General day to day ramblings

Faster running without running, sounds too good to be true?

Although runners have less opportunities to increase pace without actually putting in the hard yards there are limited options to increase your race pace and bring down your finishing time. Of course we are offered the easy options experienced and embraced by cyclists. While running long on Sunday we were once again passed by a ‘gaggle’ of cyclists freewheeling down a hill merrily chit-chatting away, cocooned in lycra, and excited about another stop for frothy light frappacino’s and banana bread. As runners we can’t free wheel, when we run downhill we actually have to run downhill, funny that ? We can’t spend thousands of dollars on Zip Wheels, silly helmets or extra-extra light carbon-fibre bikes to shave that few minutes of our finishing time. Admittedly there is the Nike Vaporflys 4% now available which offer a 4% improvement in running economy but that is about all us runners can hope to achieve without doing the extra hard yards, or is it ? ( I have attached a review of the Vaporflys at the end of this post from at the end of this post. I have mine and will be testing them tonight, very excited !!)

So how do runners gain that few extra seconds without training more or harder. I’ve added a list of things below which are guaranteed to improve your finishing time and you don’t even have to lace up your runners

Race shoes on race day. Sounds obvious right, you train in comfortable, high heel, extra padded trainers which help with the constant pounding you subject yourself to while you train. On race day though you can add a turbo-charger by bringing out the race shoes, lighter, less forgiving but a race-only treat. These race shoes make you feel like you’ve been running in concrete , or Kayano’s as I like to call that feeling, and as well as a placebo effect, they also make the whole running process easier due to good old fashioned physics, less weight attached to the end of your legs. I’m lucky that I can run marathons in racing flats and have used Asics Piranha’s, Adidias Takumi Sen3, Nike LunaRacers  and Saucony Kinvara’s on a number of occasions. All these are light , around 210g , compared to a ‘training’ shoe like the Asics Kayano which is about 326g. So my first tip to shave those seconds (or even minutes) off your time is to find your favourite shoe manufacturer racing version of your everyday runner

A free turbo-charger .

Taper properly. One of the hardest thing for a runner is to stop running just before a goal race. It is counter-intuitive to stop doing what you love to do and, paranoid as all runners are, you grapple with the ‘I’ll lose my fitness’ argument that always rages as you taper towards the big day.  Well I’m here to tell you that the week before the marathon (we’re doing a marathon right?) there is nothing you can do to add to your fitness levels, all you can do it too much.  Thus you could do nothing all week and this would actually help towards your finish time. Of course no runner can do nothing, especially with a marathon on the horizon. I generally run a 10k Tuesday and Thursday of marathon week and that’s it. Twenty kilometres in a week (bar the 42k on Sunday of course) when I’m use to running 6-8 times that. How do I do it ? Easy, I tell myself that I am improving my finish time for every day I don’t run and also with the experience of running 41 marathons I know this is a tried and tested method that works for me. When I first started running I use to taper for three weeks before the big day and I look back now and I’m amazed I even finished. A good week of tapering may be extended to two at a push (assuming you put in good numbers in training) but three weeks is too many for me. I’m more of a ‘aggressive two week taper’ rather than a gradual three week taper. As with all things running though you need to find the ideal fit for you and that comes with experience but the last week doing little or nothing is a guaranteed finish time improver

Carboload well, some pass me a muffin ! Running is an unforgiving mistress, she (she is a she isn’t she ?) insists you train hard, eat right, get up early, miss family time and spend quality time in the pain box on a regular basis. For three days before a marathon though she relents and turns into your best friend EVER. This is because she allows you to carboload to improve your finishing time. Hallelujah , for three days you get to eat just about as much carbohydrates as you can physically stomach. I use the 10g of carbs per kilogram of body weight , per day for three days before the marathon. For me this equates to 700g of carbs a day. Trying to eat 700g of quality carbs a day is actually very hard and you need to be careful you don’t add too much sugar into the mix or you and the bathroom scales are going to fall out big time. For me I aim for a toast for breakfast,  pasta meal every evening, orange juice and electrolytes, honey on toast (probably twice a day), yoghurt, bananas  and more pasta for lunch. This gets me to around the 700g I need. Very few runners actually make the right mix of carbohydrates to protein and the other major food groups, they either fall short on the carbohydrate count or add too much sugar (assuming a ‘if  looks good I can eat it mentality’) This can lead to weight gain (rather than the ‘good’ weight gain due to more water in the last few days. This also needs to be addressed, you should be ‘peeing’ clear the three days before a marathon as you hydrate before the big day.)

Got to love marathon training for the last 3 days, pass me a muffin !



Of course there is the one day carboload for runners who feel that three days of gorging on carbs makes them feel bloated, heavy and generally lethargic.  Dr. Paul Fournier from The Conversation published this post on the subject below:-

During the London Olympics, and beyond, many endurance athletes will attempt to increase their muscle glycogen stores by carbohydrate loading. This is because, despite its importance, glycogen is a fuel present only in small amounts in skeletal muscles and can be rapidly depleted during prolonged intense aerobic exercise, thus causing fatigue.

Unfortunately, many athletes aiming to increase their glycogen stores find this aspect of their preparation challenging. It is thus important to remind them that nearly a decade ago my colleagues and I developed some carbohydrate loading regimens to make this task easier.

Six-day regimen

Close to the end of the 1960s, a team of scientists from Northern Europe introduced a carbohydrate loading regimen that resulted in a near two-fold increase in muscle glycogen stores.


This regimen involved a glycogen-depleting bout of exercise followed by three days of a carbohydrate-poor diet. Another bout of exercise was then performed to deplete once more the stores of muscle glycogen.

For the next three days the athletes were asked to eat a carbohydrate-rich diet and to avoid any strenuous physical activity.

As one would expect, despite its benefits, this regimen was difficult to tolerate and highly impractical, particularly for athletes wishing to train during the carbohydrate-deprivation phase of this regimen.

Three-day regimen

It is in part for this reason that nearly 30 years ago, Sherman and colleagues introduced an improved carbohydrate-loading regimen that resulted in comparable increases in muscle glycogen levels, but without the disadvantages associated with the classical regimen.

These investigators found that the accumulation of high levels of muscle glycogen is possible without any glycogen-depletion phase.

Emily Barney

All that is required is for athletes to taper their training over several days and rest on the day before competition while ingesting a carbohydrate-rich diet for three days prior to competing.

Unfortunately, even this three-day carbohydrate loading regimen was difficult to adhere to given the large amounts of carbohydrate that needed to be ingested over several consecutive days.

For this reason, nearly a decade ago my colleagues and I at UWA undertook to develop an improved carbohydrate-loading regimen that allows the attainment of maximal muscle glycogen levels within a shorter time period.

One-day regimen

As a result, we introduced two novel one-day long carbohydrate loading regimens (published here and here).

Since the rates of muscle glycogen synthesis are generally higher during recovery from a short bout of high intensity exercise than during recovery from prolonged exercise of moderate intensity, we examined whether combining a short bout of high intensity exercise with a one day high-carbohydrate intake could provide a faster way to carbohydrate load.

To this end, we asked a group of participants to cycle for 150 seconds at 130% of their maximal aerobic capacity followed by a 30-second all-out sprint. For the next 24 hours, we fed them the equivalent of 10 grams of carbohydrate-rich food per kilo of body mass.

To our surprise, after only 24 hours their muscle glycogen stores increased to levels comparable to or higher than those reported in previous studies on carbohydrate loading.

One limitation with this regimen is that many endurance athletes may not wish to perform three minutes of intense exercise on the day before competing. Ideally, it would be better if they could accumulate as much glycogen within one day but without a glycogen-depleting exercise bout.

Sherman and colleagues had shown it was possible without a glycogen-depleting period of exercise to store maximal amounts of muscle glycogen if a carbohydrate-rich diet was adopted for three days while tapering exercise-training.

