Tag Archives: training

twelve and up

Well. #50daysofwinterrunning has felt like it has become 50 days of trying to avoid the awful weather (since when is Auckland crazy windy?!) and keep all the cold germs at bay. I did take the opportunity to pop outside from work and get some sun and fresh air the other day but nearly froze in the wind!

freezing in the wind

So, there may not have been too much planned running actually being completed but recently I have…

… finished the Run Auckland 10km at Western Springs. Turned out it was actually only 9.5km, but I still ran it much faster than my usual pace which gave me some confidence. Each of my four laps was quicker than the previous so for once my pacing was spot on! I started alongside the 5:30min/km pacer but quickly decided I could push it a bit more and I am glad I did. Also learnt a good lesson that no matter how chilly I think it is, Auckland only requires a singlet or t-shirt in a race.

… completed an awesome long run through the suburbs to the west of the city. It was nice to mix things up a bit, although we ended up running 1.5km more than expected. Not quite sure what happens but on my long slow runs my garmin often understates the distance (it measured 18km).

the long run that was longer than expected…

… started the Run Auckland Half Marathon in Orewa, and pulled out halfway through. I went along with my running buddy and she beat our 2 hour goal by a couple of minutes which was awesome. We turned up to find that there were no portaloos (really?!) and the only bathrooms were at the 5km mark. With race morning for once ‘going to plan’ I was very disappointed by this. I started a bit too fast to try get ahead to the bathrooms and remain on track, but this wash’t very successful. With the two weeks off previous due to a cold and my hip/IT band aching I decided it was smart to stop after one lap of the two lap course. It was the right decision and I enjoyed cheering on my various TempoFit buddies as they came through!

… ran the first event in the Unitec Run & Walk series at Mt Albert. I have signed up for the two lap series, and this weekend it was the 5km event. With only my parkrun times to go off, I had a goal in mind of 25 minutes. I didn’t quite get this, but finished in just under 25 1/2 minutes – which is still about 2 minutes faster than my parkrun times! I’m looking forward to getting back to TempoFit and doing some speed work to keep improving. I actually ended up as 3rd female out of 135 runners and walkers, which was a nice surprise when I checked the results yesterday afternoon.


a not so fast placing!








I’m now looking forward to the next four events in the Unitec Series and starting back at TempoFit next week. Motivation to run alone in the cold has been almost completely lacking!

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rotorua half marathon: girls on the road

I think I’m developing an addiction to signing up for running events.

I was (quite easily) convinced by two of my running buddies to join them for the Rotorua Marathon on Saturday 3rd May, which meant I could also have an excuse to switch from the half to the 8km at Coatesville. After training with the two girls through a few TempoFit seasons and being able to push each other through our speed workouts and long runs, I knew they would be good running company.

We finished up at work early on the Friday and made it to Rotorua in about 3 1/2 hours. I may have caused us to take a wrong turn through a slower route, but I’ll continue to blame this on my phone GPS! We visited the expo to collect our bibs and race packs, they keep this open until 9pm on a Friday which is really great for those coming out of town. By this point we were starving and needed to get some food into grumbling bellies. Our criteria for a restaurant was simple – pasta for the other two, and some form of potatoes or rice (gluten free) for me. Turns out that late on a Friday night in Rotorua this isn’t that easy.

Chilly lakefront just before the start!

Chilly lakefront just before the start!

We woke up to a really chilly morning, just 4 degrees. For us Auckland girls, this was COLD. I wasn’t sure what to do, I had packed 3/4 tights and singlet as my usual ‘colder’ running outfit, but ended up wearing two singlets. This was a good decision as we really didn’t warm up until about the 15km mark. Despite this being the Rotorua Marathon 50th anniversary, the start of the half marathon was a bit of a shambles. Knowing we were all targeting just under two hours we lined up between the 1:45 and 2:00 markers. The first kilometre was spent dodging recreational walkers who were blocking the whole path. There were many angry runners around us and my Garmin data really showed it!


Look at the first column!

