Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Yes it's week 47 in this year 2012. While we here in Cape Town are still getting ready for Summer, never seems to want to get here...

So what have I been up to in this week post my Marathon:

Unlike all you good guys out there who listen to their Coach!!! who have taken the whole week off, yes just imagine 7 days without running... (my eyes are closed and I'm trying) No I can't!!! I was out running on the Sunday. Now because Dawn had been on the road supporting me I popped on the bike and went for a ride with her, as nice as it was to be out on the bike, I don't really call that exercise, so I went for a little run later in the afternoon. No, I'm not mad it was 5.5km easy.

Monday, again I tried to be clever and sent the boys off on there own easy 10km forest run and I stayed at the track to run a couple of easy laps. I am after all recovering for a marathon. Ms 310, you evil little lady you... I just had a little look at her sleek lines and I saw the forbidden numbers 4:07 / km oh dear!!! I was planning of an easy 5km on the track to stay away for any hills...

Was I really running at 4:07? As I past the 500m mark I look at the time the running time 2:06, so what must a boy do? Up the pace a little and run at 4's... It felt easy as the laps ticked by I was able to 'float' around the track, I really wanted to keep the run easy, so I moved off screen 1 and onto the one that shows my heart rate and it was in the 140's so that was easy enough... I don't know what happened over he next couple of km but the HR was now in the 150's and climb, so I changed screen again and did a bit of maths, I was running to fast (don't you just hate it when that happens?) I was still a long way of 20min, but 5km was approaching all to quickly.

I stopped the clock at 18:01 and walked across the field back to the club house Oops!

Tuesday I got myself back under control with a slow 5km and a quick 500m on the track to stretch the legs.

After Wednesday's easy run 10km on the road I was ready to train again so Thursday saw me back on the track hammering out a couple of fast 400's. No more messing around I want to be fast again...

Friday was amazing and I was up at 05h00 for a run around the block, I'm going to be enjoying these morning runs more and more, its so much easier to get out there in summer than in the cold dark and wet of winter...

Saturday, Can you believe I stayed away from the race, but it was out at Mitchells Plain and I need to get on my Mountain.

Sam joined me and the 2 of us head off from the Nek at 07h30 I do like to sleep in now and again... lucky for us it had rained overnight and was cool with a couple of clouds on the mountain. (We would meet them later.) I had a nice little route planned and we set off round with mountain on the not so flat contour path to the block house.From there it was the gravel road through to the back end of Tafelberg Road. This was meant to be easy, but we were now running into the wind! A wind that had cleared the over night rain, and Sam summed it up well; it's like running on a treadmill!!! and that it was...

The mountain lay ahead of us!
After 1h32 this little climb lay ahead of us, and as we started I told Sam we would meet at the top... I always race the clock on climbs I've done before and it's a good tester to see if the legs are working... It a short run 2.2km with 660m climb!!! The aim as always is to break 30min, but I'm off my game, I'm getting old and fat,
it took me 31;38...

Waiting for Sam at the top
Nearly there...
Yes the clouds had now moved in the the run over the top was cold and wet, did I say cold? Yes Very cold, I bet around the zero mark with wind chill!!!

That's what Ms 310 tells us!
Some 3h21 (28km with 1285m climb) and we were back at the cars, and ready for the rest of Saturday...

With another Cycle and short run on Sunday I was ready to start training on Monday... The aim, to see if the little legs can still run fast!!! (although I might run this route again and have a crack at that sub 30, there is a straight race up with a record of about 27)

Happy training

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


With a 05h30 start out in Stellenbosh the alarm at home went off at 03h45!!! Yes that is early, but in hindsight (20/20 vision) we could have left 5 min earlier... Had said it wouldn't have helped. Let me explain: We picked Jana up at 04h15 set off on the trip out to the Cape Winelands in Stellenbosch. No Problem. Then as we left the N2 We had to stop!!! there had been an accident and the burnt out car was still sending smoke signals of Blue and Red flashing lights into the sky (see 5 minutes earlier could have put us in the accident!!!) The in the little town the traffic was heavy with lots of runners heading to the start line.

Can you see me in my Orange hat?