We examined whether this approach could work in endurance-trained athletes fed the equivalent of 10 g of carbohydrate-rich food per kilo of body mass while remaining physically inactive for a whole day.

We found that muscle glycogen stores reach maximal levels within only one day of starting this regimen, with no added benefits by extending the high-carbohydrate intake period for up to three days.

In other words, all that is required of our endurance athletes who trained regularly and want to carbohydrate load before competing is simply to interrupt their training for one day and eat the equivalent of 10 grams of carbohydrate-rich food (e.g. pasta, bread, rice, potatoes) per kilo of body mass during that day.

Simply, the best

To the best of our knowledge, no better carbohydrate loading regimen has been published since then, but many athletes still rely on earlier regimens.

Our carbohydrate loading protocol sounds simple, and it is simple – but it works.


A good review of the Nike Vaporflys 4%, basically save up your pennies and buy a pair when they become available, nuff said !


Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% Detailed Breakdown and First Run and Race Impressions Review: Sensational, A Game Changer

The Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% ($250) is the non customized version of the shoe worn by Eliud Kipchoge at the recent Breaking 2 attempt where he ran the fastest (unofficial) marathon time of 2:00.25. It was worn by both the men’s and women’s winners of the 2017 Boston Marathon.

The Vaporfly 4% is the product of extensive bio mechanics and materials research as part of the goal of  Nike’s goal of breaking 2 hours in the marathon, the 4% representing Nike estimate of the potential improvement  in running economy, with individual runners varying up or down from the shoes. Added to running economy are the ideal training, course conditions and nutrition required to break the magic barrier.
Official Nike weight: 6.5 oz/184 g size 10, equivalent to approx. 6.2 oz size 9
My production pair in US size 8.5 weighed 6.56 oz /186 g, so a size 9 would weigh approx. 6.8 oz.
-approx.1.6 oz/145 g less weight than Zoom Fly)
Stack height: 31mm heel/21 mm forefoot, 10mm drop.
-2mm less stack heel and forefoot than Zoom Fly)

RoadTrailRun first tried on a single VaporFly 4% at the Boston Marathon here, tested and reviewed the heavier, “similar” Zoom Fly ($150) here and now have had a chance to take a first run in a pair of our own.
Unlike the Zoom Fly, with nearly identical stack heights and midsole geometry, the lighter weight (by approx. 1.6 oz), Vaporfly with its soft and bouncy ZoomX Pebax midsole foam and full carbon plate provided me in my first test run a similar but far more cushioned, responsive, shock free and fluid ride than the Zoom Fly.
The Vaporfly 4% is far more forgiving on the legs than the Zoom Fly and for sure the Zoom Streak 6, easier on the legs is part of the Breaking 2 goal of getting runners to the marathon’s later stages with something left.
Time will tell as to durability of all these new materials but I would not hesitate to not only race but do all faster workouts in them.

First Run
I struggled at faster than my marathon paces in the Zoom Fly but not at all in VaporFly. While of course I was excited to try them, my 4 mile run at 6800 foot altitude on a fairly hilly course with lots of sun and temperatures above 85 F was a solid 15-20 seconds per mile faster than I would have expected for the effort, coming in at 8:17 pace.  It was my second run of the day, the first being a slower 4 mile run. The only place I struggled was on a very steep 600 meter hill, the stiffness of the carbon fiber plate, the Vaporfly being a completely flex free shoe in the conventional sense, requiring knee lift and drive something I do not have.  I walked away from the workout with fresh legs but a touch of soreness in the achilles.

First Impressions and Fit

  • Impossibly light and yet highly cushioned.
  • Step in is soft and slipper like, a bit squishy up front.
  • The “falling forward” I felt when I first tried them on at Boston is noticeable but not extreme when walking and becomes part of the flow when running.
  • The sole is literally tacky and sticks ever so slightly to pavement.
  • Trying them on with light socks at true to size I was initially concerned that the very minimal heel counter and collar would not stabilize the heel.  On my first run no issues or concern with heel hold so far and my test run had steep uphills, downhills and flats but it was short run so more testing is required
  • The fit everywhere was impeccable, roomy secure, and pressure free.
  • This is not a race flat type such as with the Zoom Streak 6 or even I would say the Pegasus but a marathon fit, clearly designed for some foot expansion. The toe box has high vertical volume.
  • The mid foot is eerily secure without any pressure as the VaporFly does away with Flywire and uses an internal underlay tied into the laces. I felt a touch of pressure under the arch trying them on but not on the run.


Fit was true to size with light socks. 
The upper is a single layer Nike’s Flymesh with no lining and with lots of ventilation across the top. There is a touch of stiffener baked into the toe area to create a soft toe bumper and vertical volume.There is only one visible overlay, a strap running from the last lace hole to the rear and only on the medial side. It is bonded on the outside and stitched on the inside so this strap means business and is effective.

The mid foot hold does away with any Flywire, as the Zoom Fly has, adopting a similar approach to the fine Zoom Terra Kiger 4 trail shoe (RTR review).

An inner ventilated suede like “strap” is attached at the top of the midsole bucket seat side walls on both sides, the foot does slightly sit down into the midsole on both sides of the mid foot. It free floats up to the lace loops, wraps to the outer upper where it is attached becoming the lace loops.

As in the Kiger (which also adds a second inner stretch bootie sleeve) the wrap is consistent and pressure free.The sock liner is flat and securely glued down..
The heel counter construction or lack of it had me initially concerned as for sure I am a heel striker.

The far rear at the red “timing themed strap” is moderately firm down low then gets softer up to the heel tab. A thin wishbone of decently firm padding wraps the heel collar just below the top of the knit upper.

Part of what I initially felt, and which concerned me, was the fairly loose last rim of mesh. On the run the  hold action is down lower at the padded collar. While I might prefer a bit more heel counter especially given the pointy rear foot landing all has been just fine so far and in fact more securely held than the Zoom Fly, although I was a half size up in those which was not really necessary and maybe contributed to some of the instability I felt.

The bottom of the tongue is an extension of the forefoot mesh material with the top an asymmetrical plasticky but soft enough material covering most of the lace up and then lower down running down each side in strips on either side of the mesh to provide some structure to keep the tongue from bunching and folding.

Lace up was perfect. I found that over tightening the laces creates some top pressure as the tendency given the unstructured upper is to cinch down which I found was un necessary as foot hold is more than adequate without over tightening.

The midsole is Nike new ZoomX Pebax foam with the embedded 100% carbon plate. The plate is located as illustrated by the pen line drawn on the midsole in the picture below.

Once the plate reaches the outsole it runs directly above the outsole, at ground level. The location of the plate appears to be the same as in the Zoom Fly with the Zoom Fly’s is a polymer carbon composite and not full carbon.
It is clear the combination of 2mm less stack, ZoomX foam, removal of the full heel counter and carbon plate is where most of the weight reduction comes from compared to the Zoom Fly with its more conventional EVA and carbon polymer composite plate.

Essentially Nike has put a spike plate in the Vapor Fly. It is close to the heel at landing with 20 mm plus of foam below to cushion impact and provide 10mm of drop, accommodating for the fact that marathoners don’t run on as much on the forefoot as track runners do but also cleverly given the plate near the foot even heel strikers won’t linger long. As the foot transitions it sinks into the front foam which is effectively thicker over the plate than at the heel.

So from contact at the rear where the plate is close to the foot it is clear the design wants us

  • to not feel shock at the heel but also to move along, all that cushion below the plate at the heel,
  • then get/fall forward as the foot compresses the front foam on the way to toe off.

The front cushion is sublime  and when the foot pushes down and forces meet the plate at ground level the toe off is immediate but smooth and fluid quite unlike the firm harsh response of most road flats. So while response is not as instant as a firm midsole race shoe, even Zoom Air ones such as the Streak, or the Zoom Fly which relies on EVA, there is much less shock transmitted to the legs. The shoe is forgiving where it needs to be for long races and then just at the right moment.  Pop!

