Three runs per week in 2018

With the year coming to an end most runners start planning the runs and races they are targeting in the new year. With this comes also how to fit training for these races around the other commitments of life. How will you train for these races and still go to work, see the family? For me a return I am targeting a return to triathlon with a Ironman 70.3 race scheduled locally in May. On top of this I’ve committed to a marathon three weeks before.

When the new year hits I’ll have 15 weeks till the Canberra marathon, with this being a goal to run another sub three hour marathon. Also in the back of my mind is that I need to train to get my cycling and swim fitness back, six years after my last triathlon.

In order to do this I’ll be aiming my running at just three runs per week, complimented by two cycling and two swim sessions per week. It’s important each session has a purpose, if I’m only running three times per week and still hope to run a fast marathon then each run must count. I’ve documented in these pages before my belief of the three key runs. Usually complimented by aerobic running to recover and have the body ready for next key run. this time around my running will be complimented by cycling and swimming and zero aerobic recovery runs.

The Three key sessions

The three key sessions which I’ll aim for each week are, the long run, intervals and hill repeats.

The long run

The long run has been the staple of running training since competitive running began. Every training guide ever written for running will include the long run. This is because it is a tried and tested method of increasing endurance for your overall running improvement. The weekly long run is vital to build the endurance needed to run a marathon.


Interval running is about increasing speed. If you want to run fast on race day you need to run fast in training and teaching the body to able to run fast when fatigue starts to set in. Intervals are the best way to teach the body to run fast.

Hill repeats

Third building block in the three key sessions is hill repeats, which is aimed at improving strength in the legs and overall strength endurance. For my two marathon events this year both featured a weekly hill repeat session. Strength is an important attribute at the back end of a marathon when everything hurts and you still need to try and run fast.

These three sessions are distinctly aimed at improving endurance, speed and strength. Complimented by cycling and swimming I am confident I can get to the start line of the Canberra marathon ready to run my best.

What are your goals for 2018? And how will you approach them?

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Stupid or not?


Is it stupid or not to do an Ironman 70.3 three weeks after your goal marathon? This is the question I have been entertaining in my head in recent weeks as I have been motivated to give triathlon some focus again. It’s been six years since I last competed in an Ironman 70.3 triathlon and maybe it’s time to go back for another crack.

I’ve already committed to running the Canberra Marathon on April 15th as my goal race for the first half the year. Ironman Australia in my home town of Port Macquarie is three weeks later on May 6th where there is a full Ironman and a 70.3 event run concurrently. If I’m going to do a triathlon in 2018 there will likely only be one and it will be this one. So with that said is it stupid? Maybe.

The first problem that enters my head is that I will need to put quite a bit of focus into the bike and swim and will this negatively effect my running? After all the marathon is my number one goal race. My initial thoughts are that the bike and swim may not have too much impact, cycling is going to build my aerobic base, which will only help running and likewise the swim. If I continue to focus on my three key running sessions each week  of long run, intervals and hill repeat then I can use the bike as recovery from running somewhat. Problem solved.

The second problem is the time it takes to train properly for triathlon. The reason I stopped triathlon was because of the time it takes to train. There is no doubt that I will need to limit my training focus somewhat. If I train six days a week once a day I can have 3 x run sessions, 2 x cycling and 1 x swim. If I can fit in a second swim on one of the days then this could be enough. Problem solved.

The third problem is whether it is stupid to do the Ironman 70.3 so soon after a marathon. Ideally I wouldn’t do it and feel that it could deplete my body by competing in both these races as I will want to do my best in both. Between the two races there will need to be emphasis on recovery, running a marathon is tough and recovery is usually underrated. Recovery will need to be prioritised, if it is then maybe it’s not the stupidest idea ever. Problem solved.

With all three of my problem solved I just need to decide whether to commit to both races and enter. Give me a week to decide.

If you feel like trying to convince me if this is stupid or not, leave a comment.



Failing Yes, Giving up No

So far this year my running has been a fail. I started the year with many goals and haven’t really achieved too many of them yet. Some of my goals I have already abandoned and new goals have emerged, I won’t be giving up though you can count on that.

In my blog post called “My 5 Running Goals of 2014” my goals were.