All that said I was at the start line chatting to my friend before the gun went off and while a couple of guys set off round the tartan track as if it was all they were doing we didn't. It didn't take long for a group of guys to join me: OK let me see if I can remember who all was in the bus as we headed out for the 35th running of the Winelands Marathon:
Coach Dion, Richard, Sam, Stef, Ake, Marko, Seppie, Ryan, William, 'Celtics' x 2, 'Strand', and 1or 2 other guys I couldn't really see, Oh so that was about 15 of us, but in any case it was a nice group and with the running easy and the early km slightly down hill we hit the 5km board in 19:47. Stef was the only one complaining about the pace as I had told him 4:00-4:15... He was nicely hidden at the back of the pack and with it down hill he stayed with us as I guaranteed him we would slow at the hills started.

This is at about 20km
But the 2nd 5km was also mostly down and we kept hitting the pace 19:50. I don't think we had lost anyone till that first hill. Now in my books none of the hills are that bad, but when you are running at your limit those climb hurt, and over then next couple of km we lost a couple of guys. 20:47 and 15km were gone. I was relaxed and enjoying the race (run, my race was later in the day). Sam and I puled a little ahead on the one hill and I had to hold myself back, as you all know the 21.1km mark isn't half way!!! We past this in a little over 85min and then climbed the biggest hill of the day, this would be my slowest km 4:32. This was Richard's first marathon and he had done enough running to go all the way at this pace...but he needed reminding that half way was only at 30km and I lot could still happen.

20-25km took us past the turn-around 20:37. The little climb to 24.5km we ran a little fast and I had to pull the guys back, but then it was a nice down hill, and all I could say was don't let it hurt you... Stef and William let us go, and now the group was maybe only 6 big... I had hoped that 5 or 6 of us could run through to the end together, but had wasn't going to happen.

Dawn (my wife) had been on the side of the road taking a couple of pictures and watching the race, and as we over-took a 40+ guy she told me I had moved into 4th! Those 5km had been mostly down hill and our split 25-30 was quick 19:12, but then we turned of the main road onto a side street for a 3.5km out and back loop. That first little bump (don't even want to call it a hill) dropped the guys Seppie, Richard, Ryan, while Sam and I kept the pace...

OUT and back... I could see Dwarsrivier leading the 40+, but he didn't look good, Andries was strong in 2nd and Nedbank in 3rd, I was 60sec back... I was chomping at the bit but the last 10km of a marathon are a long way and with 60+ marathon under the belt I know a few things.

We had just seen the leading lady before we turn back onto the main road and started the last of the big climbs. I told Sam not to work to hard on this hill but then... but then!!! Dawn was on the side of the road and told us that Dwarsrivier was walking.

Time to go...
The Fun Run was over and I turned into race mode, dropping Sam on the hill and changing gears. It felt good, this is what I had wanted out of the race, to have fun, run with my friends and then be able to turn it up a gear if needed. The 5km split from 30-35 was 20:07, but as I was now a man on a mission chasing 1st 40+ I had upped my game... 19;00 took me to 1st 40+ and the 40km mark.

The Winner takes it All

In fact I was now far enough ahead that I could jog in to get my target time of 2h49:36. 13th over all and 1st 40+. 3 guys from my club were really happy to see me, saying: Mr Dion we knew we could count on you! And with that we had won the team prize!

Winning Team
Now of cause before the prize-giving you have to kill a lot of time, So I spend it drinking with my friends!!!

Alan is on the Wine, I'm on the beer and Shandy Dog is resting after a long morning supporting

Monday, November 12, 2012


Sunday is long run day, RIGHT, but this Sunday past called only for a short recovery run, my TAPER for next weeks marathon has started, and not a day to soon.

Without a long run on the program I had time to cycle with Dawn, water the garden and take the dogs for a walk and all this in the morning before Church. My 30min run would have to wait for midday, it should have been easy and the I should have been floating around the suburbs without breaking a sweat. Why then did my hamstrings feel tight, my calves sore and my quads like some-one had take a baseball bat to them?