Usually saving such weight or putting a shoe way down below 7 oz means that in comparison the ride will be firmer and more responsive. Well here the Zoom X carbon combination is actually far easier on the legs than the Zoom Fly. The cushion is silky smooth and softer under load, softer, more forgiving but at the same time with far more bounce back when combined with the carbon plate which surely plays a role.  The softer yet more dynamic cushion and response upfront is particularly noticeable when compared to the Zoom Fly . There is a distinct sensation of  sinking into the foam on transition and “falling” forward to toe off.  While the stiffness takes some adjusting to, as the Vapor Fly is completely and totally stiff the stiffness is far less noticeable here than in the Zoom Fly. With my poor knee lift and drive I didn’t struggle at all to transition and drive up and away expect on a very steep uphill where things went south.

Some have commented on the wrinkling of the outer midsole side walls as being a sign of compression of the midsole.  After 4 miles I see some wrinkles but think the midsole has an outer “skin” which will for sure wrinkle and something I have seen in other shoes. I have no idea yet how long this super light and lively new midsole will last. This is after all a race shoe.  I will carefully tabulate miles for our full review.

The outsole is full contact up front and patches at the rear with very thin sipes cut in to the material.

It is literally tacky and slightly sticky on the pavement. I could feel the slight stick both walking and running.  The heel rubber feels slightly firmer than the forefoot rubber which makes sense as that carbon plate is right under the forefoot rubber.  It is not particularly thick.  I do wish, as with the Zoom Fly that the rear of the heel geometry on the ground was more conventional less pointed and more rounded.  While the elites likely land further forward most of the rest of us could use more ground contact back there.
It is important to note that while the Vaporfly 4% is a very comfortable up tempo trainer this is a racing shoe which was not designed for trainer class mileage. Depending on your landing, foot scuffing during gait, etc… the outsole has significant areas of exposed midsole which can scuff and wear. I have seen some wear at one heel in particular. Use a layer of Shoe Goo as I have to protect these areas.

Initial on the Run Data from a Road Trail Run Reader
Road Trail Run reader Joshua Sun also received an early pair from Running Warehouse where I also purchased my Vaporfly. Joshua is a former avid cyclist who has run a marathon and several halves. He focuses his running on short fast efforts on the same loop and has also run the Zoom Fly. He was kind enough to share his first run impressions and comparative data using a Garmin Forerunner 935 and Running Dynamics Pod (see our article here) with us:

“There’s a 3.25 mile route that I run frequently near my home.  I use this route to benchmark my performance and to test out running shoes.  Basically I run this route as fast as I can.  There’s not much room for placebo effect because I’m pushing myself about as hard as I can without blowing up.  Over the years, I’ve developed a good sense of how hard I can push without blowing up and I run this route with a very consistent effort.  I track these runs using my Garmin 935 with RD pod.  Based on how much better the numbers were with the Vaporfly, I’m pretty certain that I would run faster in the Vaporfly than any other shoe out there.  I’m less confident in exactly how much better it is without a lot more data.

Here is some data about my runs in the Zoom Fly and Vaporfly – about 1 week apart so fitness level shouldn’t be much of a factor.

Distance 3.25m
Pace: Vaporfly 7:18; Zoom Fly 7:33
HR Avg: Vaporfly 156; Zoom Fly 155 (However, both of these are about 4% lower than my average heart rate when I try to run this route fast – so it matches up well with Nike’s claims.  I think the range is about 2-6% in Nike’s testing.)
Cadence: Vaporfly 157 Zoom Fly 160
Stride Length: Vaporfly 1.39m; Zoom Fly 1.31m
Vertical Oscillation: Vaporfly 10cm; Zoom Fly 10.9cm
Ground Contact Time: Vaporfly 264ms; Zoom Fly 248ms

What this shows is that I’m running at a slightly slower cadence but that my stride has gotten longer and lower (more horizontal and less vertical, which is how better runners usually run).  You can see from the ground contact time that the shoe really takes longer to compress but then propels me forward longer and lower than with the Zoom Fly.  (And I’ve run faster in the Zoom Fly than any other shoe.  I ran about a 7:37 pace in the Zoom Streak, which is next fastest.) ”

Ride and Conclusions
What more can I say. Only one run in, the ride and performance is incredible. Vapor Fly is light, cushioned, dynamic and despite the stiffness of the shoe far more fluid than the Zoom Fly for me.  I ran 15-20 seconds faster per mile than I would have expected to for the course and effort in my first run. Can I sustain those kinds of improved paces over longer distances given the unusual stiff geometry? Only more runs will tell.  I will be running a downhill 10K race Monday and will update this post.  I am particularly curious as to how they will perform at faster than half marathon pace for me. I had difficulty running faster paces in the Zoom Fly as I had difficulty transitioning to toe off rapidly enough with my poor knee lift and drive.  Here I am almost sure I will not struggle nearly as much but racing will tell.
More testing to come but I will certainly reach for them for 10K and  half marathon and if the heel stability is adequate and the stiffness not issues when tired for a full marathon. Faster runners may still reach for “racing flats” for up to a half but many will consider the Vapor Fly for the marathon.

Are the VaporFly 4% worth $250? Well sports “toys” can cost big money, just think bikes and ski equipment. Lighter weight and performance advantages claimed, real or otherwise, always come at a premium cost and some downsides as well.
Are they only for world record setting elites? Absolutely not!  These are very forgiving if unusual shoes. I think they will provide at least some of the advantages of Breaking 2 to serious recreational runners, not the least of which is the demonstrated advantages of lighter weight for racing shoes yet here with plenty of cushion. Here incredibly light weight is combined with outstanding bouncy cushion, plenty of it and response.  My initial run was considerably faster than I would have expected.
Are they only for racing? I say for most yes.
While they are fabulous for up tempo training the exposed midsole under foot may see accelerated wear depending on your foot strike and scuffing patterns. I see some at 25 miles I am saving mine for races, their intended use, and will protect these high wear areas with Shoe Goo. To date apart from some creasing of the midsole walls the cushion and stability is intact.
Some caution advised
Some may struggle with the stiffness so caution getting used to them is advised as I think you will work your achilles and calves more than usual if you have poor knee drive and the narrow landing in the back may not be for everyone.

Update: My 10K went very well. 1st in my 60-64 age group at 7:04 pace on my watch which is certainly faster than my marathon pace and with no issues. The course was at altitude between 5100 and 4500 feet so downhill with about 1.5 miles of flats and the Vaporfly performed magnificently on flats, moderate downhills, and uphills. The first half mile was a very steep downhill where they did feel somewhat unstable at the heel. The combination of the outstanding cushion, fluid transitions, snappy response was outstanding and truly unique. My legs were none the worse for wear the next day.
Update: Ran another 10K race in the Vapor Fly, this time a flat course at sea level. I have run this race 3 times since 2013 and this was race was my fastest time by 7 seconds. Faster isn’t easy at my age… 60.   The entire difference came in the last 1.2 miles. My legs were just fresher in the finishing stretch. I had no soreness the next day and the day after “ran” a very mountainous (over 4000 feet of vertical)  half on slick trails none the worse for the 10K race. While there may be faster shoes, even for me, for a 10K as race distances increase the advantages of the VaporFly in terms of performance also seem to increase.


Fame at last, but I don’t think anybody noticed.

Sunday times photo, my best ‘Blue Steel’ look.

I have a good relationship with the local newspaper and specifically the sports wrote Glen ‘Quarters’ Quatermain, who luckily for me is also a marathon runner. Glen, like myself, has competed all eight previous City to Surf marathons so we have a common bond as we try and keep ourselves in this ever diminishing group. I have attached the article at the end of this post as well as a hyperlink.

I may have been a tad uncomplimentary to my swimming and cycling skills in the interview to drive home the point I was a more reasonable runner. I was certainly no Michael Phelps but would never finish dead last, maybe last 25% . Cycling I could probably manage a mid-table finish but running was always my forte.

