Back Running

This week’s training went pretty well. I sat down and worked out an idealised training week which would allow me to get 4 rides and 4 runs in without too much messing around. I decided to go with rides on Mon, Tue, Fri & Sat mornings, and runs on Mon & Thurs evenings plus Wed and Sat mornings. Wednesday morning will be a long run and Saturday morning will be a long bike ride.

Given that the Double Gong is on Nov. 7th I’ll focus on riding until then, after which I can dial things back a bit and up the running if I’ve decided to do Canberra Half. Starting running again this week was pretty tough. Aerobically I have no problem, but I find I tend to run too quickly and my legs feel completely trashed the next day. I need to force myself to slow down for a couple of weeks until my achilles and other weak points get used to the stresses involved.

Myself and Marc got a good bike ride in on Sunday morning: Bobbin Head - Hawkesbury - Ettalong - Palm Beach - Bobbin Head for a total of 113km and 1700m of climbing. I forgot to eat early and often, so I was close to cramping big-time for the last 15km - that really annoying cramping where if you try to stretch your quads your hamstrings cramp and vice versa. The only solution is to soft-pedal as much as possible!

Anyway, that ride knocked me for six and I spent the afternoon on the couch watching TV. Lesson learned: more food, more often!

Last Week: 8h16, 184km, 86.0kg

Back Training

Recently it had been three months since my last bout of proper exercise, riding through the Alps with Kev, so I figured enough time had elapsed and I should get my shit together and get back on the bike. Literally. I was back to my habitual weight of 89kg as I’d stacked on a couple of kilos enjoying the culinary delights of Europe, so, since the morning’s were still cold enough to discourage me from getting out of bed to train, I figured I’d do a couple of weeks of a ketogenic diet to shed some quick fat.

Three weeks and almost 4kg lighter, the weather had improved a bit so exercise began in earnest. While waiting for the weather to improve, I’d entered the Alpine Classic at the end of January, a 200km jaunt over the Australian Alps, so that’s now my main target. I’d also committed to doing the Double Gong with Marc, which consists of the usual Gong Ride from Sydney to Woollongong and then turning around and riding back. That’s a total of roughly 180km, with one or two short hills to liven things up. That’s on Nov. 7th, so it’s a slightly more immediate concern.

I’ve also just noticed that this year’s Canberra Half Ironman is the 10th and final running of the event, and since this was the event which defeated me in 2008 as I went in badly underprepared, so I’d like to give it another go this year. However, not having run in a year, and not having swum in two are my main concerns, so I think I’ll wait another month and see how things are going before deciding whether to enter or not.

Still, plenty of events on the horizon, so lots of training to do.

Last week: 5h47, 116km, 85.5kg

Training, Week Ending Nov. 1st

Had a decent week this week. Didn’t get everything I had planned done, due to crappy weather on Monday and a hangover on Thursday, but still managed to get some decent cycling in over the weekend. 30-odd km around Centennial Park on Friday was followed by Saturday’s long ride (see map above), then the TT on Sunday.

The long ride is going well, though I thought the route I had planned would be over 70km. Hopefully I can get a 100km+ ride in by the end of the month and can also get some hilly rides in. I might head down to visit John in Canberra later in the month and ride the Canberra HIM bike course which is a hilly 90km.


R 1:05:55 - C 5:08:18 - W 1:00:00

Weight: -1.2kg

Training, Week Ending Oct. 25th

It’s been a pretty good week this week. I got back into exercise properly after a couple of useless weeks and managed to do almost all the sessions I wanted to. I missed one weights session and one run, but made the rest. This morning’s ride went well too; to La Perouse, then ‘round the back of the airport (to avoid the airport tunnel), then down to Brighton-le-sands and on to Sans Souci, before turning for home. 64km all up and I felt pretty good at the finish.

I refuelled with danish pastries and biscuits, which Jacqui thought was a waste of all the exercise, but, as I pointed out, if you can’t eat some junk food after having burnt 2100kcal before breakfast, when can you?


R 40:52 - C 6:05:19 - W 1:00:00

Weight: down 1.2kg


Now that the weather’s improving, the morning’s are warmer and I’ve got all the bits and pieces I wanted for my new bike, I’ve kicked off spring’s exercise program. I started properly two weeks ago, getting out on the bike a lot more and also starting to do a little running.

If we do decide to head over for Sean’s wedding next year, I would like to do some cycling in the Alps. I haven’t decided where, or which of the famous cols I’d like to climb, but at the moment that’s immaterial. If I’m to climb something like the Col du Galibier, for example, which is 18km at an average gradient of 6.9%, then I’d be looking at probably over an hour and a half of constant uphill effort, which I’m nowhere near fit enough for, and at 90kg, nowhere near light enough for.

