Running year in review -2017

My major running goal in 2017 was to run a sub three-hour marathon. It’s been a goal for a number of years and this year I set this as a specific goal for the Seoul marathon and was able to achieve this goal. This year I only managed to race two major races, the Seoul Marathon and Beach to Brother trail marathon in September. I look back at 2017 as a successful year of running for two major reasons, I achieved my sub 3 goal and stayed injury free the entire year.

Seoul Marathon

Seoul marathon in March was my first major goal race. I trained specifically for this race and was very motivated to achieve my sub 3 hour goal. This kept me training through the Australian summer and this paid dividends when I travelled to the colder climate in Seoul. My race went perfectly on the day and I finished in 2:57 for a nine minute personal best over the marathon. Hitting my sub 3 hour goal was the highlight of my running year and an achievement that I’m really proud of. I trained hard for this race, stayed injury free through the preparation and gave myself the best chance to achieve the goal.

Beach to Brother Marathon

Beach to Brother marathon was held in September in my home town of Port Macquarie. The race produced an unseasonably hot day in the mid 30 celsius and this really took apart many of the competitors on the day, myself included. The weather and course provided a tough challenge and I finished this race in 6th place in 4:42. My pre race goal was to break four hours for this race, but the conditions made this goal unreachable. I’m not satisfied with this result for beach to brother and will be back next year for another crack at this race. It’s a great course in a beautiful location.

Total Mileage

This year I have run just over 2100km with 27000m of elevation gain. I have completed approx. 60% of this running mileage in Gladsoles sandals including the Beach to Brother marathon and remained injury free throughout the year. This has been the first year that I have ever remained completely injury free and also the first year that I have solely run in minimal footwear. Running in sandals has been the common denominator in this years progression to minimal only footwear. Late in 2016 I made the decision that these would be my number one footwear choice and I would rotate between some other minimal shoes to add variety. Running in sandals has helped strengthen my feet so it’s safe to say that 2018 will feature more sandal running. Staying injury free has allowed me to run all 12 months of 2017, I haven’t had a total break from running for longer than a week this year. This has kept my aerobic training consistent and the given me the ability to keep running and stay fit and healthy throughout the year.

Whats next?

I’ll post later about my specific goals for 2018 but I’ve already committed to Canberra Marathon in April. On top of this I’ve decided to give a return to triathlon a crack and compete in an Ironman 70.3 three weeks after this marathon. This means from the start of the new year I will start a program to train for both of these races. It will be somewhat difficult to train for a triathlon and still get to the start line of a marathon in my best condition, but this is the challenge I’ve decided on.

Another goal for 2018 is to race more. This has been a good running year for me, staying injury free and fit throughout the year. I could have taken advantage of this by racing more.

While the year still has a few weeks left I’m ready for 2018 and to start fresh with some new running goals.


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Dr. Nicholas Romanov’s Pose Method of Running (Dr. Romanov’s Sport Education)


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My divorce with pace – Day 4

Earlier this week I committed to a month of running where I divorced myself from pace. Or at least committed to not monitoring pace during my runs. My watch has been set to a single data only of time to measure to monitor the length of my runs only.

Being overly reliant on technology is an easy trap to make for the modern runner and a trap that I have fallen into at times. My goal for this month of running is to enjoy my running and divorce myself from needing technology to measure my pace on any runs.

When I started running there weren’t GPS watches, I measured my runs simply on feel and perceived effort. I was still able to train and race as well as I do today without technology. My goal is to get back to this level of feel before I start training for another race so that I am ready to train without the burden of technology. Technology will be used to analyse my effort post run.

I guess you could call this the next step in my minimalist running transition. The transition to minimal footwear has enlightened my running and I believe a minimalist approach to technology will do the same.

During these four days of running all my runs have been easy aerobic runs. I have resisted looking at pace or any other metrics during these runs. I have also resisted pushing the pace on these runs and ensured the pace was easy.

What have I noticed in four runs?

  1. I’ve looked at my watch a whole lot less

2.  There is scenery around me everywhere

3. The mind works better with less distractions

So far the divorce from pace has been a positive experience. Looking beyond the next month where the pace will remain aerobic, I aim to continue this approach to when I resume with my three keys weekly runs being the long run, intervals and hill repeats during my next race preparations.

Just some of the scenery I was able to take in during my last four runs.

 

Running into form

This morning I went to my second closest local parkrun at Wauchope for a run. My May running month has been low mileage with some intensity on the runs I have managed to do. Before today I have managed just 31km of running in May over five runs, I have deliberately decided to take a month of unfocussed running and low mileage to refresh myself before my next goal race preparation starts.