I have made the Sunday Times on two previous occasions and unfortunately both times my life has remained unchanged. No book deals  or Hollywood producers fighting over film rights, just the odd comment from work colleagues as we huddle around the coffee machine.  I have mentioned to a few people about the impending article but it seems these days no one actually buys the paper. As Ross explained it to Zac, a young runner ‘in our circle of trust’ ‘a newspaper is like a static ipad displaying yesterdays news’. A tad harsh but for the latest generation of ‘I-users’ but probably about summed it up.

Either way I feel this article will not be my golden ticket out of the daily grind but stay tuned, funnier things have happened,  and Hollywood may need a balding, skinny, bearded runner for the latest blockbuster.?


City to Surf Perth: Big Kev’s on a roll

FOR a decorated marathon runner, Kevin Matthews makes a pretty average triathlete.

When the engineer emigrated to Australia from the UK in 2001 he decided to “embrace the Aussie lifestyle” and complete three half-ironmans.

“What is more Aussie than completing triathlons in Speedos, it ticked all the boxes in my view,” he said.

“I realised I swam little better than a brick, rode a bike just as bad but could hold my own running, albeit in budgie smugglers. So I turned my attention to marathons and initially ultra-marathons.”

Ironman’s loss has been the Chevron City to Surf for Activ’s gain with 50-year-old Matthews is one of only 20-something runners to have completed every one of the eight marathons held so far on the last Sunday in August.

He’s pretty good at it too. “Big Kev” is on a hot streak, running his past 25 marathons in under three hours. He also completed the cherished 89km Comrades ultra-marathon in South Africa three times from 2008-2010.

He will put his streak on the line on Sunday, August 27 in the Chevron City to Surf for Activ marathon.

“I pulled up lame a few days before the Bunbury Marathon in April this year,” he said. “I initially thought it was a calf knot and had it treated accordingly but it just got worse so I had an ultrasound scan and it turned out to be a 5cm calf tear.

“I set myself a goal of competing the Perth Marathon as I still had a good 10 weeks.

“But I broke down again a few weeks out and another scan revealed another new, smaller, calf tear.

“There is no fool like an old runner. I had probably pushed it too hard, too early but was desperate to run Perth as it would have been my 10th Perth Marathon in a row, and my 13th Perth in total.”

Matthews has since put together a five-week training block, averaging about 120km a week.

“Runners love numbers, be it fastest times, distance, pace or streaks,” he said. “I’m privileged to be part of an ever decreasing band of runners who have run them all.

“Missing Bunbury and Perth hurt but missing the City to Surf would have been devastating. To get the opportunity to be in the inaugural marathon of a big city these days is virtually unheard of, so to have that opportunity in your home town is a double bonus.

“I think the group is down to 30 now from the inaugural 1000 who started the first City to Surf Marathon in 2009.”

The Chevron City to Surf for Acitv will be marathon number 42 for Matthews.

His personal best of 2 hours 41 minutes and 14 seconds was set on the course in 2013 and he went within 30 seconds of beating that last year when he ran 2:41:41 for a fifth-place finish.

“This will be my first marathon since I turned 50 earlier in the year but I have no plans of slowing down or stopping in the near future,” he said.

Matthews will post his account of the marathon on his running blog before, after and probably during the race. Go to .


Gotta’ love Winter mornings, or do you ?

The sun always comes out eventually.


Winter in Perth isn’t really that bad, truth be told. It is dark until 7am , give or take a few minutes depending on how deep into Winter you are, but temperature wise it very rarely gets into the single figures and if there is rain it is normally sporadic and avoidable. Today was a great example, it had been forecast as rain all day and torrential so I set the alarm for a 5am start determined to get one 10k in before the onslaught which was promised later in the morning. Now I’m a morning person when morning means sunshine and cooler temperatures, like in Summer. Winter is a different story as I have never really enjoyed running in the dark. I can stand the conditions because after 8 years in Aberdeen Perth has got nothing but darkness is not my friend. When I run it is to soak in the surroundings (when I actually look up , which truth be told is rare. Example this morning on Facebook there were several photos of a beautiful sunrise which I missed completely. ?) in the dark it is hard to soak up anything when you are watching your every step. (assuming there is little or no street lightning,  which is normally the case in Perth due to the size of the metropolitan area, too large apparently to kit out with decent street lights?)

Summer mornings though are the complete opposite. Summer in Perth can be brutal with temperatures hot enough to cook eggs on concrete, and that’s a cooler day normally ! Mornings is the only rest bite from these temperatures that would probably make hell seem cold. Anything past 8am and you’re struggling to survive the temperatures,  so most of the important runs need to be early morning.  Early evenings can sometimes be acceptable but lunch time runs are for the suicidal runner and mad dogs of course. Morning runs in Summer are a thing of beauty and  set you up for the day ahead. You bounce out of bed like tigger on steroids and explode into the outside surroundings. Winter, not so much, you struggle out of bed and then normally spend 5 minutes talking yourself up to put on your running costume before sheepishly opening the front door hoping for a monsoon to justify retreating back to the comfort of the warm bed, which you were mad to leave in the first place. When you eventually start it normally ends well and I reckon in the 8 years I’ve been logging my runs I’ve only had a handful that I actually regretted starting. This thought alone has propelled me into the dark on a number of occasions.

So what are the benefits of running on those Winter mornings ? The most important is the regimented approach you need for training, when you say you are going to run , you run. If you set your alarm then you need to follow through and go for that run. It’s a discipline thing and runners need discipline. The run itself need not be that important as running in the dark is hard to judge pace as you always feel you’re running faster than you actually are. (Which doesn’t help the situation !) The main benefit is setting you up for the rest of the day. After a dark morning run and a warm shower you feel so much better pre-work.

Sometimes though you need to pick your battles like this morning.  With a forecast of possible storms I reset my alarm and decided I’d chance a lunch time run and the possibility of an after work recovery run if the planets aligned, by this I mean if I can complete my Dads taxi and dog walking chores before dinner and still find 50 minutes for a relaxing 10k. Confidence is low but after a good double-up day yesterday and the marathon less than three weeks away I’m actually happy with one soaking a day, two soakings a day would be greedy surely ?

With less than three weeks to the City to Surf Marathon now is the time when you can avoid to miss the odd run as you really should be tapering and concentrating on quality over quantity. Three weeks stills seems to be the norm when it comes to tapering but personally I have knocked a week off that and go down the road of a more aggressive (I.e. less running) two week taper. I found three weeks was just too long and I often felt I was losing fitness rather than rebuilding tired muscles. I’m use to running twice a day, every day and to suddenly stop running just makes me feel flat and also gives me more time to spend standing in front of the fridge, fidgeting !! Body and mind love routine and to change this can have the opposite effect to what you are looking to achieve. Well that’s my excuse anyway, as with all things running it is runner specific and I’m sure most runners benefit from a 3 week taper. It did give me the excuse I needed this morning to avoid the wind and rain and grab a few extra minutes in a warm comfortable bed performing one of a runners most important exercise, often over looked, sleeping ! (Though I was probably dreaming about running so maybe I should put down a few kilometres on Strava ? Interesting concept…..)


The diet that offers good food, eat as much as you like and helps you run faster.

I was reading through comments to some of my posts this morning and came across one from my running buddy Jon who has transformed himself over the last few weeks into a fat burning machine taking on board the Banting diet.   ( ) It really is worth a read as the results are amazing.

My lightbulb moment commenced as I was, for the  2nd time (unrelated) on same day  called Mr.Squishy! First one being as my son gave me a cuddle goodbye in the morning (cheeky git), and the 2nd one being by yours truly out on a lunch time run asI found myself dropped at the back of the pack (on an ‘easy’ run!)… what happened to me pushing the pace at the front, seems longer and longer ago in fact I think my age began with a 2 back then !! (approaching 36 now) Enough was enough, time to do something.

