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

It’s time to say goodbye – sugar

We had a great relationship for many years but as time passed our relationship has started to wane to a point now it is time to say goodbye and end our relationship, sugar.Sugar free

People had told me for years that sugar was no good for me, it was a relationship that would end in disaster, fatness, a heart attack and type 2 diabetes. Thinking our relationship was different and we had something special I ignored these “naysayers” for many years.

I see everyday around me that sugar has been cheating on me, it is not fussy who it lives with. As our waist sizes keep get larger sugar is snuggling in for a long term relationship.

Sugar is a tricky beast, it sneaks around and attempts to get back into my life by any means. Sugar has infiltrate its way into most processed foods, so I have to be on my guard to protect myself against this bunny boiler. I have attempted to run away from sugar but those love handles keep on loving me.

Like any addict I need to fight this addiction on a bite by bite and day by day basis.

While I have only started down this life long journey to a  lighter and more energetic me.

Author: Richard Brock

SMU Mile Run

I have always competed in longer distance runs but last weekend I took part in the SMU Mile run here in Singapore. It was by no way the Richard at the start linebiggest running event in Singapore with around 300 people taking part.

I did this run for the simple reason that it was close to home and so it wouldn’t take a significant amount of time out of my day. I could get up, pop down to the event, do my run and then pop back home.

The run was not as the name suggests a mile long, but 3 lapses of a 1 mile course (4.8km in length) around Fort Canning. The difficulty was not the distance but the terrain, as Fort Canning is one only a few hills here in Singapore, but still it is not Dunedin steep.

Runners took off in small batches of around 20 people at a time so reducing the impact of bottlenecks with slower runners.

I was happy with my time of 21 minutes and 47 seconds and my 4th place in the Mens Open. I had mentally calculated that a stretched goal of 23 minutes would be nice to achieve so coming in well under this time made all the early Sunday morning start well worth while.

My only criticism of the events was the post of results, other than the top three place for each category results we dumped into a PDF file with no division of contestants between categories. The Good presentation of results is so important, regardless of peoples times they should be presented in a professional manner.

My next focus is to complete the Standard Charter half marathon in under 1 hour 40 minutes.

 

Small things can make a big difference – my new iPhone 5 with a 8GB Thumb Drive

Sometimes the small innovations can make a big difference, the little time saving devices that make life just that little bit better.

Combining products together has not always lead to great success, the calculator watch of the 80’s, not a good combination. The Internet fridge, well it hasn’t really gone pass concept stage. In this situation it was worth the risk.

I was recently given a HybridSeries 8GB thumb drive case from Mobilezap to review, while at first a little skeptical about combining a phone cover and USB I have come to like my new cover.

Even as more and more services are moving to the cloud I still have the need for a USB drive, the drive has come in handy over the past couple of weeks. It is not until you have the USB with you all the time you realize how often you need it.

The biggest advantage of combing your phone cover and USB is that you make sure that you always get the USB back. I am sure there is a big pile of lost USB sticks somewhere close to the big pile of lost pens.

The one thing you never quite know when purchasing items online is the feel of the product. The feel of the cover is the most important attribute of a phone cover, in this case the case feels great, as good as any other case I have owned.

If you are looking for a new iPhone cover for your series 5 or 5S then I suggest you look at the Mobilezapp Hybrid 8GB thumb drive case.

Author: +Richard Brock

MapMyRun keeps me running in Singapore

Before I was given my Jawbone Up, I had and still use MapMyRun. This simple to use iPhone app tracks the distance I ran, where I ran and compares times to other people running the same route.

When I was looking for a running app there were three features I used for a comparison

1.    Acurate measurement of distance;

2.    Help pace my run; and

3.    Allow me to compare my run to others.

Distance – How far was that run?

When you haven’t run for a while you have a pretty good idea of the distance you have run, it is like an added sense you acquire. MapMyRun helps me confirm and fine tune this sense of distance I have acquired over the years.

I flirted with the younger, sexier looking RunKeeper for a while but I continue to use MayMyRun as I find it more accurate than Run Keeper.

When running some comparison tests of MayMyRun, RunKeeper and Jawbone Up, I found that MapMyRun and Jawbone Up were producing similar results while RunKeeper regularly doubled the distance over the same course. MapMyRun does have the odd “bad hair day” but far less than Run Keeper.

MayMyRun and my Jawbone Up complement each other; MapMyRun gives more details while running while the Jawbone Up provides a better data on my overall daily effort. It is great going for a run in the morning but you need to ensure you keep active through the day, I have become a believer in the 10,000 steps a day philosophy.

Help me pace my run

MapMyRun allows me to pace my run, providing updates throughout the run. I use a 5 minute split time to ensure I am keeping a good pace and ensure I do not stay out on my run too long. It is hard to run too long in Singapore without lots of water.

Compare not share my performance

I mostly run by myself, I have found few people that want to run before 6am in the morning and I don’t want to wait for anyone that early in the morning. MapMyRun is my running partner.

The course feature within the service allows me to pace myself against others and myself. I do like that your run is broken down into sections and shows how your run compares to others on a short part of your run. It is good to see a bit of gamification in action.

It maybe my circle of friends but I have not found a lot of people within my contacts list using MapMyRun, Jawbone Up or RunKeeper. If you use MayMyRun or Jawbone Up it would be great to connect with you.

The MayMyRun Interface – in need of a little love

The MapMyRun interface is a little sad and dated and it’s annoying that all the functionality is not available from within the mobile app. It would be nice if they could invest just a little in improving the UX.

It would be good to see them add weight goals into their service, like RunKeeper does. Many people run to lose weight and so this is often a more important goal at first than distance and pace goals.

At this stage I use the free version of MapMyRun, I am not in the app enough for the ads to annoy me and don’t see any value in their MPV services.

If you are just starting running, MapMyRun provides the ideal running partner to accompany you on your training sessions. It is a little ugly but accurate. Happy running.

Related Posts:

1.   Running Singapore

2.   A run away success

Author: +Richard Brock