Thursday, 16 January 2014

Training log - 30.12.13 - 12.01.14: Races and Raw Food

Raw lasagna with cashew cheese & broccoli sun-dried tomato pesto

Another disrupted fortnight of training as the festive season ended, next week should be better and more structured. I still managed decent mileage despite not running very regularly. I have started tracking my mileage for the year and hope to do at least 3,000km which averages 58km a week. I am obviously starting off slowly as I build my base but should catch up later in the year when I am training for PUFfeR and will be looking to do around 80 - 100km a week. The first week was unusual in that I did two races and then the second week was unusual as the Lady Falcon and I decided to attempt a raw food challenge, so all in all, it's been a strange but positive start to the year.

Week 1

Mon 30.12 - Run - Trail Race

The second race of the Sabrina Love Challenge was a 10km trail run just outside Plettenberg Bay. The race briefing told us that the first 4km would be relatively flat around the Polo Estate and then we would hit some single track through the forest areas so we were advised to get a decent placing before this to avoid being caught behind a less experienced runner who might struggle on the single track. Not the best advice for a perennial start-too-faster but I took it anyway and went out guns blazing. I managed to stick with the lead ladies for a while and was going at quite a pace until I hit the forest. I really struggled on the single track as it was more roots and ditches whereas I am used to rocks and riverbeds. I slipped a few places here and was feeling quite shod at about 6km when we started a long flat section which ended in a much needed river crossing. From there it was more single track where a stroke of fortune helped my motivation. I was feeling quite tired and noticed my shoelace had come undone so at the next turn I stepped off the track to re-tie. Just as I was done, a group of about 15 runners came back from the direction of the turning shouting that the route markers were off, I managed to sort myself out and jump ahead of them which gave me a nice fast finish. These guys had all had a better race than me and were better runners so it was good to keep pace with them for a while.

I finished in 51:36 and in 32nd out of 288 (top 11% and 6th out of the ladies) which I am pretty happy with for a short run.

Ave pace: 5:10/km

Tues 31.12 - Rest - New Year's Eve

Wed 01.01 - Rest - Still New Year's Eve

Thurs 02.01 - Another rest day (what's happening here?)

Fri 03.01 - Run - Road Blouberg

Finally I kicked off my running year and really enjoyed a nice flat route along Bloubergstrand. I was up nice and early and set off from Paddocks centre and ran to Big Bay and back keeping a gentle pace and focussing on my technique and cadence.

Ave pace: 6:06/km

Avg HR   156 bpm

Max HR   169 bpm

Sat 04.01 - Rest

Sun 05.01 - Run - Road Race

The Bay 2 Bay is the best way to start any running year and I had a great morning out. Race report to follow.


Ave pace:   5:23/km

Avg HR   163 bpm

Max HR   175bpm

Total week running log

Mileage:    57.79 km

Time:   5:21:26

Not bad mileage considering only 3 runs and a huge hangover.

Week 2

Lemon and fig cheesecake

This was the week of the raw food challenge, we decided to try and only eat raw food for an entire week. We hit Pick n Pay on Sunday to stock and tried to max out our healthy food benefit (there was moment of panic when we thought we had left the card at home). My decision for doing this challenge was partly to detox after the festive season but mainly to experience what it is like. Most raw food eaters are vegan to start off and although we bent the rules a bit by including raw meat in our diet (salmon and biltong), I could still see where the attraction is. Doing a challenge like this is is really interesting as it forces you to consider the ingredients of the manufactured food you purchase and requires you to be creative with your 'cooking'. The highlight of the week was discovering this blog which has some incredibly creative recipes with some excellent photographs of the meals. The best dishes that I tried were the raw lasagne and raw cheese cake which tasted much better than actual cheese cake in my opinion. The tough part of the raw food challenge was that the first 2 days wrought havoc on my moods. I was incredibly hungry and the only carbs I was taking in were fruit which spiked my blood sugar a lot more than the grains I usually eat. By Tuesday evening I had already decided to give up but then I awoke on Wednesday feeling refreshed and after an excellent CrossFit session I was back on top of my game. So whilst raw food is definitely not something I could do 100% of the time (it sounds counter-intuitive but the preparation actually takes a lot of time), I definitely want to incorporate more raw into my diet and try and tone down my reliance on grains.

Mon 06.01 - Rest

Tues 07.01 - Run - Road Century City

Normal Century City loop - getting a bit bored of this one now.

Ave pace:   5:08/km

Avg HR   156 bpm

Max HR   169 bpm

Wed 08.01 - CrossFit

We worked on our max clean and jerks which was cool as I learnt quite a lot. I am still not thrusting enough and lifting too far from my body but I managed to get 70kg's up even though my jerk was more of a push press.

The met-con was quite short but that suited me fine.

60-40-20 Double Unders (I did single skips and multiplied by 2)
30-20-10 KBS 24kg (I did 20kg)

Result: 4:34

Thursday 09.01 - Rest

Friday 10.01 - Birthday of the Lady Falcon hence definitely a rest day filled with Curry

Saturday 11.01 - CrossFit and Road run

A fun team session, I teamed up with the G of GM@T and we blitzed the competition. Struggled a bit with the odd object carry (being a water canister with only 1 handle) and of course struggled with the sit-ups but my pull-ups came together nicely.

In teams of 2 - 4 rounds for time:

400m odd object carry (water canister)
14 x water canister GTO
14 x Pull-ups
14 x 40cm box water cannister carry-overs
14 x 6.5kg med ball sit-up throws

Result: 18:44

After CrossFit I did a gentle recovery run along the road to Camps Bay and back. I attempted Bizkop steps which defeated me...but I'll be back.

