Two Weeks Holiday

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I’m back at work again after two glorious weeks off in the Wairarapa at the bottom of the North Island of New Zealand.  I do have to apologise for the tardy postings while I was away, I had written the two articles that went out the other day and scheduled them to publish at intervals while I was away but something went wrong and for some reason they never published.  To make it worse I then published them in the incorrect order – never mind, I’m sure the 15 of you who regularly read the blog can work it out.

The holiday was great – the weather was a bit windy at the beginning, but nothing a crayfish and some fish couldn’t help.  We were pretty  much completely alone in our little bach on the beach, with beautiful sea views and empty farmlands all around.  I was excited to be somewhere different to go for a run and explore.

I managed to get 3 runs in a week as well as some hiking and kayaking – although the kayaking was in a sit on top fishing kayak, not a sea kayak or multi-sport boat.  Still I figure that at this stage any paddling will help to build kayaking muscle and I needed something a bit more stable to drop the cray pot with and fish from.

Once the weather sorted itself out the days were hot and sunny with beautiful sunrises and cloud free skies, the temperature was hot and the best time for any exercise was either first thing in the morning or at Gin O’clock – needless to say I was running first thing in the morning.  Behind our bach was a big hill which Chicken and I decided to climb on one of my rest days – we followed a ridge line up to the summit of the hill, a short 4k round trip, but the 250m elevation in the mid-morning sun made it a bit of a chore, not to mention that my 15yr old step-daughter is Waaaayyy fitter than I am.  To add a little insult to injury, Buddy had decided to race us to the top and came directly up the front of the hill – a far steeper and direct route.  We won, but only just.

As for fitting in training, well I had week 8 and 9 to complete which were to be 28 and 30 minutes of constant running, which to be honest I had already been doing the week before.  So while I finished the podcast series I was already running for 30-40 minutes by the end of the holiday.  The NHS Couch to 5k series has been really good for me, it forced me to pace myself as my fitness increased and made my progress much more linear than it had previously been and is a really great way to get yourself running.

The long lazy days were perfect for pushing out the length of my runs, with no real calls on my time and the ability to have an afternoon snooze, it just felt right to push my run duration out to 40 minutes.  Needless to day the distances covered while on holiday are a bit longer than I’ve been doing in the past, but I’ve felt really good about the additional distance and my body seems to be ready to stretch the distances I’m running.

On Saturday I felt like I was ready for a new challenge and I decided to go on a longer run than I had done previously, so I readied myself for an hours run and decided on an appropriate course and set off.  I was listening to an audiofuel podcast of 160bpm music and monitoring my heart rate as per the Maffetone method and busted out the 10k of my chosen route in a little over an hour, not bad considering my Round the Bridges 6.5k was 52 minutes.

Holiday Training.

Week 1

  • Tuesday – Run 6k
  • Wednesday – Walk 4k
  • Thursday – Run 5k
  • Friday – Paddle 8k
  • Saturday – Run 7k

Week 2

  • Tuesday – Run 7k
  • Tuesday – Paddle 5.6k
  • Wednesday – Paddle 6k
  • Thursday – Run 6k
  • Saturday – Run 10k

Back to Work

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Yep, all too soon the Christmas break ended and I’ve been back at work, although a 4 day week went some way to making the transition a bit easier.

If you’ve been following the blog for a while now, you may notice that the picture looks a little different today.  Normally I try to get a good shot during my warm ups (or turn rounds) on at least one run of the week but because I got the chance to paddle last week I managed to get some shots while I was in the boat.  The one above is from the limestone rock formations in the Raglan harbour.  As you can see the weather was fantastic even if the rock gardening was a little tame in the harbour.  Strangely enough I was a bit busy paddling in the rougher stuff at the harbour mouth and didn’t manage to get a decent picture, I’ll have to work on something to make that a bit better.

It’s been quite a good week for exercise too, I managed to get out on my bike again for the first time since starting the couch to 5k series and I can see the improvement in my bike times just from the additional fitness.  Who knew, getting fit in one area has benefits in others, its almost like its a conspiracy 🙂  I managed to drop a couple of minutes on my round the block time and did it keeping my heart rate in my training zone.

Which is a nice segue into a change I have made to my training.  I’ve been reading quite a bit around endurance training and different methodologies and came across Phil Maffetone who is a proponent of purely aerobic training dictated by HR and keeping it in a specific zone.  Once I got my Garmin watch with Heart Rate I decided to give this a try and see how it worked for me.  It’s early days but it seems to be showing some promise and I will keep using it for the time being, and write a more in depth post about it in the near future.

I have found it invaluable on my longer run, I’ve run around the block twice now which is a nice even 6k and have managed to run the entire distance (YAAAYYY) and more importantly have done so without hurting myself or feeling like I was dying, which is probably more important at the moment.

