27 June 2009

A great challenge for a great cause

Its becoming harder and harder to raise funds in these tough economic times, but that hasn't stopped one determined endurance athlete from doing his part to fund raise for a worthwhile charity close to his heart.

Aucklander runner Malcolm Law has dreamt up a challenge all of his own which is sure to test even the toughest of ultra runners plus hopefully some much needed funds for his chose charity, the Leukaemia and Blood Foundation of New Zealand.

Malcolm, or Mal, will be running each of New Zealand's seven 'Great Walks' in seven consecutive days. The Great Walks are a network of hiking trails set in New Zealand's stunning mountains and back country. They are well spread with two in the North Island and five in the South Island and range in length from 32 km to 78 km. The seven walks ( or runs in Mals case) cover a total of almost 360 km.

Aptly named the Mizone 7 in 7, the challenge will take place over seven days from November 29 this year. Mal will be be joined on each run by a number of keen supports but Mal will be the sole runner running all seven Great Walks.

Check out the 7 in 7 website for more info and follow his progress as he gets closer to the big event. He updates is blog regularly with details of his training which has just ticked over 1000 km of training runs. He reckons there's another 1000 in him before the event.

There's also a link on his site where you can sponsor him and you could even win some cool prizes by doing so.

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23 June 2009

The Pregnancy Marathon

I'm perhaps not qualified to comment on either pregnancies or marathons not having experienced either of these events, however it has struck me while observing Michelle's pregnancy, that pregnancy is a little like running a marathon in many ways.

Like a marathon a pregnancy can be broken up into smaller sections;

From what I have read, the the first ten k or so of a marathon is about settling in to a rhythm. You feel fresh and perhaps a nervous apprehension about what lies ahead.

Usually the first few weeks of a pregnancy will go unnoticed so this is one race that you don't actually know you've started until you're a few weeks into it. The next few weeks can be a breeze for some and tough on others as the body gets use to supporting a baby. Fortunately for Michelle the first ten weeks or so of her pregnancy passed without too much fuss.

Kilometers ten through thirty in a marathon are where you lay the ground work for the latter stages of the race. Maintaining a steady rhythm, looking after yourself, hydrating etc.

It's the same for weeks ten through thirty in the pregnancy. The body (and mind) are over the initial shock to the system and you can set about preparing for the final stages of the race. It's still important to look after yourself through these stages and not make you move too soon.

I've heard many people say the a marathon does not start until the final ten k and again I think the same can almost be said for pregnancies. It seems as each week passes the tension is building as the finish line draws near. The body is tiring and she just wants the race to finish. Sometimes there's a false alarm and you think you can see the finish but then it disappears again into the distance.

We're two days from the finish line. Hopefully the organisers will have measured the course correctly and we wont have to run an extra 'mile'.

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20 June 2009

Injury Prevention

Here's some great injury prevention tips from the guys at Newton Running.

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14 June 2009

Back training and waiting for a baby!!

Well after last weeks post about having lacked motivation to train for the previous two weeks I was left with little option to get back into it wasn't I? That's the great thing about maintaining a blog - all you have to do when you're feeling you need some encouragement is to write a post about the issue and a couple of things generally happen;

1, As soon as you've posted about something its there in black and white, online for the world to see. You look a bit foolish if you turn around and don't do what you said you were going to do. The act of posting your plans in a blog, is like taking the first step towards achieving what ever it is you were setting out to do. Once its there for all to see the words take on more meaning and your goals become clear again.

2, The second thing that happens is that generally you will receive some form of positive encouragement, and that's always pleasing to read also, knowing that you're not alone and that others are interested and can empathise, and are willing you along no matter where in the world they might be.

So this week I hit the pool for two 30 minute swims as well as my Exercycle for two rides of almost an hour each. If you haven't checked it out before, I record my workouts in the Training Log which can be accessed by clicking the link at the top of this page.

Any training woes are quickly forgotten when I consider that at some stage over the next week or two my beautiful wife Michelle will be giving birth to our third child. All the usual preparations have been made, baby's room readied , nappies stock piled, etc etc , and now all we can do is wait for the impending arrival.

Cant wait to meet our new bundle of joy and re-live all that 'baby stuff' again!

Happy running.

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07 June 2009

Losing that motivation to train and how to get it back

Why is it that sometimes we lose any motivation to train or exercise?

I'm sorry if this post is a bit negative but it's just that this is a topic that I can relate to right now and I thought as I'm going through it I may as well blog about it.


Photo from oddstock

For the last two weeks I have been the ultimate coach potato, not having any motivation to get up and exercise. I know I should but I don't. What's keeping me from staying with the programme?

1. I'm disillusioned by not being able to do what I would most like to do - run.

Instead I am faced with alternatives to running like biking and swimming.

Swimming is great cross training for runners and is certainly an excellent fitness builder, but a) I am darn slow at it and b) it ranks as one of the most mind numbing activities I've done. The monotony of swimming in a pool is a major turn off.

Unlike running where in just 30 minutes of running you can get a decent workout, I feel that you need at least twice that on a bike to achieve similar results. In the middle of winter now my bike options are basically reduced to my home Exercycle or a weekend ride on my bike.

2. Fitting it in - finding the time.

With running there is no question, I could always find the time fit it in. When exercise options are limited to those second and third favorites there always seems to be a whole host of reasons why you miss a workout. Too busy at work, its too cold, favorite TV show, spending time with family, catching up on peoples blogs etc etc.

The key to staying motivated I think is to know what your goals are and have a plan to reach those goals. For me at this stage my goal is run again and to reach that goal I need to maintain some fitness and flexibility so that when I do start running I am in the best condition I can reasonably be in so as to minimise risk of further injury.

To overcome point one I need to keep reminding myself of the end goal. No matter what the boredom and monotony of swimming and stationary biking, the cross training will help me later.

Overcoming point two is about planning. A training course I once went on dealt partly with planning and said that the first things you should plan for every day are those things most important to you. Now of course exercise is not the most important thing in my life but it's got to rank up there right? Therefore exercise needs to be somewhere in the daily plan and the other stuff needs to fit around that. For me that means taking my lunch breaks and going to the pool, getting on the Exercycle two nights a week for 60 minutes and getting out on the road at least once each weekend for 1-2 hours, no matter what the weather.

Wish me luck as I try to re focus on the goal and return to some better planning.

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