I was pleasantly surprised this morning to run a 17:37 for the 5km and felt fairly comfortable for most of the run. I was expecting my fitness to have faltered slightly after such a small running month. Prior to the parkrun this morning I was thinking about a 18:30 I would be happy with, 3:42 min/km is pretty good running and about a minute outside my parkrun PB so I would have been satisfied with this, so to run a bit quicker than this was good.

Looking forward to starting a new goal race preparation in mid June and confident I’ll be able to start where i left off previously and get myself running my best soon. Confidence is an important ingredient to running, I find it such and advantage to go into a goal race confident of my fitness so I am ready to hold my goal pace and not think I’m biting off more than I can chew. Especially important in longer races when the latter stages are going to hurt it’s nice to have the confidence that I can push through the tough periods knowing I have done the work. Running really is a simple sport. Running is about conditioning and conditioning is built through consistency.

 

 

 

 

When you don’t want to run

A few months ago I had a period where it was tough to go running, my motivation to go and run had been lacking and just didn’t feel like doing it. So I didn’t. For a month I didn’t run at all. Just couldn’t be bothered. I still volunteered at my local parkrun a couple of times, still searched Facebook and the internet for running related information, and still spent social time with my running friends, just didn’t run. They would all ask me if I was injured and why I wasn’t running. I told the truth, lacking motivation, can’t be bothered. They thought I was weird.

I run because I love to run. I didn’t start running to lose weight or gain fitness in the beginning. I started running because it’s what i have always loved to do since I was a child and have never really stopped. So it is weird for me to tell people I can’t be bothered to go for a run.

During this month I thought about going for a run a few times, my body clock will still wake me up early like a personal running alarm clock. I thought about running but just didn’t want to run. When I woke up in the mornings I drank coffee, or watched television or played Fifa on the xbox instead of running. Although it wasn’t satisfying me doing these things I wasn’t missing running so I didn’t go running.

After a month of no running I could feel myself lose fitness and beginning to put on weight. This didn’t bother me as I knew I could change this quickly when I returned to running. I needed to go running again, I needed to establish a short-term goal, I needed to kick-start my motivation again.

Over the past year I have not run very much in my Gladsoles sandals and preferred using minimal shoes as I have been chasing times and some race results.I have never believed I could run fast enough in race conditions in my sandals so I have run these races in shoes. I decided to put my sandals back on and go for a run. Close to barefoot, back to basics and just go for a run.

It was kind of liberating to run in the sandals again and in two months since that run I haven’t run in shoes. Returning to sandals has helped me regain my motivation. I am now back to running 4-5 times per week exclusively in the sandals. I now can’t wait to put the sandals on and run. A week ago I ran a parkrun in the sandals and ran 18:20 for the 5km (my PB is 17:39), disproving my own theory that I can’t run fast enough in the sandals. Hoping to get down to my PB again soon.

From not running for a month I discovered that I really want to run barefoot or as close to barefoot as I can. I had become unmotivated to go running but I still loved running. It’s helped me choose my path that I want to be a barefoot sandal runner and focus on improving my running in sandals. My marathon PB can wait till I’m ready to achieve it in sandals. I’m going to focus on what I love about running and stay motivated, it took me a month of television and Fifa to rediscover that running is part of my dna and I need to run to satisfy my own self. For now that running won’t be in shoes.

 

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Review – Inov 8 Road X 233

Road x

Last year I discovered Inov 8, a UK company that mainly specialise in trail running shoes. My training is predominantly a mix of road, trail and beach running so I decided to try the Road X 233 as opposed to a more trail specific shoe.

The first thing you notice about Inov 8 running shoes is the bright colours, well built shoes and easy to understand arrow system which allows anyone to easily transition into more minimal running. The Road X 233 is a 6mm drop or 2 arrow on the Inov 8 system.

I purchased my Road X 233’s, they arrived a week later and I was very keen to put some miles on them. In terms of fit the Road X has a largish toe box which is great for those transitioning to minimal running as it gives the toes room to find the ground. Otherwise I found them comfortable around the heel and mid foot and at 233 grams or a bit more as mine are size UK 11 light.

After a few short runs they were run in and very comfortable to run in whether at speed or on a easy run. They are light and responsive. The last is quite firm and stiff which I like but some may prefer a little more give especially on a firm surface like road. If these are your first step to transitioning I would suggest start with some smaller runs and build up as the 6mm drop is noticeable but will still put more strain on your calves and Achilles than a traditional supportive shoe.

Overall I love the Road X 233, they are one of the fastest road shoes I’ve run in. Light, comfortable and extremely durable. I like the room in the toe box that these provide. I’ve put about 200km on them so far including a half marathon and they still feel like they have many miles left in them.

For those considering Inov 8 as their shoe of choice, don’t hesitate, the Road X 233 hits the mark nicely.