Ave pace: 6:01/km

Sunday 12.01 - Run - Road Blouberg

Nice route along the cycle track
It was 2pm on Sunday afternoon and I was feeling down about such minimal mileage for the week so I headed out and just ran until I was tired and turned back. It was an awesome afternoon and perfect way to start what should be a more focused next week of training. The run was from my apartment through Milnerton, along the cycle track next to the golf course until Blouberg and then back again.

Ave pace:   5:34/km

Avg HR   165 bpm

Max HR   175 bpm

Total week running log

Mileage:    39.53 km

Time:   3:37:06

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Training log - 16.12.13 - 29.12.13: Work and Play

After an incredibly busy last week of work, it was finally time for the Christmas break. This year I have been playing leave catch-up and other than the odd day here and there, I haven't really had any time off so I was looking forward to getting out of town for a week to catch my breath and assess what 2014 will bring. Before I got there though I had to get through a really tight work deadline which meant a few late nights wreaking havoc on my training plans. Once I got through that, it was off to Plettenberg Bay with the in-laws for a week of intense relaxation. I had plans of running myself to exhaustion however I did not quite stick to this but still managed a few medium distance runs and even a couple of races.

Monday 16.12 - Rest day

Tuesday 17.12 - Run - Century City

A shortened route around Century City of steady running finishing with 6x 10 second sprints every minute on the minute executed with facial expression straight into incoming standstill Sable Road traffic jam.

Ave pace: 5:42/km
Ave HR: 156bpm

Wednesday 18.12 - Rest day

Thursday 19.12 - Run - Milnerton Beach

Due to some bad foresight, I did not realise this was a planned hill session until I was kitted up in Century City ready to run. As there is not a single hill within about a 15km radius of my place, I decided to do a beach session rather, my theory being that running on the sand is as tough as a hill. It turned out to be a lot tougher. I headed to Milnerton beach on what was definitely the windiest day in history anywhere on earth. I headed out for a 15 minute warm-up running with the wind and then turned for what was supposed to be 30 second pick-ups followed by 2 minute intervals. The head wind was so strong that to even move was a flat out sprint. I struggled my way home again wandering whether I will ever do one of those awesome desert races...ya still keen.

Ave pace: 6:59/km

Speed variations on my beach "run"

Friday 20.12 - Golf (it counts as exercise)

Saturday 21.12 - Rest day (partly due to the work Christmas function the day prior)

Sunday 22.12 - Another rest day (driving to Plett)

Total week running log
Mileage:    12.26km
Time:   1:16:24

Monday 23.12 - Run - Plett run on Robberg Road

A gentle out and back run with a steady incline. This was supposed to be done at a low intensity but half way through I got bored and frustrated with my slow pace so I picked it up a bit.

Ave pace: 5:36/km
Ave HR: 169bpm

Tuesday 24.12 - Run - Plett run along the N2 and up Piesang Valley Road

A flat run along the pedestrian track alongside the N2 finishing with a decent hill climb up Piesang Valley Road. It was about a 2km climb and I felt pretty good despite training mainly on flat roads lately.

Ave pace: 5:42/km
Ave HR: 158bpm

Wednesday 25.12 - Rest Christmas day

Thursday 26.12 - Hike and Run - Robberg and interval session

Robberg Nature Reserve
In the morning we went and did the Robberg Nature Reserve walk. It is about a 9km loop within the reserve which is basically the point of the bay. The reserve is thin so at any time along the route you experience incredible views on either side. It has some relatively challenging parts but can be done by most fitness levels and I would highly recommend everyone to do this. I have done some pretty scenic routes in the Western Cape but have not experienced anything as beautiful as this yet. The hike has everything from cliff faces and seals to watch to beach sections and even a coastal bush portion. Absolutely amazing and I will definitely be back to run it one day.
In the afternoon I headed out for a little interval session. A 15 minute warm-up ending with 30 second pick-ups and then 6x 2 min as fast as possible with 1 minute walking and 1 minute jogging rests. I did this run in my minimalist shoes as I didn't plan to go this far and it worked out really well. I naturally run faster and feel more comfortable in them but I was pretty stiff afterwards so I don't think I can go longer than 10km yet. The benefits for foot strength are great though so I will definitely do my interval sessions in them.

Ave pace: 5:20/km
Ave HR: 164bpm

Friday 27.12 - Planned rest day

Saturday 28.12 - Red wine induced rest day

Sunday 29.12 - Run - Sabrina Love Challenge 10km

Every year a whole heap of holiday makers in Plett are blessed with an array of sporting events to keep them wake them up after the festive season. The Sabrina Love Challenge is a 2 day festival of runs, paddles, mountan bikes and swims that raise money for the Sabrina Love Foundation (, a charity that provides financial assistance to physically disabled children. The main event is a 6km ocean swim which to me sounds like madness but incredibly there are people keen to do it, 2 of them being superstars Chad Ho and Natalie Du Toit. The first day I entered the 10km road run and the second day, a 10km trail run.

I haven't done a 10km race in a while so I was keen to see how quickly I could do it. I was hoping to come in under 45 minutes but I knew I was not in peak condition so I didn't take it too seriously. The race started around the suburbs for the first 5km. I stuck with Bruce Fordyce for a while and it was awesome to be able to share a piece of tarmac with the most legendary South African ultra marathoner ever. I kept it under 4m30/km for the first half and came in at 22m26 at 5km so was just inside 45 minute pace. We then hit the beach and the pace slowed significantly. I kept pushing and was feeling really good and even passing people but the soft sand was too much to keep at my goal pace. In the end I finished in 46m21 which I was happy with as it was a tough course so I am confident I can do better on a straight road race.

Ave pace: 4:38/km

Total week running log

Mileage:    43.76km
Time:   3:54:01

Some pics from Robberg (excuse the really poor quality, new camera on the way in 2014)