Showing posts from 2017

New Blog: Running Alive

It's been many years of varied blogging here at GoHard. I feel like I've outgrown this format. So I wish to offer something better. I've created a new site to continue my blogging. Hopefully it will be bigger and better. If you've enjoyed any my posts over the years, please check out my new site:
Hope to see you there. Please a leave a comment on the new site to let me know.
Keep your running alive

This Is Forty

Wow, I've reached 40 years old. It's been suggested that I'm now old, but I don't feel it. Not a bad milestone to stimulate a little thinking. One question I have been asked a lot is why run?
Some things just feel right. They can be different for every person. Some are lucky they find what elevates them early. Most will have to try many activities to discover what clicks for them. What resonates within you may also change over time.

For myself I had the first indicators running was for me back in primary school. I wasn't fast, sprints were almost embarrassing, but I ran the school cross country (2-3km). I wasn't in winning contention. I don't think I could have run any faster, but there were two things that stuck out in my mind. Firstly, on finishing I felt like I could just go and run the race again at the same pace. More importantly I absolutely loved the running itself.

From there I didn't go into heavy running, but off and on I dabbled in it. I did…

A Runner Again

It feels really good to be back into the routine of running. Everyone has different things that just click for them, and running is something that works for me. I've managed to put together two 58km weeks. The volume itself doesn't seem a problem. I've reached a long run of 2 hours and nothing feels particularly hard. As predicted it is trying to push the speed that creates problems. The slightly faster runs are where the hint of problems show up. During the runs are fine, but once I get down to anything faster than 5:00/km I'm getting some swelling and a bit of that awkward feeling around the injured ligament afterwards. Nothing major and it subsides quickly, but it is an indicator that's where my current limit lies.

The good news is if I hold the pace I seem to be able to keep adding distance. When preparing for ultramarathons that's the main priority. I'll keep my focus on that and let the speed follow up behind as my body allows. At least I'm now co…

Go Smart (so I can go hard later)

These posts are mainly a reminder to myself to not go too hard yet. On half my runs this week my legs have been itching to just open it up. Maybe I can get away with that. Maybe it will add to my fitness. Maybe it's just what I need. Unfortunately the down side is there is a big risk that it will put me back many weeks in injury. I'm not taking that chance. Ligaments take a long time to get back to full strength, and that's only if you do the right work. Two months isn't long to get ready for a 50km trail race. To make sure I can do it I cannot afford the down side of taking risks in training. On the up side, consistency with regular mild progression usually reaps some rewards in running. It does take time, so patience is a virtue.
It helps to look back through the weekly run volume over the last few weeks. The magic isn't in the numbers. It is what you do within and around those numbers. That said, the weekly totals do tell a good part of the story.4.7km18.0km34.1k…

Build To Go Big

In theory I'm out of the rehabilitation phase and starting my training phase. Of course the reality isn't that clear cut. Once ligaments have been injured they take a very long time to get close to their previous strength. This has to be taken into for months. A better way for me to think about this is that this is now part of my training. At least I've now reached the day where I can run daily and now start pushing my boundaries back out.

A race that's become a must-do on my race calendar is the Surfcoast Century. It was my first 100km race back in 2012 (read the race report here). Since then it's developed into a great get together with some friends from work. This year the plan has been to take part in a 2 person relay. 50km each. At the start of this year we were hoping to see really challenge ourselves and see just how fast we could go. At this point I confident I won't be breaking any records. To ensure I get to the start line will require training smart a…

Return To Sport

Past 6 weeks for rehabilitation of my high ankle sprain. By the text books it says I can now return to my sport. I am back running, but I am taking an extra conservative approach. It is possible I could be pushing the running a lot more, but the consequences of getting it wrong are too big if I do. I don't want another month on the sidelines. There's no pain from at all from the initial injury. Which can be a problem in itself as the ligaments are probably only at 50% of their previous strength at best. So there isn't a warning system built in that stops me from doing damage if I push things too far. Once pain shows up it is already too late.

