September 2016

A day off running pre-race tomorrow, unlikely.

As I’m racing tomorrow there was no early morning run this morning. I am now wondering around lost. I have persuaded my Wife to get up early so we can drive to Yelo for a coffee and muffin breakfast (carbo loading for a 10k?) and after that I will return to my ‘lost’ state.

I’m a runner who loves to run and hates not running. Even now i’m making excuses for reasons why running today would be a good idea, not twice as that would be silly wouldn’t it? So my reasoning behind a run would be to loosen the legs (they aren’t tight), it’s not really a target race tomorrow (that is actually true, tomorrow is really a good hit-out pre-half next weekend)  or get rid of some pre-race nerves (I ain’t nervous) . No luck there, let’s face it the reason I want to run is I love running, plain and simple.

Tapering for my next marathon will be a challenge. The last one I ran 100k the week before and called that tapering as I was averaging 130k a week. I’m normally ok on marathon week as even I understand the need to rest. I normally only run twice in the week before a marathon and actually enjoy the calm before the storm, but for a 10k tomorrow, hell I should be running now not typing.

So will probably sneak out for a ‘relaxing’ 10k sometime today, c’mon you’d be mad not too wouldn’t you…..

A quick article on tapering below by Pete Pfitzinger, M.S. suggests a 7-10 day taper for a 10k, I’m thinking 7-10 hours.

Most performance oriented runners will do pretty much what they’re told in training. Run 8 x 800 meters at the track? Sure. Do a 40-minute tempo run? No problem. It’s when we’re instructed to scale back, run less and conserve our energies, that we balk.

Training provides long-term fitness improvements but produces short-term fatigue. Leading up to an important race, the challenge is to find the optimal balance between maintaining the best possible racing fitness and resting to reduce the fatigue of training. This is referred to as a well-planned taper.

To achieve your best when it counts, you can only afford to do a full taper before a few key races each year. If you race often and were to taper thoroughly for each race, you would have little time left for hard training. So you learn to “train through” some races. But for the big ones, you will want to go all out to achieve your best.

A recent paper published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine reviewed more than 50 scientific studies on tapering to find out whether tapering betters performance, and how to go about it. The review showed that there is no question tapering works. Most studies found an improvement of about 3% when athletes reduced their training before competition. This translates to more than five minutes for a three-hour marathoner or more than a minute for those racing 10K in 40 minutes.

How Long Should You Taper?

Several of the studies concluded that the optimal length of taper is from seven days to three weeks, depending on the distance of the race and how hard you’ve trained. Too short a taper will leave you tired on race day, while tapering for too long will lead to a loss of fitness. How do you find the right balance? Consider than any one workout can give you far less than a 1% improvement in fitness, but a well-designed taper can provide a much larger improvement in race performance. Therefore, it is probably wiser to err on the side of tapering too much than not enough. The optimal number of days to taper for the most popular race distances are as follows: marathon, 19 to 22 days; 15K to 30K, 11 to 14 days; 5K to 10K, 7 to 10 days.


First 700k month, I think that is probably enough.

For the first time ever I managed to break 700k cumulative for the month, in only 30 days. Should have picked a 31 day month.!

Strava as always keeps track of everything and I made top 50 for the monthly challenge from 152,886 runners. All good but has it translated into better racing. We’ll find out over the next 6 weeks when I race 5 times from 5k to marathon. I’m confident the last 4 weeks of running twice a day has put me in a place I’ve never been before, fitness wise, as well as giving me more confidence to attack these races and aim for PB’s. This is as important as the fitness because sometime in every race you will doubt yourself or give yourself the excuse you need to slow down. Racing is 80% training and 20% mental which can’t really be properly managed without the confidence of a good training block.

I excited about Sunday when I run the WAMC Peninsula 10k. ( ).  The last three years I’ve managed to podium, mainly because it is quite a low key affair but enjoy the course as it has a few challenging sections including running under a bridge. It’s an out and back so you get to see who is in hot pursuit which encourages you to keep yourself cocooned in the ‘pain box’; which is where you need to be to race. There’s no getting round the fact racing is painful but long term the good outweighs the short term pain.  (I must remember that on Sunday !)


Strava knows...
Strava knows…

It’s race weekend.

So after a month of running twice a day and hitting new distance records weekly it’s time to see if this has translated to better racing. I have a 10k this weekend and would hope to be able to run around 35 minutes, quicker if the conditions are good. A 10k is a testing distance because you invariably go out at 5k pace which is fine  for the first 5k but then the wheels can fall off. K’s 6-8 are the testing ones and this is where you need to dig deep. The final kilometre you can normally find something and when you smell the finish line it’s amazing the kick you can produce.

