Saturday, August 30, 2008

Offroad Running

There hasn't been a lot of interesting stuff happening in Ultraland lately which is why I jumped at the opportunity to mix things up a bit by finally getting out for some offroad running. To make things interesting one of the guys who I was going to be running with is / was (as he now lives in New Zealand) a top South African Adventure Racer having raced for team Giant/New Balance and more recently team Salomon.

So it was an early sun filled start (which after three or more weeks of rain was a real blessing) and quick trip out to Riverhead Forest.

I have no idea how far we went but we ran pretty hard for just over an hour. I was definitely pushed a lot harder than usual but was determined to put in a good showing. Meaning I sucked up the discomfort, plastered a smile on my face, and tried to keep talking in as normal a voice as possible. I did pretty well to. There were three of us to start with, one chap pulled the pin and headed back after about half an hour, while me and my South African friend kept chugging on. I managed to keep it together, although I did start to feel a bit queezie coming up the last big hill, however everything stayed where it should and I was able to cruise down the other side and recover with my pride intact!

It was a beautiful day, and just so nice to get out and away from traffic and concrete roads etc. I'm definitely doing this again soon. There were no flats and it was either uphill or down hill which suits me just fine. The scenery was fantastic and the workout brilliant!

The only other things of note is that I've started swimming again (and happily it seems that I still remember how!), so the Harbour Crossing (2.8k ocean swim) is on the agenda (16th November). Also I've entered the Auckland Marathon and if all goes well I'll be looking for a Personal Best. In theory 3hrs 30min seems possible, however I'll be happy with anything under 4hrs.

So that should keep me focused for a bit longer. I think I should also enter the 100k race before doig the marathon (as marathon's have a habit of putting me off running for a while).

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Hows the Running Going?

Pretty good actually. I'm fairly laid back at this stage of the game and just really focusing on getting my tempo set with lots of shortish runs. As a result my speed is increasing. I few weeks ago I ran a half marathon PB and I'm now consistently running around 7.30min miles and occasionally dipping below 7min.

All of this begs the question (which has been asked by the way) "what good is improving speed in short runs if your "A" race is a 100k ultra?"

Fair question, here was my answer:

You are absolutely right, running at that pace in a 100k probably isn't going to work out. My plan though is to build up speed in the "off season" and focus on distance from October onwards (essentially starting with the Auckland Marathon - of course there is also the added motivation of keeping the speed up for the Rotorua Half IM, since I'll be doing it in a team I really want to KILL the run course!).

I've found over the last year, and particuarly during Ironman that I got locked into a set tempo which was relatively slow. This was really hard to break out of, so I'm basically trying to re-train my legs to turn over faster. I know fitness wise I can sustain a much quicker marathon pace than I've run in the past, its just a matter of building the tempo and training the legs turnover at the right tempo. For the 100k I'm planning on targeting a pace of roughly 30 - 45 seconds (per k) slower than I'm running at the moment (bear in mind that I expect my "marathon pace" to increase between now and then meaning my 100k pace will in effect be closer to 1 min slower than my "marathon pace" (therefore around 5 min - 5.10 min k's) - well that's the plan anyway. For now its all about building speed and locking in a faster tempo.

At least that's the broad plan ...