It was then I started an unsustainable ‘calorie restricted diet’, this is truly short term focus as never works long term, however a few weeks in I remembered an Ironman mate Toyney had mentioned several years ago about Banting (LCHF), I laughed it off at the time thinking along lines above loving my carbs too much !

Anyway, I looked at some of Toyney’s material he had given me at the time, and what I read seemed like perhaps this is what I had been waiting for all along ! Forget ‘calorie restricting’, instead eat and eat how much you like, caveat being based around a Traffic Light system (good enough for kids at school, yet as adults we have instilled good eating habits and moderation being the key?); Green eat as much/Orange in moderation/Red to avoid: Note: This list has actually been modernly adapted to now green/light orange/dark orange/light red/dark red ! (I’d recommend reading ‘The Real Meal Revolution 2.0 by Jonno Proudfoot’, about $30)

Bingo. Weight came off, week by week, in fact around 10% in 10 weeks. About 15/16 weeks in now, and weight has plateaued (anyone looking at me would say nothing left to lose !) – food seems and feels ‘sustainable’. To me, it doesn’t feel like a ‘diet’. Truly a clean way of eating. Who doesn’t love eating fresh food every day, it doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact its equal if not cheaper than the way I ate previously (but wasn’t about the cost). First weeks hardest adapting over to carb depletion, but since then training as usual.

Where to from here, well i haven’t missed my carbs (mostly); training and volume consistent. Still have plenty of energy for double days/long runs etc. I have several new gears in my training regime not seen for many years. I have new motivation to achieve some real PB’s so watch this space. I am testing out a shortened carb load in the marathon for that ‘intense’ effort, but otherwise carbs are gone (for now).

Jon has always been a good runner with a pb of sub 2hrs50mins and many sub3 marathons but he has struggled over the last few years to regain that high standard but lately the ‘old Jon’ is back and then some. What brought it home to me was his morning run yesterday. A 32k commute to work where he progressively got quicker and ended up running sub 2hrs50min marathon pace. He then backed up the morning run with another quicker 10k at lunchtime. That’s a marathon distance at, or close to, his marathon pace.

32k morning run to work at Marathon pace.

What really impressed me wasn’t the distance, though that is still pretty good re-work on a Winters morning, but the way he finished. If you look at his last 10k they were as quick or quicker than the middle section of his run. He was accelerating into the ‘death zone’ (that distance from 32k onwards where the body tends to start to malfunction, the wall as us marathon runners call it!) This is what really stood out, it wasn’t your normal long run where most of the time it is just watching the watch and hitting the ‘time target’, this was a proper test. To then get back out a few hours later and throw down another fast 10k brings home how Jon has transformed his cardio fitness and fat burning.

If you wanted proof the Banting diet works look no further than Jon, bye-bye Mr. Squishy, you will be missed.

The old Jon would eat anything, including medals !! Not sure that is a High Fat , Low Carb. option ?


Can you now cheat legally ?

4% performance boost, where do I sign ?


This week sees the release of a shoe that is designed to give you a 4% performance boost . To put that in context for my goal marathon time of 2hours 40 minutes, if I purchased the Nike VapourFlys, I would run over 6 minutes quicker. Surprisingly they are sold out instantly and I don’t expect to be able to get my hands on these bad boys for a few months minimum. I mean c’mon, Nike have designed the holy grail of running shoes, 4% performance boost for no extra effort, you would be mad NOT to buy these running weapons of mass destruction.

Some people may bulk at the price of $350 AUD but I just spent over $3000 on an Elliptigo so I wouldn’t lose too much fitness while injured. (Money well spent by the way, I love my Elliptigo) $350 for 6 minutes off my marathon time, a small price to pay, hell I’d paid 10 times that  !

These shoes could put EPO suppliers out of production, why waste money and risk being DQ’d if now, legally, you can find 6 minutes, more if you are slower ! Of course there are rumours they are not IAAF accredited yet but I’m sure your local marathon club will turn a blind eye as long as you don’t show off and break a world record. They even look cool and will probably add a few inches to my height as well. My vertically challenged running buddies Jon and Bart’s will wet themselves when they realise they can be 6foot tall , run faster, look cool and all for $350, is there is a God he just delivered to runners , big time !

So to the title of this post. Are these shoes just cheating wrapped up in a pretty package with a nice swoosh logo on the side. Personally I don’t think so, as long as they are ratified by the athletic governing body. If they aren’t and I am allowed to wear them to my local races, which I think will happen, can I still take the moral high ground? . Hell yes, Triathletes have been doing this for years. I remember when I first did my half iron man in 2001 I completed the whole course in speedos (budgie smugglers as they are known in Oz. ) and my bike was less than $1000. No fancy triathlon bike with aerodynamic everything, silly helmets taking from the Death Star scenes in Star Wars (I mean seriously?) , Zipp wheels costing the same as a small house on the Florida Keys and coaches reinventing the ‘wheel’ so to speak making something that really is quite easy so difficult. (Again is it me or has every triathlete got a coach? Maybe they get confused with all the different events?)  So for us runners we finally get the chance to get something for nothing , well not really nothing but in the scale of things $350 for 6 minutes in  a marathon is ‘nothing‘.

Shoes are so often overlooked when it comes to getting better times. So many people train in their Asics Kayano’s , a shoe that weights about half the weight of the owner and is built for the mass market who know no better. (Oops , there goes my Asics sponsorship) I have nothing against Kayano’s and have more than 10 pairs in my garage from a by-gone age where I believed the hype that you must change your shoes every 400k and you need as much support as an alcoholic on his first visit to AA with a bottle of Gin in his coat pocket. I, personally, now use shoes with less heal drop and run them to the ground, literally, believing that a show moulds itself to your running style and is good for nearly four figures of distance if looked after. (This is my personal opinion and every runner is different so make your own call.) This is more of the barefoot running school of thought. ( ) 

You need your training shoe and your racing shoe, there is a reason there is a marked difference and the reason is weight. Your racing show is lighter and, according to physics, will make moving forward easier due to less weight attached to the end of your legs. For me I race in racing flats choosing the Nike LunaRacer (now that was a great shoe!) or the Adidas takumi sen 3 .  These shoes are expensive and don’t last as long as everyday trainers but they are a must have when you are chasing PB’s. I reckon these shoes are good for 2-3 minutes over a marathon compared to heavier alternatives. Of course the market for every race shoe is now completely destroyed and if I had shares in any shoe company advertising racing flats I would sell very quickly, they are now dinosaurs.

On the bright side I hear Adidas is throwing its hat in the ring and organising  its own sub2hour attempt and I’m sure they won’t be wearing the Nike VapourFly 4%, I’m hoping it will be the Adidas <insert silly name> 5% (or more) which will mean I will be able to go even faster. If this keeps up in the near future I will finish before I start and that will be a sad day because the need for training will be obsolete, all us ‘runners‘ will need to do is put on the latest Nike <insert silly name> and be teleported to the finish in the wink of an eye. Maybe, as with most things, the future is not as bright as I first thought. I miss the world before the internet, mobile phones, TV’s the size of a wall and social media but will I miss the world without the Nike VapourFly 4%, I’ll let you know once I get my grubby paws on a pair!!!!

Worth two photos!!!



Light at the end of the tunnel is confirmed as not being a train.

The comeback from injury is a slow process where you need to nurse the injury while also being mindful of an impending marathon in less than 7 weeks. Of course some people would question entering a marathon while recovering from a calf tear but I ain’t ‘some people’ and the City to Surf is important to me as I have ran every one since the inaugural running in 2009. I have mentioned before that being at the start of a major marathon is the holy grail of marathon runners, a once in a lifetime experience and one not to be taken lightly. Currently for the Perth City to Surf there are 26 runners who have ran all previous 8 iterations and each year we all wonder how many will fail to turn up or finish. I’m assuming all 26 now know they are part of a select group and will do everything in their powers to stay within the fold. There’s no rejoining this group, once you’re out you are out for good. For the City to Surf there is a list of 40 finishers who have finished any 7 of the 8 marathons, but really 7 out of 8, c’mon , if you ain’t one of the 26 who have ran all 8 you might as well not have ran any, sorry but that is just the way it is.


