Tag Archives: Kawana Parkrun

Countdown: 6 weeks to half-marathon


6-week countdown


Starting out

Late Sunday afternoon along the beachfront and plenty of people around enjoying the mild ‘winter’ day, about 15C. Waves gently crashing provide a serene backdrop, interrupted by the occasional speeding motorcyle. Popular pastimes include a barbecue with mates, birthday drinks at the pub, or taking selfies against the backdrop of the gradually descending sun into pinks and oranges. The paths have no shortage of walkers/ runners/ strollers/ cyclists either.

In my quest to train for a 21km run in six weeks’ time, my chosen activity on this day is running 14km. Up until recent times, running predominantly took the form of an individual, solo activity, with the exception of weekly Parkruns. Though even that was really running by myself, surrounded by a hundred other runners. However, the new norm has become running with others, in a duo, trio or larger group. For today’s run, it’s a solo event.

In preparation for the longer distance, my feet are given a trial run (no pun intended!) of a tactic I’ve heard others undertake to avoid blisters: double layering of socks. The theory is that the feet won’t rub against the shoes with extra padding, or something along those lines. Earbuds in, it’s now a choice to listen to podcast or music. And the choice goes to music. Less concentration required and doesn’t matter if there’s background noise or distractions. Getting into the groove I can let my mind wander off into any direction, so long as my feet keep moving in the right direction.


Getting dark by the end

A main advantage of training with other more experienced runners, is maintaining an even, steady pace, and reasonably fast one at that – well certainly faster than I have been capable of thus far. During the course of the run, I feel myself struggling and can tell that my pace is uneven but keep moving forward. Light quickly fading now it’s a push to make back to the starting point.

Checking the stats (ah yes, the handy technology of Fitbit and Strava to tell me all the details) afterwards, I discovered that I had done the distance in the same time as the previous week with Ms T. Indeed the pace was faster and slower in parts, but in the end I made it. As a thirst quencher, I take advantage of my prize – if I have it why not use it – and indeed it goes down smoothly. The double-sock theory doesn’t seem to have made any difference and the same blisters appear in the same places. Next theory, anyone?

This is as close as anyone needs to get to my blisters!

This is as close as anyone needs to get to my blisters!

And in other training news this week… 

My efforts were rewardIMG_2948ed with a PB at the Kawana Parkrun (my 75th run as well) on Saturday – 25:30 for 5kms. Pretty happy with that – and hope to keep progressing and get under 25 soon…

IMG_2885The regular Tuesday morning Atlas SC marathon training session gave us the thrill of hills again. Nothing like killing your legs before work in the morning! But  I couldn’t resist sneaking in a photo of the sunrise – well it’s blurry because I was on the move, but a nice memory of the morning (nicer than the memory of those hills!).

IMG_2934Boot camp also beckoned, a fresh 9C near the lighthouse at Point Cartwright, but quickly warming up with moving around. Though my legs weren’t greatly afflicted, my arms and abs took the brunt of the morning session that included skipping rope, push ups, planks and

This outdoor boot camp is just one of many in the area, and rotates the venue depending on weather conditions and the activities. When out running, I’ve often come across these boot camps, with about 5-15 participants. An observation is that the greater majority of ‘recruits’  seem to be female and not many males. Why, I wonder? Seems like a ‘guy’ thing to do – rough, rugged, challenging. Just interesting.

Joining training group


Group training sessions

Training circles expand as I participate in a weekly run session coordinated by the marathon organizers. Conveniently it complements the proposed 12-week pre-marathon training schedule. Well at least one day a week I will be following the recommended guidelines…

IMG_2456Tuesday 6am and about 30 keen souls gather at the designated location. Dividing into groups of fast, intermediate, and well, slow, a leader for each subdivision starts off the runners, who don’t know each other and haven’t run together before. After a 4km warm up, the target is to do intervals. A manageable 30 second sprint, the 30 seconds of recovery jogging. Increase to 60, then 90 seconds of sprinting and recovering. All the way up to 2 minutes of fast paced running and then slowing down to jog. Repeat. Repeat.

Having mainly just done consistent running, I’m not used this style, but can appreciate the benefits. It seems my pace places me somewhere in between the intermediate and slow group, so I end up doing the distance solo, using my watch as timekeeper to start and stop each interval. Eventually we all end up back at the starting point and after brief acknowledgement, everyone disperses to commence the rest of their day.

More running talk, with an article about the increasing popularity of running on the academic based news site The Conversation. The modern concept of ‘running’ as sport/exercise seems to have gained popularity in the 1960s.

In rejecting our lethargy, we will continue to look to the easiest, cheapest and most accessible and enjoyable activity that we can.

The simplicity of putting on a pair of running shoes and heading out the door at any time certainly makes it convenient. Finding those who share in the running fraternity comes from unexpected places. The other day as my son’s friend’s parents dropped off their child, they spotted my Hoka running shoes in sitting on the shoe rack inside the garage and sparked off a conversation about running.IMG_2569

In a wider social benefit, recently Parkrun partnered with the local council to hold a community event – ‘Racism. It stops with me.’ In small ways, running can bring together different groups of people to foster understanding and friendship. In today’s world, we need all the cooperation and respect we can get.

As the time to the half-marathon draw nearer, I continue with clocking up the kilometers and increasing speed as best I can. Inspiration comes from many corners, my regular training buddies, other runners, online communities. And I feel proud to be a role model for my teenage kids and inspire them to challenge themselves and reach  high and do the best they can.

Keep putting one foot in front of the other.

PBs all around!


How long has it been, I wonder, since this trio began informal training sessions. Looking back at previous posts, the timeline appears to be about a month. Four weeks of running 9-10kms once a week together, plus weekend 5km ParkRuns, and whatever individual runs we do.

Apparently that’s enough for this trio to all achieve PBs on the same day.

Though we each have a separate pace and individual timing, by working together it seems that our abilities have all improved. After coming across the line in our own time, we discovered that we had all improved on our previous times and achieved Personal Bests (PBs). After all, we are all running our own race for our own reasons, right?

Parkrun2-300416I’m not overly interested in times and stats, but I hope my team won’t mind me sharing our PBs for this week’s 5 km run here:

Mr J 20:27 / Ms T 22:51 /Myself 25:28

Previously we might have described ourselves as solo runners, enjoying the meditative solitude of letting thoughts run along with the feet running, listening to favorite tunes. The advantage of solo running is the freedom to go wherever, whenever, and however far you wish. Group running locks those variables in. Just a few short weeks though has shown the advantages all around, and there’s no argument against the benefits of team training.