Wednesday, August 31, 2011

8 km

I had mistakenly thought I was going to do 12 km today so I rushed off to get an early train and forgot to pick up half my training gear. Fortunately Philip was coming into town today and was able to drop it off for me.

I have noticed that my heart rate is very high for the first 500 - 1000 m so I try to walk a km or so before starting my watch. That didn't seem to make any difference and I was still very slow over the first km whilst I tried hard to get my technique right. I did manage to get some speed up and felt my core was staying pretty tight without me thinking about it all the time. When I remembered to lean forward from my feet I started to feel I was walking quite well. I originally planned 7:30 / km but revised that to 7:15 then 7:00 as I realised I was going faster than expected. I pushed the last km along and managed to get the average rate down to 7:01.

My posture is at the root of my problems and I have been trying hard to stand upright and tuck things in at all times. I am even sitting more upright at work but I was starting to get a sore back by the end of the day.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

5 km Waterfront Race

There was a fairly strong northerly wind blowing tonight. My left hamstring/glute was still feeling a little sore but it seemed to warm up pretty well. I tried hard to concentrate on technique during the event and did not push hard. John, who usually finishes ahead of me, was also working on his style and dropped behind me after about 600 m. I was happy with my result of 30:48 and felt quite loose after the race.

The video below was taken at the one-hour race in Palmerston North on Sunday. The other walker is Robyn who has beaten me to take out the club champion title for the past three years.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

One-hour track race

My left leg has been feeling stiff and sore and I was tempted not to go to this event. The race walking fraternity in NZ is not high in numbers so I like to support as many events as possible. After sitting in the car for almost two hours from home to the track in Palmerston North I could barely walk at all. I did a few laps but seemed to be on about 7:30 pace or worse. We got there well before the event so I rubbed some of my magic emu oil ointment into my legs and got myself prepared then went out and id another three laps.

When the race started I was surprised to find myself able to keep 2:24 lap pace for the first 4 laps and the first 2 km in under 12 minutes. My pace then dropped back to 2:30 laps and then to 2:35 but I was pretty consistent in pace. I had a few warning in laps 3 - 6 but felt I was walking well so I wasn't too concerned. Sometime after the 5 km mark I noticed I had one penalty but I concentrated on my style and thought I was doing okay. There was no change for 4 or 5 laps then at about 7.5 km I noticed two more cards had gone up. I decided that I may as well go for my time goal since I could not say I slowed down to get past the judges. I thought the gold standard for my age group was 9.6 km and with 10 minutes to go I completed 8 km. That meant I had to do 2:30 laps for the next four laps, 5 seconds a lap faster than my current pace. I dug it in and achieved a final distance of 9.65 km. This turned out not to be the gold standard but it was of no consequence - I had achieved the 9.6 km I was aiming for.

The laps are a little odd since I set the watch to auto-lap each pass of the start/finish. It showed that the watch was not that accurate and pressing the lap button myself would have been better.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

6 km

My focus this week is on technique but I did want to keep a reasonable pace. My aim was to average 6:45/km. I had a pilates consultation before my walk and that confirmed that there is a lot of work to do to get my 'postural muscles' firing. The pilates session involved a lot of deep breathing which I tried to apply in my walk. The cold wintry air was almost stinging my nose, making me realise that I normally breathe shallowly through my mouth. Just one more thing to try and change over time.

The wind was quite strong on my way out and also on the last km or so. I do think that my style is improving and there are some muscles in my butt that are working more than they used to. My watch didn't cope well with the turn around today and has created a couple of extra laps that didn't happen.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

5 km fartlek

My aim for today was 6:00 /km on the sprint sections and around 6:40 /km for the slower sections. I more or less managed that. The first 2 km were into a strong northerly wind so they were hard work. I was sweating a lot when I got back to work and my hamstrings are a bit sore tonight. I did try to think about tucking my butt in throughout the walk.

