Sunday, October 30, 2011


Yes we've been overseas this year, but we needed a weekend away, our first for the year. Dawn picked up the pet directory and started looking for a place for us to spend a few days away from it all with just the dogs to keep us company.

I took Friday off work (did mean I could put in a 14km run with one of Dawn's friends while she finished off a few things before we left.) Packing didn't take long, but we had 300km to drive, and an early start was always going to be a good thing. (note to self, the next weekend away should be a little closer).

Didn't do much Friday evening, but Saturday started with a 30km run: OK let me fill you in a bit... We had gone to Vermaarklikheid!!! Don't ask, it's in the middle of nowhere, so my run went like this..
Headed out on the road to nowhere...

Ready to run

Took a 2nd road to nowhere

Saw a dung beetle

That was 30km...

The profile looked like this:
It wasn't flat

After a paddle on the river:

Dawn doing all the paddling

don't drop the phone...

We braai-ed that evening:

All to soon the weekend was over and we were heading home, tomorrow it's back to work...

Thursday, October 27, 2011


So it was 10km time again and after running a 36:55 10 days ago I thought I had a good shot at 36:30...

Now when you want to run fast, what do you do? You call in help... HELP... and what do I use for help? Magic shoes (do any of you guys have magic shoes?).

Back in 1997 Dawn and I went to the USA for a little holiday (a story for another day) and like any runner we ended up walking into a little running shop (could it be called Kellys or something like that, it was between YN and Boston but that's not important) and started looking around... at shoes. I was a Nike person back then and this pair of zoom lights caught my eye, and said: I'll make you run fast!!! So I bought them...

Tonight I pulled on the 14 year old shoes and the rest, well the rest was just great... After a couple of km warmup I lined up with the 1519 other people. I didn't expect fire works, but had spoken to Graham on the line to see who was there and I knew if things went well I could sneak in a top 3 (40+).
I didn't set off like a bullet, but still past the 1st km in 3:28, I was running to fast, 3:40 was the target... 3:26 for 2km and I knew I was in trouble.

So what does one do if you are running to fast... slow down? Right, NO I just kept it there 3:35 (up the hill) 3:31  3:26 17:28 for 5km. At this stage I was toast and told Johan, whohad been running with me, to go, but I ran him down, and with the first lady now in our sights I took charge!!! 3:30 3:24  3:24  this was down the hill we had climbed earlier and I had taken the foot off the gas and was coasting really I was waiting to blow!!! 3:27 I caught one of my boys and told him to tuck in for the last km and if we could hold it together we would break 35min. I pushed for home leaving Him and Johan behind... I wanted my 35. 3:23, but the race is only over when you cross the finish line 0:16 (34:56)!!!!!!!! (my splits are from Mr. Garmin)

Can't believe it, where did that come from? was it the shoes or the 2 and a half weeks of training....?

Wish I could wear them for my marathon!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

So the days to my marathon are ticking away. I know most of you when training for a marathon look at your training by the number of weeks you have trained. I've seen a blogger write about week 16... when I'm on week 2 with 4 to go (OK make that 3 ½ weeks to go).

In years gone by I was in shape to train for a marathon in 4-6 weeks, but I'm coming off a "spider bite" and a cold and a rest week, so all in all about 6 weeks of very little running. I then had a 2 week build-up before training started.

Week 1 was good and not only did I get 2 morning runs and 2 sessions in but with my long run of 26km I was over 100km for the 1st time in 10 weeks.
Week 2 and I was a little stuffed come Thursday morning and my bed and wife won the battle over the dark and the tar road... Even with a 28km run on Saturday I fell short of the magical 100km mark.
Week 3 and we are still on track. I moved Tuesdays session to Monday so as to have fresh(er) legs for tonight's midweek 10km race.

Yes I'll be running the Old Mutual 10km race this evening and I hope to get close to 36:30, which will require another 30sec improvement. This ones going to be hard, I should feel fine for the first half, but then the fact that I've only get a couple of weeks training in the legs should hit home...

So much more to tell you, but that is for another post.

Friday, October 21, 2011

TRAINING, a few pointers

In following a program or a plan it is still easy to get a few of the fundamentals wrong and perform badly. It doesn't matter if you have a program used by Champions you can still stuff it up!!!

Some people train to hard...
Some people don't train hard enough...
Some people rest to much...
Some people don't rest enough...
Then there are those who just want to run...