We kept ourselves on a good pace and managed to get on track for a two hour finish if we could keep pushing. I took my Horleys Replace gels a bit later than I expected (water stops weren’t quite where we thought) but they worked well and I felt good. With it being much cooler than I am used to running in, it meant that I didn’t need to take on as much water as usual. At about the 15km mark we started increasing our pace to get our goal time. Unfortunately I was hit with some bad stomach cramps near the end (unsure whether this was dinner or the pace or the gels??) and had to stop for a moment, then walk-run. Sadly this meant I dropped right back, finishing in 2:02:30. This was still a PB but I was pretty disappointed after how well it had gone. My running buddies finished in 2:00:30 and 2:01:30, which were both PB’s as well but knowing the start we had it was three frustrated girls who got in the car to head home!

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adding some speed

The heat in Auckland has been really getting to me. Running is hard, sleeping at night is hard, motivation is low… so I decided enough was enough, and I needed a hard workout to shake myself up a bit. I headed to the nearby Victoria Park for a few reasons, including a bit of shade thanks to the wonderful trees, public bathrooms and to keep out of the crazy wind we’ve had. Gather & Hunt did a we profile on Vic Park here.


A not-so-summery Victoria Park
(source: Gather & Hunt)

During my time with TempoFit, we completed a race pace exercise as part of our speedwork. The intention was to consistently maintain our race pace, and feel comfortable at that speed. I modified the activity we had completed that day, for a post-work session at Victoria Park, as there is an easy one kilometre loop to follow. I’m pretty sure the kids at the skatepark were laughing as I kept going past!

Because of the heat and post-work sluggishness, I ended up completing 3 x 2km just slightly faster than my goal pace of 5:40/km. Although I’d intended to complete 5km non-stop it was just too much and I decided to take rest breaks. After my three sets, I ran a further 2km through the city at the same pace, taking me to a total of 8km.

I don’t feel like I’m quite getting enough time on my feet or distance completed at the moment, but this session at least made me feel like I could get my body moving at the pace I need it to!

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november project

I came across November Project this weekend. I read this article at Runner’s World. I watched this video. I checked out their website.

And now I really wish we had it here in Auckland!

Not 100% sure how I feel about hugging sweaty strangers, and it would have to be even earlier for me to fit it in around work… But really, this might actually be enough to get me to run before work (that, and the birds outside my window chirping at 5AM EVERY SINGLE DAY).

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next steps

Although I’m still recovering from the Auckland Half Marathon, I’ve got a whole lot more running planned out. I made the decision on Thursday, pre-half-marathon, that I was going to stick to this ‘running thing’. Even in the moments I walked on Sunday, I was thinking of what I’ll be doing next, how I can improve, and when I’ll beat that 2 hour mark!

2014 looks like this:

19 January – Albany Lakes 10km (Race One)

09 February – Albany Lakes 10km (Race Two)

16 March – Skechers Coatesville Classic Half Marathon

13 July – Unitec Run & Walk Series 5km

03 August -Unitec Run & Walk Series 10km

24 August – Unitec Run & Walk Series 12km

14 September – Unitec Run & Walk Series 14km

05 October – Unitec Run & Walk Series 16km

02 November – adidas Auckland Half Marathon 2014

This is nearly 120km of events… But there is a bit of a gap around winter time. Might have to find something to fill that gap (no big month-long USA trip in 2014!).

My plan is to enjoy my last few weeks of indoor netball, perhaps fill in for a few games over summer (our team is disbanding) and enjoy casual running. From January it will be time to get stuck back in!

Any recommendations for a medium-mileage training plan?

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hills, heat & the harbour bridge – auckland half marathon 2013

That title pretty much sums up my Sunday.

My Saturday was awesome though – first Saturday sleep in for a long time (no training), followed by lunch in town with some other lovely runners! In order from left to right: Rachel who was doing the marathon (8 months post-baby = amazing), me, Vera who is currently injured but a hilarious writer and a race junkie, Sheryll who was running her first half (and has some exciting running events lined up!) and Jody who was planning to speed through the half (a superwoman who takes lots of lovely photos of my suburb during pre-dawn runs while I’m still sleepIng).


