Things making me happy this week – 26th March – Earth Hour

What is making me happy this week is Earth Hour.  We are only days away from the ninth staging of the event on the 28th March and the excitement is building.

Working in the Earth Hour global team it is great to see over 172 countries and territories coming together to focus on our planet and the climate.

It has been exciting over the past weeks to watch the number of visitors to our website have steady increased, it is going to be another big year for Earth Hour.

Every day the team hear about initiatives within the Earth Hour and WWF networks from legislative changes, to cleaning beaches through to groups enjoying a candlelit dinner with someone they love, individuals and organisations have embraced Earth Hour as there own.

A group selfie just before Earth Hour.
A group selfie just before Earth Hour.

It is amazing how the world has united behind this one simple act started in Sydney in 2007 of switching off the lights for one hour has achieved so much over the years.

During Earth Hour night, our global Earth Hour team have to be available for all 24 of the 1 hour session, I will be working from 9pm to 9am. While coffee will help me get through the night, the excitement and energy of the global community will keep me going.

If you have not thought about Earth Hour until now, here is a few simple things you can do:

  1. Switch off the lights in your house from 8:30-9:30pm local time on the 28th March;
  2. Visit the Earth Hour website and find out what events happening in your area
  3. Take action, help fund a project or sign an online petition to help make a sustainable future;
  4. Join the movement and keep up to date on activities that are happening through the Earth Hour movement throughout the year.
  5. Have some fun and watch the Durex video.

So join me and switch off your lights this Saturday night and use the power of the hour to make a difference on the planet.

Happy Earth Hour.

A new running challenge – the flying kiwi?

One of the great things about running is not matter what your fitness level we all have to competing against the clock. Some days the clock can be your friend but more often than not it is a hard task master that never gives an easy second.

For most of us regular runners achieving a personal best time is one of the best things we can accomplish from a race.

I am heading into a period where I am not going to be participating in many races so I can build a stronger running base in an attempt to attempt to smash a few outstanding personal records in the 5km and half marathon distances, and have for a brief moment a feeling that I have beaten the clock.


The first of these distances is the 5km distance. I have not done a lot of short distance runs but want to do the East Coast Parkrun at least once a month with the aim to get below 19 minutes. My current best time is around 20 minutes and 2 seconds, which I achieved yesterday.

Up and down the steps at Fort Canning - I am sure they have been extra steps to the hill.
Up and down the steps at Fort Canning – I am sure they have been extra steps to the hill.

I have started to change my training program by incorporating more speed session and more time in the gym. I am trying to take my average training time down from around 5 min/km to around 4 min 30 sec per km.

Living close to Fort Canning means it is easy to incorporate one hill session a week. I am sure they have been adding steps to the hill recently.

The aim is to focus on the 5km as a good building block to take on the bigger challenge of the half marathon.

The Half Marathon

I have once before managed to run a 90 minute marathon but I want to run a sub-90 minute half. The best time I have done here in Singapore is 1 hour 40 minutes 28 seconds, taking off 10 minutes and 29 seconds is going to take some work.

This means I need to take my per kilometer time down from 4:44 to 4:16, all achievable but will require some smart and hard work. It is not just about running long distances but running each session with some purpose.

To achieve this goal I aim to build additional strength at the gym and aim to reduce my weight by around 5-6kg. The Singapore humidity is a killer if you are running with extra weight.

I may not d another half marathon until the end of the year and that is fine with me. My goal is not to accumulate a large number of slow runs but focus on running a few great races.

In the past I have put a lot of faith in running longer distances, the next few months the aim is to work smart. The end goal is to achieve both goals in 2015.

Until next time, happy running.

Things making me happy this week – 18th March

What has been making me happy this week is 39 Steps by John Buchan. First published in 1915, this adventure/murder mystery has become a classic novel and has stood up well to the test of time.39-steps by John Buchan

Set in is pre-war London, the novel takes you on an adventure across England and Scotland as the main character first attempts to avoid capture and then tries to stop events that could lead to the start of war.

The book kept me engaged throughout the story. I plan to read more mystery, murder novels over the coming months.

It was also nice to have a shorter story, with work being busy at the moment it nice to start and finish something that does not need to use too much of the grey matter.

Back to the books until next week.

Things making me happy this week – 9th March

This is a new section to the blog that cover moments, events or things that have made me happy in the past week. I can not take credit for the idea as I have stolen it directly from one of my favorite Podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour.

In the past week I have been enjoying the first single from the upcoming album by Courtney Barnett – Pedestrian At Best.

I recently saw Courtney play at the Singapore Laneway Festival and though the song was at best average, I might be getting old but I just could not hear the words. The song is all about the lyrics.

Since then I have heard the studio version of the song a couple times and loving it. I love the hard rock edge to her song, the fresh clever lyrics and something a little bit original.

At this stage I can only listen to the song through YouTube here in Singapore, so looking forward for the release of the album later this month.