The times were:

3:20 + 3:04 = 6:24
3:15 + 3:00 = 6:15 - downwind now
3:20 + 2:59 = 6:19
3:19 + 3:02 = 6:21

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

6 km

The aim for today's walk was to concentrate on technique but I also wanted a reasonable pace not slower than 6:45 per km. I felt I was working quite hard for the first 3 km but seemed to settle into an easier rhythm after that. I was happy with my technique and felt that my back foot was staying down a bit longer. I kept my butt as tight as I could the whole walk - it seems to be getting conditioned.

I let the watch run on after the 6 km whilst I walked back to work across several busy roads.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Recovery walk

Jim told me yesterday that I could have a couple of days off after the race and he would give me a new programme early next week. My experience is that a walk the day after an event helps me to loosen up and I generally feel much better for walking than if I take the day off. I was also keen to start working on my technique which was not as secure as I had hoped for yesterday.

My first km was a warm up - I was not in a hurry. When I saw it was over 8 minutes I decided to work a bit harder to achieve an average pace better than 7:30 per km. It was a lovely winter's day and many people were out enjoying it so it was a challenge to dodge everyone on my way. I decided to turn around at the 5.5 km marker after almost 40 min. My plan was to stop at a favourite cafe about 1.5 km from my work where my car was parked.

I felt I was walking pretty well even though the speed was not great.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

National Road Champs - 10 km

I set my alarm for 6:00 am to make sure I would be ready to leave to pick Nyle up at the airport at 8:00 am. We had a quiet morning watching the running races from my work place across the road from the race and wandered over about 45 min before the race. Nyle showed me how to change the settings on the Garmin which are not mentioned anywhere in the instruction booklet. We decided perhaps it would be better for me to go with auto-laps since I had not practised doing manual laps in a race before.

My race plan was a good warm up, a conservative start and then to try and pick up speed later on if I was close enough to my opponent and doing okay with the judges. My husband phoned about 25 mins before the start so my warm up was not the quality I had planned. (He's out of town and we hadn't spoken for a couple of days).

Shortly into the race I got caught behind two other walkers at about the pace I wanted to walk but decided to pass them on the second lap. One of them stayed with me and proceeded to direct me in how to walk the race for the next 4-5 km. It was very annoying and distracting since it prevented me from settling into the race and finding my own rhythm. I eventually let him go ahead and felt much better for it.

At the 8 km mark I saw I had 2 bent knee penalties so I cut back my speed and concentrated on standing tall and tucking my butt. I was pleased to finish the race with nor further penalites but disappointed in my time (1:02:38). I was looking for a pb of under 61 mins but wasn't close today. The only other competitor in my age group was over 3 minutes ahead and I didn't have it in me today to try and chase that.

For what it was worth here is a link to the data from my Garmin - as Nyle predicted it was way off.

Friday, August 19, 2011

20 mins with strides

It was cold and a little windy but I felt pretty good out there today. I didn't have time for much of a warm up since I was on a course today and had to be back in an hour. My heart rate went crazy for the first 1.5 km. I wouldn't have known it except I'd set the alarm to go off when it went over 195 bpm. I felt fine. The graph shows it settling down quite suddenly part way through the second lap. Tomorrow I will warm up well and turn all alarms off.

I was happy with my speed today. I managed a good rate without overly stressing myself.

1 km 6.27 avg hr 190
2 km 6.03 avg hr 169
3 km 6.17 avg hr 151
180 m 1:14

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

45 min

It was raining heavily when I went to get changed today and I commented out loud that I was not feeling very motivated about walking today. I got delayed with some work and the rain had stopped when I went out. My gps took ages to find all the satellites so I walked down to the waterfront and then had to wait for it before starting my walk. Once the watch was ready I headed off straight away but I was not warmed up and my heart rate went crazy for the first 2 km. I didn't feel at all stressed but the heart rate was high.

My first 2 km were slow - I hope it was due the the cold. I didn't want to push myself hard but I had expected to walk at around 6:30 - 6:45 min/km. Alas I could only manage 7 min/km today. The rain poured down again half way through my walk so I was glad when the 45 minutes was up.