City to Surf finishes 2016

This is why I entered the City to Surf the moment I could run (hobble) 4k and after a second scan only showed a small calf tear. This was all the incentive I needed to sign up. Luckily I have had a good recovery so far and managed to rack up some reasonable weekly totals while nursing the calf.

Injury recovery has started in earnest.


Of course these weekly figures pale into insignificance to previous totals pre-calf tear. I have attached an extract from Strava for January this year which highlights some serious running totals and all this in a Perth summer. (Note: if it isn’t on if never happened !) The pierce de resistance in the extract below is my one and only ever 200k week. No real point for the total but with runners it’s all about numbers, be it weekly totals, pace, racing time etc. etc. so to make 200k in a week was a rite of passage I suppose. Certainly got some kudos in Strava, the facebook of running, another important reason for the 200k total. This is a similar story to the City to Surf list of runners who have run all 8 City to Surf marathons, run 7 and it means nothing. Running 199k in a week is impressive but 200k is a whole different ballpark. Is 200k a week sustainable ? Not for me. The pressures of juggling family, work and running is thwart with danger . I read somewhere you can do two things well but not three. I’ll leave you to work out which one suffers normally. (A clue here, it aint’ running or the family (well not too much) ) Even for a professional running 200k a week will normally end up with parts of your body breaking or even tearing ( like maybe a 5cm right calf tear?)


Good times, January 2017.

Is injury inevitable with large mileage? Tough one to answer, there are so many variables when it comes to injury. Some people may have the weirdest running styles and a junk food based diet but seem to run forever without injury, while others take care of themselves and tick all the boxes when it comes to recovery, hydration and nutrition but spend half their time on a physio’s bed. Personally looking back at my calf tear there were many reasons for the eventual injury and I reckon I had many opportunities to avoid injury, all were ignored.

Have I learned my lesson moving forward? I think so, bar running a marathon 8 weeks after the second calf tear is diagnosed? I have been running on grass as much as possible and keeping my heart rate under 135bpm average, this has restricted me to less than 5min/k average pace which obviously reduces the load on the calf. The next big challenge of course is to not only finish the City to Surf marathon but to finish it quicker than 3 hours to maintain my 25 in a row sub3 finish streak.  Maintaining streaks is as big as entering inaugural marathons, a runners ‘precious‘ that must be nurtured , loved and never relinquished. This will be a challenge as I just mentioned I am nurturing my injury which means nothing faster than 5min/k pace. I need to eventually be able to run 42 km at an average pace of less than 4min15secs. / k in 6 weeks. Nobody said it was going to be easy.

For the moment it feels great just to be running again, albeit slowly and on grass but with the help of the Elliptigo  ( for some good ‘second sessions’ commuting to work and general cardio recovery  I hope to be able to cross the City to Surf Finish line for marathon finish number 9 with a time starting with a two. Greedy perhaps to put a time on a marathon I’ll be lucky to get to the start line, probably, but another thing us runners do so well is optimism and I have it in spades.


Training limited to 5k every other day, perfect, enter a marathon.

There are certain races that a runner learns to love over time as they are filled with golden memories. For me , as I race so often and in the same place (Western Australia) I have a few of these. They would include the Rottnest Island Marathon (you really need to click on this link, Rottnest is just one of the most beautiful places on earth.  I’ve ran ‘Rotto’ 10 times and have loved every minute. ), the Perth Marathon, the 6 inch trail ultra ( ) and the Chevron sponsored City to Surf Marathon.

This morning after a bumper week of training last week , for a weekly total of 13k, I entered the City to Surf Marathon for the 9th time. This race to me is special for a number of reasons. It  was the first marathon I first broke sub 3 hours in 2009 in it’s inaugural year. I have ran two of my fastest marathon times on the course (2013 my current PB of 2hrs 41 min 14 seconds and last year 2hrs 41min 41seconds) , finished top 10 on numerous occasions but best of all won $6,000 once as the first Australian  (even with my English dulcet tones) to finish. I am also one of the last 26 runners to have ran all the previous 8 iterations of this race. (see below)

City to Surf finishes 2016

As I have mentioned before runners love numbers, be it your PB time, number of marathons ran, average pace, distance, VO2 max, cadence, numbers of runs a week etc. the list is endless but one of the biggest numbers runners love is ‘streaks’. To be involved at the beginning of a major city marathon, even better in your home town, is priceless and a once in a lifetime opportunity.  This is why, even with a calf tear less than 8 weeks,  out I am determined to run the ninth Perth City to Surf. (I say ‘run‘ , it may end up being a lot less than that by the time I get to ‘heartbreak hill’ at the 40k mark?)

I worked with Chevron from 2007-2015 and during that time suspected I was being kept on as the ‘poster boy’ for the event as I always seemed to be the first Chevron marathon finisher and normally attracted a bit of media attention. Most of that was mainly aimed at the ‘look at the old guy finishing the marathon in a semi-reasonable time’ angle more than anything else. Not many balding, bearded, mid-life (I hope?) runners at the front of the pack so might as well interview this one ? I have been lucky enough to make the papers, local TV and even You Tube on occasion, much to my kids disgust.  Apparently watching your dad on the TV doing press-ups after finishing a marathon is not cool. Actually I seem to have this issue with anything I do funnily enough. (and you can imagine how the Elliptigo is going down at the moment in my house ? )

So close to finishing first woman.

There was also the time in 2013 I was nearly ‘first woman’ after running with the lead woman the whole race and then , in the sprint for the line, I was forced to slow so she could take the tape. The beard would have probably given the game away if I had crossed ahead of her and took the tape. At the time I was working for Chevron and reasoned my contract would come under some pressure if I was seen on local TV barging past the first woman in an effort to save a few seconds. Truth be told this was actually my PB run and I still maintain this act of chivalry cost me a few seconds, whether I could justify it cost me 1 minute and 15 seconds for a sub 2:40 is difficult.

Other notable events over the years is one of my favourite photos of  Jon barking orders at me in 2010 about 10k into the race. My Garmin watch had died at the start so mentally I was shot before the first step. My plan was to stay with Jon and this group to he finish and grab another sub3. It was about this time I gave up and got dropped like a bad habit. I ended up running alone for the next 30k and finishing in 3hours and 3 minutes. With a fully functioning Garmin I’m convinced I could have gone under 3 hours. Jon was moving into his prime at the time and I was no match for his endurance or speed. Also note this was before the ‘speed beard’ was added to my arsenal and I don’t think I’ve ran over 3 hours with the beard ? (for female readers I would recommend growing a speed beard or any beard really, probably not going to help you attract a ‘life partner’, or maybe…? ) Also notice it was about this time Skins first came out and me and Jon were convinced of their magical properties. I even wore a pair to a 10k once ! We both decided that if the Africans didn’t wear them then we wouldn’t either in the end. Still good for injury prevention on training runs and recovery of course.  ( I still remember the first time Karen encountered me wearing skins to bed , for recovery purposes you understand, it was a once only event, I think she nearly died laughing.)

Little Jon laying down the law !

Even got to meet the great Steve Moneghetti at one of the photo shoots for the event when he was the ambassador in 2014. There is a slight resemble, feature wise,  as he is also blessed like myself, just needs a beard of course  but when it comes to running performances he in a different league, actually a different planet.  A genuine nice guy though which is something you find with most good long distance runners. I reckon it is because they’ve been through the same pain we have albeit probably harder , longer and faster; and they are better people for it. This goes for all long distance runners, as a whole they are normally nice people.

Separated at birth ?

