Friday, January 26, 2007

Guilty of being grey

Last night I hiked up the hill behind my place and sat amongst a mob of Eastern Grey Kangaroos looking at Comet McNaught. It was so far away, yet flying brightly above the Brindabella Ranges. We live in a wonderful universe.

There was a forum topic on CoolRunning Australia recently about altitude training. One response caught my eye. It was from V02, who attended an elite training camp at Falls Creek:

"Probably the single piece of advice that had the greatest influence over how I train was Nic's [Nic Bideau] view that most training sessions should be either 'white' (easy recovery runs) or 'black' (hard workouts designed to maximise a specific training effect). Most runners spend too much time doing 'grey' workouts, so they get sub-optimal training and sub-optimal recovery. After seeing how slowly Mottram did his easy runs, and how unbelievably hard he pushed his quality sessions, I was convinced of the wisdom of what Nic was saying and tried to apply this to my own training."

Guilty as charged! I'm a grey runner (or have been). My hard sessions have been wimpy and my recovery runs have been 'pushing it'. I'm fixing the second problem by using a heart-rate monitor. For 'white' runs, I try to keep my heart rate as low as possible – currently between 120 and 129 (73 to 78% of my 165 maximum). For me, this is a pace of around 6 minutes per kilometre – about 40% slower than my 5k race pace.

At the moment, my 'black' training consists of two types of sessions:
1) A long run of 2 hours 30 minutes or more including some hills.
2) Track sessions at Calwell or a track race. For the track sessions, I'm still following the plan I talked about in 'How to run faster'. Yesterday my 200s were under 40 seconds (39.1 average and maximum heart rate of 160). To me, this feels fast, but I'm sure I look like a Mack truck lumbering over the grass. In time I hope to look like a Falcon GT. There are plenty of quicker cars, but the GT is fast enough.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

D is for Difficult

Yesterday I covered 30 kilometres around and over Canberra's northern hills. I say 'covered', instead of 'ran' because there was much walking involved. My time for the 30k was just under 3 hours 45 minutes, for a paint dryingly slow average pace of 7:27 per kilometre.

For the first 18k I had the company of Steve, CJ and John. Well, I caught them at the drink stops and used some extravagant downhill running to stay with CJ. As fate would have it, I eventually did a 'Tuggeranong Don', not on the rock-strewn descent of Trent's hill, but on the relatively smooth trail near the gun club. Embarrassingly, CJ was right behind to witness my dusty demise.

After the first lap, the others sprinted off towards the rollercoaster while I plodded up Mount Ainslie for the second time. In one way I'm glad I had to walk so much in the last hour because I'll be using that form of propulsion quite a bit at the Six Foot Track. 7:27/km (or 12 minute miles) is scary, because if I averaged that on March 10 I'd finish in 5 hours 35 minutes, a PB of 43 minutes. That is not going to happen. Six Foot will be difficult.

It was also difficult last Thursday night. Luckylegs was in town to race the 800 metres at the AIS track. At the time she ran, it was 35 degrees (95F). A gentle run in that temperature isn't easy, let alone running at maximum effort for 2 laps of the track. I'm still quite amazed that she ran a 15 second PB (4:16.54). For a 77-year-old lady to run at 5:21 per kilometre pace... Wow!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Wishing and Hoping

I've finally chosen some running goals for 2007. It wasn't easy. As I've been way short of achieving my goals for the past two years, I agonised over whether to make them moderate or challenging.

In the end, I've gone for challenging but realistic. In setting these goals, I've used the Age Equivalent Times Calculator to come up with some times comparable to those I regularly ran in my thirties. I haven't gone for PB times as I'm not as driven to achieve PBs as I was back then. I've gone for 'average good racing times'.

So... here are my goals for 2007:

1) Track times - 1500m in 5:27, 3000m in 11:40, 5000m in 20:46.
2) Road times - 10k in 43:33, Half Marathon in 95:29, City to Surf in 62 minutes.

In addition to these, I plan on running the Nail Can Hill Run and the Six Foot Track Marathon. This will be my fourth Six Foot and my plan this year is to enjoy it and finish comfortably under the 7-hour time limit. Secretly, I'd like to run under 6:30, however, I don't want to spoil my track season by doing ridiculously long, hilly runs in training. I plan on running with Steve's group on Saturdays, but doing the smallest long runs I think will get me to Jenolan Caves.

By the way, my new profile photo was taken in eastern California at the Imperial Sand Dunes. It's a self portrait as Joy and Mal didn't want to get out of the car. It was hot!