Sunday, May 31, 2009

Planned run 120 minutes (15km race instead)

Date: 31 May 2009
Time: 70 minutes 47 seconds
Distance: 15km
Approx Speed: 12.71 kmh
Average Heart Rate: 160
Google Ped: Runaway Bay Sports Centre Event route

I surprised myself today with the time I achieved in the race. I actually managed to achieve two additional personal bests times as well:

8km 36 min 30 sec average speed 13.15km/h
10km 46 min 30 sec average speed 12.90km/h

The last 5km I slowed a lot:
5km 24 min 17 sec average speed 12.35km/h

This is quite pleasing as I don't really expect to make so much progress so quickly. I look forward to running an 8 and a 10km race again to see what I can really do in those distances now.

My preparation was really good for the race, I had two short distance speed runs and one 1hr run in the lead up week, with two rest days right before the race. I had no injury problems at all and my muscles were pain free and fresh. The only problem was that I had several days with an annoying stomach pain and feeling slightly ill/headache. I woke this morning feeling quite bad, and it effected my performance. I think I could have gone faster.

I ran the first 10km quite well, but slowed badly in the last 5. It is clear now that I have the speed I need, and that I have to improve strength and endurance to maintain that speed for longer. I also need to learn to pace myself better, for example, drop the initial pace a little. The GC Half Marathon will have designated pace runners for people to use as a guide so that may help me. I did run quite hard and the heart rate of 160bps is significantly elevated compared to my training runs.

I blogged about my training pace so far previously and also worked out the pace I needed to be able to run the Half Marathon in 100 minutes. I worked out the average speed had to be 12.65km/h over the 21 or so kms. I managed to do slightly better than that over 15km. I had even set a goal for this 15km race of 71 min 5 sec. I then revised that goal and set 74 minutes 30 seconds as a target because I thought it was too ambitious. I ended up achieving my initial slightly ambitious goal :)

So, back to the training and building the endurance I need. Yet again I ran much faster in the race than I tend to in training. Whether this is due to inaccuracies in the measured distance or not, I don't know. I know that 100 minutes for the half marathon is doable, so I have to push hard in my longer runs now to make sure I get there..

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Planned run 15 minutes pace

Date: 28 May 2009
Time: 15 minutes
Distance: 3.4708km
Approx Speed: 13.85 kmh
Average Heart Rate: 158
Google Ped: route X3 + route

Tired from last night's 1 hour run, but managed a reasonable pace today. No injuries, feel quite good after the run. Now two days rest until the 15km race on Sunday. I will go to the gym and do same work out as usual, but with reduced weights to make sure I am fresh for the race.

No injuries or illness today.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Planned run 60 minutes

Date: 27 May 2009
Time: 61 minutes 1seconds
Distance: 12.33 km
Approx Speed: 12.13 kmh
Average Heart Rate: 153
Google Ped: route x 2

I was a little bit ill today - AGAIN. Rather irritating, since I am actually looking after myself, eating well, exercising, resting properly no alcohol etc. I guess it is flue season after all.

I woke this morning with a bad headache and a pain in the stomach. I had food with Tobasco Sauce on it so that might have been it, although it hasn't affected me this way before. Felt poorly all day, and worked from home.

I gradually felt better as the day progressed, and so I decided to go for a run tonight. I planned to take it really easy, and did a 30 minute 30 second first lap. I returned in almost exactly 30 minutes 30 seconds, the first time I have done an even split on a longer run. My heart rate was quite low even though I had managed a good speed. I stopped for water on the way back, so the average speed was slightly better than it shows.

My left heal gave me a bit of sharp pain in the first 1-2 km tonight but was good after I warmed up. So all good in general. I have a 15 minute speed/efort run tomorrow and then the race on Sunday.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Planned run 15 hill reps

Date: May 26 2009
Time: meh
Distance: meh
Approx Speed: meh
Average Heart Rate: Max 168
Google Ped: meh

A slight variation on my planned runs this week. Typically the plan I have been following factors in a possible 10km race in the schedule and tapers a little leading up to the race. But the dates when the races are on are out by one week. So I have swapped next week's session with this week's. I am doing:

Tuesday: 15 hill reps ( done today )
Wednesday: 1 hour run easy
Thursday: 15 minute effort
Friday: Off
Saturday: Off
Sunday: 15km Race

I found a small hill that is pretty easy, and Christine did the hills too. I ran pretty hard anyway, and managed to get my heart rate up to just under 170 several times. A decent effort, and I have no injuries to worry about right now.

