Finish strong...or not. It's your choice.

Finish strong...or not.  It's your choice.

On the surface of it, Melbourne Marathon looked like another good result.  3 hours and 15 mins, cheeky little sprint finish in the MCG, sun was shining, had a beer afterwards, all is well, right?  

Well, not quite...

One of the key things that I try to instil into the runners that I coach, is to "finish strong.”  I can already hear a few groans from those runners reading this…

To show you what I mean, take a second to think about the different feelings in these two scenarios…

Run / Walking Busselton Marathon... and loving it!

Run / Walking Busselton Marathon... and loving it!

Sydney Marathon (Marathon 13) was a really tough experience, both on the day and in the week after.  I felt like I had lost fitness, re-injured an old achilles problem and gotten very glum in the process of it all.  Not ideal.  

 

Fast forward 3 weeks and the 17 marathons fun bus was heading over to Western Australia.  This was my first ever trip to W.A and I was travelling there to run Busselton Marathon on Sunday 8 October.  Whilst I still had the nagging achilles issue that was stopping me from running, I was grateful to be feeling way more positive in the lead up to this one.  I was worried about my ability to complete the run, but positive nevertheless.  I was particularly worried when I discovered the day before that I hadn’t actually signed up to the run at all!  OOPS!!  I am starting to believe that there is such a thing as 'runners brain’…. its a thing….

Now I know what 11 laps of The Tan feels like...

Now I know what 11 laps of The Tan feels like...

Last weekend was awesome...

Marathon 12 was back on home turf, running 11 laps around the Tan Track in Melbourne, following some time away for Alice Springs Marathon the previous weekend.  I was really pleased with what I had done in Alice Springs and my aim for this marathon was simply to improve on that time of 3:22, only 7 days later.  I enjoy the challenge of backing up marathons one week after another and it gives the second run a bit more purpose.  I seem to get that little bit more determined to not be slower or fade at all.  It’s like a giant 'negative split' I suppose.  

On race morning, I had woken up early to the sound of torrential rain and howling wind at about 5 am.  Bugger.  The thought crossed my mind to just drop the run, eat lots, drink wine and simply reschedule, but the thought of then trying to fit another marathon into the remaining 4 months of the year, persuaded me to get my arse out of bed and get cracking on some coffee and breakfast.

ALICE SPRINGS: MARATHON 11 (The one with the NO GPS WATCH experiment…)

ALICE SPRINGS: MARATHON 11 (The one with the NO GPS WATCH experiment…)

Well its been a while since I wrote last, but marathon 11 is now done and dusted!  I’m at the airport in Alice Springs, the sun is shining and I am on my way home, back to Melbourne.  I am growing to like this place.  This is my second trip here in a couple of months and I am starting to learn my way around, meet new people, see new things and feel a little more comfortable.

 

The last marathon I ran was Cairns Marathon on 9th July, so this was the longest break so far within the 17 marathons journey.  I definitely needed it after nursing myself through 3 marathons in 3 weeks back in June / July.  

Guest Post: 'How to Translate Running Chat - 9 phrases you need to know'

Even as a running coach, I get frustrated with 'running chat’ at times. As runners, we seem to have developed our own language, which nobody outside of running knows about.  This guest post on the Tri Chicks website is designed to help you translate some of the main phrases that you may hear from other runners.  Head over to the awesome Tri Chicks website and check out my guest post on this issue.  

Happy learning! 

Guest Post: HOW TO OVERCOME EXCUSES AND SAFELY GET BACK TO RUNNING POST PREGNANCY

What do you think are the main things that stand in the way of getting back into running for new mums?  

This guest post with Sheree Brown from the awesome Port Melbourne Physiotherapy and Pilates explores exactly that!  Sheree and I explore accountability, motivation, overcoming excuses and how to safely get back into your exercise after giving birth.

Head over to the Port Melbourne Physiotherapy and Pilates website to check out this guest post.

1:53 half marathon to 100km record holder: Kirstin Bull

How do you go from a 1hr 53 half marathon to winning marathons and ultras, breaking records and representing Australia at the 100km World Championships?  Ask Kirstin Bull....

Kirstin Bull has won the Two Bays Trail Run and Great Ocean Road Marathon multiple times and smashed the Australian 100km record last year. For our FIRST EVER GO RUN PODCAST, I chatted to Kirstin about her running and even reminisce about her first ever half marathon. She chats about her training, coaching, strength and conditioning work, nutrition and her advice for new runners who want to hit the trails or train for ultra distances. We also discuss her wine or beer preferences ;-)

Check it out!

Kirstin is racing at the 100km World Championships in Spain in September and is fundraising to support that effort. You can find more info and donate here 

Good luck Kirstin!

 

Guest post: 3 tips to beat runners rut!

Whether you're stuck in a rut with your running at parkrun or anywhere else, there are ways to break through it. I chatted to Baroness of Melbourne, Danielle about what to do when this awful ‘rut' strikes.

Head over to the awesome Baroness of Melbourne blog to check out this guest post.

How to run a marathon PB, even when you fly 200,000km, in 45 flights, in economy!

How to run a marathon PB, even when you fly 200,000km, in 45 flights, in economy!

Almost two weeks ago, someone I have coached for 5 months, Scott (aka Dr. Scott), ran a personal best time of 3 hours 41 minutes in the Gold Coast Marathon.  It was his 7th marathon and 4th attempt to PB at the distance after an outstanding first marathon effort back in October 2010.  To say I am stoked is a MASSIVE understatement!