My approach is to make time my friend and take it bit by bit. Just gradually increase the run loading while doing a significant amount of strengthening, mobility and other exercises around it. Hopefully I can increase my agility and proprioception to well above pre-injury levels. The runs are very short by my usual standards, but suppl…

Rehab Out Of Winter

Some good timing for the family holiday. With Winter highlighting its arrival with some very cold mornings it was time to head to a warmer climate. This part was purposefully planned. The timing had nothing to do with fitting into my ankle rehab plans. Yet this part also fitted in quite nicely.Relaxation, pools, beach, sun, heat, drink, food and no work drew us out to Khao Lak, Thailand. Amongst the usual holiday stuff I continued the progression in my ankle. On holidays I usually enjoy getting up early and exploring the area with some morning runs. Obviously this wasnt happening this time. No problem and surprisingly to me, not too disappointing. So far the mornings involve an early rise without an alarm. Down to the beach for some breathing exercises, meditation and yoga plus some exercises for my ankle with some walking. Then into the resort's gym for strength training. There's a good amount of walking interspersed throughout the days that there's no need for a dedicated…


The disorganised scar tissue of fats cells, fibroblasts, inflammatory cells and loose connective tissue should be at the stage where it has been coaxed along to become something more functional. My ankle ligaments feel much stronger than they did a week ago. It's now at that stage that defines whether it stays as a mess that holds together, but without most of the elastic qualities a good a ligament has, or it becomes a functional ligament again. So this means training to encourage the remodelling process. There should be plenty of collagen now, and after the week and a bit of basic movement exercises most of it should be aligned in the right direction. The fibres will be type 3 collagen which are significantly thinner than the dense type 1 fibres which make up the majority of a healthy ligament. Into my fourth week post injury and I am running on the assumption the strength of my ligaments is at best 10-20%. It's a dangerous time. Without loading it will stagnate, but load al…


Two and a half weeks brings me out of the moonboot and a physio review. The body is doing what it's meant to do. I'd prefer if it would heal faster. At least now I'm I've moved on from the immobilisation phase and started some exercises. The extreme difficulty I had in doing a single leg calf raise and the almost non-existent balance on my left leg beat down my ego. At least the physio was amused by the amount of muscle wastage that occurs in two weeks. Thanks Camila.

Low grade strengthening and proprioception development is this week's fun. The endurance challenge is just walking around to get things done. No extended walks and no running. I'm definitely not tempted to try it out. It is clear the ligaments aren't ready yet. Basic walking requires a good dose of concentration to keep the mechanics right. There is a laziness in the coordination and a tendency for too much inappropriate movement if left unchecked. Need to do what I need do.

So far I've ta…

A Running Blog With No Running

Over more than two decades of endurance racing and I've had relatively few injuries. In my younger days I would stress about lost fitness and get frustrated when I was injured. Now I've chilled a bit more. Which is handy since my ankle injury is taking a good chunk of time out from running.

It's easy to say it's just running and there are more important things in life. It's true there is. That approach never seemed to take the disappointment and frustration away when forced out of action. Maybe I'm getting older and wiser, or I don't care as much, but I'm definitely in a better mental place than with previous injuries. It's a bit of a chance to focus on other things. It's been over a week and for the most part I'm comfortable with the situation. Complaining won't get me anywhere, and self pity is only detrimental. Plus my wife had did more damage to her ankle earlier this year. At least we get to share moonboots. Best just to focus on w…

Wilsons Promontory 100km 2017

After taking a break from blogging I'm back. No break from running in that time. I just wasn't getting what I needed from posting. Not a lot more to it. I'll skip all the ins and out of what I've done and get right into my most recent adventure.On the weekend was the Wilsons Promontory 100km. Included in the event were 44 and 60km options. If you don't know anything about the Prom I'll sum it up as one of the most spectacular places on earth, filled with amazing views and Australian wildlife. It is also the southern most part of the Australian mainland. Do yourself a favour and get down here.
Quite a number of work friends competed, and to steal a term from one of the group, it appears we must be a bunch of freaks. All distances were covered. Shift workers and ultra runners made for a massive party house with all in bed by 9pm. The house we were staying at was in Yanakie and that had us about 30km out from the race start. Which sounds like a long way, but if you…

The Click

One of my favourite things about training hard is when you hit those moments where you reach a clear next level in fitness. Improvement in running is never linear. There can be an ebb and flow, mixed with a sometimes unpredictable performance in the day to day runs. This is why I like to take a medium to long term view for most of my training. Running rewards consistency over an extended period of time.