I plan to do the 1 hour run tomorrow morning in a easy fartlek style just so I get a bit of pace into it.

I am gradually getting used to the early mornings. Also, legs are still pretty sore from the last 1oo minute run I did, mainly calves. They should be good by Sunday.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Notes on pace so far

This latest run I think I managed to increase the average speed over a long distance. I also managed to keep the heart rate down. And this all under pretty hard conditions with the headwind making me work a lot harder.

The pace I need to maintain to achieve a 100 minute half marathon is 4 minutes 44 seconds per km. I have managed so far to do 5 minutes 6 seconds per km over long distances. Not such a big jump, but stringing 21 of them together it is. So I think I should revise my goals a little to something a little more realistic. So, I shall aim to do average speed sub 5 minutes over 15km for next weeks race.

If I manage 4 58 per 1 km, that gets me across the line with a time of 74 minutes 30 seconds. SO there it is, my official revised goal for the 15km race on Sunday May 31st 2009:

15 km in 74 minutes 30 seconds or better!!

Planned run 100 minutes

Date: 24 May 2009
Time: 100 minutes 0 seconds
Distance: 19.2909km
Approx Speed: 11.57 kmh
Average Heart Rate: 151
Google Ped: route X 2 PLUS route

I had a really hard time for this run. I took off heading South against a 10km/h headwind. That made the going tough, and the first split ended up being right on 38 minutes for 7.432km (I also stopped to go to the toilet, about 1 minute). I think that going into the headwind was very much like going up hill for the whole distance, so considering that and the stop, my pace was quite ok. But it set up the rest of the run to be very hard, having done all that work at the beginning against the wind.

The return lap was slightly easier due to the tailwind helping me along, but by that stage I was in no shape to take full advantage of it. I managed to complete the 2 laps (14.864 km) in exactly 1 hour 16 minutes. So I did a fraction under 15km, no-where near the 100 minute half marathon pace I am aiming for. My goal of 1 hour 11 for 15km race next weekend is going to be difficult. I will have to concentrate on building speed slowly, as it is clear from today's run that working too hard too early will slow me down. I usually go faster in the races so I hope that happens.

I turned round after the second lap, and managed to travel another 4.4269km in the remaining 34 minutes of my 100 minute run. Pretty darned slow, and that was due to an increased headwind. It picked up to be a gusty 12-15km and it made the going _really_ hard! The muscles around my hips really burned. I tried really hard to pick up the pace and pushed for the last few minutes.

Overall, the pace was not so bad, an average speed of 11.57km/h compared to my last long run at 11.61km/h under much better conditions. If I didn't have to make the 1 minute stop the time would have been 99 minutes or so - with that time to complete the distance of 19.2909km my average speed was more like 11.69km/h. That is a more realistic speed, and it is going in the right direction - Faster. Another point to note is that the average heart rate was slightly lower today at 151. SO I am in reality going _slightly_ faster over a long distance and doing it more easily. SO at least that indicates I am improving fitness.

I decided to try an ice bath after the run, and also drank a coconut full of coconut milk. The ice bath is supposed to be very therapeutic, helping the body to recover after exercise. The coconut because I overhead some fellow at a race a few weeks ago talking how coconut is quite good for recovering too. I am sore after both and I hobble about the same as every other run so short term it may not do anything at all. Felt great to get out of the ice bath and have a warm shower though :)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Calculating pace requirements to be able to acheive 100 minute half marathon

A quick calculation tells me I need to run at an average speed 12.65km/h to do 21.0975km (half marathon distance) in 100 minutes.