This year I have run five 10k races and this has helped me drop to a PB time of 34:41 earlier in the year on a flat and fast course. When you’re chasing PB’s the course layout is important. My PB course was three laps of a lake so there was no turns and it was completely flat. Couldn’t have asked for a better course. I went out too fast and led for the first 8k until I heard footsteps behind me and I was well beaten into 2nd place. Because of the layout I was never able to look behind me and had no idea where the rest of the field was. With 3k to go I was dreaming of glory but it was not to be.  It was still a PB time and the first time I had run under 35 minutes. This was a goal I had been chasing for a few years.

Should I have ran with the pack and then raced for position rather than go alone ? Tough call. It was a good PB so really you can’t argue with the time. It was nice to lead the race and have the lead bike in front of me albeit only for 8k.  As I get older this time at the front of the pack will be limited and eventually I will slowly work my way back down the field. That is the way of getting older but I’ll be working as hard as possible to make the journey as slow as possible.

So to sum up this mornings post, if you are racing this weekend trust in your training. If you have done the work you will be rewarded, running is the most honest sport. Don’t be intimidated by the occasion, trust in your ability and enjoy the experience. Racing is one of the best ways to improve because you will vary rarely push yourself in a training session the way you do with a bib on your chest and a target runner ahead of you.

Racing, racing, racing..
Racing, racing, racing..

Marathon nutrition and how much are you willing to give up ?

Yet again the topic of nutrition came up on our weekly double bridges 17k lunchtime run. Mike who is chasing an age group record at the Perth marathon next June, targeting a sub-3 at 55, has the odd indulgent blow out on a regular basis. He loves his beer, takeaways and putting a few lbs on every now and then. Jon has been struggling with his weight recently and only last year I phoned him once and caught him ordering a Big Mac at McDonalds. For the kids apparently but I don’t believe a word of it.  Anyway weight is so important for performance and unfortunately for us runners less really is more. The less you weigh the faster you are going to go (see a previous post on this subject) Anyway after chatting to Mike and Jon as we ran lunchtime I decided to mention them in my blog and also post a good article by Matt Fitzgerald on the “New Rules of Marathon Running”. If it came from Matt it must be so…. enjoy.

Before the article by Matt I need to discuss the second part of the post, how much are you willing to give up? For me the question is simple, just about everything. I don’t really drink, try to eat well (with a sweet tooth this is sometimes a challenge; see my post reference Yelo cafe in Trigg, Perth ( ) and love to exercise rather than socialise. I’ve probably taken my Wife out for a meal bi-annually and as already mentioned she now has a great social life while I babysit and get an early night pre-morning run. For me the rush of running as well as I can and still hitting PB’s at nearly 50 makes the sacrifices well worth it.

For all runners the decision needs to be made sometime in their career, what are you willing to give up to be the best you can be? For Mike it may be beer and for Jon the family trip to McDonalds, we’ll see.

Right over to Matt and a great article on Marathon Nutrition.

When Meb Keflezighi and Ryan Hall reached the 23-mile mark of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon as co-leaders of the race, they were on pace to finish in 2:08:34. Keflezighi wound up stopping the clock at 2:09:08, Hall in 2:09:30. In other words, both runners hit a wall — not catastrophically, but enough to have felt it.

The third man to reach the 23-mile mark, Abdi Abdirahman, also slowed down over the last 3.2 miles of the race, as did the fourth- and fifth-place finishers. In fact, you have to go all the way back to 12th place to find a runner — Ricky Flynn — who held pace over the final 5K of the Olympic Trials marathon.

Yes, pro runners hit that imaginary but very real physiological wall, too, but it’s not nearly the problem that it is for the rest of us. Roughly three out of every four participants in any given marathon cover the second half of the race at least two minutes slower than the first. Many runners slow down even more dramatically after the 20-mile mark, where the wall traditionally hovers. By contrast, less than one in 10 half-marathon participants slow down by a comparable amount, and in races shorter than 13.1 miles hitting the wall is a rare occurrence.

The most common cause of hitting the wall is muscle glycogen depletion. Glycogen, a fuel derived from dietary carbohydrates, is stored in relatively small amounts in the muscles and liver, where it waits to be delivered to muscles via the bloodstream in the form of glucose. Most runners have enough glycogen in their bodies to run 13.1 miles at a good pace. But the marathon is fundamentally a metabolic challenge. If you run the first half of the race even one percent too fast, you risk depleting your glycogen levels. Finishing a marathon without hitting the wall requires storing and conserving enough glycogen fuel to avoid running out of it somewhere between 20 and 26 miles — which, as the statistics show, is not easy to do.