Therefore, I’ve resolved to get out cycling regularly and make that the main focus of my training programme. An ideal week at this stage is two, one hour weights sessions, three runs of approximately 30mins each, and four bike rides. Three rides of approximately one hour, and one long ride at the weekend. Two weeks in and it’s going OK. I still haven’t managed a perfect week, but I’m getting most sessions done, though the dust storms which hit Sydney this week coincided with two of my bike rides, the first on Wednesday and the second on Saturday, which was a pain in the arse.

Next weekend I plan on heading out to Calga to have a go at the Australian Time Trials Association’s (ATTA) 25km TT which they run every month. I figure if I do the same TT each month it will be a useful guideline as to whether I’m getting any better or not. Should be fun, though hopefully this cold and sniffles that’s materialised this afternoon doesn’t develop any further!

Totals: Sep-20: R 40:46 - B 4:32:00 - W 1:00:00 Sep-27: R 29:43 - B 4:23:08

Run Training

This morning I headed out the door at 6:30 for my weekly long run and 17.5km later I was finished. The sole aim of the run was to put miles into my legs, to get them used to longer distances, and most definitely not to run fast, so with that in mind I kep to a very conservative pace, ensuring that I never felt out of breath the whole way, and my only discomfort was my quads getting a bit tired in the final 2-3km or so.

I ran the 17.5km in 1:33:21 at an average HR of 144 which I was pretty happy with. I’ve since looked up my old training records and realised that that’s the third-longest run I’ve ever done, with the longest ever being the time I did a half-marathon. I looked at my HR data from the half-marathon and noted that while my time was 1:51:59, my average HR was 169.

Doing a quick bit of maths on this morning’s run reveals that this I was running at a pace which would have yielded a 1:52:30 half-marathon, i.e: only 30secs slower than my best, yet my HR was a full 24bpm slower!

Looks like the training is paying off.

![City2Surf HR & Altitude](/images/city2surf08.jpg)

Yesterday was the City2Surf, and I’m happy to say it went pretty well. Jacqui was also doing it, but she was planning to walk most of it with friends and was starting at the back of the pack, at least 30mins behind me, so I ventured into the city alone to get myself organised. Dropped my ‘keep-warm’ clothes off to get taken to the finish, and queued for about 15mins for the last minute toilet, then made my way over to my start group. It was a bit warmer than I’d expected which was good as I was standing around for about half an hour before the start.

As mentioned previously, I’d managed to get myself in to the fast start group which had a cut-off time of 1:15:00, but I was hoping to crack 1:10 for an average of 12km/h. I hadn’t done any training on hilly courses so was a bit unsure of how I’d get on, so I decided to take it relatively easy until the top of Heartbreak Hill (around 8km) and then see how I felt, and I also decided to start at the back of my group as I was likely to be one of the slower members and this would allow me to stay out of everyone’s way and make it easier to settle into my own pace.

I’d loaded my Shuffle with the metronome MP3s I used on Friday, two 175bpms and a 180bpm, so once the gun went and I crossed the line I hit play, started my HR monitor and I was off. The graph up top gives and idea of how things went. The red line is my heart rate and the green is the altitude, so you can see the course is quite hilly.

As expected, my group slowly pulled away from me at the start, but I synced with the ‘tick, tock’ in my ear and just cruised along at my own pace. There were quite a few people lining the streets to watch the race, and The Golden Sheaf had a rock band blasting away from their balcony, playing some Metallica as I ran by. The first couple of hills weren’t too bad and I split 25:19 for the first 5km, or 5:04/km pace, which I was pretty happy with. By this stage I was running along beside the harbour at Rose Bay, approaching the dreaded Heartbreak Hill, the almost vertical line you can see on the above graph. I hit the bottom and just focused on keeping a decent rhythm going and I started passing people who had gone out too fast and were paying the price.

The half-way point at 7km was about half-way up Heartbreak Hill and I went through that in 36:41 (5:14/km). Doubling that gave me 1:13:20 so I figured that I now had no chance of breaking 1:10, but at that stage I just wanted to get to the top of the hill and get all the climbing over and done with! I was also conscious of the fact that once I got to the top of the hill I was on familiar roads that I’d run many times previously when I was living in Vaucluse, and that it was mostly downhill to the finish. I made it into Vaucluse village still feeling good and with my HR coming down after the uphill exertions, so I decided now was the time to pick things up a bit.

Turning onto Military Road at 9km I was still well over 5:00/km pace, so I pushed the downhill bit then rounded the corner facing another uphill. I was getting sick of the uphills at this stage, but once I got to Dover Heights that was definitely the last of them. I missed the 10km marker, but my running was feeling good, despite the onset of a stitch. I jammed my fingers under my ribcage to get rid of it and just kept going. By 11km the downhill pace was taking effect and I was getting close to 5:00/km pace, and I reached 12km in 59:50, taking me under 5:00/km pace for the first time. At this stage I knew I’d break 1:10 so I just kept going and resolved to try to maintain my current pace all the way to the finish when I hit the flats of Campbell Parade.

