in. I want to race at my best, but I know if I went in with a full taper then my preparation for the marathon to follow would suffer. Not because of any lost training sessions, more so because if I hit a true peak in performance, then there is very likely a slump to follow. So I took an approach that hopefully still has me performing well without carrying undue fatigue through my races and still has me improving in the weeks afterwards. As usual, what went on paper ended up a bit different when it came to putting the runners on.

This is what the previous two weeks of training has looked like:

Sat: 4x2km at 10km pace, with 400m jog recovery. Total 17km.

Sun: Easy 18km.

Mon: An attempted interval session, but realised I was getting sick (thanks to a sharing family), realised it wasn't going to happen. So ended up taking it easy for 12km.

Tue: Easy 11km

Wed: Feeling better, so h…

The Elusive Session

That hard, confidence building session. That fast and long set of intervals. The run that leaves you destroyed for the rest of the day, but once done you know you are ready to race.
They are planned ahead of time. On paper they look deceivingly simply, almost easy. You know there is a lot more behind the numbers, an x, a /, and an @. When training is going very well you look forward to these runs with an almost insatiable appetite. When it isn't going quite as well these runs come with a sense of trepidation.
Of course you don't have to match what is on paper. That is just a guide. A starting point. The essence of these sessions is to push your limits in a training context. You can try to predict those limits, but you don't know them for sure if you don't go past them. Sometimes, if you are lucky you surpass your prediction and you don't have to put the limit to a test. This is when you know you are ready. Other times, you fall well short of those predictions.
My buil…

The Power Of Hill Sprints

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There are a number of elements that influence how well my training goes. One that seems to have a surprisingly large influence is the regular inclusion of hill sprints. In short, my training can go well without them, but everything goes so much better with them.

What are hill sprints?
You'd think just saying hill sprints would cover it, but no, it doesn't. Running terminology is all over the place with people claiming they sprinted for 5km or that they completed a 10km marathon. So I define a hill sprint as an all out effort, running up hill for a very short distance.  How far? Generally nothing that takes over 20 seconds, but usually 6-10 seconds. How steep? Whatever I have in front of me, variety of incline is good, but I'll opt for the steepest if there is a choice.
What's the point?
Well there's a few. First and foremost I get a training effect on the higher threshold, fast twitch muscle fibres that don't get recruited in the majority of my other training. It…