Good pacing is paramount. You’ll burn through precious glycogen stores more slowly if you maintain a consistent pace than you will if your pace is erratic, even if it averages out to be the same. Proper training also helps. A good marathon training plan will increase your capacity to store glycogen and improve your running economy and fat-burning capacity, enabling you to burn through stores at a slower rate.

But pacing and training aren’t enough. You must also maintain an appropriate nutrition plan throughout your training process. However, the thinking behind marathon (and half-marathon) training nutrition has shifted in recent years. Follow these six rules to maximize your training and avoid the wall in long-distance races.

Old Rule: Runners don’t rely as much as non-athletes on diet for weight management.

New Rule: Runners rely more than non-athletes on diet for weight management.

Until recently, exercise scientists believed that variables such as VO2max (or aerobic capacity) and running economy were the most powerful predictors of running performance. But recent research has revealed that body composition is equally important. One study involving elite Ethiopian runners found that those with the least body fat had the fastest race times.

Each runner’s optimal racing weight falls near the bottom end of his or her healthy weight range because excess body fat is dead weight that increases the energy cost of running. A typical runner who sheds just one pound of body fat could see a one-minute improvement in his or her marathon time without any change in fitness.

The runner’s goal of reaching his or her ideal racing weight is more challenging than the average non-runner’s goal of staying within his or her healthy weight range. To reach racing weight, runners have to eat more carefully than non-runners must eat to avoid becoming overweight.

Complicating matters for runners is something called the compensation effect. The more a person exercises, the more his or her appetite increases and the more he or she eats. Simply ignoring the increased appetite is not a viable solution, but neither is an extra-large, double-cheese pizza.

Instead, runners must increase the quality of their diets. High-quality foods such as vegetables are less calorically dense than low-quality foods, satisfying the appetite with fewer calories. The six high-quality food types are vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, whole grains, lean meats and fish, and dairy. And the four basic categories of low-quality foods are refined grains, fatty meats, sweets and fried foods.

Take-Away Tip: When training for a marathon, fuel with high-quality foods to reach the starting line lighter. Muscles burn less glycogen at goal pace, meaning you’re less likely to hit the wall.

Old Rule: The high-carb diet recommended to runners in the 20th Century was a mistake.

New Rule: The current carbohydrate-moderation fad in running is a mistake.

Back in the 1960s, Swedish researchers discovered a high-carbohydrate diet increased muscle glycogen stores and thereby boosted endurance running performance. The practice of pre-marathon “carbo loading” was born out of this research. Subsequent studies revealed a high-carbohydrate diet also increased runners’ capacity to absorb heavy training loads day after day. Sports nutritionists have recommended high-carb diets for runners ever since.

Well, most sports nutritionists recommended high-carb diets for runners almost ever since. Lately, some experts have suggested a low-carb diet is better, arguing when runners maintain a low-carb diet their muscles become better fat burners, an adaptation that spares muscle glycogen in marathons and thereby pushes back the wall.

Studies have shown that low-carb diets do indeed increase fat burning during running. However, this effect has not been linked to improved endurance performance., Meanwhile, new research has reconfirmed that runners aren’t able to train as hard on a low-carb diet because it produces chronically low glycogen stores.

A study conducted by Asker Jeukendrup and colleagues at the University of Birmingham, England, compared the effects of a 41 percent carbohydrate diet and a 65 percent carbohydrate diet during an 11-day period of intensified run training. On the low-carb diet, performance levels decreased and the runners’ self-reported fatigue levels increased. On the high-carb diet, performance and energy levels were maintained.

Take-Away Tip: The amount of carbohydrate a runner needs to handle his or her training is tied to the amount of training he or she does. Use this table to determine how much carbohydrate to include in your diet.

Average Daily Training Time (Running and Other Activities) Daily Carbohydrate Target
30-45 minutes 3-4 g/kg
46-60 minutes 4-5 g/kg
61-75 minutes 5-6 g/kg
76-90 minutes 6-7 g/kg
90 minutes 7-8 g/kg
>120 minutes 8-10 g/kg


Old Rule: Drink plenty of sports drink every run to boost performance.

New Rule: Do some “fasting workouts” to make muscles better fat burners.

Sports drinks aid running performance by limiting dehydration and supplying muscles with an extra source of energy. But you do not need a sports drink on every training run. Research has shown that sports drinks have no effect on performance in hard runs lasting less than one hour or easier runs lasting fewer than 90 minutes.