Put another way, I need to run a pace that will get me the following times:

1 km in 4 minutes 44 seconds
3 km in 14 minutes 14 seconds
5 km in 23 minutes 42 seconds
8 km in 37 minutes 55 seconds
10 km in 47 minutes 23 seconds
15 km in 71 minutes 5 seconds

I have only ever achieved the pace required once in a distance at or above 8km, in a really hard fartlek run I did almost exactly one month ago!! I have certainly improved my endurance and strength since then.

It looks like I have taken on a pretty difficult aim. So I need to work harder on my speed, and warm up carefully to avoid injuries.

The next race I have is a 15km run on 31st May, just over a week away. I have set a goal to do it in 71 minutes 5 seconds or better. Big goal, so lets see how I go with that. I usually run faster in the races I have done so far.

I have read that a good yardstick for the half marathon pace you can potentially do is the 10 km speed. To do a 100 minute half marathon, you need to be able to do a 10km run in 45 minutes flat. I don't think I have any runs in training that are 10 km long, I may have to make a small change to my schedule to get one in some time just to see how I go.

Planned run 40 minutes

Date: 22 May 2009
Time: 40 minutes 55 seconds
Distance: 8.5143km
Approx Speed: 12.49 kmh
Average Heart Rate: ??
Google Ped: route + route

Did the same route as the last real 40 minute run, plus an extra 0.3744km. Ended up getting close to a decent pace overall. Did not feel like running this morning, simply too sleepy.

Started off slow, and had an odd pain in my right foot. Had to stop a few times to adjust my shoe and massage it. It eventually went away and I have no hint of injuries at all from the incident. I had to use my old running shoes as my good ones are still wet from the foul weather run I did Tuesday night, so maybe that had something to do with it.

My pace was pretty good considering the slow start and the stops where I had to fix my shoe.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Gym Session

We did a gym session today (again) for cross training. We managed to get through all the set tasks our gym consultant had set out for us. Elena the consultant drew up a plan for us, with the fact that we are doing a lot of running in consideration.

So for the first time I was able to get through all of it. Last few efforts we ran out of time or energy or both. So I have improved in general fitness in the last few weeks as a result of the cross training/gym work.

I have a 40 minute run tomorrow morning. I might go fast just to see where I am speed wise.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Planned run 40 minutes

Date: 20 May 2009
Time: 40 minutes
Distance: mehkm
Approx Speed: meh kmh
Average Heart Rate: meh
Google Ped: meh

After running last night in the driving rain, I could not face doing the same again this morning. Christine and I went to the gym and did a session on the treadmill instead.

I am very sceptical of the benefits of treadmill running for training for a half marathon. The action is significantly different to real running. Particularly the acceleration / deceleration effect you get when doing a real run is just not possible on a treadmill. It seems to be a much easier action and works a particular set of muscles when you run on a treadmill - Real running works a lot more muscles in general and requires the use of core strength a lot more I think.

Regardless, the treadmill is a reasonable substitute when the weather is as bad as it is right now. I set the machine up with an incline of 4.0, and a speed of 12 km/h and ran for 40 minutes. Really nothing like a real run, but got me working ok!!

My legs are sore from the combination of the 20.5km run on Sunday, the 8km run on Tuesday and this pissweak treadmill run today :) I have no specific injury worries at all, just the usual twinges in calves, knees, ankles and heals. I an looking forward to a real run on Thursday if the weather is ok. My good running shoes are very wet, shall see if I can get them dry by then

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Planned run 40 minutes

Date: 19 May 2009
Time: 40 minutes 36 seconds
Distance: 8.1399km
Approx Speed: 12.03 kmh
Average Heart Rate: 152
Google Ped: route

I took it very easy tonight. It is very pleasing to be able run at this pace and do it so easily, so I am making some good improvements I think. My legs are still a little sore from the last 20.5km run two days ago. I also did a cross training session at the gym yesterday, about one hour concentrating on upper body, chest arms back.

