Category Archives: Fitness

Running an ultra with no specific training

Tomorrow I’m doing the Frankston to Portsea 55km. This race has a long history based on Percy Cerutty’s interesting training methods so I am really looking forward to taking part in this slice of running history.

The only thing is I haven’t trained for it.

Over the past few months my weekly training has looked like this:

Deadlift x 1
Squat x 1
1 other lift (eg push press, front squat etc) x 1
Kettlebells x 1-2
Other metabolic training such as TRX, ropes, bodyweight x 2-3
Running – hills x 1
Running – intervals x 1
Running – medium distance 10-25km x 1

Looking at that outline, it doesn’t even look like I’m training for running. It just looks like general fitness. And if you were told that is a running program, what distance could it possibly be? 10km? Half marathon?

I have not run over 25km this year. This is mainly because my goal races are months away so I haven’t been bothered, it takes up time, I’m too lazy to take water on the run, and I’ve been very busy this year so sometimes opting for a sleep in instead.

I know I can do 55km, but how will it go? Will I crash and burn at 30km? Will my ITB play up like at my last ultra? Will my head hang low as I stumble last to the finish line? Can I run the whole distance? Can I maintain a lively pace? Could I possibly even do it well?

Who knows. We’ll find out tomorrow 🙂

First Long Run of the Year

Today I decided to go for a long run to see if my endurance has suffered, and to attempt to build up a solid base for my main races this year.

Although I had not been getting enough sleep during the week and have been walking around like a zombie, I felt surprisingly good when I woke up and had a rough idea of a 20-25km run. At 6am it was 26 degrees, I could see lightning on the horizon but no rain to cool me down. I was expecting my hamstrings to be a bit sore from heavier-than-planned deadlifts late in the week but they felt fine. My leg turnover was pretty good and it seems like doing lots of intervals this year (for distance, time and hills) has improved my general speed. Unfortunately with all the hills and heat my heart rate was so high I was forced to slow down. At the 14km mark I was overcome with extreme thirst and didn’t bring water or any money to stop at a shop to get some. My HR was still so high but I forced myself to keep going so I could hurry up and get home and rehydrate. At 500m to go and 2 short but steep hills remaining, my HR got to 189 and I just walked the rest of the way, totaling 22.6km. After some water, a nectarine, some homemade boysenberry cordial and a shower I went to sleep for a couple more hours.

Despite totally crashing at the end, my legs feel absolutely fine considering it’s been so long since any decent length run. All these deadlifts and squats must be making them nice and strong. Lots of intervals have improved my comfortable running speed. Now I either need to get fitter or the weather needs to start cooling down and I should be able to make the most of it.

I wore my new Adizero PRs. They are soooooooo comfy! But I think they will wear out quickly. Their light weight soles are showing more wear than I’ve seen on any other shoe before – and my fav shoes are still going strong after 1000-2100km.

Achillies and Tabata

My right achillies seems to be mysteriously getting a little better. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve taken out the insoles of the Nike Frees, or maybe I am stretching more than I think I am, or maybe my biomechanics are falling into place with weekly intervals in the Five Fingers. It has its sore moments, especially up hills, but it has felt about 50% better this week.

Yesterday I had to be somewhere at mid day and did not want to eat all the food was there so instead of my planned 30k I did 15k in the hope I wouldn’t be so hungry during the day, and also with the plan of doing another 15k today. It didn’t work. First morning in a week that I had a chance for a sleep in so I took it!

Instead I did a Tabata workout. The idea is you pick an exercise and do 20 sec HARD, 10 sec off x 8 (total = 4 mins). A Crossfit twist is you can count the number of reps or distance (depending on exercise) and the lowest number you get in a 20sec round is your score.

I chose to do situps, squats and pushups with 1 min rest between tabatas. For situps I scored 18, squats 13 and pushups – let’s just say after round 4 I maxed out – and they were girly pushups too!

It was a great QUICK workout – 12 mins in total. My legs were shaking after the squats and my arms were shaking after the terrible pushup attempt. I will do some db arm exercises to build strength so I can work up to 8 rounds of pushups!

This form of exercise is great because you can apply the method to almost anything – sprints, cycle, row, lunges, plyometric lunges(!), db exercises, deadlifts, burpees – anything you can measure. This means your workout is limited only by your imagination and you can track your progress. It’s a complete workout – you can do cardio and resistance at the same time – great if you favour one over the other so you can find something to enjoy about it. It’s the ultimate fat burner. You feel great afterwards because although it is an intense burst of pain, it is over quickly but you still feel that great feeling of a good workout afterwards. Those 10 seconds rest are really short!

I will keep up Tabata workouts. I run in the mornings and no longer have any evenings free for an hour workout so to fit in something in under 20 mins is perfect.

Vegan for a week and 100 Pushups! What? 100 pushups?!

Last week I was vegan. An initiative of the Plant Powered Cool Runners group, those of us who were not vegan decided to give it a go for a week.

I was terribly unhealthy. I thought Right, I’m vegan. Vegan food is good food. I will bake some vegan muffins, vegan banana bread, vegan pancakes, go to the local World Vegan Festival and buy lots of vegan muffins and vegan raw chocolate. But you know what? Muffins are still muffins and chocolate is still chocolate no matter what label you want to give it. Hence I had a week of terribly bad health. So today I am back to my normal diet. I felt the need to cleanse myself of this terrible vegan eating so for dinner tonight I had a huge bowl of vegetables. Potato, squash, zucchini, green beans, cherry tomatoes and broccoli. I feel sooo much better after that!

It’s funny, there seem to be a lot of barefoot or near barefoot runners who run long distances and are vegan. They are a bunch of hippies. They are like the beautiful people at doofs in the bush who dance barefoot all night and all day.

Eating vegan food is one thing that makes me feel closer to the earth. I remember several years ago I came home from Rainbow Serpent and wrote down a list of things that I wanted to do to be myself. One of the things I wrote down was to walk outside barefoot at least once a day, even if it’s just in my back yard, so I could connect with the earth.

Has anyone checked out the 100 Pushups Challenge? Who wouldn’t want to be able to complete 100 pushups in a row? ONE HUNDRED FULL PUSHUPS! Well I am giving it a go starting tonight, I did Week One, Day One.

And I am not doing any of this girly knee pushup business. Full man pushups all the way baby! It makes such a difference. The girl pushups are so lame I think, even though at the start of the year I could only do 10 before collapsing. I have noticed with full pushups I really feel my core working, and that is what I need.

I have been building up to this for a while, working on my girly pushups so I can do 35 in one hit without a break. Then I suddenly went from being able to do 5 full pushups to 10 to 15! I tried again this morning, but with correct form I could really only do 10 full pushups. So I started the 100 pushup challenge tonight. J is doing it too so it will be good to compare notes 🙂 We have made a rule to start today and to do full pushups with correct form – No cheating!

I suggest anyone who is interested in general fitness and strength to give it a go. Who knows when you will need to impress someone with your ability to do so many pushups?