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.  

From Fun Run to Trail Running World Championships: Kellie Emmerson

In Episode 2 of 'The Go Run Show’, I the had the pleasure of chatting to world class ultra / trail Runner, Kellie Emmerson. Here is a runner that does things for the pure love of the sport. She is a coach, brand ambassador on top of being a world class runner and seems to love the role that she can play in helping people to run better.

I chatted to her about her first fun run, her recent trip to the Trail Running World Championships in Portugal where she represented Australia, her diet, training, coaching and pieces of advice that has received in her career so far. I also discover a great motto that she tends to live by and that she (like me!) is a bit of a foodie with a liking for all things chocolate!

I really hope you enjoy this discussion and that you feel like me by the end, that we are very lucky to be part of a community of runners with supportive and engaging people like Kellie as part of it.

ENJOY!

Guest post: Being nervous is normal

How do you deal with the final nervous days before your big run??!  With this guest post on Running Fit Box blog I want to help you work through and answer some of the normal questions that you will have to face in the days leading up to your next running event.  Questions like "should I be carb-loading," "have I done enough training" and more!

Head over to the awesome Running Fit Box website to check out my guest post on this issue.

Enjoy!!

Guest Post: Running form - Head Position

The awesome guys at Nokkon have done a list of 10 things to consider with your running form. This post is number 6 on the list and focuses on one of the least considered areas of running form, I believe, head position.  

When we think about running form, head position is often towards the bottom of the list of things we look at, but it is actually very important for our body alignment, as well as our overall attitude.

Head over to the awesome Nokkon website to check out this contribution. 

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?”  

Why are we so confused and frustrated with our running?

Why are we so confused and frustrated with our running?

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from a really nice guy living on the outskirts of Melbourne.  He was looking for a running coach to help him with his running.  We were talking about his goals and training over email and with his permission, I have given you part of the actual email correspondence that we had.  Check out his confusion….

"That's one of my problems at the moment, goals!  SO MANY OF THEM!  So my own training is in disarray.  I don't know whether to knock back and hit a 5-6 month patch of Maffetone running.  Then there's Matt Fitzgerald banging on about 80/20 running!  But on the other hand, we all want to go fast...and I KNOW i'm capable of going sub 3:30 over 42.2 and would LOVE to have a crack at a BQ, but for me thats a 3hr 05 marathon, which, well, yeah, I can't see that happening.  Basically, I think I've read way too much and now I have all these ideas in my head, but have no idea what's best for me."

WOW!  That’s a lot of goals, a lot of different methods and a lot of confusion to deal with.   Trust me, I can really sympathise with this.  It was not so long ago that my head was in this exact space.  It is a complete nightmare.  You don’t know where to turn, who to believe, what method or technique to try, what magazine or blog to read, what race to sign up to.  It sucks!  The sad thing is that this thought process is actually pretty normal amongst runners and is not exclusive to beginner runners at all. 

So where does our confusion stem from?

“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.