Tonight I ran in the rain, with a very strong breeze blowing. The wind was strong enough to cause the rain to blow almost horizontally when I gott to the waterfront. I wore a florescent rain coat that help me stay warm enough to carry on and it acted a lot like a a sail at times. It was a bit of a battle against the elements but I still managed a good pace. Heading south at one point along the route I ran straight into a strong headwind, and it was almost like running uphill, the hardest head wind I have ever encountered.

On the way back was quit bizarre, being propelled along by the tail wind. Tonight was a silly adventure, I hope not to have to run in weather like this again, but I suspect I will have to. Forecast for my local area is for an intensifying rain and heavy winds for the next few days.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Planned run 100 minutes

Date: 17 May 2009
Time: 106 minutes 16 seconds
Distance: 20.57km
Approx Speed: 11.61 kmh
Average Heart Rate: 152
Google Ped: route X 3

I did the same 3 lap route as my last 100 minute planned run exactly a week ago, but I took a slight detour that added another 30-60 metres. Not that important, but I want to know my pace and distance so I know if I am improving at all. This run is probably about 20-30 seconds faster than the time suggests.

I stuffed up with my timing today - I failed to start the timer for the first lap, and only discovered the fact when I was checking the split at the end of the first lap. The second split was 35 minutes 30 seconds, and the combined time for the second and last laps was 72 minutes 46 seconds.. Based on previous efforts, I tend to lose about 2 minutes each lap. So the first lap I estimate I likely did in about 33 minutes. 30 seconds. That is where the 106 16 time comes from today, 72 minutes 46 plus the estimated 33 30.

I used the new water belt, and this has me carrying an extra 850 grams. I managed to drink the lot over the whole run without stopping, so this is the first genuine non-stop 20km run I have done. 106 16 compared to 109 46 last time. Over the 100 minutes or so, it still is not enough water, but it is a lot better than no water at all.

I started late in the afternoon today, instead of doing the run in the morning. I felt a little ill ( headache, slight nausea ) yesterday, and woke this morning after a poor nights sleeps with a big headache. I think I might be fighting off a bit of a cold, as a lot of colleagues at work have been ill. I definitely felt a bit low on energy from the middle of the run onwards, and it was a huge struggle to maintain the pace. The last lap and the last 3-4 km was really hard - seriously hard, and I battled the temptation to stop for quite a long way!!

Anyway, I am very pleased that I was able to get the run in, and the pace was ok considering I was feeling slightly under the weather. The fact I did not stop is significant, I overcame the pain and continued, which is very satisfying. I have yet another 100 minute run next week, and a scheduled 2 hour run the week after. However we are going to do a 15km race instead. The race I hope will help me work out a faster pace.

100 minutes for the half marathon is an average speed of 12.6585km/h, and that is a significant jump for me. I don't know if it is doable in 8 weeks, and the 15km race will be a good indicator.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Planned run 10x30 speed with 30 second jog recovery

Date: 15 May 2009
Time: 30 minutes
Distance: meh km
Approx Speed: meh kmh
Average Heart Rate: ...
Google Ped: meh

Ran with Christine for approximately 30 minutes - The first 10-15 just jogging to warm up. Then commenced my speed runs. Felt ok, could maintain a good speed and recovered quite well to do it again after thirty seconds.

No injuries, but as per usual when I run in the morning, I have a ravenous appetite and after eating feel the need to sleep. Must resist - both.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Planned Cross Training

We have a plan drawn up by one of the professional trainers at the gym. She tried to sell us 'Personal Training' but we resisted. We are doing simple upper body work just to improve core strength in support of the running we do.

I may grab the plan and place it here for the record. It is pretty easy and involves a lot of machines to pump muscles, working primarily on arm, back, chest and abdominals. A small amount of leg work too.

Today was my first effort doing the program - We ran out of time to do it all so we skipped leg work ( Only squats, leg presses etc), but we did all the upper body stuff and the abdominal work. My legs get a good work out on the running days anyway, but some more strength will help me I think. So we need to get to the gym early to get it all done.

One thing we did as part of induction was to take resting heart rate and blood pressure. I had a heart rate of 47 - a few months ago it was 53 or so. And I recall when I had not been training at all it was typically around 65. So that is a pretty good indicator that my fitness has improved.

