Training For a Personal Best at Canberra

When I started writing my race recap for Canberra, I came to the realisation that my training into the lead up the main event was just as important.

It all started around October 2017, when I was gifted by a running friend the Compete Training Journal.

Whether your next race is a 5K or an ultra-marathon, the Compete Training Journal will transform your approach to competing and make sure that race day brings out the best in you.

This journal is designed for any runner, and it’s more than a diary, it has monthly check-in’s and tasks to do along the way. It’s definitely the type of journal I would invest in again.

Along with a new training journal, meant knew goals.  I made the decision at the end of 2017 that I would hang up my trail shoes, dust off those road shoes, and go chase that elusive half marathon PB.

The last time I ran a half marathon was back in 2013 at Run Melbourne, where I ran a respectable 1h49m24s.

You could also class Wings for Life in 2015 (20.42km), and again in 2016 (20.45km) as a half marathon.  However both these events, I failed not only getting to the half marathon distance, but I failed to keep pace and to get to my ultimate goal of 22km.

I can safely say now looking back, that I didn’t achieve my Wings for Life goal, because the training plan I chose, failed me.

Instead of creating my own training plan (which has been successful in the past), or choosing a free one online.  I decided to step out of my comfort zone and use one of the Operation Move training plans.

This 10-week training cycle got me out of my comfort zone, running more kilometers than ever thought were possible. Running intervals, based on time, speed and distance.

My Goal for Canberra would be 1h45, this would mean running 5-minute kilometers. I’ve had my eye on this time goal for many years.

I had been so close in the past.  Would this new training plan make it happen?

Once entries to the running festival opened in November 2017, I entered immediately and booked for accommodation straight away.

We would make it a family mini holiday. Get the Easter madness out of our system, and just have an adventure.

My new training cycle began after our holiday to Dinner Plain.

I created a spreadsheet with all my workouts from running to weight training and yoga, helped me to stay accountable.  I would also note down how I felt, and other thoughts that I thought were important.

All was going well. Until I decided two weeks later to up the ante, and dive headfirst into a new training plan.

It was unlike anything I had done before. While I would still be running 4 days a week.  It was a high volume plan, with its peak training week being 60k’s, more than I had run when I was training for Peaks & Trails & SCC100.

But as they say, the magic happens outside your comfort zone.

I decided to focus on a month at a time.  If I didn’t like it or it was too much, I could fall back to my original plan.

A month passed and I was feeling pretty good.  There were a few early morning starts, but that was a small sacrifice for the ultimate goal.

So I continued on.  Focusing a week at a time.

Uploading my workouts into my Polar M430 watch, so I didn’t have to worry about remembering what I had to do was a godsend.

If I was going too fast/slow, my watch would tell me.  It would tell me when I had to work, and when I had to recover.

Soon the 10 weeks were over, and the training had been done.

Taper week arrived, and I had to keep repeating to myself “Don’t do anything stupid”.

After work on Thursday 12th April, we packed up the car and drove down to Melbourne.  We stayed overnight with family and said our goodbye’s to my Aunts that were visiting from oversea’s.

Friday we spent all day making our way up to Canberra. Stopping in Albury for lunch we made good time to our nation’s capital.

We found our apartment and were pleasantly surprised to see it was quite centrally located.

Saturday morning, I ran to the event hub to pick up my race pack.  I got a little lost on the way, but that’s to be expected when you don’t know the area very well.

With my bib in hand, all I had to do now was run my race.