By this stage I was passing people left, right and centre but still feeling good. I came around the roundabout onto the promenade and could see the finish line, with the clock counting down to 1:10. I knew I had a bit of time in hand as it had taken me some time to cross the start line after the gun went off, but I decided to try to beat the finish clock to 1:10 anyway. The race announcer was shouting encouragement, trying to get everyone in under 1:10 so I just went for it, remembering to stop my watch as I hit the timing pads. That was it. All over and I still felt surprisingly good. HR peaked at 183 across the line.

1:08:03. That was my time by my watch, which I was pretty happy with. I’d knocked off the second 7km (mainly downhill) in 31:22 (4:28/km) and the last two kms in 8:13 (4:06/km), so perhaps I took it a bit too easy in the first half? Official results are published in the paper tomorrow, so I’ll have to wait until then to get my final time.

I went home, had a quick shower, grabbed my camera and headed back down to the finish to get a snap of Karly, Jacqui and Debbie in the finishing straight…

![Karly, Jacqui & Debbie](/images/jaccity2surf.jpg)

After that I was off to Reidy’s for a much-deserved BBQ to compare notes with other runners. Stu and Gareth both managed around 1:07, whereas Adrian was way out in front with a 1:01. Nice work!

Tick Tock

When I did the 10K training course in Vancouver, we had a half hour talk every week on a different topic. The most interesting to me were the ones on biomechanics and injury prevention, both of which said the same thing - to minimise your risk of injury, you should aim to run at 90 strides per minute, i.e: 90 left footfalls and 90 right footfalls, or 180 ‘beats’ per minute. The idea is that you’re taking shorter strides, and have a much lesser force going through your leg on each step, therefore reducing shock and the odds of injuring yourself.

I’d since heard and read the same advice a number of times, but never knew what bpm I was running at, so when I found some free metronome MP3s for download I decided to try them out with my iPod. I forgot all about it for a while, but finally got around to trying it today. I loaded the 170, 175 and 180bpm files onto my Shuffle, set it to loop and headed out for a 9km run.

Each file is between 2 and 3 minutes long, and just consists of a single beep at the given tempo, so you just try and sync your stride with whatever you’re listening too. I struggled to keep up at first, until I realised I’d started with the 180bpm file. I found 175bpm suited me the best, and 170 was a tiny bit too slow, so it was good to know I was almost at the recommended frequency. As the run progressed I found it easier to stick to 180bpm as well, and I also noticed that staying in sync with the metronome also helped keep me on a nice run pace too.

I’ve got the City2Surf on Sunday, so I might put a 175, a 175 and a 180 on the Shuffle and see how that goes…


Finally, after almost nine years in Sydney, I got around to entering the City2Surf last week. The City2Surf is a 14km fun-run, starting in Sydney’s CBD and finishing at Bondi Beach, and is one of the biggest races in the world, with 67,000 particpants last year. Most of my friends have done it, but I was always snowboarding or something at this time of the year, so I never got around to it.

When I went to the site to enter, I discovered, to my dismay, that it was going to be a bit more difficult than I thought. Due to the sheer numbers participating, there are 4 different start groups. The first two, SH1 and SH2, require that you submit a previous time before you can be included, which ruled me out as a first-timer. The problem was that the third group was full, so my only option was to run with the “back-of-the-pack” group.

Now I know I can run 14km, so I’m not doing the race just to finish it, I’d like to post a time, and there’s no way I could do that with 40,000 people already on the road in front of me. Luckily I discovered that I could submit some previous race results and the organisers might permit me to start in one of the SH groups, even though I haven’t done a City2Surf before. SH1 is for those with a previous time of under 75mins for the 14km, so, since I can comfortably run 51mins for 10km, I figured I’d aim high and apply for that group. As a backup, I also asked that the organisers consider me for SH2 (<100mins) if they felt I wasn’t up to scratch for SH1, but that turned out not to be necessary as they let me in to SH1!

So, next Sunday morning, look out for me lining up with the Kenyans! I’ll be the pasty white bloke giving away 25kgs ;-)


Well so much for the running going well. Last week was an easy week, so I was refreshed and ready to get back into it on Monday, but I woke up with a sore throat. Since the schedule called for an easy 6km I went ahead and ran anyway and felt pretty good.

Tuesday called for 9km, and I opted to follow the advice of it being OK to train with a head cold, but not OK to train when the illness is in your chest. Since my chest was clear, I ran the 9km and felt great, posting the fastest time for my normal route without too much effort.

Sadly, for me anyway, by Wednesday I was coughing occasionally, so, playing it safe, I havne’t been able to run since. I’m almost recovered, so I might get another 9km in tomorrow morning, though I’ll wait until I wake up to see how I feel.