1 km 7:25 avg hr 177
2 km 7:14 avg hr 178
3 km 6:51 avg hr 177
4 km 6:59 avg hr 138
5 km 6:59 avg hr 138
6 km 7:02 avg hr 138
Total distance 6.46 km
Avg pace 7:05/km avg hr 148 bpm

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

4 x 800 @ 85% with 3 min Recovery

Getting to work this morning was a bit treacherous since last night's snow had turned to ice and even getting from my front door to the foot path was a challenge. Luckily I got to the train unscathed and it was quite a nice day.

I calculated out that if my full pace is 5:45 / km then 85% effort is around 6:36 /km or 5:12 per 800 m.

I stuffed up my timing by clicking stop instead of lap at the end of 800m so only have a figure for 1 km since I didn't turn off the auto-lap. The rest of the time I clicked lap at 0.5 miles or after 3 min recovery but forgot to note the distance at the start of lap 3 so went well over 800 m. I found the walk pretty easy and felt good. My quad muscle feels much better but not 100% yet.

For what it is worth my times were:

Lap 1 1 km 6:34 - I think I remember around 4:52 for 800 m avg hr 153 bpm
Lap 2 777 m 4:54 - about 5:03 for 800 m avg hr 143 bpm
Lap 3 936 m 5:56 - about 5:04 for 800 m avg hr 146 bpm
Lap 4 808 m 4:59 avg hr 144 bpm

I achieved a bit better than what I set out to do but I felt fine and I'm glad I went out when I did since it was hailing heavily by the time I went home from work. ( I usually walk in my lunch break - I extend this and work later)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

75 min

I was limping around yesterday after the race so I iced my quad, rubbed my magic emu oil embrocation in and wrapped a crepe bandage around it before bed. I thought it was unlikely that it would be good enough to walk on today and was wondering if swimming would help or hinder it. I checked out my result for the race yesterday. It was 29:36.

The leg felt better in the morning and I decided that a gentle walk might be okay. I wore compression tights to give the leg plenty of support and drove down to Oriental Parade. It wasn't raining when I left home but by the time I was ready to walk the rain was coming down steadily. I put my rain jacket on and set out at a very gentle pace. The first km was over 8.5 mins but my legs were warming up so I tried to up the pace a bit. I wanted to do at least 10 km in the 75 mins. I reached my turnaround point at the Kilbernie corner after 39.5 min. The wind was behind me on the return and I felt more comfortable. 8 km ticked around just after an hour of walking so I concentrated hard for the last 2 km to ensure I at least got to 10 km. (10.05 actually with avg heart rate 138 bpm)

1 km 8:45 avg heart rate 153 bpm
2 km 7:45 165
3 km 7:52 127
4 km 7:35 128
5 km 7:25 131
6 km 7:18 130
7 km 7:00 133
8 km 7:19 132
9 km 7:04 134
10 km 6:42 143

Odd how my heart rate was high for the first couple of km yet I was walking so slowly and didn't feel like I was working very hard at all. Perhaps the cold had something to do with it.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Turkey Trot

This was the 10th race out of 12 on our club's winter calendar and one of two in which the winner is the person who finishes closest to their estimated time.

I made sure I arrived in time to get a reasonable warm up as I was feeling a bit stiff. I didn't put an estimated time down until I'd been around the block a couple of times to try and gauge how well I would be able to walk. I was feeling like 31:30 was all I was capable of but in every one of this type of race I have walked faster than my estimate so wrote down 30:43.

It was a clear, still morning. The race follows the coastline from Island Bay to the far end of Lyall Bay, near the airport runway. It is very scenic and in my experience the hill at Houghton Bay makes for a faster time as you pick up speed coming down off the hill.