So what am I saying? Maybe if I break it down and give you a couple of examples you might understand what I mean:

Where do we start, well how about with a session of 1000's, say 6-10 of them. (don't be scared it's not that bad). First up what are we training for? How about a road race, maybe a Half (not that things would really change for a 10 or marathon (maybe you would run a little more)).
2nd thing is I don't know you, so I can't tell you how fast to run, but what if I said at 5km pace, you would know how fast to run. I haven't run a 5km in some time, but with the time of my last race / TT I can guess what my time should be. (using something like VDot or McMillan Running Calculator)

For today we will call it 20:00 (easy maths). So I would aim at running my 1km reps at 4:00.

If I was to run 6 of them in say 3:50, I would be running to fast and therefore training to hard. I'm not saying you couldn't do a session like that, but it takes more out of you than is needed and you end up 'flat' and not racing as fast as you should. You could end up with tired legs and the weeks to come could suffer. It's not about today, it's about all 6-20 weeks on the program. You don't get anything for winning a training session!!! There will be other session when you can go for it...

OK how about not training hard enough? Doing your session in 4:10 / 4:15? Well it's just going to be to easy and not help you improve. But coach I was running as hard/fast as I could... I bet last week you fell into the training to hard group... and today you would be best for resting.

What is next, To much rest:

Taking the day off...
I'm not talking about taking a day off, I'm talking about the time between reps (the 1km repeats we are doing). So what is to much? and what is the right rest?
Good Question, but with 1000's I wouldn't want to rest for more than 2min (remember we are training for a half). But I might add that I feel 2 min is also a bit to long.... So this is what I try and do: week 1 - 2min rest, week 2 - 90sec rest, week 3 - 75sec rest, week 4 - 60 sec rest!!! (don't worry week 5 is a rest week) Then we start a 2nd cycle of 4 weeks. Now we should be a bit faster and fitter, so our 1000's can be a bit faster... or our rest can be a little shorter.

At this point I must tell you that it's not about doing 1000's week in and week out there are 100s of different session you could be doing.

Now what about those people who don't rest enough? You all know them, always training never taking an easy week, looooong runs very week and they they wonder why they never get faster...
Well they have tired legs!!!

Monday, October 17, 2011


Peanut Boy

Well that is how I feel... Last up we were about to run hills, and HILLS we ran:

Nice easy session, short warm-up followed but 10 x 60sec hills then a 2.5km flat run before heading back to the hill for more... 10 x 10 sec fast. Need to do a couple more fast sessions to get my speed back.

Role on the weekend since I rest on a Friday...
In a race for club points (blog for another day) My wife and I headed out to the mornings 10km race. A nice little race that I have run many times before. The route climbs a little on the way out and then, yes you have guessed it down on the way back. So if you can work well going out you can ran an OK time as holding it together coming back is easy!!!

2 weeks ago I ran 37:37 and with 1 weeks training behind me I was ready to go a little faster. (note: you must remember that I was running 35mins back in June and all the training is doing for me is getting my legs working again yes fitter, but not in one week...) The first km was flat and I past the board in 3:43. as the climb (in my mountain running books it was still flat) started I asked Mr. Garmin to show my ave pace for the race, which he so kindly did. Now all I wanted to do was keep the average under 3:45. I was working hard and keeping an eye on the pace... at one stage I had it was 3:42 but then YES but then it was more hill time and on the climb to 5km I slowed to 3:44, (18:44). Game on!!! But the down hill didn't really start for another 500m... While running I wasn't really looking at my race time, just that average pace, and now it was coming down. Running at that speed and without a spreadsheet to help I just didn't know what pace I needed to break 37min. That at 7km I saw my running time 26:00 and I did the maths (ok it took me 500m) 11min for 3km then I know it was on... (After Tuesday's session) Now as you all know Mr. Garmin and the race markings aren't always the same, so I was hoping the last km would be not much more that 1000m. I was in luck... With a 36 behind my name I'm back in the game. (OK it was only 36:55)

So why do I feel like Mr Peanut? Role on Sunday and a 2 hour long run... I went flat and ended up with 26km. If I was feeling good I would have done a couple of extra km, but not today... I was buggered!!!

With a marathon in my sights I need a couple of 30km runs so heres hoping next week I feel stronger.


Thursday, October 13, 2011


So this is week one of my 6 week build up to Winelands marathon...

OK I really started on the weekend with a long run and so Monday was just an easy flat (if you can call anything flat on the side of Table Mountain) 10km with a couple of very short hills to focus on our style.

Not one to mess around I was up at 05h15 for a morning run on Tuesday before the evenings session: 3 x 3km at 10km race, rest 2min (OK we had 2:30 before the 3rd one).