What’s more, other studies suggest the carbohydrates in sports drinks act as a physiological crutch by limiting some beneficial fitness adaptations that occur in response to training. Improvements in the muscles’ fat-burning capacity and other adaptations depend partly on the depletion of muscle glycogen stores during workouts. Sports drinks attenuate glycogen depletion and thereby blunt the body’s adaptive response to the run. Sports drinks are imperative for longer and harder workouts, but relying too heavily on them in training may make you less fit.

Take-Away Tip: Use a sports drink during roughly half of your runs lasting between one and two hours and during all of your runs lasting longer than two hours.

Old Rule: Carbo load before a race.

New Rule: Fat load, then carbo load before a race.

Earlier I said a low-carb diet — specifically a high-fat, low-carb diet — increases fat burn during running, but this benefit comes at the cost of reduced training capacity. For this reason, it’s not recommended runners use such a diet as their normal training diet. However, research has shown that a short-term high-fat diet that immediately precedes the traditional pre-race carbo load offers the best of both worlds. 10 days of fat-loading are enough to increase the muscles’ fat-burning capacity, while the subsequent three-day carbo load ensures muscles also have plenty of glycogen available.

In 2001, Vicki Lambert, an exercise scientist at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, tested the effects of 10 days of fat loading followed by three days of carbo loading on endurance performance in cyclists. After warming up with two hours of moderate-intensity cycling, Lambert’s subjects were able to complete a 20K time trial 4.5 percent faster after using this protocol than they did when carb loading was preceded by their normal diet.

To get these benefits in your next marathon you’ll have to get 65 percent of your calories from fat every day for ten days starting two weeks before your race. This means virtually everything you eat will need to be high in healthy fats. Recommended staples for fat loading are avocadoes, Greek yogurt, cheese, eggs, nuts, olives and olive oil, salmon, and whole milk.

Take-Away Tip: Switch from fat-loading to carbo-loading three days before your marathon. Aim to get 70 percent of your total calories from carbs during this period.

Old Rule: Drink plenty of water before your marathon.

New Rule: Drink plenty of water and a little beet juice before your marathon.

Every runner knows it’s important to hydrate before the start of a marathon, but it’s easy to go overboard. You don’t have to drink a lot to achieve full hydration after a night of sleep, and any excess will only force you to wait in long toilet lines before the start and — worse — stop for bathroom breaks during your marathon. Limit morning of, pre-marathon fluid intake to 24 ounces and don’t drink anything in the final hour before the race begins.

Here’s another suggestion: Instead of drinking water before your marathon, drink beet juice. Why? Beet juice is packed with dietary nitrates, which help blood vessels dilate, increasing blood flow to muscles during exercise. Studies have shown that drinking half a liter (about 17 ounces) of beet juice two to three hours before running can enhance performance.

Take-Away Tip: See if beet juice helps you by testing it before some practice runs. A word of caution: Don’t try it for the first time on the morning of a marathon.

Old Rule: Drink as much as you can during the marathon.

New Rule: Drink by thirst.

If you’ve been a runner longer than a week you’ve probably been advised at least once — perhaps dozens of times — to hydrate during your race with a sports drink at a rate sufficient to offset weight loss from sweating and to provide 60 grams of carbohydrate per hour. The rationale behind these recommendations is that full rehydration elevates performance by aiding thermoregulation and reducing cardiac strain, while absorbing carbs at the highest possible rate enhances performance by maintaining blood glucose levels and delaying muscle glycogen depletion.

Lately, however, these longstanding guidelines have been challenged by studies indicating that, during running, such high rates of fueling cause gastrointestinal discomfort and offer no performance benefit compared to simply drinking by thirst. A new study conducted by Ian Rollo and colleagues at England’s Loughborough University, published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, provides the strongest support yet for this new “obey your thirst” philosophy.

Nine experienced recreational runners participated in the experiment. Each completed a 10-mile road race on three separate occasions, drinking nothing during one race, drinking a carbohydrate-electrolyte sports drink by thirst during another race (which came to an average of 315 ml per hour), and drinking at a prescribed rate aimed to provide the recommended 60 grams of carbs per hour in the third race (which came to 1,055 ml per hour).

In addition to timing the three races, Dr. Rollo’s team took measurements of dehydration, core body temperature, and gastrointestinal distress. Performances in the no-drinking and prescribed-drinking trials were almost identical. But, when allowed to drink according to their thirst, the runners covered the 10-mile course almost a minute faster on average.

Rollo says that further research is needed to determine why the runners performed better with intuitive drinking, despite becoming significantly more dehydrated and taking in 70 percent less carbohydrates compared to the prescribed-drinking trial. One possible explanation is suggested by the runners’ subjective ratings of gastrointestinal discomfort, which were significantly higher throughout the second half of the 10-mile race in which they were required to drink more than desired.


