Marathon Training – Week 10

This weeks training culminated in the Port Macquarie Half Marathon where I ran a new personal best for this distance. One of the pleasing aspects of this is it came at the end of a relatively large week of marathon training.

Overall 77km ran this week including the half marathon to finish the week. Monday I completed an aerobic 13km. Tuesday my usual hill session of 9km, Wednesday another aerobic run of 8km and Thursday intervals which were 10 x 2 min with 1 min rest. I ran these efforts without looking at the pace on the watch and these efforts were comfortably hard between 3:30-3:40 min/km. Friday was rest day and Saturday I ran an aerobic 14km before racing on Sunday.

This week I am giving myself a little bit of time to recover from the race before getting straight back into training. No time to rest as the next three weeks are key endurance and speed building for Canberra Marathon on April 15th. A successful half marathon result during a training block has given me a lot of confidence that I can keep working hard over the next few weeks and run a good marathon.

Monday – Aerobic recovery run (30-40 min)

Tuesday – Rest

Wednesday – Hills ( 60 min)

Thursday – Aerobic (45-60 min)

Friday – Long Run – Aerobic ( 2 hours 40 min)

Saturday – Aerobic – (45 min)

Sunday – Intervals (2km half marathon pace – 500m hard x 4 with warm up and cool down)

Trying a new interval session this Sunday. Over a 10km course doing 2km at my half marathon pace 3:45-3:50min/km and then hitting 500m hard (approx 3:20-3:30min/km). And doing four efforts of these over the 10km. This will be a really tough session but if I can hit these efforts for 10km will give me a real confidence boost. may also still be somewhat tired from Fridays long run so looking forward to seeing how this session goes.

Next three weeks are key marathon specific weeks. Over the next few weeks I am going to throw some marathon specific training into my sessions. Next week I aim to drop hill repeats and transition to some harder tempo runs over a flat course. I feel strong now, time to take some time to work on marathon specific speed.

Let me know if you have any queries or concerns.

Run well


Port Macquarie Half Marathon 2018 – Race Report

Just a few weeks before I was in two minds whether to compete in this half marathon or train through to my goal marathon in April. Two weeks out from the event I decided to race and test my marathon training progress.

Port Macquarie half marathon is in my home town in NSW, Australia and a race I have competed in twice before. It’s a nice three lap course around the river and beach area of the town centre. A three lap race can however be tough mentally, particularly heading out for the third lap. My normal race strategy is to break my race into thirds and a three lap race gives me an easy way to transition through each phase of the race.

The race began under perfect conditions, very light wind, cool conditions for this time of year and overcast clouds. In the early stages of the race there were a number of guys that went out quite hard, with a couple of elite runners in the field they went out very fast and some of the other runners tried to stay with them. I decided to stick to my pre race plan of 3:50 min/km for the first two thirds on the race and then give my best effort. I went through the first kilometre in 3:45 and felt really comfortable, although slightly quicker than planned I felt I had found a nice rhythm and was with a small pack of guys running well and decided to stay at the back of this pack. Next two kilometres were also ticked off in 3:45’s and I decided to stay with these guys. I recognised one of the guys who had beaten me two years ago here and knew he was going to go close to my planned goal time and thought I’d stay in touch even though quicker than planned. First lap felt really good, I had averaged 3:45 min/km for that lap and we had started to overtake some of the guys that had gone too fast early.

Second lap was much the same. Some rain showers started to fall and this was nice to keep us cool. In the second third of the race I try and focus on discipline. And by that I mean staying disciplined to keep my pace even and not go too fast or too slow at any stage. The field had started to thin out now, the guy I mentioned earlier had just got away from me by 50-100m so I just aimed to keep him in sight and stay disciplined on my pacing. I went through 10km in 37:40 and was happy with this. At the 13km aid station I took my gel I had planned to take just before the aid station, it didn’t go down so easy and I almost coughed it up. Took some water at the aid station and then proceeded to cough and spit till the next aid station at 15km I was still running well although starting to fatigue but was able to keep my 3:45 min/km average pace to the end of lap 2.