So why were my legs sore, I couldn't have been the cycle ride in the morning, as that was slow and only 20km, so maybe, just maybe it was the half I ran of Saturday. But I had also run a half last week, and that was the day after 2h20 in the mountain and I still did an extra 9km after the race and my legs still felt great come Monday. So what was different about this Half. No it wasn't hilly, in fact it was quite flat, so what was it? Money, yes Monday can do that to your legs!!!

In the week I had seen that the prize money in the weekend race was good, and over the 21.1km distance I have a chance of climbing on the podium in the vets (40+). Standing on the start-line I looked around and saw that this was going to be NO LITTLE JOG...all the old men were there!!!


I took the lead at the gun and lead the race out of the car park before settling into my running. First the youngsters streamed past then Shaun and Rasta, Graham was next, and I told him to make then run hard so I could pick up the pieces. When Johnny past me I decided enough was enough and if I wanted to have half a chance I would have to hurt. 1st km was a little over 3:30 as Roger (open) Eric (50+) and Alan joined the bus. Johnny and I set the pace and past 5km in 17:39. We were now on the long West Coast Road and the running was easy (I am really lying to you, running at 3:30 is never easy) we caught and past a couple of other guys and our group fell off the back one at a time. Johnny and I past the 10km board in 35:11 (17:32 for that 5km split).

Ahead I could see Shaun and Rasta take the turn into the golf estate, I took the split, 55sec. With the twists and turns as we ran through the golf estate I didn't get to see them again till we hit on road again and the 15km mark, we had been slow 17:50, but the gap had closed to 45sec and Rasta had opened a couple of meters on Shaun. Johnny was breathing hard and I had been hurting since the gun, so I did what any guy (or girl) would do...

I decided that it was now or never, and I put the hammer down and started to knock out 3:30's again. The gap to Shaun closed fast and as I caught him he said he needed some-one to run with... Now I'm a nice guy and run many of my races with my athletes helping them to better times, but not today!!! I surged as I past him and went in hunt for the Rasta... I tried the same again, but he came with and I couldn't hold it so I eased back to 3:30. That pace didn't last long, Rasta surged and I went with. It was turning into a game of cat and mouse, but I think I had the upper hand, although Rasta was surging faster than me, he was slowing down more. My surges we more just picking the pace back up to 3:30...

Then with 1.5km to go I went with one of Rasta's surges and held it... he wasn't ready for this and needed to slow. Yes I also needed to slow, but that would have to wait I had a hunger in me that I hadn't had for a long time and I was in race mode. I was now running alone and waiting for the finish line. Up the ramp and over the finish line in the parking lot where I had left 74:36 earlier!!! That had place me 6th and 2nd old man.

Looking back over my records I haven't been under 75 in the last 6 years, So I think I've done something right this year!

Next week Marathon

Thursday, November 8, 2012


What should I call this? Maybe:
  • The secrets to training for a marathon!
  • Tips in getting to the finish line.
  • 26.2 is a long way.
  • 42.2 is a long way.
  • The more you put in the more you get out.
  • Boston here we come
So you are thinking about running a marathon?

Is it your first?

Do you want it to be your fastest?

Or do you just want to finish?

OK so if you just want to finish, all I can tell you is get out and run, the more you run the easier the finish becomes, so read on and then get out there and run...

First up, we need to tick over, so what I call ticking over and what you call ticking over might well be 2 different things, but we will work to get them closer to one idea:

If you were to pick up Runners World or something like that they would throw a marathon program at you which would read like this: Runner's World Marathon Plan for Intermediate Runners (16 weeks). Stop right there, 16 weeks, are they mad!!!

I could never have only one goal for 16 weeks, so I will tell you no marathon plan needs be longer than 6 weeks, yes 6 weeks... But the better you want your marathon to go, the fitter you need be when you start your 6 weeks....

So back to the ticking over: I run 7 + time a week with weekend runs up to 3 hours long, and that is just ticking over without looking and running any real races... You don't need that much. Maybe 3 times a week (45-60min) + weekends of 90+min. (this 90+min EVERY weekend is NB NB NB because as you start thinking about a marathon you need to be running 105-120min and that is so when your 6 weeks marathon training starts you are ready...