After my usual pasta dinner it was time for an early night, however this was when the triathelete decided we needed to figure out my pacing strategy. My plan was pretty much just ‘run somewhere around 5.40 – 5.50 min/km and finish under 2 hrs’!

Having all my gear laid out meant a quick start to Sunday morning, after the super-early wake-up call of 4.45am. I ate my toast in the car on the way to town, where the triathlete dropped me off. I met up with two work friends and caught the ferry to Devonport, which I don’t enjoy at the best of times – let alone when nervous and before 6am! We joined a toilet queue and spent the next 45 minutes there (but YAY for proper flushing bathrooms!) before dashing to the start. We had to climb over a barricade due to crowding – another runner told me I got first prize for elegance as I did. I would have thought arriving an hour early would be plenty of time, but apparently not.

At 7am we had the horn to start, and off the mass of people went, many in the orange (male) and jade (female) event shirts. I couldn’t believe the crowding, I’ve done the Auckland Half twice before and not found it that ‘squishy’ previously.

Hills: The first 5km is pretty hilly, which I knew. What I didn’t expect was to find it so crowded, with walkers mixed in amongst runners. By the time I reached the 4km water station I was pretty sweaty (gross) and I knew it would be a tough day. My Garmin was also 100m out for each kilometre we had done and I was struggling to figure out what that meant for my pace. Regardless, I was probably a bit too fast, but still feeling strong after maintaining a steady pace. My flatmate has recently told me I have ‘iron legs’, they certainly helped power me up the hills without too much pain!

Heat: I’d practiced taking fluids while running, and it certainly made it easier. I had water at each drink station, and had jelly beans in between. The course had changed from previous years, which meant lots more time spent on the motorway and therefore a lot less shade. I felt like the sun and the black asphalt was sucking my energy out of me, and the stretch from Smales Farm to the Harbour Bridge was very challenging. I still felt okay, but my HR was way higher than usual.

Harbour Bridge: After being beaten by this bridge in my previous half marathons, I was determined to run up the whole way – and I did! Pretty sure this can be put down to my TempoFit training. I remembered the hill running technique and felt like I passed a lot of people who were stopping to walk (they all passed me later on though!). I felt a big sense of achievement here and thought I still had a good chance of cracking two hours.

It was literally all down hill after cresting the harbour bridge though. My knees hurt even more, my hip was niggly and my HR was still really high. I even took Powerade about 17km because I felt so ill. I made the smart decision to walk a little around Westhaven (although I hated myself for it!) because I knew I needed to recollect myself – and avoid either passing out or vomiting, both of which seemed way too close for comfort at that point. The triathlete was about the 19km mark and jogged with me for a 100m, before running to the 20km mark to see me just before the finish.

Knowing I was almost done got me through, and I managed a sprint to the finish, for a chip time of 2:03:15. Not quite the two hours I wanted, but still a 10 minute PB! Despite achy joints and some stiff muscles, I can’t wait to run again and am looking forward to my next events!

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race pace, race face

Saturday was my last TempoFit session. I’m sad the season has come to an end, the 6 week program has meant I am ready ready ready for the Auckland Half Marathon, so I’ve signed up for 2014! I felt I needed a bit of a break after this training period, plus heading into the silly season some less structured training might be better for me.

To finish up, we did a 2km warm-up, followed by 5x1km at race pace (continuous). I was aiming for 5.40/km here, the absolute minimum I need to crack 2 hours. Turns out my little bunch of three (including me) ran this at 5.30/km. We followed this up with a light 15 minute run.

Considering a few months ago I couldn’t run more than 20 minutes straight, I’m pretty excited to be able to say I did a 2km warm-up, then a 5km workout! I may have said this to the triathlete multiple times over the weekend. To his credit he continued to reply that he was proud of me 🙂

I felt pretty good after the 5km, and even after our additional jog. This gives me confidence for the half-marathon, but now I’m struggling to decide on my actual goals. I think the idea of having an A, B and C goal might be good for me, especially if it is hot, or things just don’t quite go to plan. A niggly hip following some furniture moving over the weekend is also causing me some concern.

With a week to go, I’m rolling, icing, resting, using voltaren. Now to just get myself mentally ready, set my goals, and sort out my iPod!

