Tuesday, March 27, 2007

never race if you do not know the course !!!

just completed my last tune-up race before Boston.
I was perhaps a little naive to select a race on a hilly course to simulate the same effort as in Boston. Actually the Mt Butler race is much much tougher !!!!!
it is a 15k mixed cross-country and road, with 2 climbs of at least 2k each !!! the start is on a stretch with 15% gradient, so if you push too much, you can burn out after only half Mile !!
Well, I started in the lead group that very quickly spread itself on the tough first mile. after a steep downhill we started to climb the toughest stretch to Mt Parker: huhuhu, very painful. My HRM gave me clear indication that I was NOT doing a leisurly LT run, but rather being almost flat out. Better to scale down the pace, man !!
I crawled at the peak and luckily I was caught by a decenty fast group that basically towed me until the 10k mark. I was really struggling , but later I realized that they were struggling even more... to cut short, at the final climb I realized that they were slowing down a little too much for the gradient, so I pushed a little and exploded the small group. That was enough to gain a gap good enough to bring me at the finish line as 3rd Master and win a pair of running shoes.
a good lesson earned: never never run cross-country or hilly races if you do not know the course ... I could have saved my body a tiring hour (I made 50% of the time in the over 180bpm range !!)
The real challange anyway was the painful legs of the Monday ....

Thursday, March 22, 2007

long long run

Last sunday I did a 36km run, with 18km at MP and 2km at LT pace.that is a 22miles (for my readers in USA). It was tough but still not painful, I could push from start to end and the final strech of 6km/4M was rather pleasant still. Pace around 4'10" for the slow legs and 3'55" for the MP.
What do you think about such extra long runs with fast sections ?
Too tiring ? Or too soft ?

Wednesday, March 7, 2007


I have still to recover from my HM last Sunday.
I made the mistake to not make any cool down and now I am still aching everywhere: ankles, legs, back.
well, it was not probably totally my fault: I did not expect to finish in the "winners booth" !!!
They kept us in the booth for a good hour, without any opportunity to jog around. I think it was a real killer for the legs.
This morning a very easy 9k become as hard as a long run: I had pain everywhere (knee, ankle, legs) ...huhuh

A good holiday

For the mid winter holidays we went to a nice island in the southern hemisphere.
It was a fantastic holiday, full relax, good food, nice weather, etc, etc.
Since it is a running blog, I avoid bothering the potential readers with these holidays details (leave a message if you want to know more), but I want to write few line about the effect of air/temperature and humidity on the performance.
in HK, the air is really awful: pollution, humidity and heat all together make up a mix that drive your recovery lower and lower. It is probably one of the worst place on earth for running.
In summer, the heat and humidity are simply impossible to survive: a simple jog and you come back home losing 1kg and sweating like a demon for several hours. In Winter, the drier weather drives the pollution higher and higher and the air is really dirty, full of pollutants.
During my holidays I was simply running 5/8 bpm HR lower than in HK at the same speed.
In some LT workouts I was finding difficult to raise the HR at the target zone because my legs were not used to go so fast.
It was really incredible. I did easy many good medium and long runs and especially worthy to mention is a long 33km run on a very hilly gravel road: at the end I was flatten with many aching muscles, but it gave me the confidence that Boston Marathon will be a great outcome

gorgeous Half Marathon

I did the Hong Kong Half Marathon www.hkmarathon.com
It was a very humid early morning when the usual huge crowd of 40k runners gathered in Nathan Road for the start. The HK marathon is a sort of running festival with 3 races of 10k, a Half and a Full marathon, with different starts from 530am onwards.
I felt good in the warm up even if I was really worried about doing a good race because it is many years that I failed in Half, normally fading after 15km.
The race strategy was to race at 175bpm until 10k, take advantage of the downhill strech leading to the west tunnel and than push the remaining energy in the final terribly hilly 5km.
I normally run with a HRM, I find it very useful in longer races to avoid overspeed in the earlier stages.
--> does someone else run with a HRM ?

Going back to the race, it all went extremely well, at perfection
I was very relaxed in the first 10k, the heart was in the low 170s and the pace around 3'44". I struggled a little in the next 5k, the road was slightly uphill and front wind. Luckily I was together with a guy that paced me quite well and I hanged up well. He was very fast going downhill but slower uphill.
Then we entered the western tunnel (or better on the terrible climb going out..), I felt still good and I start to hammer: I dropped the group I was in and catched soon other runners.
At the end I close in 1h18 WOW !!
The training. Did really pay off
I must say thanks to the 11:51:41 runs and the long runs: they really gave me the endurance and the aerobic power.
I must really praise the change of training style done in the past months: less (much less) fast intervals and more LT runs
I did not make any VO2 max workout or sprint intervals