OK So let us start 11 weeks out (I know I said 6 weeks, but it's nice to build a bit before you start to train:
  1. Monday: Easy / rest / cross train
  2. Tuesday: Tempo, yes it would be great to head down to the track and run lots of reps, miles / 1000m / 800m or what ever floats your goat, but it's not about that, all you need to remember is: I need to work hard for say 20-30min of a 50min run, and by hard we are only talking of half marathon pace, Now you don't need to run all 30min in one go, so you could run 10 hard 2min easy. Don't run the hard to hard, you want to be running for at least 3 days before you rest...
  3. Wednesday: Easy and Hilly (keep the heart rate down, you don't need a heart rate monitor to track your heart, you can run by feel. Remember it's not about who has the bigest balls in training, it about who has the biggest balls in the races, easy days are there so you can train hard on the other days.
  4. Thursday: Tempo on hills (find a hilly route and run the hills so your heart rate climbs, but only on the hills, the rest can be easy)
  5. Friday; Easy / rest / cross train
  6. Saturday: Marathon race pace (20min of a 50min run (then adding a 3min to the run each week at marathon pace)
  7. Sunday: long (90 and building (90 / 100  / 90  / 120 over 4 weeks)
So after 4 weeks of running TAKE a WEEK OFF, rest... we want to be fresh and ready to train for a marathon, with 6 weeks to go we have 4-5weeks hard with 1-2 weeks taper. Remember: If you have had a good build and REST these weeks of marathon training will start and be very easy for 2-3 weeks before you start getting tired and wanting it to be taper time. We can then work that last week and a half easy to focus for a short time then it's race time.

OK 6 weeks to go:

So we are looking at putting together 5 weeks of hard running with 1 week of taper (OK the taper starts the weekend before the race) now let us have a look at a week:
  • Monday: easy run (we like those don't we) 45-60min (keep it easy!!!)
  • Tuesday: week one 2 x 5km (20-25min) hard, 2 min rest inbetween, you can warmup for 10min and warm down for 10 min. (by hard, I just mean hard, but remember you have to do it all again... Now I could say run at 10km pace, and because you are resting for 2min between the reps you sould be fine, some people might want to run a little slower... So hard is hard!)
  • Tuesday: week two 3 x 3km (10-12min) hard (same pace as last week, if not a little faster), 2 min rest... ect
  • Tuesday: week three 4 x 2km (7-8min) hard, 90sec rest... ect (see the rest is getting less, and you are still warming up and down, the rest can be a slow jog if you want)
  • Tuesday: week four 6-8 x 1km (3-4 min) hard 60 sec
  • Tuesday: Week five 6-8 x 800m (would nice to be on a track) at marathon pace (so if you want a 3h30 marathon, you run 3min 30sec, rest 60sec Yasso 800's
  • think of ME at the club, I run 5km warmup, then 8 x 1km, then 2km warm down... that gives ME 15km for the day, and half at pace... TICK distance, TICK speed.
  • NB do not run to fast, to hard, you need to finish the sessions...
  • Wednesday (took us a long time...) like the runs we did in the forest, get out there and run 7-12 miles easy, you want to recover from yesterday and not end up tired for tomorrow.
  • Thursday: Now this is where it gets dificult, because I don't know you well enough to say run 400's, run hills, So look at it like this: you need 50-70min for the day, hilly and like the building weeks just work the hills and get the hart going. Yes we would have you running 400's 200's or hill reps, but lets not go there today...
  • Friday REST (for me that means 4-10km easy, for you it could mean sleep / swim / cycled / dance)
  • Weekend: This makes your marathon easy or not...
  • MP (marathon pace) over the next 5 weeks (30min / 45min / 60min / 30min / 15min (week before the race)), warm up and warm down...
  • Long runs (2h10 / 2h30 / 2h30 / 2h00 / 1h00) (those first 4 weeks run easy and only pick the pace up for the last 10-20min to MP) if your marathon is going to be 4-5hours the long runs need to be longer, but I wouldn't go much over 3 hours, you will just get tired...
  • Weekend is 2 days, so use both of them... or some of the guys I know like to rest on one of the days, so it's long run on the Saturday with the MP at the end of the run a little longer, so sort of running the 2 days in one!!!
Now some of you might end up dead if you train this hard, so just cut back...