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January 16, 2017

They say the hardest part of training for big events isn’t necessarily the first day, but the days that come. Motivation is always at its highest on Day 1, yet by the end of the second week the plans haven’t exactly been followed (not that there’s a big issue with that, doing a few years of a teaching course at University taught me that rigid plans often come unstuck) and whilst my motivation hasn’t waned it can be easy to see how those who see running as a weight loss assistant can see how hard it is.

Frustratingly I haven’t been able to so far attain the distances that I really want to look for. Sometimes it’s a case of needing a short breather to regain the good feeling in the legs to resume, although there are many runs in my personal schedule that allow for this. In fact many of my training runs call for either multiple efforts over the same distance (not necessarily the same route) or multiple efforts where the distances are increasing. Sometime this week, most likely Wednesday or Friday, the plan will include having a 4km effort, a 5km blast and a 6km finish with active rest (walking for 5 minutes or to a suitable starting spot for the next effort) all in the one session. What I want to actually achieve, and this is more aimed at weekend runs, is to nail a 12-15km stint without a rest break, partially to prove to myself that the fitness levels are improving, partially because the first event for the year is approaching and stopping during that half marathon isn’t an option.

What hasn’t helped matters is the climactic conditions. I know summer in Australia can be ridiculously hot at times, yet the humidity is something that many more talented and dedicated runners find difficult to overcome. Even now as I’m typing this blog entry the sweat is pouring off the arms and the forehead, and getting a decent night’s sleep is challenging. Weather apps on my mobile devices have confirmed that even though the air temperatures are possibly comparable with what I’d be facing at some events during the year, they also indicate that based upon the humidity the temperature also feels like what it should at lunchtime rather than an hour or so after sunrise. What makes it even more of a tease is that the sky is filled with clouds yet there’s little prospect of rain just when a short shower could be what I need to complete a program.

On the plus side, this is probably the earliest I’ve ever started formalised running training since taking it up in 2012. Normally I tend to choose Australia Day (January 26) as the normal start date given the first event I run usually isn’t until March. Obviously the plans with an event in February and the sheer training required to at least get to the finish at Comrades has brought the timing forward. Perhaps I’m not used to trying to go hard or go home at this time of the year (self control is something I need to learn on the training roads, still battling to slow down to make the distances I want I suppose), maybe I’m getting carried away with seeing many weekend warriors going online to advertise they are doing massive runs well before the day I’d want to be peaking (although I suspect some are trying to peak twice with a qualifier in mind).

So what am I going to plan in the next couple of weeks? I know that I need to find the hills more often and next weekend I’m hoping to incorporate a number of hills into a decent distance run of up to 18km. Then I’m spending January 23-27 in Brisbane to change up the scenery for training runs and keep the mind fresher. Perhaps I’ll even look to have a crack at going up Mt Coot-tha on the Wednesday (25 January) in order to get at least some longer sustained uphill running under the belt. Hopefully the weather will be kinder to runners than what we’re currently experiencing.


As for the logistical issues, the race bib for Wangaratta is in the post and hopefully should arrive either Monday or Tuesday. The entry for the big 50km in Canberra has been lodged, so the major lead in race (sounds strange describing a 50km event as a training run doesn’t it!) is locked in and ready to go. I may even look to add an event in either March or May depending on what the work roster has to say and how the finances will stretch. With airfares to and from Durban to be paid in the next couple of weeks attention will turn to making sure I have enough Rand to last the trip. I’m thinking of at least saving R10000 (which is close to $A1000 give or take a few dollars) plus whatever I exchange prior to departing Australia should be sufficient to cover most of my costs.


TRAINING STATS for JANUARY 2-15 (Courtesy of Strava)

TOTAL DISTANCE: 50.7km (24km 2-8 Jan, 26.7km 9-15 Jan)
ACTIVE TIME: 4 Hrs 47 Mins
ELEVATION GAIN: 281m Total (155m 2-8/1, 126m 9-15/1)

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