On my first step of the race I felt a pull in my left quadricep. That is unusual - I don't usually feel my quads at all but it wasn't surprising to feel different muscles whilst I'm working on changing my technique. After around 500m only Andrew and Peter were in front of me. Andrew's estimate was about a minute quicker than mine so I wanted to stay about 200m behind him. I hadn't seen Peter's estimate. I was working quite hard and my legs felt pretty stiff. I felt I was walking around the pace of my training session yesterday (6:45 min/km) so I kept giving it as much as I could. David Lonsdale, our A grade judge, made a special effort to come across and tell me to tuck my butt under so that was a good indication that my technique wasn't looking too flash. (He told me afterwards that he would have given me a red card if we were judging today's race)

When we got to the Lyall Bay straight I tried to speed things up a little but I really flagged about 200m from the end. Digging deep, I gave it one last spurt to the finish line, convinced my time would be over 31 min. I continued walking for a few more minutes then had a sneak peak on the results sheet at my time. I was about 1:15 too fast - my time was around 29:30. I was so shocked I didn't note the exact time.

The race was aptly named - it was Terri the Turkey out there today. I should have paid more attention to technique as I said yesterday that I would. That would have slowed me down a little and I may have gone closer to my estimate. My quad muscle is quite sore and I will have to give it some careful looking after for the next week if I want a good performance in the Road Champs.

What a turkey!

Friday, August 12, 2011

60 min with 2 x 6 min breakouts

I was feeling pretty tired and stiff and it was raining. I couldn't find my shorts when I went to get changed and was quite happy to give it a miss today. The rogue shorts were under my desk so I had no excuse.

I set my watch on 1 km laps and decided I would speed up on the 3rd and 6th laps. My first two km were slower than I wanted but not bad. My fast lap was encouraging at 5:48 but my slow laps became very slow, particularly after a bathroom break. My second breakout was 6:17 and the remaining laps incredibly slow. Perhaps going out today wasn't such a good idea. I'll make sure I get an early night tonight.

Max heart rate 160 bpm (on first lap)
Avg heart rate 111 bpm - I was struggling!

My race tomorrow is about getting your estimated time (no watches allowed) so if I'm still tired I will take it easy and concentrate on technique.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

8 km fartlek

I was looking forward to this workout. It seemed a great challenge. I discovered that the Garmin auto-lap did not have a 500m option so I decided that I would have to press the lap button every .31 miles after the first km. Mental arithmetic and physical effort is a good ask. You'd think with a degree in maths I should find this a piece of cake but I still got it a bit wrong. I was happy with how I did. Some of my slow legs seemed very slow but the time was not too bad so I guess I had settled into a bit of a rhythm. I finished the 8 km in 49:37, 6:07 min/km average speed. That is my 10 km race pace - I don't think I've ever achieved anything like that in a training walk before even though I intend to go hard. I certainly managed to get my heart rate up today. Max 190 bpm, avg 154 bpm. It was interesting to see my effort graphed out. There seemed to be slumps in pace and heart rate on each leg. I will work towards achieving a more even effort.

The breakdown is: (I set out to achieve 6 min/km on fast pace and around 6:20/km pace on recovery). I mucked up the timing a bit so had to make some adjustments but this is a pretty good representation. A fall off in the last couple of km but pleasing overall.

Lap 1 1km 5:57 max hr 190 bpm avg hr 167 bpm

Lap 2 500m 3:08 max hr 147 bpm avg hr 143 bpm
500m 2:51 5:59 max hr 154 bpm avg hr ? bpm

Lap 3 500m 3:06 max hr 150 bpm avg hr ? bpm
500m 2:52 5:58 max hr 156 bpm avg hr 153 bpm

Lap 4 500m 3:12 max hr 155 bpm avg hr 148 bpm
500m 2:52 6:04 max hr 158 bpm avg hr 154 bpm

Lap 5 500m 3:08 max hr 156 bpm avg hr 152 bpm
500m 2:55 6:05 max hr 160 bpm avg hr 157 bpm

Lap 6 500m 3:09 max hr 158 bpm avg hr 154 bpm
500m 2:50 5:59 max hr 163 bpm avg hr 160 bpm

Lap 7 500m 3:24 max hr 162 bpm avg hr 153 bpm
500m 3:04 6:28 max hr 163 bpm avg hr 159 bpm

Lap 8 500m 3:26 max hr 163 bpm avg hr 151 bpm
500m 3:11 6:37 max hr 160 bpm avg hr 155 bpm

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

80 min

Keen to try out my new Garmin watch, I got up early and caught the 6:30 train into town, dropped my gear off at work and headed out to walk. I didn't start the timer until I got to the waterfront because I wasn't sure I wanted to set the auto-pause whilst I was crossing the roads. (I should have done this because my last km looked very slow due to waiting at the lights).