Running through February

It is now the start of March and as I look back on February I must say that I am pleased with my running results, achieving all the goals I set myself. Here is what I achieved:

  1. 200km per month

I set a goal at the start of the year to run a minimum of 200km each month. February was always going to be a little harder without those extra couple days, but the challenge was compounded with a case of the flu taking which took my out for several days. Yesterday I managed to clock over 208km for February with a final run of 23km.

  1. Half Marathon 

I had the Brooks Marina Bay half marathon in the middle of the month, with an initial goal to break the 90 minute mark.

brooks A combination of the flu the week before the run and a fall while out training a couple days before the event meant I adjusted the goal to just completing the run.

All was fine until I got to the starting line, but something inside me said completing the run was not good enough, I had to go for it.

I started feeling the effects of the bad preparation week around the 8km mark, even though I eased my pace I still finished only 30 seconds behind my Standard Chartered half result with a time of 1 hour 41 minutes and 18 seconds.

I know I will get under the 90 minute mark this year.

  1. JantasticJantastic_2015-300

It is the end of month two of Jantastic and still achieving 100% of my goals. I did find it hard to complete the 5 runs per week every week but dig deep and got there in the end. Yesterday’s 23km run was only run because of Jantastic the crazy idea at the end of January to run this distance.

In March I am setting a short distance speed goal as I want to run the East Coast Parkrun 5km run in under 19 minutes 50 seconds.

  1. Running buddies

    Beer with the Running Wolf after the Brooks Marina Bay Half Marathon.
    Beer with the Running Wolf after the Brooks Marina Bay Half Marathon.

Most of my running has been a solo effort and while not really a goal I have enjoyed having some running buddies through the month. I joined a great group of runners, River Valley Runners, for a Tuesday morning run and enjoyed keeping a couple people in our condo company as they train for their respect half marathons.

March Goals

As I head into March the fitness goals will revolve around building core strength and running speed. The aim this year is to get my half marathon time well under the 90 minute mark and the best way to do this is from a strong core base. The plan to put a little more focus on the gym than the road through March and April.

It is time I stop typing, put my runners on and get back on the road.

Happy running through March.

October 2014 Running Summary

October was  a great training month for me. I am not sure if it was the new Brooks shoes or a change in my training program but I really enjoyed my runs in October.

During the month I ran just over 244km, surpassing my previous best monthly record of 217km. During these runs I completed my first Parkrun (5km in 20min 29sec), my best 10km training run (48min 37 sec) and 2 runs longer than a half marathon (21km).

In October I moved to adding a double run day each week where I go for 2 runs in a day, this usually  involved a run home after work one night a week. I have also added in at least one hill session a week, it is handy having Fort Canning close to home. Last weekend I combined a hill run with my weekly  long run, running 22km with a diversion up Mount Faber along the way.

I took in a lot of running knowledge over the month, listening to a lot of Podcasts over and read a couple fitness books. I am planning to further refine my program in November as I get ready for the Standard Charter half marathon on the 7th of December. The Goal is to run the half marathon in around 1 hour 40 minutes.

The podcasts will be switched off during November as I focus on breaking my Singapore half marathon time. I want to focus all my efforts on the half marathon and do not want to be distracted by adding any new ideas into my mind.

I only had moderate success in cutting out sugar completely from my diet but have made significant reduction in the amount of refined sugar I have consumed. Coconut water is not yet my friend but consuming it all the same as I see the long term benefits to my body.

Happy running during November and see you in December.

Running hot in Singapore

There are many constants in the world, oTemperaturene of these constants is that it is always hot here in Singapore. It is a striking difference to where I grew up in the deep south of  New Zealand where winter temperatures hovered around the 10-12 degree mark.

There is also little relief from the heat between day or night.  Earlier this year when I ran the Sundown half marathon, which starts way after sundown at 12:30 am (no typo there, it started just after mid-night), I was still running in 29C+ temperatures and high humidity. Then when I hit the 15-16km mark I could feel the heat pulsing out of my body, it is not much fun.

The heat does affect ones running performance, I was reading articles that hot and humid conditions can impact your performance by around 15% (Runner Academy). While I am sure there is not a lot of hard science behind this 15% figure, it sounds about right, particularly on those longer runs.

The warm conditions has not affected the countries enthusiasm for running with at least one or two running events every weekend. People may not run very fast but lots of people take part in the organised events.

Hydration is key to running here, you have to drink lots before, during and after your run, otherwise your performance drops. I work on the rule of thumb of at least 1oz of water for every kilo of weight and a little more on days  I run 15km+.

I have recently joined the coconut water crazy and down a bottle after a long run. I don’t really like the taste of coconut water but what I have read it has to be good for me. I have also found that there is also nothing better than jumping into our pool after a long run to cool down, as I am already soaking wet it makes no difference to the clothes I am wearing.

If you like to run hot, Singapore is the place to be.


Author: Richard Brock