It is now 10 weeks until Tarawera and my training is well underway…these past two weeks were my first ones fully into it…and oh my god it is exhausting! Fitting it in between work, socializing and sleeping…thank god I am only doing 60km, I can’t imagine how much more time I would have to commit if I was doing the 100km option!
I’ve had a few people ask me “So are you running like every day?” or “I see you at the gym way more than on the road”, so I thought I would set out what my training has been this past week…it has required a lot of 6am starts and many nights I get home after 8pm…I think I saw my flatmate once this entire week as a result!
6pm: 20 minutes of core work followed by 4x500m sprints followed by stair work (the Vista steps, approximately 120 steps total…a series of single step repeats followed by double step ones)
7pm: Restorative yoga
6:30am: Running specific strength (single leg squats, single leg calf raises (I am up to 18kgs on those!! I started with 6kg months ago!), lateral weighted lunges, 40-50kg deadlifts, hip abduction with band, side plank hip abductions, and a number of core exercises)
5:45pm: Metabolic (this week’s class involved sprints, jump squats (which killed me after Monday’s stair session!), burpees and 10 minutes of killer core work
6:15pm: Personal training with the amazing Mish, this week was some nice upper body work
7:15am: Run technique
7pm: Restorative yoga
7am: 20 minutes of core/prehab work
1pm: 3x2km threshold repeats with 1.5km warm up and 1.5km warm down, totalling 9km (I managed 8:46, 8:45 and 9:03 for my 2kms so was very happy)
6:30am: Running specific strength (a repeat of the above Tuesday morning circuit) + bench presses and push ups
12pm: 24km Skyline return – 12km running (90 minutes) and 12km steady walking back (110 minutes) – in 45km/hr gusts – it was SO exposed and windy!
And Sunday (tomorrow) is going to involve some chest/back/arm work at the gym plus foam rolling, stretching and resting my little legs.
So yes…training has started to take over my life, and I feel like I am living at the gym. However, my body is now used to waking up at 6am (It doesn’t want to, but it doesn’t complain as much as it did a few weeks ago) and I am starting to organize my meals a bit better, looking after my nutrition and ensure I am eating well. Probably not eating enough though – this past week I have been SO much hungrier and in need of food. Thursday afternoon after my 9km at lunchtime, I had lunch immediately after (a quinoa, avocado, smoked tofu, cucumber, tomato and hummus bowl) but within 2 hours I could hear my stomach rumbling! So I have to start bringing more snacks to work and making sure I am getting enough protein in each meal to help my body recover.
But despite the exhaustion I am currently trying to overcome, I am LOVING the training. I feel like I am getting so much stronger in my legs, working my way up to 3 sets of 12 18kg single leg calf raises. And today’s run was SO beautiful. It was warm (18 degrees) with the sun shining and not a cloud to be seen, and it was very windy (average 47 km/hr northerly gusts, and in some parts I had to stop running because the wind was actually pushing me over and making me trip over rocks etc). But it was just so beautiful. I had never done the Skyline before so was a bit nervous, trying out a new route, but it was really easy to follow.
The Wellington City Council has a great brochure with information about the route available online. But it says it takes 5 hours to walk one way, and it also made it seem much longer than 12km given you run from Johnsonville to Khandallah, Ngaio, Wilton and then Karori. However with a bit of googling and checking other people’s blog posts, I found confirmation that it was only 12km, so I didn’t need to worry (the last thing I wanted to do was to run and find that it was like 20km, resulting in me being stranded at the other end!!)
There were only one or two times where I thought ‘where do I go now?’ but that is part of the fun…exploring nature, adventuring and feeling like you are in the wild! I started from the Johnsonville end at Carmichael Street, and ran all the way to Karori (by Karori Park/Makara Road). That was 12km, and I then turned around and walked the 12km back…which was actually pretty tough! I think that running you get into a rhythm and it is easier to just keep going, walking I could feel my glutes and the ground a bit more and slowed down a few times.
But I just focused on the scenery and the stunning views on either side of me, and the fact that the faster I walked back, the faster I could have a glass of nice ice cold chocolate soy milk (bribery and mind games – they work like a charm!). The entire 24km had a 1,000 elevation gain, constantly going between 230m and 430m with numerous peaks to run up and down. Also burned approximately 1,400 calories – great given that I splurged a bit last night at our work team’s get away, having a second serving of dessert, and a few glasses of wine!
I also got more experience in my trail running shoes (which I LOVE) and using my awesome Ultimate Direction women’s ultra vesta hydration pack, and also figured out that I enjoy eating bananas on long trail runs, but not frooze balls so much. And afterwards, knowing that I did 24km in that weather when I could have easily said no, was so rewarding. It gave me a big mental boost, making me think ‘you can actually do this’ – which I need to keep telling myself!
But I am now looking forward to my ‘rest’ day tomorrow – my one day off before starting another 6 days that look very similar to the above plan…except next Saturday’s run is going to be 36km around the bays…which again, will be an awesome challenge mentally and physically. I haven’t done 36km in a long time, hopefully I survive!