My blood pressure was a little odd though - initially it measured 150 over 70 or something. We adjusted the band and did it again and it was 132 over 70 after several measures. The professional trainer was a little vocal about that, saying it was higher than she had anticipated. But I have investigated and find the following:

- The lower number is not _that_ important - It can be an indication of a problem if the difference between upper and lower values is too large.

- The upper value 132 is within 'normal' range for an adult man, anything above 140 would be good reason to seek a health professional.

I had read that runners can have unusual readings like this - so if a larger upper value and a lower lower value is associated with a slow heart rate, it is an indicator of good fitness for a runner. I might just go to a doctor and have it checked out.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Planned run 60 minutes

Date: 13 May 2009
Time: 60 minutes 28 seconds
Distance: 12.33 km
Approx Speed: 12.23 kmh
Average Heart Rate: 159
Google Ped: route x 2

Did the above route out and back for a total of 12.33km. I did the out going lap in about 29 minutes, the return lap in 31 minutes, 28 seconds. Outgoing average speed 12.75km, return speed 11.75km. I failed to maintain the speed on the return lap. I do suspect that the distance is something more than 12.33km's but it is still a good indicator of my performance.

I set out to really push myself in this run just because the week for speed/tear down training. Considering the state my muscles are in it is a reasonable pace. Also I carried 850 grams or so of water and drank it along the way for the first time. I actually stopped and walked while I drank it at one point, I will try not to do that.

No injuries at all.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Planned run 3km time trial

Date: 12 May 2009
Time: 14 minutes 04 seconds
Distance: 3.2064 km
Approx Speed: 13.68 kmh
Average Heart Rate: 156
Google Ped: route

I did a different route for this 3km time trial, it was three laps of the route as shown in the link above. So, instead of a continuous 3km as I have done in previous 3km runs, I had to stop and turn around twice, and the distance was slightly further at 3.2km's.

My average speed was slightly better than I have done previously, and I did in fact settle in and not push as hard as I had done in the last 3km TT's. I effectively went faster with less effort so feel my speed is improving.

Also, I wore my new water belt with approximately 850 grams extra weight on me for the first time this run. I hardly felt it so I am pretty happy with the belt. Now I will be able to do distance runs with no need to stop for water so frequently. I will easily get through 800ml of water in a 100 minute run, so I anticipate stopping at least once for water in my longer runs - To fill up the bottles.

I have recovered really well after the 20.5km run on Sunday, I have slight muscle soreness that was unnoticeable once I had warmed up. No injuries troubled me this run, so I am definitely getting stronger an fitter. I am also getting used to the early mornings.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Planned run 100 minutes

Date: 10 May 2009
Time: 109 minutes 24 seconds
Distance: 20.57km
Approx Speed: 11.28 kmh
Average Heart Rate: 150
Google Ped: route X 3

Did the above route exactly three times to get the distance 20.5 km..

I stopped 3 times for water and additionally I stopped to go the toilet, drinking water before and after. I estimate that these four pauses amounted to about 5 minutes delay. So the accurate time was more like 105 minutes, with average speed 11.75km/h. Once I get the right equipment to carry water - a water belt - I should be able to run continuously and eliminate the need to stop.

The last long run I did was last Sunday, where I managed 18km in 90 minutes at an average of about 12km/h. So I know I am able to run at a higher sustained speed than I did today. I felt pretty flat this morning when I started, and my legs felt heavy. My old problem of muscle cramping in the front of my lower right leg appeared again and lasted for a full first lap of 6.85km. It eventually faded in the second lap, but by that time the damage to my average speed had been done.

I tightened up quite badly on the third and last lap, struggling to maintain a decent average speed. My legs were still a little sore from this recent week of speed runs. Also as a result of my first gym session, my chest, biceps, deltoids and back were quite sore making it a slightly uncomfortable run for me.