  • Monday – Run 5.24k
  • Wednesday – Run 5.34k
  • Thursday – Bike 17k
  • Friday – Run 6k (the block)

We’re off on holiday for the next two weeks so posts will come when I can get to the internet.  Have fun and I’ll talk soon.

 

 

 

 

Running while the sun shines

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By the time you read this I will be sitting on the wairarapa coast of New Zealand looking out over the sea wondering if I will be having shellfish or fish for dinner.  Yep, summer is a great time the world over and New Zealand summers can be some of the best in the world.  Those idyllic days where the sky seems bigger than the whole world and time ticks by at 80 seconds to a minute, nowhere to go and nothing to do other than bait hooks, move the umbrella so you’re out of the direct sun and swim to cool off whenever necessary.

Which is fantastic, but how the hell do you fit some running into that mix and not get it in the way of spending quality family time which is actually the real purpose of going on a beach holiday in my opinion.  You know the kind where you just hang out together, no plans other than probably meeting for meals, perhaps a walk in the evening enjoying the last rays of the sun and then some games together before bed.   Yeah, running doesn’t really fit into that picture, but if I’m going to keep progressing with my training I will have to go for six runs in the two weeks we are away.

I have been thinking about this and I think I have a few options that will make this not only possible but potentially enjoyable not only for me but also the rest of the family!  I’ve outlined them below, have a read and let me know what you think in the comments.

  1. Run Early – I know that early mornings and holidays are a bit of an oxymoron, but I am finding that I am waking earlier in the morning even when my alarm isn’t set.  Throwing on my running kit and going for a run before everyone else gets up is a great idea to get my run in without taking away from family time.  Best case scenario, I get back everyone is still in bed and I can take Jane a cup of tea.  Worst case scenario is that Jane and the kids get up while I’m out and I come back to find breakfast is being cooked and a coffee waiting for me. (or is that the best case??)
  2. Introduce some cross training, we’re taking bikes with us this holiday so there is always the option to switch out a run for a bike with the whole family.  This is a good option as I’m probably the slowest in the family on the bike so I’d get a good workout and hopefully prove to the kids that old age and treachery can overcome youth and skill.
  3. Make the run part of a larger adventure.  We’ve always loved coastal walks where we all clamber over the rocks and look in rock pools for life and interesting stuff and gently make our way around the coast.  I reckon that there is no reason why I can’t start out with the family on my normal starting walk, then when its time to kick it up a gear go for my run in the same direction that they will be walking and have them follow me.  As long as I turn round about 20 mins into my 30 min run I should get back to them about the time I finish.  Then we can walk on together.  There are a few problems with this – mainly running on the beach or rocks will be difficult but the C2C run is pretty brutal off road so this will be good practice.

So there you go, three as yet untried techniques for fitting runs in around a family holiday.  I’m hoping that at least one of these has some legs and I do actually get my runs in.  I am of course taking a kayak (well two actually) so there will be plenty of paddling and some biking, so the chances of getting no exercise are pretty much nil.  I’ll let you know how I get on when we get back, in the meantime if you have any thoughts about the suggestions above or any of your own please leave a comment.

 

Shawn

 

Happy New Year!!!

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I love being on holiday, its a fantastic time of the year to get some good training sessions in and then with few demands on my time I can relax and recover to my hearts content.  Of course there is still plenty to do on the socialising front and beer and wine to be consumed with friends in the warm summers evenings…

I also had the opportunity to test a new kayak this week.  I had the pleasure of taking out the new Paddling Perfection Adventurer kayak so that I can write a review for a kayaking magazine.  I was a bit worried that my skills were a bit rusty after nearly a year out of the cockpit and the first time I headed over the hill to Raglan I arrived and the wind was pretty ferocious and I turned around and headed back home, not the day to be testing a new boat.  The next day though was beautifully sunny and calm and the perfect day to test a new boat.  I’m not going to give a review here just yet, but getting out in a kayak again reminded me of why I decided on the Coast to Coast, I can take or leave running, I have always enjoyed cycling as a form of transport but I love kayaking and the kayaking section of the race is the bit that I’m looking forward to the most.

Getting out in the Adventurer was great fun, I worked some long neglected muscles and also felt the benefit of my recent training as my aerobic fitness.  I played in the rock formations around the coast and then paddled out and surfed the bar at the harbour mouth, excellent fun and a great way to spend the morning.

I also completed week six of the couch to 5k and because of the way that I rejigged my training to fit Christmas and New Years celebrations I also started Week 7.

Tuesday – Run 5k

Wednesday – Paddle 8.25k

Thursday – Run 6k

Saturday – Run 5k

Sunday – Walk 10k