1) Enjoy my Running = Fail. I have had a lingering calf problem that has kept my out of doing the running I want to be doing. Some of my runs have been enjoyable but overall I am frustrated with the time I have been unable to run.

2) Sub 3 For the Marathon =  Fail. I have abandoned my plans to run Newcastle Marathon on 6th April due to simply not being able to run far enough to train for this event. It’s not over yet, plenty of marathons left on the calendar.

3) Run another Ultra = Not achieved yet. I hadn’t planned on running an Ultra at this time of the year anyway. I am still confident I will achieve this goal.

4) Run less in Shoes = Pass. Although I haven’t run as much as I’d have liked my percentage of running without shoes is about what I’d like it to be. I still enjoy these runs no matter how far or hard they are.

5) Stay Healthy and Fit = Fail. Most of the year I have been either not running because of my calf problem or managing it so I don’t injure it again.

My lack of miles over the first two months of the year have made me change my thoughts on what my goals races are this year also. I have elected to do some swimming and cycling as cross training whilst I can’t put in the running miles I’d like to. Because of this I have decided to recommit to completing at least one long course triathlon this year and this will be Ironman 70.3 in Port Macquarie in October. It was May 2011 when I did my last long course triathlon, I stopped doing these because I was only enjoying the running training so I decided to focus on my running only. Having gotten in a pool and on a bike recently I have found I still have the motivation to race these events and still think I can lower my personal best in a 70.3 event.


As I have said earlier I won’t be racing Newcastle Marathon in April, nor the Port Macquarie Half Marathon in a fortnight’s time. I am focussed now on getting my calf completely right and then increasing my running miles before I commit to another long race. I am hoping I will be right for Gold Coast Marathon in July and Centennial Park Ultra in the new date of August 3rd but I am not committing to these until my calf is right.

For the time being I am going to cross train when I can and get my swim and bike fitness back to where it should be and run the small miles I can with plenty of rest in between runs. Not the ideal start to the year but I have no doubt in my mind that I’ll be back to peak fitness in the near future and my racing schedule can get started for the year, just a bit later than I’d hoped.

I hope your schedule is on track and you are injury free and loving your New Years running.






When Life gets in the way of Running

Sometimes no matter how hard you plan it is unavoidable that life gets in the way of running. For me last Sunday was the most recent time but this time life got in the way of Triathlon instead.

I was looking forward to my race last Sunday, Reverse Enduro format triathlon which is a lot of fun. Enduro means you do all three legs twice and this time the normal order of triathlon is reversed. So Run, Bike, Swim x 2.This type of format suits both strong runners and strong swimmers. For the runners it’s a great benefit to run first and get a lead on the swimmers or cyclists. I was looking forward to not have to push harder than I’d like in the swim and bike to stay in contention and then try and blaze the run. Much easier to push hard on the run first and try and hold on during the bike and swim and with endure do that twice.

Saturday night I got my gear ready, checked over my bike and packed the car ready to get up early in the morning and get to the race. Kids asleep, set the alarm and off to sleep. My alarm went off at 5am and I woke up to get ready to race, then something unusual happened, my partner woke up at this time of day and came out to see me, I instantly knew something was wrong when I saw her as she looked terrible, she told me she didn’t feel well. She’d woke up with an acutely sore throat and a bad head cold. I couldn’t go racing now, she needed me so I spent the rest of the morning and day looking after her and our two kids while she rested.

Sometimes life just doesn’t let you run, or do triathlons and this was an occasion for me. I knew instantly when I saw her that morning that I wouldn’t be racing and that something was wrong. I felt bad for being disappointed not to race, but after all your partner is much more important than a small triathlon and I had no choice. Not that I minded looking after her and I had a fun day looking after the kids, but I was looking forward to racing. Anyway it wasn’t the Olympics, I don’t have to wait four years for another race.

I got back to racing tonight at my local trail running clubs weekly race. Only a 5km trail race but good fun with a great bunch of people. I wore my Gladsoles sandals for the first time in a race and they were excellent. Lot of steep short up and downhill on this course and they handled it great, fantastic grip and ground feel on the dirt. My partner is feeling much better now so life didn’t get in the way today and I managed to get the win today.


Let me know if life’s ever got in the way of a race you were looking forward to?