I hope to have an improvement next weekend, as I have another 100 minute run again next Sunday. I plan to use the exact same route for that run. I mentioned in my last blog post that I have noticed a pattern of 'tear down' and 'build up' in my training. It appears that I am now in the middle of a two week 'tear down' cycle, because the recent week passed had me doing speed sessions. And this week coming up I have more speed sessions. I do need to improve my strength and speed, so I hope it will help. I just hope I don't hurt myself as I feel prone to injury doing these speed sessions.

So this is another milestone for me, having achieved the 20km distance for the first time in my life :) I have no specific injuries to talk about. The right knee is still giving me a little grief, so it remains a threat. It seems clear to me now that the biggest thing I need to worry about is injury, as I am now able to do the half marathon distance for sure. I have 8 weeks to build speed and avoid injury!!

Planned run 4x1000m and 2x500m with 1 minute 30 second recovery second standing rest

Date: 8 May 2009
Time: 4 minute 8 seconds
Time: 4 minute 18 seconds
Time: 4 minute 28 seconds
Time: 4 minute 28 seconds
Distance: 1.034 km x 4
Time: 2 minute 8 seconds
Time: 1 minute 52 seconds
Distance: 0.5172 km x 4
Approx Speed: ? kmh
Average Heart Rate: 160-170
Google Ped: route

Planned run in which I had to do 1km four times at speed as well as 500 metres twice. Pretty poor pace I think, I definitely need to improve this. The last 500metres I did was the same speed as the _fastest_ one I had done in previous 6x500 metre speed session this week. So at least I managed that.

Felt ok, apart from almost exploding. The injury thing seems to be under control too, no sign of any of my usual problems.

I have a nice long run of 100 minutes coming up on Sunday. I really like the like runs over the short fast ones, they just feel better :)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Planned Cross Training

So, suddenly we have gotten a little more serious. In addition to always running in the morning, we are going to the gym on the rest/cross training days.

I did an easy workout using machines for upper body, stomach, chest and back, about 1 hour. Also did a short session on a rowing machine, 1000metres according to the readout on it.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Planned run 60 minutes

Date: 4 May 2009
Time: 58 minutes 56 seconds
Distance: 11.0392 km
Approx Speed: 11.0392 kmh
Average Heart Rate: 147
Google Ped: route

Took this run a lot easier as I had done a 6x500m speed session the day before. I certainly felt the work from the speed runs, my legs were not exactly happy to do the 1 hour time. I am quite sore and the heart rate average does reflect the slow pace which turned out to be about 11km/h. Taking into account that I stopped twice for water and walked up one of the hills along this route, as well as the soreness and tiredness in my legs, the pace was ok.

I have realised that the training plan seems to be a cycle of build up/tear down where I do a week of speed and medium distances that seem to tear down, followed by a week of easy runs with medium / shorter distances to allow me to build up again. It does appear to be working, as I am steadily improving over both long distance and speed runs.

No bad injuries to report, but my right knee is still a potential problem. It started to hurt just a little along flat areas of the route I took, and twinged just enough on a small hill to make me stop and walk up. I am just being cautious as I really do not want to be held up with a bad injury. It seems when I am in good shape and well rested the problem is absent, so I think I am doing the right thing here.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Planned run 6x500m with 1 minute recovery second standing rest

Date: 5 May 2009
Time: 1 minute 50 seconds
Distance: 0.5172 km x 6
Approx Speed: ? kmh
Average Heart Rate: 160-170
Google Ped: route

A slight improvement over the last 500m speed runs I had done. I have been doing them in about 2 minutes and above. In this session I did a 1 min 50 sec, a 1 min 53, 1 min 55, 1 min 55, 2 min 5 sec, and the last one just under 2 minutes. I should be pleased with that.

Also, I am a little sore from my 90 minute 18km session a day ago. This session is the first of our morning runs. From now on we aim to do all mornings in an effort to get used to it.