By lap 3 the race had begun and it’s now time to give my best effort. The field had thinned out considerably and my calculations had me 12th at the start of the third lap. At this moment I focus on giving my best effort. My pace was slightly erratic over this lap and slightly slower than the 3:45’s. Still felt relatively good up until 4km to go and then I had to dig deep. It’s always pleasing to be able to give your best in that moment, when you need to dig deep and are able to find something to stay at goal pace. I was able to do that and finish the race off fairly strong. Over these kilometres I was able to overtake three runners and finish in 79:30. Overall 8th place and 1st in my age group.

Overall happy with where this race puts me in relation to marathon training. 79:30 is my second half marathon under 80 minutes and a new personal best. My last time under 80 minutes was 2001 a few months before my first marathon.

I ran this race in my Gladsoles Trail sandals. They were great to run in again, really light and flexible and allow me to run free. My 5km and now half marathon PB is in Galdsoles so they certainly are as fast as any shoes I’ve worn. Still undecided whether I’ll wear them at Canberra marathon, I’m leaning towards shoes although I’ll explain in a future post why, when i make that decision.

Port Macquarie running festival continues to get better. Much bigger numbers then my race here two years ago and a great atmosphere on course and from the spectators. Always nice to race in your home town too. Look forward to next years event already.


Four discoveries from a 30 day run streak

This morning I completed my 30 day run streak and during this time I made some discoveries about my running. Here they are…..

  1. Aerobic training is beneficial

At the start of the run streak I decided that all my running in these 30 days would be aerobic and I would forget about pace. On the whole I was able to manage this only running twice outside my aerobic capacity. This was a parkrun effort and last weeks goal race pace half marathon run.

Running purely aerobically for the majority of the 30 days has seen me develop my aerobic capacity. Running aerobically often is easy on the body and recovery is simple, when you run within your limits there is no soreness the next day and you are able to run more. Following this when I did increase the intensity and complete a tougher workout, my half marathon felt very comfortable. Building the aerobic engine is very beneficial for running performance.

The take away from this discovery is that during my next focussed training block I will have more aerobic training to compliment the focussed harder workouts.

   2. Technology is unnecessary (almost)

Another goal of this run streak was to divorce pace and use perceived effort to measure my run rather achieve a pace for the run. This has been a successful discovery where I am now unconcerned by the pace my watch is saying and rather the feeling my body gives me from the effort I output.

During each of the runs I have only looked at the time for the run on the watch and not pace. This has taught me to focus on my feeling and breathing to stay aerobic and run consistent pace through effort. During the harder half marathon effort the same applied and I was impressed by the consistent pace I was able to achieve.

The future of my running will feature less reliance on technology, I am committed to continuing to monitor my running by feel and use the data to analyse post run.

3. Running everyday is good for you

While I am normally an advocate for rest days, life balance and letting the body recover from runs I found the task of running everyday good for me. All my runs are completed in the early mornings and the simple task of committing to getting up each morning and going through the process to get out the door and run was mostly pretty easy.

During the 30 day streak I had wet weather on 5-6 of my runs, only one of these days did I consider not running through the rain, however this doubt lasted about 15 minutes before I decided to get the job done.

I enjoyed the day to day commitment of getting out the door to complete my run. Committing to a run streak is a way to challenge you to overcome a small challenge everyday and start the day ready to tackle something bigger if it arises.

4. Minimal footwear is better

This may have not been a discovery but more a reinforcement. Every run I did with the exception of one run were completed in zero drop footwear. these specifically were Gladsoles sandals both the trail 8mm and new 6mm and Carson Footwear Iguana Racers.

If you are fully transitioned to barefoot running then minimal footwear is better for your running. After 4-5 days of the run streak I had a slight pain in my right calf that was evident for a few runs, this went away by itself and I was able to run without pain for the  all the other runs. Minimal footwear keeps you aware, your feet stronger and running with better technique. To run injury free for long periods of time these are important. Without trying to jinx myself to an injury I believe the benefits of transitioning to minimal shoes will help me run longer into my life.