There was also the time Mike ran the course and at half way ‘blew his hammy’, he then couldn’t remember his Wife’s mobile number so had to wait until she returned to the family home before calling her and asking to be picked up. Unfortunately for Mike his Wife was the wrong side of road closures and it took her over three hours to get to him. He could have limped to the finish quicker and at least got a finishing medal and probably saved an hour or two hanging around. There was some good karma last year when I got him a free entry and he ran , with very little training, and got his medal he missed from his last failed attempt. The marathon god giveth’ and the marathon god taketh; away.

I have so many more City to Surf stories but will save them for a rainy day when I have run out of things to talk about, assuming that is possible as with each passing day running you are blessed with new experiences, adventures and memories. This is why we run and this is why we are what we are…




Over training, been doing it for years.

I am a tad OCD when it comes to emails and never delete them, EVER. On my work computer I have every work email I ever sent from 2005 to the present day for no reason that I can. Once in a while they do turn up some little gems which then become ammunition for a good post.

This morning the boys were carrying on about cramping as three of them suffered this ailment in the last part of the recent Perth Marathon. I ,of course, gave them my words of wisdom ending up with a quote that was our ‘go to comment’ many years ago regarding a famous runner, and general super human, Dave Goggins.  ( ) He was famous for drinking his can of ‘hard’ and taking ‘suck it up’ pills ; his only rest day was yesterday and his journey never stopped…. anyhow, as always I digress. As you can see from my email below I gave the boys heaps using Goggins as my final point.


From: Kevin Matthews Sent: Wednesday, June 21, 2017 8:43 AM To: ‘Conway, Mark (GE Oil & Gas)’; Michael Kowal; Mark Lommers Cc: Jon Pendse; Michael Kowal; Gareth Dean Subject: RE: THE MARATHON LONG RUN


It seems this ‘cramping’ is becoming a problem amongst us, Jon and the T-train both also suffered towards the end. I think the problem is three fold.


  • First I don’t know how many times  I say it but the marathon starts at 32k and as Jon always says the person who slows down the most wins. !! Imagine if you could take your pace at 21k and replicate it for the rest of the marathon; that is the goal and with training is do-able.  To over come this you need experience of running marathons (in my case) or god given natural talent (in Stuart Caulfield’s case, the winner on debut; also Ray Boyd as your trainer helps!! I wonder if Ray would consider training some of us ??)
  • Second you need to get the gel, electrolyte, water salt combination right; fuel fuels runners ! Rhys has the best idea taken a smorgasbord of gu’s and popping one every 5k or so.. if your stomach can take it this will work !!
  • Lastly you need to man-the-f**k-up. I’m a big believer in the mind playing games to avoid total melt down (as is Noakes and Fitzgerald of course) , cramps may be another one of the minds games to slow you down. Next time this happens (which it won’t if you take on board tips 1 and 2) tell yourself to ‘toughen up princess and do what Goggins would do, .run through it !!)  ( )


Also don’t get injured !!!!

While searching my old emails for some Goggin’s quotes I came across another set of email sent in 2010 on a similar subject with the usual suspects again involved.

My final email first and then the trail follows….

Don’t listen to Rhys Jon ..he is the dark side of running… till you feel you can’t run anymore then run some more…remember cans of hard and suck-it-up pills…David Goggins does not rest and apart from his ruptured kidney, 4 knee operations, 2 hamstring reconstructions, 1 new appendix and 25 foot operations..and open heart surgery …he has never rested..


From: Jonathan Pendse [] Sent: Friday, 19 March 2010 10:41 AM To: Kevin Matthews; Rhys James; Macey, Dan D. Subject: RE: slow lunch run – uwa

Does less than 10k count as a run… J

Well I might give myself a day off today (I usually have the day after a race off, and didn’t this week).  I’m sure I’ll feel a lot better for it on tomorrow’s 30ker.

Often forget the days off are just as important as the training days.



From: Kevin Matthews [] Sent: Friday, 19 March 2010 10:27 AM To: Rhys James; Jonathan Pendse; Macey, Dan D. Subject: RE: slow lunch run – uwa

Haven’t got time to read this I’m going for a run……..


From: Rhys James Sent: Friday, 19 March 2010 10:21 AM To: ‘Jonathan Pendse’; Kevin Matthews; Macey, Dan D. Subject: RE: slow lunch run – uwa

I am supposed to be going to boot camp, so will give the run a miss. Was out for a steady one yesterday with Kev, though he was complaining of being knackered.

I include the following specifically for him:

Overtraining syndrome frequently occurs in athletes who are training for competition or a specific event and train beyond the body’s ability to recover. Athletes often exercise longer and harder so they can improve. But without adequate rest and recovery, these training regimens can backfire, and actually decrease performance.

Conditioning requires a balance between overload and recovery. Too much overload and/or too little recovery may result in both physical and psychology symptoms of overtraining syndrome.

Common warning signs of overtraining include:

  • Washed-out feeling, tired, drained, lack of energy
  • Mild leg soreness, general aches and pains
  • Pain in muscles and joints
  • Sudden drop in performance
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Decreased immunity (increased number of colds, and sore throats)
  • Decrease in training capacity / intensity
  • Moodiness and irritability
  • Depression
  • Loss of enthusiasm for the sport
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased incidence of injuries.
  • A compulsive need to exerciseTreating Overtraining Syndrome Measuring Overtraining There are several ways you can objectively measure some signs of overtraining. One is by documenting your heart rates over time. Track your aerobic heart rate at a specific exercise intensities and speed throughout your training and write it down. If your pace starts to slow, your resting heart rate increases and you experience other symptoms, you may heading into overtraining syndrome. Another way to test recover to use something called the orthostatic heart rate test, developed by Heikki Rusko while working with cross country skiers. To obtain this measurement:
  • You can also track your resting heart rate each morning. Any marked increase from the norm may indicated that you aren’t fully recovered.
  • If you suspect you are overtraining, the first thing to do is reduce or stop your exercise and allow a few days of rest. Drink plenty of fluids, and alter your diet if necessary. Crosstraining can help you discover if you are overworking certain muscles and also help you determine if you are just mentally fatigued. A sports massage can help you recharge overused muscles.
  • Note the last point there Mr Matthews.


Treating Overtraining Syndrome

If you suspect you are overtraining, the first thing to do is reduce or stop your exercise and allow a few days of rest. Drink plenty of fluids, and alter your diet if necessary. Crosstraining can help you discover if you are overworking certain muscles and also help you determine if you are just mentally fatigued. A sports massage can help you recharge overused muscles.

Measuring Overtraining There are several ways you can objectively measure some signs of overtraining. One is by documenting your heart rates over time. Track your aerobic heart rate at a specific exercise intensities and speed throughout your training and write it down. If your pace starts to slow, your resting heart rate increases and you experience other symptoms, you may heading into overtraining syndrome.

You can also track your resting heart rate each morning. Any marked increase from the norm may indicated that you aren’t fully recovered.

Another way to test recover to use something called the orthostatic heart rate test, developed by Heikki Rusko while working with cross country skiers. To obtain this measurement:

  1. Lay down and rest comfortably for 10 minutes the same time each day (morning is best).
  2. At the end of 10 minutes, record your heart rate in beats per minute.
  3. Then stand up
  4. After 15 seconds, take a second heart rate in beats per minute.
  5. After 90 seconds, take a third heart rate in beats per minute.
  6. After 120 seconds, take a fourth heart rate in beats per minute.
  7. Well rested athletes will show a consistent heart rate between measurements, but Rusko found a marked increase (10 beats/minutes or more) in the 120 second-post-standing measurement of athletes on the verge of overtraining. Such a change may indicate that you have not recovered from a previous workout, are fatigued, or otherwise stressed and it may be helpful to reduce training or rest another day before performing another workout.