Can blogging become as addictive as running.

Now I’m into my third week as a ‘blogger’ I’m starting to realise this is becoming as big a part of my life as running. This morning while running my go-to run for the 145th time (thanks again Strava! I was struggling to think of new topics to discuss on my morning blog. Best thing to discuss was maybe the whole blog thing. The reason I started this was two fold. First I was interested in the whole process of starting a blog and in a few short weeks have found out so much about how websites are built and maintained. I am now a WordPress black-belt where-as a few weeks a go I had no idea what WordPress was. ! I now have three domains registered with 3 different companies which means a load of different login passwords and user ids. I have to store these in my phone as there is no way I can remember them all. I have lost count of the number of times I have had to apply for a password reset lately ! Maybe a sign of old age, probably.  Second, I generally do enjoy discussing all things running and if I can help anybody with some of my ramblings then great.

Once you have a blog that is just then beginning. You then spend all your time worrying about how many views you receive each day, and the number of page visits per user or the number of people following you. It is exhausting.  On the bright side WordPress has some great plug-ins (geek talk) and one of them shows where , globally, your views are coming from. This is addictive. I am apparently quite big in Australia, Britain and parts of Asia but yet to crack America and Canada.  This is real time and of course all the historical data is captured. You could spend days analyzing all the information.

So the point of todays post is the world we live in is complicated. Even starting a blog can become all encompassing, we all need a release and running is that activity. This morning while running my ‘old faithful’ 10k for the 145th time I was able to drift away and think about ‘blogging’ , posts, how to crack Canada ! etc. etc.  and before I knew it I had finished my run and it was time to get ready for work.  The run itself was therapy and even though I may have had my mind on other things on a number of occasions I did look up and enjoy the sights and sounds the morning offered me.  The run through Star Swamp gave me a sunrise and the run into Carine Open Space was just about perfect conditions with the sun just rising above the horizon and lighting up the path in front of me with a golden glow. I even finished with a burst of speed into my street aided by gravity and a hunger for my weetbix and honey. All in all another good run.

So that’s it this morning. I’m off to think about ways to break into the Canadian running market, maple syrup anybody.

When does the ‘norm’ become a problem.

As a runner I keep an excel spreadsheet recording distance and race times. I have this from post my second Comrades campaign in 2009, so currently just over 7 years. My excel sheet is just about recording distance but my mate Jon, who is an accountant by the way, has taken it to a new level and his also has times so he can work out average pace etc. It is a thing of beauty with pivot tables everywhere. All these excel sheets are now really defunct as GPS watches and Strava combined to allow runners to store all their runs online and have all the data at their fingertips. Combine this with a software package like training peaks and what you can produce is incredible.

This morning while I ran my ‘old faithful’ 10k for the 144th time (thanks for that Strava.) and started to think about how a ‘normal’ week for me has morphed from 50k as I started my journey in 2009 to nearly 200k last week. I remember thinking 100k was a massive number and one I would never aspire to (at the time Jon would be running that distance regularly, we all though he was mad!) Over the years as I have ran more and more chasing new PB’s the ‘norm’ has risen culminating in the last 3 weeks running twice a day and 100 miles becoming the new ‘normal week’. Is this sustainable,  probably not but the real issue is I am still loving my running and now consider a two run day normal. So what is next, three times a week, 250k a week total ? I know these sort of numbers are achievable by professional athletes but not us ‘normal’ (am I still normal?) runners.  There has been a number of days recently where I could have ran 3 times but on principal stopped myself, I do not want three times a week becoming the new ‘norm’!!

So back to my ‘what is normal question’? Is it normal to run 14 times a week and over 100 miles? No, not really, and not in the running community at large if the truth be told. There are many different levels of runner who participate for so many different reasons, be it weight loss, general wellness, happiness, for the love of running, to improve their racing times, to spend quality time alone with their thoughts, the reasons are endless. For each one there is a ‘normal’ week of running. This may be one 10k a week, a few jogs around the local park, moving up to 2-3 runs a week and then eventually all the way to twice a day. I have moved through these levels and I am as excited about my next run as I was about my last. Addicted, hell yeah but I feel in a good way. Only problem is would all addicts say the same thing. ?

I’ve attached a good article by Nicole Radziszewski , founder of Mama’s Gotta Move  ( ) to highlight this addiction that is running…


Jenny Shepherd, 39, had always run to deal with stress. But when postpartum depression struck after the birth of her third child in 2011, Shepherd ramped up her coping strategy. The more she ran, the more she depended on it—to the point where taking a day off left her feeling anxious and depressed.