The first couple of kms were very slow as I mucked around with the watch, trying to set some alarms. I needed to set some zones for these to work so decided I would do that on the computer when I got home. My speed remained pretty slow as I was concentrating on technique and had not recovered from my effort in the race the previous evening. My legs were not cooperating when I asked for more speed. It was interesting to see that my maximum heart rate only got to 139 bpm and averaged out at 116 bpm. Clearly there is room for much more effort on the cardio side of things.

I walked out to the 4.5 km marker then back to work. Only just over 10 km for the 80 min. I'll be looking for much more than that next time! I was pretty tired by the time I got to work and my glutes were sore so I think the effort wasn't too bad.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

5 km Waterfront Race

It's not that often you get a still evening on the Wellington waterfront. Usually the best you can hope for is a moderate southerly to blow you home. That's how I managed to get my PB and then improve it. Tonight the conditions were perfect. No wind at all to be detected at the start of the race (There was a light northerly coming home). You've got to give it your best shot in these conditions - it could be a long time before you get this chance again.

Tim who finishes well ahead of everyone else decided to run tonight so the only walker in front of me was John. I managed to stay within 10m of him but I knew he did a half marathon on the weekend so didn't want to assume he was managing his normal speed. I was sure that he sped up a bit when he realised that I was so close.

I forgot to check my watch at half way but did so about 150m later at around 15:07. It was hard to see in the half light. The first runners usually pass me well before Freyberg pool but not tonight. I was outside the yacht club when most of the pack passed me so I figured my time must be quite good. I tried to concentrate on my technique and settle into a rhythm but was working harder than I usually do. With about 30m to go I found a bit of extra speed and managed to pip John at the post although we both were given the same time of 29:30. That's a 7 sec PB for me.

I felt good after the race apart from my right Achilles which was burning about 20cm up my lower leg. I must do more strengthening exercises for this.

When I got home I found my Garmin had arrived so it's charging now ready for me to try out tomorrow. That's exciting.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Optional Day

I drove Philip to the airport before work this morning so had a 4 km walk from the car to work and, of course, the same distance again at the end of the day. I wore work clothes with my walking shoes but did try to walk properly.

I have to play interclub squash on Wednesday, otherwise my team will be short, so I had a squash practice tonight. I was feeling low on blood sugars at the end of that even though I ate dinner before playing.

I have my splits from the timekeepers for Saturday's race.

5:46, 6:05, 6:02, 6:11, 6:08, 6:20, 6:23, 6:27, 6:23, 6:24

My total time was 62:09

Sunday, August 7, 2011

130 min

I live on a hill so need to drive to get to a flat place for racewalking. Philip had the car so I had to use the scooter. Worried about security, I decided to leave it in the basement at work and head out around the bays. I go this way most week days so would normally have chosen somewhere else on a Sunday.  The place was teeming with people out taking advantage of the sunshine.  My aim was to concentrate on stretching out my core, pushing my hips forward, tucking my butt under and occasionally I remembered to try and keep my back foot down as long as possible and to bring my knee straight through. I checked my speed against the distance markers and found I was doing 7:30 per km. I would have liked to go faster but was happy enough with the speed given that I raced yesterday and the aim of today's session was to concentrate on technique. I ran out of footpath at 63:30 so turned around and headed back. The wind was much stronger in this direction butI still managed to get back about a minute faster which was pleasing.

Wellington Champs (10 km)

My right archillies was not feeling great before this race but I was feeling pretty good apart from that. The race was held by the reservoir in Wainuiomata. It is the same venue as last year but they moved the walking course a bit further up the road since the walkers struggled with the steepness last year.