Don’t be scared to make a change to your footwear if you are on a path of consistent injuries. It will take time but it will be worth it.

Overall the run streak has been an enjoyable experience and most likely will continue beyond 30 days. My routine of running every morning is a habit I would like to continue.

Photos from a 30 day run streak


Good Run W/E

Last weekend I had two of my most enjoyable for quite a while.

On Saturday I ran from my house towards the beach which is not unusual as I spend a lot of my running at the beach. I decided to warm up on my way to the beach and then do a 3km effort down the beach. The tide was low meaning the sand was hard and I put in 3km in about 3:40 min/km. From there I kept running a further kilometre and decided to exit the beach on a beach track that I’d never decided to go down before, this took me to the edge of my local golf course. Being early in the morning I decided to run through the golf course not expecting there was anyone playing golf just yet. It’s a nice picturesque course and it was enjoyable to run through the manicured lawns until there was a couple of groups of people playing. I managed to run to the edge of the course and avoid getting hit with a golf ball. From there a few kilometres more over the road till home and i had managed a 10km run with a 3km beach effort and run through the golf course to start my weekend.

Following day I had scheduled my virtual run for the Indigenous Marathon Foundation. this foundation teaches young aboriginal people about running and changes the lives of many who are seemingly stuck in a cycle of poverty, alcohol or domestic violence that they can change their lives with the power of running. At our event we were lucky enough to have one of their graduates join us who has changed his life through running and managed to run five international marathons all in good time. I had registered for a half marathon distance event, we had our running club set up a course with an undulating terrain over road and gravel through the local state forest. Temperature was close to 30 degrees celsius for the run meaning conditions were tough. This was not a race, it was a group of people running together for a good cause. I managed to run this course in 1hr 40 min which was a tough but enjoyable pace for a tough half marathon course in tough conditions.

I ran both these runs in my Gladsoles sandals, which I am doing almost all my running in currently. During this half marathon about half the course is over gravel road, when running over this terrain in sandals occasionally you can land on the ball of your foot on a sharp rock and you can feel some pain due to the minimalist style of the sandal. This possibly happened 20 times during this run (not a lot over 10km) and interestingly and coincidently every time on my left foot. Afterwards I have some slight bruising on the ball of my left foot. Nothing too intense that will stop me running.

Overall a great weekend of running, a mix of beach and bush and some great company to run a half marathon with. Enjoy your running.


Goal Race Time

This weekend marks my first goal race for the year as i compete in a half marathon on Sunday. It’s the time when my training from the last few months gets put to the test and I see where I am at as a runner against my goals and hopes.

My training has been going well, I am injury free and haven’t had any major setbacks over the past few months so i am confident that the training has worked and i will run well on Sunday. I have gotten through my long runs with the longest being a week ago at 30km, I am still building my long run for monger races later in the year but trying to peak for each of my goal races along the way. I have been doing 1-2 interval sessions per week and have enjoyed running with speed. I have regularly been competing in my local parkrun which I find is great to keep me motivated and also to test my short course speed on a weekly basis if I choose.

I am hoping to run this half marathon at 3:55 min/km pace which gives me a time of around 1:22. I ran this half marathon two years ago and ran 1:24 and feel i will be able to push harder if I race smart with my current fitness. My plan is to go out conservatively over the first kilometre at 4 min pace or just slower and then work into my rhythm over the first 1-2 kilometres. From there I plan to hold a consistent pace around 3:50-3:55 min/km for the next 15km and if there is something in the tank for the final 3-4km I will give it everything I have and hope to make up a few places.

Races don’t always go to plan and I have been guilty in the past of letting racing get in the way of my own race plan. I really want to run my own race on Sunday and give myself every opportunity of running a fast race. There is no point trying to take on someone who can run 1:15 or lower for a half in the opening stages as it will hurt me later in the race.

So the keys for my race on Sunday are run my own race and stick to my pacing strategy. If I do this then the training will take care of the rest.