“I’d squeeze in the miles whenever I could. Even if I felt tired, I’d rather suffer through an uncomfortable workout than deal with the guilt of not doing it,” says Shepherd, of Oak Park, Illinois.

This past January, Shepherd committed to a 200-mile challenge through her running group, and ran herself into an ankle injury and a boot. When the boot came off, Shepherd’s doctor gave her clearance to run one mile. She ran four. “I couldn’t seem to stop myself,” she says.

There’s a fine line between being a dedicated athlete and being addicted to running, but experts have come to recognize exercise addiction as a legitimate problem—akin to alcoholism, binge eating, and other addictive disorders.

Shepherd’s story illustrates some of the telltale signs, one of which is running through injury, says Heather Hausenblas, Ph.D, a health psychologist at Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, Florida., who has studied exercise addiction for more than 20 years. “When you are injured, are you able to stop and take time off to heal? People who are addicted cannot—or if they do, they experience withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, depression and trouble sleeping.”

“Another sign is that running becomes all-consuming,” says Hausenblas. “Someone who is addicted will give up all other activities in their life—family, friends, work—to get their runs in.”

“The Truth About Exercise Addiction” by Katherine Schreiber and Hausenblas (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, February 2015) elaborates on the signs of exercise addiction and offers insight into the risk factors and treatment. The book includes the Exercise Dependence Scale, which Hausenblas helped develop. The scale looks at seven factors to determine if an individual is addicted to exercise:

Withdrawal effects:

  • Do you experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop?
  • Continuance: Do you continue to exercise despite recurring problems?
  • Tolerance: Do you feel a need to always do more to achieve the same effect?
  • Lack of control: Are you unable to control your exercise habits?
  • Reduction in other activities: Are you spending less time doing other things?
  • Time: Is exercise consuming all of your time?
  • Intention effect: Do you exercise more than you intend?

Based on scale responses, an estimated 25 percent of runners suffer from exercise addiction, compared to about 0.3 percent of the population in general, Hausenblas says.

Why is this number so much higher for runners? For one, it’s socially acceptable. “It’s okay to say, ‘I’ve got to do my 16-mile run today because I’m training for a marathon,’” says Hausenblas. “You get praise for doing it. It’s valued in our society.”

There is also something to be said about endorphins, which have been linked to improved mood. “People who are exercise-dependent need this, or their mood is strongly affected,” Hausenblas says. While various forms of exercise result in an endorphin boost, it tends to be greater with running and other forms of cardio.

For the nonexerciser—and even for someone who is exercise dependent–addiction to running might not seem like such a bad thing. But the consequences can be serious.

Physically, these include an increased risk of injury, exhaustion, and even cardiac damage, says Emilio Landolfi, Ph.D, a kinesiologist at the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, Canada, who has researched exercise addiction. While these are similar to the effects of overtraining, a person who is exercise dependent would likely continue to exercise when overtraining symptoms begin to appear. “Consequently, the damage is potentially much greater in the exercise addict versus the overtrained athlete,” Landolfi says.

If you believe you are addicted to running or exercise in general, Hausenblas advises keeping a diary of your workouts. Set reasonable goals to gradually decrease your mileage or time spent exercising, and talk to a close friend to hold you accountable. If you still can’t stop, seek professional help.

If you have a friend who shows signs of exercise dependence, carefully bring the issue to her attention, says Hausenblas. Make sure she is aware exercise addiction is a real condition. Don’t accuse her of being addicted, but instead use “I” statements to express how her behavior makes you feel.

For more advice on dealing with exercise addiction, check out “The Truth About Exercise Addiction.”



Mona Fartlek, one of my favourite sessions for some serious ‘pain box’ time.

Fartlek is  a Swedish term to describe ‘speed play’, training method that blends continuous training with interval training. Fartlek runs are a very simple form of a long distance run. Fartlek training “is simply defined as periods of fast running intermixed with periods of slower running.”

Today was my Mona Fartlek day, a 20 minute workout that I adore. Though lesson to self, eating banana bread 2 hours before is not such a good idea ! I can normally get to around 5.6k for the session. Steve Monaghetti stills hits over 6km I hear and in his prime was nearer 8km. !! He is a running legend though.. enjoy the article on a true sporting great below.

I was lucky enough to meet Steve at a photo shoot for the Perth City to Surf in 2014 and again this year as he was Ambassador for the Perth marathon. Both times I was taken aback by his down to earth attitude and his willingness to embrace all our questions and comments.

This session is good as it is fairly short but you know it’s doing you good. Golden rule no2 , add pace after the distance phase. This bad boy workout is all about pace.