I won the Wellington Champs in 2009 out at Trentham in a time of 61:00. That is my PB for 10 km and I didn't expect to go close to that time again until my technique is sorted.  I knew there would be two women walkers in the race (Natasha and Alana) who would go well under 60 min.  I was keen to beat Kevin who is my closest rival in the club 10 race winter series. I was prepared to consider going after Robyn in the last few laps if I could stay close enough to her but finishing free of red cards was a higher priority.

I stuck behind Robyn for the first few km.  We passed Kevin in the first lap and I went through in 5:47 for the first km and 11:50 at the 2 km mark.  I was disappointed at such a big fall off in speed although I knew I couldn't stay under 6 min/km pace for long.  The uphill side of the course felt harder than last year even though the steepest part had been removed.  The event was somewhat disorganised. The drinks table didn't appear until half way through and there was no board to display the penalties. The chief judge Peter was going to tell walkers if they were given a card.

I tried to concentrate very hard on my technique particularly when going past David, the A grade judge who was positioned just before the turn at the top of the course.  It was disconcerting to realise that David was asking Peter about my technique and to see them both looking intently as I walked past.  Robyn was gradually increasing the gap and I wasn't sure I would be able to catch her up. Although I hadn't even had any warnings at that stage I decided to put my effort into technique and to pull back on speed.

My finishing time was 62:09 and I finished with three bent leg warnings but no cards. After the race David told me that my knees never straightened 100% but that they were consistent and, as it was not giving me any advantage, he was happy to let it go. Unfortunately the judges at the nationals in two weeks time may not see it the same way.

Later last night I read feedback from Jim after seeing my video. He tells me I am sitting down on my hips and need to strengthen my core and butt a lot in order to improve things. I am  pleased that there is something I can do to get better and I only hope that I can understand and master what it is I need to do.

It's a beautiful morning despite the weather forecast predicting rain so am off for my 130 min walk.  I am feeling good  - not much stiffness after the race yesterday.

Friday, August 5, 2011

New Camera Try Out

Philip didn't want me to use this video - it was only a quick test of the camera. I am keen for Jim see my technique for what it is worth and to check out that the upload to the blog will work okay.

I have Wellington Champs (10 km) in the morning so I had a rest day today.

First post

A new month and a new coach. Inspired by Nyle Sunderland's outstanding achievements at the World Masters Athletics Championships I have hooked up with the same coach, ordered myself a GPS training watch and begun a new training programme.

Monday 01 August
Today I was to do an 8km kickdown which involved increasing my speed by 10s per km every 2 km. I don't have a training watch yet so I had to go by the distance markers on the waterfront which are not very reliable. I worked out I should start with 6:50 per km but found I did the first one in 7 min. The next three were 6:50 but on the 4th km I mistakenly thought I was ahead of schedule so deliberately slowed a bit. Next time I will write down the 500m splits before I go out so I'm not depending on my mental arithmetic while I'm walking. I'm pretty sure I did manage to speed up for the last km but I found adjusting my speed by 10s per km quite a subtle difference that will need practice.

Tuesday 02 August
Today was officially cross training but it was the first 5 km race of the Scottish series which runs for 8 months of the year. I went to get changed and couldn't find my shorts - they had jumped out of my bag! (I found them on the bedroom floor when I got home) Luckily the dress I was wearing wasn't too tight so I put that on over my tee shirt. It was perfect conditions - cool and calm. I managed 29:56 which is my third best 5 km time. I felt my cardios were working hard which is great. So often I feel my cardios could do more if only my legs weren't so stiff.

Wednesday 03 August
Philip came to walk with me today. 60 min with 2 x 6 min breakouts. I wanted to make sure I did at least 1 km in the breakouts. I think the first breakout took 6:10 for 1 km but I couldn't remember the exact time on my watch when I started. The second breakout was exactly 1 km in 6 min according to the distance markers. Philip was even quite close behind me on the second breakout. I sure he would beat me every time if he put in the effort!

Thursday 04 August
Another lovely sunny day. 60 min today. Concentrated on technique and threw in some Mexican walking drills. I think I'm tucking my butt under correctly but I'm keen to get some videos up for Jim to critique.