I fell ok, took off fast and got steadily slower. Muscles were tender but no specific injuries troubled me today. 1 hour run tomorrow morning.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Planned run 90 minutes

Date: 3 May 2009
Time: 90 minutes 9 seconds
Distance: 18.17km
Approx Speed: 12.09 kmh
Average Heart Rate: 157
Google Ped: route X 3
Google Ped: route +

Total distance today was the two combined routes - The top one (5.6945km) done three times plus the second one (1.0872km). Total = 18.17km in 90 minute, 9 seconds. Yet another tangible improvement from the last 90 minute run where I did the 5.6945km route three times in 90 minutes, 6 seconds - almost exactly one kilometre further today.

I am quite pleased with this run. I was able to go faster, and didn't tighten up that much at all. I also took note of the splits - the first 5.6945km in 27 minutes, the second in about 28 minutes, and the last 5.6945km in about 30 minutes. Clearly I did slow down, but not by that much. I did the last 1km in almost exactly 5 minutes. I think that running this route is good to help gauge my pace so I will use it for my longer runs.

The reasons for the improvement are clear to me too. Apart from the consistent training, I have resolved to consume no alcohol until after the half marathon is done, July 5. So this weekend I had no beer on either Friday or Saturday nights. I did notice I had a better energy level for the run today which resulted in a much better performance over the longer distance.

Hopefully being off alcohol for the approximately 10 weeks will have a longer term benefit too - I should be able to train better and thus make the most of these sessions and acheive greater performance gains.

I have one more 90 minute run to go next week, and then a 100 minute run a week after that. And then 3 120 minute runs in the subsequent weeks. Using my current pace as a guide, and all going well injuries and health wise, I anticipate that I will have completed the half marathon distance of 21.0975km at least three times before the race in July, with a possibility that I will managed to get another half marathon distance in one of the 100 minute sessions. I know the magic 100 minute mark for a half marathon is a pretty ambitious goal, but it seems within the realms of possibility now.

The program I am following seems very sensible in that the build up is quite gradual, and it seems to include good rest days too. I have found that rest is as important as the training itself.

Finally, in addition to forgoing alcohol for the next couple of months, I am attending a gym in the mornings of my 'rest' days to get some benefit of 'cross training'. This will mean either running or gym work every single day of the week. I may even be able to throw in some strength work outs if I am feeling any good at all on the running days, as there is a gym in the city. We are also switching our running times from afternoon/night to early mornings everyday. This way we get conditioned to running in the morning and develop good habits to cope - ie feeding, hydration, sleeping etc - in preparation for the race.

I pulled up quite sore and stiff after this run today but felt a whole lot better in the run itself. No new injuries, and the calf problem has completed resolved itself. Heals twinged a little, but it was quite early on in the run, and once I warmed up it was a non-issue. The old cramping shin muscle appeared but went away in the run. The only concern I have is still my right knee, it has just a hint of the pain I used a to get while ago that used to stop me running whenever I hit a hill. Hopefully it will stay away.

Thoughts on pace so far - My plotted routes compare to races done so far

I realised I omitted a Planned Run - 15 minutes effort. I made an error with the timing and ended up erasing the time on my watch. Pretty sure I did around 15 minutes 22 or so. The distance was about four kilometres I think. Now back to the subject:

One thing that seems to be consistent - My race pace appears to be consistently faster than any of the runs I have done in training. SO either:

- I run much faster in the races than I do in training runs
- The distances the plotted routes I use have displayed are in fact indicating a shorter distance than I cover

I am getting the feeling it is the latter. I am gathering a bit of experience and feel like I know when I go faster, and can gauge accurately if the run was easy or hard. So far I have done 2 races - One the 8km - One the recent 10km. The 8km run was not that fast, and I certainly feel that in subsequent training runs I have gone faster. Yet the times in training runs do not indicate that much of an improvement. In the 10km race, I had a lot of factors against me and was not expecting a decent result. Yet it was easily under 50 minutes at 48 minutes flat. Yet most recent 50 minute and a 60 minute training runs show that I _just_ break 50 for 10km's or go even slower, even when I feel the effort was higher for me, and heart rates are higher...

So I am probably going faster/further than the training runs I have been plotting indicate. I have a 90 minute run this afternoon, and will do the same route as my last 90 minutes...