As a warm-up we ran 1.5km to the Common and then rested stretched for a bit before I said go:
Ronderbosch Common

Marc had asked if we could run the back straight (Milner Rd) with the wind (up the page) so we started at the bottom left hand corner (the finish line of a 5km TT) and set off around the common 1 lap and +_300m. I was spot on 11:00. 2nd 3km was run the other way round and yes the wind was hard on the long straight. I work hard and nailed it 10:53. Number 3km I was game to call it quits, but the boys (and girl) were game for number 3...(I didn't let then know I was week). Damian kept me going as I kept falling off the back and thanks to him I pulled through in 10:56!!!

I've got a long way to go if I want to nail this marathon...

Wednesday was just an easy half forest half road run. We always take the forest at the start easy / slow and then try and pick it up a bit on the way back. I was happy as we averaged 4:35 for the last 6.15km.

This evening there are hills on the program so we will see what my legs can do after my little 7.5km run this morning.

What does the weekend hold? Well after a well earned rest on Friday my Wife and I will be up early to run the 10km race. I hope to get in a good warm-up and cool down as I want 20km for the morning to go with the 20km on the mountain planned for Sunday morning.

I still spend my lunches in town walk...


Wish me luck as I round off week 1.

Monday, October 10, 2011


With my rest week behind me I am ready to start training for Winelands marathon:

So much for a rest week, my weekly mileage climbed form 65.3km to 91.7km. Marathon 'Cramming' has started... To get to 90+km last I didn't really do anything stupid (unless you call running at 05h15 in the dark stupid!) I just ran 2 morning runs and my 1st long run in 7 weeks, and a lot of the long run was on the mountain so it was easy on the body (no it wasn't easy, just easy on the body so I would recover and be able to run the next day.)
OK it wasn't the running the next day that was important, it was working the the garden later that was important... I have to keep the harmony in the marriage!!!

Having been off for so long I didn't want to over do it as I start training for this marathon, so all week I kept the runs short (I did through in 2 sessions, one of 4 x 600m, and then other 6 x 100m, both used just to get my legs turning over.) If it had been a hard week with run over 10km and sessions like 3 x 3km or Hills, I would not have managed the morning runs...

Will have to see what the old body lets me do this week as those are the sessions on the cards in week 1 (of 5) of marathon training!!!

Lucky for me today is Monday and that's an easy day...

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Children playing

Yes it is Cape Town
And there is my office to the left of the CTICC
I took these pictures while walking at lunch, Yes at the moment I'm training up to 3 times a day!!! OK one of the sessions is just a slow 40min walk around town at lunch...

This is a rest week, so things in the evening have been easy. We are about the start our push for Winelands marathon in 6 weeks time. Having been off for so long I am taking the easy week and an opening to push the mileage up by getting out in the mornings for a couple of mornings runs.

Enjoy your city where ever you are, and think of everything as training...

Monday, October 3, 2011


With 7 weeks to my Marathon I should have a nice base and be ready for a rest / easy week before the last push... Well I'm fat, slow and unfit!!! Training for a marathon isn't like learning for an exam!!! If you have done no learning for the last couple of weeks before and exam you can alway cram pulling an alnighter, and yes we've all done that and made it through.

It looks like I'm in that place with my training!!! I need to pull an allnighter (if you are a novice / young runner, don't try this). You all know the 10% rule, yes only add about 10% mileage to your weekly total at a time, Well I don't have time for that, I need a couple of big weeks and I need them now!!! I read about all of you training hard for your marathons and how you are all on 20 mile number 2/3, while I've just got to 10miles!!!

Don't worry I don't plan on killing myself, I just plan on putting in a couple of morning runs. (Plans are one thing, but getting up at 05h00 in the dark to go running alone leaving the lovely wife in bed, not easy!!!)

This last week I was full into training and did my biggest week in almost 2 months all of 65km (40mile) with a long run of 16.5km. Wait for it, I would have had 19km if I was 20 sec slower... Why? Well I saw Dawn walking the dogs and joined her and got a lift home... if I was 20sec slower I would have missed her and turned onto another track home. Good thing bad thing, I don't know...

Saturday I lined up for another 10km race, the 3rd one in 3 weeks. Again I was aiming at sub 38min, the pace isn't hard at all and the 1st 3-5km was really easy... then it starts to be hard as the lack of running in my legs starts to catch up. But it was a nice route and the last 3.5km were down or flat so I was able to hold it together and finish with a 37:37.

OK enough for today, but next week we hope to have to camera out again, till then keep training.