Me and a legend.
Me and a legend.


Steve Moneghetti is set to leave a lasting legacy that goes beyond his set of marathon medals. As a young man from Ballarat he and coach Chris Wardlaw devised a session that fitted in with his usual stomping ground of Lake Wendouree helped him become a four-time Olympian.

Steve Moneghetti

The Session: Mona Fartlek: (2x90sec, 4x60sec, 4x30sec, 4x15sec with a slower tempo recovery of the same time between each repetition. The session takes 20mins in total.

Distance Mona covered: The session was most often used on Tuesday night at Ballarat’s Lake Wendouree. The first time Mona did it as a 20-year-old he did not complete the Lap of the Lake (6km) in the 20minutes but in his prime he completed the Lake in 17.19 and then continued on to finish his 20min session. He still does it most Tuesdays and even at 52, covers 6km.


Mona devised the session with his coach Chris Wardlaw over the phone back in 1983 when he was just 20. He wanted a solid fartlek session, one that would help improve his speed as well as endurance and stimulate an ability to change pace mid-run, something that helped later on his career when tackling the Africans, who had a habit of surging mid-race.

The session became a Tuesday-night ritual for Mona and while it was set up for Lake Wendouree, he’d use it whether training at altitude at Falls Creek or overseas preparing for a championship marathon.

It is still widely used today with Ben Moreau and a host of Sydney athletes doing the session. A recent feature in the UK has led to a number of British runners adopting the session along with a number of runners in the US, although some are calling it the “Mono” session.

A good idea is to set your watch to beep every 30 seconds, so that you don’t have to look down at it all the time.

Mona says

“I was always a stickler for routine and I feel that this session, coupled with my usual Thursday night session of 8x400m with 200m float set me up and gave me continuity with my training.

The 15-second reps came at the end and really forced me to concentrate on accelerating hard when I was fatigued. One night when I was in top shape I covered nearly 7km with Troopy (Lee Troop).”

Tip for other distance runners

For many runners, the session will be too demanding initially and you will need to build into it.

Mona recommends just walking or jogging the recovery as you adjust to it.

Middle distance runners may wish to reduce the length of the session, halving everything (ie: 1x90sec, 2x60sec, 2x30sec, 2x15sec) to make it a 10minute session.


Consistency is the key to unlocking pace and improvement

As runners we are creatures of habit and nothing confirmed this more than the Strava heat map attached below.  ( ) What Strava does (if you pay for premium membership) is take all your recorded runs (in my case well over 1,000 and rising 2 a day !) and map them onto a map with the different colours indicating the runs you run the most. The bright red lines show where I spend all my time.

I am a creature of habit.
I am a creature of habit.

As you can see I spend all my time running around Kings Park and the Bridges on my lunch time runs and then up and down the coast on the weekends.  You can also see my go-to run of choice, a 10k loop from my house to Star Swamp and back through Carine Park that I run 4-5 times a week minimum. This run is normally my recovery run and I can just about give you a breakdown of kilometer times to the second of each one of the 10k’s. For example the first kilometer is always between 4:40 – 4:50 min/k and I run k2 at 4:37min/k (this one is normally within 1-2 seconds) etc. etc….  These runs are built for time on feet and as I discussed yesterday recovery runs. A run you can run in your sleep but one where sometimes an autopilot is just what you need to rack up the kilometers without the need for mental engagement.

Golden rule number 8 is about consistency and this heat map shows me that I am Mr. Consistent. As well as establishing your go-to runs consistency is also about maintaining a good foundation, even on the off-season. (not really sure what an off-season is in my case?)  The biggest threat to this is of course rule no.3, injury. Once injured consistency is no longer an option and it’s back to rule no1 , distance, to rebuild.

No one said this running was easy..





Recovery I’m loving it and my favourite subject, shoes!

After my post this morning on the benefits of recovery I was excited to run again this afternoon for more ‘quality recovery’ time. Amazingly I felt so much better this afternoon compared to this mornings recovery run. No little niggles which were certainly there this morning. The second recovery run was chalk and cheese really. Felt a lot more relaxed and had to hold myself back.

Unfortunately the same could not be said of the old Adidas Adizero shoes. These bad boys look to have run their last run, a tad early compared to the Adidias Glide Boost. My Glide Boosts are on 1358k and still feeling great while the Adizero’s have only ran 592k. My marathon shoe at the moment is the Adidas Adios Takumi Sen 3, man these are amazing shoes but they are racing flats so if you weight more than 70kg forget these bad boys.