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fast(er) feet

In the first week of TempoFit, I ran the 3km grass circuit in 16:13.

Six weeks later, I ran the same 3km circuit in 14:39.

I felt both awesome and relieved. I knew I could crack 15min due to a run I’d had a few weeks earlier, but I wasn’t quite sure how I would go on the grass, after a full day at work. Turns out I’m pretty stubborn and determined, and I did well. Couldn’t wipe the smile off my sweaty face!

My plan was to start at about 5:15/km pace, then pick it up for the last lap. Turns out I managed to run most of it a bit faster than expected, and still picked up the last 250m for a strong finish.

I was also excited for my running buddies – we had some great results and most of the ladies I have been running with all broke 15min too! I’d been just behind or beside one lady for most of the run, and managed to spit out ‘we can smash 15’ as we rounded the 2.5km mark.

I had a slightly sore calf the following day – the first time in a while I’ve actually hurt (rather than just being tired) the day after a training. I think this means I was training my body well and not pushing too hard.

Based off race predictor calculations this suggests I should just be able to crack 2 hrs (literally just), I’ll be doing a ‘race pace’ 5km this weekend to see whether 5.40/km is actually realistic…

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in the long run

In the long run… Training will be worth it.

In the long run… I’ll be a much stronger runner.

In the long run… My stomach will get over it.

And while I’m actually in the ‘long run’ my mind wanders all over the show – food, work, clothes, travel… I also seem to lose the ability to do simple maths (like how many km’s to go!).

I’ve been working hard over the past couple of weeks. I’ve made it to all my TempoFit sessions. I ran an additional 5.5km after our long run last Saturday to get my distance up to 18km. I also figured out that eating banana before running is not a good breakfast choice, but that 2-3 slices of my favourite GF toast (with Vegemite) and a glass of water works.

The jelly beans have been going well and I’ve been making sure I drink water at our water station in the long runs. Sloshing water is still a weird feeling in my stomach but I should be prepared for race day. It has suddenly got quite hot and sunny here and I’m realising how important fluid is. Thankfully the half marathon starts at 7am, whereas I’ve been starting my long run about 8.30am.

After completing most of my long runs at 6.30min/km pace, I knew I needed to pick it up this weekend to try figure out my half marathon target time. I set myself the goal of running at 6min/km pace for at least the first 5km, then I could reassess. I felt good at 5km and kept my pace steady as I went solo for the next 15 minutes (I’d been running with another girl but we knew we were tackling this run differently).

I reached 45 minutes and turned to head back to town. Of course this meant running into the wind again (I swear it switched on me!) and towards some dark clouds. The dark clouds became some light drops which were welcomed, and then driving rain, which was not. I had the difficult choice of taking the shortcut back to our meeting place, or retracing our original route which would take a bit longer. Some others from our group were ahead and going the long way, I decided to suck it up and do it too – even in the rain!

I’d kept my pace well and realised I could make it back in less than 45 minutes – negative splits!! I stopped my watch on exactly 15km, I’d been running for 1hr 27mins. I felt pretty ecstatic, especially as I pushed the last couple of km’s to make sure I got there under an hour and half. Good progress and I was excited to show our coach I’d managed UNDER 6min/km pace considering my other runs had all been much slower.

Now to try and decide my race pace…!

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getting dirty


This was me at 7pm last night.

I’m not really a run in mud kinda girl (or sand, or stones, or grass). I quite like pounding the concrete. When it was pouring I knew there was a chance we’d be splashing over the fields at training, and we did. In a tempo workout that kicked my butt, I nearly lost a shoe in the mud, but had an awesome time with the ladies in my pace group. We started together and finished together, and I’m pretty sure I talked too much (not enough oxygen made it hard to get up the hill)!

A good workout and I didn’t fall over in the mud, which was my biggest fear. I’m a bit sore today though so glad it is a cross-training day with indoor netball tonight.

BUT how should you clean running shoes?? I rinsed them last night – they were so full of rain/mud I might as well have soaked them in a bucket! I’ve now got them drying over the tub and they’ll be in the hot water cupboard tonight… I think I need a second pair of these!

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