Now, running one marathon is impressive.  Running seven marathons is really impressive.  Running your fastest of all seven, by 73 seconds is super impressive, but none of this comes even close to the real story here….

During the 5 months that Scott and I have been working together on this marathon preparation, Scott has flown over 200,000 kilometers, on 45 separate flights to far flung places like China, Germany, Korea, Brazil, Netherlands, Portugal and more!   

That is more than 5 times around the world!  All in economy!  Whilst marathon training…Craziness!

How to stop runners 'bonking', or hitting the wall

Have you ever 'hit the wall' in a race? Not a great feeling is it?

I recently chatted to ExecutiveStyle about late race fatigue and some things to consider when looking to beat the dreaded 'bonk'!  Thanks very much to Laura Hill for the interview and write up.  

Check it out here.

What would you ask a professional athlete?

What would you ask a professional athlete?

In April, I asked the runners at Go Run a question:

“If you had the opportunity to chat to a professional athlete, what questions would you ask them?”  

I had an awesome response, with some great questions. I think as recreational athletes we are often fascinated by the habits and lives of professionals.  How many hours do they train?  Do they do strength training?  Who are their idols?  What do they eat?  Do they drink alcohol?

It’s not very often you get the opportunity to chat to professional sports people and ask these types of questions, so when Vanessa Murray, a professional Ironman triathlete from New Zealand agreed to sit down at the end of April and chat with me over a juicy burger in Albert Park, I was really excited! 

Vanessa is a beginner in the professional Ironman game but has started off with a bang!  Last weekend she came 4th pro female in Challenge Taiwan and in early March came 10th pro female at Ironman New Zealand, running a 3:24 marathon in the process.  She is coached by Xavier Coppock at TEAM Tri Coaching and lives in Melbourne with her fiancé Shaun.  

I chatted to her about her triathlon beginnings, how her running has improved from 2 hour half marathon to 3:24 marathon, and what particular foods she enjoys most after training (a favourite topic of mine!)  Thanks for the questions guys, here is our chat…..  Enjoy!

"Do you think I need a training plan?"

"Do you think I need a training plan?"

Training plans are a hot topic amongst athletes and runners in particular.  As a coach I provide personalised training plans for my runners and I also answer my fair share of questions about training plans from friends, family and other runners. In fact, I was asked this seemingly simple question by a beginner runner in an email a couple of weeks ago:  

"Do you think I need a training plan?”

She was looking to improve her 5km time over the coming months and was weighing up whether a training plan would work for her.  At first this seems like a no-brainer for a running coach to answer. Yes.  Simple.  But actually it is nowhere near as easy as that.  I wish!  

Go Run Australia is still young, but even in this first year, I have noticed a few things about who responds best to training plans and who is sometimes better off doing their own thing.  I have no problems with either way.  I have plenty of close friends who would never dream of getting a running coach and are improving and enjoying their running regardless.  For others, with the help of a coach, they have improved beyond what they thought possible and are getting the personal best times that they were after. It is a very individual thing.

One of those people who is continuing to go from strength to strength with the help of a training plan is Sally.  When I asked her what she thought of her Go Run training plan, she said, 

“Loving it! Structure and routine is great for me and being accountable to someone.  I don't have to think or stress about my training plan now!” 

For me, as a runner I have personally made greater progress than I thought possible with the help of a coach and a tailored, individual training plan.  There is no way I would have been able to complete 2 Ironmans, 2 half Ironmans, get half marathon and marathon PB’s in the last 2 years without it.  

So what can I genuinely, honestly advise people who are asking this question,"Do I need a training plan?”  

“I’ve fallen out of love with it” - What to do when you hit a parkrun rut.

“I’ve fallen out of love with it” - What to do when you hit a parkrun rut.

It’s probably not a very politically correct thing to say, but yes sometimes you can fall out of love with parkrun.  Having done over 100 parkruns, I can very safely say that the vast majority have been hugely enjoyable experiences and I would not trade my Saturday morning jaunt around the lake for much else.  I have dressed up, ran with no shoes, come first, come last, plateaued, PB’ed, paced people, raced people and most things between!  However, like many parkrunners, there have been times when my motivation has dipped and you sometimes just fall out of love with it for a while.  Now, I am not a doctor but I am going to diagnose this as 'hitting a parkrun rut.'

So when this awful ‘rut' strikes, what can you do?!?  

Don’t panic, here’s my three tips to get yourself out of a parkrun rut.

 

"Just trust the process"

We all question our training at one point or another.  As a coach, one of my roles is to make sure that runners can look back on their training, be proud, see progress and gain confidence from it.  One of my favourite phrases in this regard is, 

"Just trust the process" 

In this interview I chat to Sally who recently ran a half marathon personal best time, knocking 4 minutes off her previous time.  She talks about how we managed her injury concerns, how she found it difficult to run slowly in her training runs at first and she talks us through what it feels like when you know your time is going to be a good one!  I love Sally's story.  To me, she is a great runner and a pleasure to work with because she learns, adapts and isn't scared of a challenge!  Enjoy!

Are you ready to run? If the answer is "YES!" then sign up here for your own running coach and personalised monthly training plan to get you running stronger, longer and faster.  I will get in touch straight away and we can begin working on getting your running to where you really want it to be!