Shoes of distance...
Shoes of distance…

My go to shoe in the past has always been the Nike Lunaracers. These shoes combine the padding and weight that no other shoe can. So light but also so forgiving. I have been wearing these for many years. Lately they have been a tad hard to get hold off which is how Adidas caught my eye. Luckily enough I’m light on my feet so really can wear just about anything. I even wear the Brooks Puregrit for my trail running. These are awesome shoes by the way.

Weapons of mass destruction.
Weapons of mass destruction.

The old ‘replace your shoes at 400k’ is in my view a shoe manufacturers dream. I ran 190k last week, do they want me to replace my shoes every 2 weeks. No way ! Luckily I never throw out my old shoes, into the garage they go. (Must to my Wife’s disgust) There must be well over 50 pairs in there now and a lot have a lot more life in them. Time to take a look tomorrow and see if I reuse a few, but not the old Asics Kayano’s . These were the shoe ‘back in the day’ but now they would be like wearing lead weights. These days it’s all about minimal heel drop and as light as possible.

I could go on for hours on shoes, one of my favourite subjects, but it’s a Sunday night and I’m off to bed.

If you like some shoe recommendations check out the Runners Worlds site :-

Recovery runs, an alternative view.

Today was a 18k recovery run. It started out as a 10k recovery run but being the Queen’s birthday it is a public holiday over here in Perth so knowing the family was still asleep I snuck in a few extra recovery k’s. While ‘recovering’ my mind wandered to the propose of this type of running. I actually enjoy a recovery run as you get to ‘smell the roses’ so to speak , where as most time I don’t even see the roses as my head is down and I’m concentrating on the Garmin splits (damn you Strava!) . This morning was no exception, the first 2-3k’s were a struggle with a few niggles, these niggles disappeared and before long I was enjoying the run enough to add on 8k, as you do.

I find the article below from Kyle Kranz a different viewpoint on the recovery run. A positive spin I believe as Karl is saying the recovery run is still stimulation for adaption, he puts forward the point hard runs take you to fatigue while the recovery run is run is a fully fatigued state, your legs are then recruiting more and different muscle fibers. Makes sense to me as Karl also mentions that recovery runs allow you to run longer and as I have already discussed distance is the key, the runner who runs the most normally runs better.

So next time you cruising along smelling the roses take heart in the fact that you are still improving as a runner, it’s a win , win situation the recovery run……


Recovery runs don’t exist.

What you think of as a recovery run does not enhance recovery.

Let’s dig a bit deeper.
There are two main types of runs.

Workouts and easy runs.

Key workouts are done at anything faster than your habitual easy pace and typically require a number of non-hard days between them so you can again do a key workout at a high quality. Easy runs are done at an easy conversational pace.

People will often title the run proceeding a key workout, a recovery run. This implies that the purpose of this run is to enhance recovery.

However, I’m inclined to disagree with this.

Don’t get me wrong, you should still do the run, however this is more an issue with semantics.

If you think this run is augmenting your recovery or adaptation, you’re mistaken.

All runs are training. Every time you lace up your shoes and hit the ground running, you’re stimulating your body. It does not matter how slow or short the run is, if you’re running, you’re giving your body stimulation for adaptation.

When does this adaptation and recovery occur? When you’re sleeping, eating, walking, working, etc. Any time you are not running, you’re recovering.

With athletes I work with, I do use the term regeneration run to emphasize the easy nature of the run, however for all purposes it’s simply another easy run.

These runs, while they do not enhance recovery, do inflect less stress on the body. They are crucial for running more, which is one of the best way to become a better runner.

So if these runs do not benefit recovery, why not just skip them and let the body recover better?

Because for the same reasons doing doubles is beneficial, so are these “recovery runs”. These workouts, done in a semi-fatigued state after a hard run, are simply great stimulants for adaptation. Hard workouts take you to fatigue, these easy runs are ran fully fatigued.

That’s very important. If the regeneration run is also done in close time proximity to the key workout, your glycogen stores (body carbohydrate used as fuel) is probably a bit depleted, and training in a glycogen depleted state has also been shown to possibly improve fitness. This study from the University of Copenhagen shows that when a leg is trained more frequently (but at the same total volume) than the other leg, the leg that experiences two sessions in a day instead of one two sessions over two days adapted and strengthened more.

Another way that these “recovery” runs do not help recovery but instead simply improve fitness is that when you run in this fatigued state, you’re legs are recruiting more and different muscle fibers. This can help improve your muscle fiber cycling, which is when the body “turns off” fatigued muscles and “turns on” more fresh fibers while running.

These runs done in a fatigued state are simply more chances for your body to adapt and grow. This makes you stronger, more fit, and faster. Not the enhanced recovery, because there is none.