Over the last couple of months I've tried to push out the envelope. This has resulted in a few ups and downs during that time. However, it has now brought my fitness to a new level. I'm not at my best ever race fitness, but I am potentially on my way there. What is this new fitness level?

My body can now comfortably handle 100km training weeks.

I haven't been at this level in a long time, and I haven't ever really sustained that level for long periods. So if getting a solid 100km training week is relatively comfortable, then it sets the base for some substantial improve…

Volume February

Three months left of dedicated training for the 100km. I'm happy with my preparation so far. However, it is really just preparation for the real training. I've been training to train. What happens next?

It gets a lot more event specific. 100km is a long way so the biggest element of focus for February is volume. Both for the long run and for the overall week. Typically the true endurance adaptions take the longest, so this is what gets hit first. Supporting this will be a lot of strength work. Building a hard to kill body in order to handle the bigger training runs and eventually the race itself. This strength training will be a mixture of hill sprints, other hill drills, and weights work. The volume and strength combination should see a marked drop in the spring and freshness I like feeling in my legs. There will be a need to remind myself this is necessary to bring out my best later on.

As a dressing over the main meal I will want to practice pushing hard. The best way to do…

Regeneration with Stimulus

Recovery from a big race? It's important, but what does it really mean? How do I decide I'm recovered? Take a day easy for every mile in the race is a rule of thumb, but that translates into 35 days. I've got a 100km race I want to be prepped for. Maybe I could just smash my way through training and keep going until my body catches up. What could go wrong?

So on and so on, my head struggles with how to structure the days to week(s) after a race. To decide how to measure my recovery I need to know what my goals are. That's simple, to be at my best for the Wilsons Promontory 100km in May. To help with that I want to not only take the fitness I've built recently, but capitalise on the gains I've taken from last week's Two Bays Trail Run 56km. Now, how do I do that?

Firstly, I move away from the term recovery. Instead I use regeneration. For me it creates a better mindset. Recovery always comes across as a passive process, rest, sleep and not much else until yo…

Two Bays Trail Run 56km - Race Report

My race reports for Two Bays over the last three years start with a mention of going in with big goals. Each time I certainly fell well short of those goals. This year I've tempered my expectations and changed my mindset. Even put in a few more kilometres and extended out some of the long runs.

Process versus outcome focus should give me a better outcome.

A big part of the process is getting my pacing right and not smashing my legs and falling apart in latter stages as I have done previously. As a result I had to get the balance right and try to avoid the initial fast burn with achieving the fastest average time over the 56km. The main strategy here was to choose the right gear. I needed the fast, but not too fast race outfit. Red was just too dangerous. Since red goes faster, it was going to be too fast. Rather than speed, the smarter move was to focus on first place and wear something more maillot jaune. With the main colour sorted the next biggest influence is definitely the sh…

Another Year

Over a week in, and it's time for my first post of 2017. Not one for big New Year resolutions, it's just an good reminder to have a review of where I'm currently at versus where I want to be. Of course this is an ongoing process and involves a bit of detail over a few days, but I'll spare everyone from that. It just seems extra self indulgent and boring. That leaves just the main details...

My running is okay right now. I'm not breaking any records at the moment, but I'm fit and relatively injury free. I've got a bit of a base of general running fitness with some inconsistent volume behind me. It is definitely a good starting for the year. Better than I've had over the last couple of spins around the sun.

The overriding general goal for the year is to end the year fitter and faster than I am now. This will require a much higher level of consistency than I have achieved in recent years. As a result I will need to focus on doing what it takes to keep runn…