The point of this post is I was probably over training  in 2010, according to Rhys, and am probably over training now, 7 years later. In that time I have achieved so much in my running , so much more than I ever dreamed I would, so have I been over training or just doing enough.  ? My days of running 700k a month seem a distant memory now as I struggle to make double figures for the week but looking forward I fully expect to be up around the 600-700k a month total by the end of the year and off we go again. Will my calf or another part of my body give way , who knows ? There’s probably a good chance but I’ll have my Elliptigo and/or Predator Plus in my corner so should be able to ward off injury.  At the moment I can’t wait after another massive 4k lunchtime run to go with my Monday one. 8k for the week, now that , currently, is what I call over training. Someone pass me a can of hard and some suck it up pills…….

When you’ve as tough as DG even your shirt tears….


Important day in the BK running machine calendar.


Rottnest Marathon 2015

Yesterday I ran 4k and it felt ace. The one benefit (if there is any benefits?) of being injured is when you actually get back on your feet the feeling of running is awesome and almost like starting again. Even though it was only 4k at 5min/k average it felt so good to be outside in the sunshine just doing what I love to do, run. Is this a benefit of being injured, not sure, maybe? Of course the longer you are injured the better the feeling.

This was my second attempt at a comeback after the first ended when I ramped up too early with the possibility of running a marathon , what was I thinking with hindsight? Today I have a second scan to check on the calf tear and hopefully confirm that is has at best fully recovered, at worst is smaller than its original 5cm. Either way I will have some confidence moving forward in my rehabilitation.

Returning from injury is fraught with danger of course and I am very mindful that I really need to get it right this time with the year slipping away from me and some very important races appearing on the horizon. You are in a catch-22 situation when faced with this dilemma as you want to be ready for the races ahead but to do that you need to put in the ‘time on legs’, without too much time on legs of course. This is the fine balancing act you need to maintain as you return from a long layoff.

The most important factor is the cardio fitness you have lost over the period of your injury. As I have said many times I’m a big believer in a 3 times rule, this equates to multiplying your time off by three to give you a rough idea of when you can expect to be back to your pre-injury fitness levels. In my case I’m now looking at 6 months minimum, which writes of the year unfortunately. This does not mean I cannot still compete and run the races ahead but I should not expect any PB’s (or PR’s for my American Cousins). Truth be told I’ll be happy to just complete a marathon at the moment, of course by complete it will need to be sub 3 hours, one has certain standards you know and I’m not losing my 25 sub3 marathons in a row streak. As I mentioned in an earlier post runners love streaks or was that steaks , whatever?

Confidence is high at the moment, pre-scan, as my 4k yesterday was pain and niggle free. The calf has felt good for the last week and with the elliptigo work I have been doing last week I am sure the tear is either fully recovered or very close. After 10 weeks I would expect this anyhow but the set back a few weeks ago has left me second guessing my recovery which is the reason behind the second scan.

I am so looking forward to posts on injury recovery and marathon training rather than all ‘doom and gloom’, ‘woe is me’ posts which have been my forte over the last few months. How I miss my double up days and weekly mileage nudging 150k minimum. happy days which seem like a distant memory now. No worries, I am up for the challenge and actually looking forward to my ‘return from injury stronger and quicker ’ posts. Have I written off future PB’s and finally bowed to Father time, no way. This is a speed bump on the Big Kev PB road train and I’m expecting bigger and better things in 2018, especially with the Elliptigo ( ) and Bionic ( ) in my corner.

I have attached an article by Caitlin Chock for which has some good points and worth reading…..

The Slow Build

The second you get the green light to begin running does not mean you can jump full-force back into where you left off. It is important NOT to rush things, as patience pays off in the long haul. Gradually increase the amount of time you spend running and supplement the rest with cross-training.

Don’t Slack on PT

Many runners, upon getting over their injury, start to get lax on their physical therapy or other rehab exercises. Don’t get comfortable and forget that, in order to prevent getting injured again, you still need to keep up on your preventative care.

Post-Injury Comparisons

After a long break, you need to chuck out any and all comparisons to your runner self pre-injury. It will only set you up for frustration and can ultimately derail your comeback. Track the progress you make post-injury and take every victory (ie: extra miles, faster workouts, etc.) as it comes. Eventually you’ll return to “old you” workouts and times, but before you hit that realm think of yourself with a totally clean slate.

Miracle of Muscle Memory

Oh how those first few runs will whip your butt! The important thing is to remember that while those first runs will feel like you’ve got legs that have never run a step in their lives, the good news is, thanks to muscle memory, if you’ve been a runner for a number of years, you’ll snap back into fitness rather quickly. The first couple of weeks will be rough, but stick it out and you’ll be motivated by the progress that follows.

One Day at a Time 

Being patient is tough for everyone. Sometimes the only way to retain sanity is to take it one day at a time. Rather than focus on how much work you have ahead of you, look at what workouts and goals you can achieve for that day or that week. Set mini goals each week and check them off as benchmarks along your route to making a full comeback to running.

Core, Strength and Flexibility

Make the most of the time you’re not able to run by focusing on other weaknesses. Gain flexibility, improve your core and overall strength; not only will this make you feel like you’re being productive despite not being able to run much, but it will also pay dividends when you are back and running at your optimal level.

Baby Steps Back 

If you start to notice old injury symptoms or new injury symptoms creep up, reassess right away. It may mean not increasing your running for that week, or even taking a few baby steps back for the week. Cut back on the amount of time spent running and do more cross-training. Don’t think of this as a sign of defeat; typically, if you catch it and take steps back early, you’ll avoid anything serious and be back on “schedule” the next week.

Positivity and Perspective 

I’ll say it again: The biggest deciding factor in how well you can come back from an injury is perspective. Even on the days when you’d like to burn the elliptical or bike to the ground, give yourself a little window of time to vent. But, in the end, get on the cross-trainer and get it done. Look forward to the runs and more miles as they come and do not forget that each mile is NOT a given. Be grateful for them and, as you are able to run more and are back to full training mode, remind yourself not to take them for granted. This will help you remain patient and keep your eyes focused on the long term.


Honestly, coming back from an injury doesn’t stink because, while those first few miles hurt like nothing else and may leave you sore for days, the act of “feeling” like you’re a runner again is one heck of a high. So smile, even if it looks more like a grimace, and have faith that muscle memory will eventually kick back in soon!



This is now getting serious…..

Tomorrow for the first time in 10 years I will not be lining up for the Perth Marathon, 9 years straight (and 12 in total) I have ran this marathon but not tomorrow. This hurts, really hurts , tomorrow all my running mates will be waking up with that ‘marathon morning’ feeling, a mixture of fear, excitement and trepidation. Have you done enough training, have you done too much training, is that a niggle ? The most nervous people in the world are marathon runners in the week before a marathon of course. Someone sneezes in the same postal code and you are certain you feel pneumonia coming on or worse. I have a theory regarding the last few days pre-marathon, it is like your start to taper and instantly the mind tells the body ‘that’s it, job done, it’s head cold time just to teach this runner a lesson for putting me through hell in the last 12 weeks’…  for 3-4 months pre-marathon you are bullet proof, nothing stops you training, bubonic plague, pah, a morning off; black death, maybe cut the session short by 5 minutes but all this changes when you start to taper. You are like a ‘weak kitten’ with the smallest niggle manifesting itself into a fracture at best or maybe worse; a cough and it’s all over and a sneeze, O’ my God the world is about to end.  The boys will be going through this right now, me, I’m sitting here with a cup of tea and two crumpets writing a post feeling very sad for myself.

Of course the elephant in the room now for me is the City to Surf Marathon in August. I am one of only 36 people who have ran all eight and I’ve ran with the number 1 bib twice and even one year had my name on my chest, ‘very elite like’. (Truth be told this was to outdo my mate Rhys who managed to get number 1 the previous year, consigning me to number 2 and Jon to number 3.) It is my PB course ( a 2:41:14 in 2013) and also the course I ran my first sub 3 hour marathon. (2hrs 58mins in 2009). It is sponsored by Chevron and in the days of the ‘Oil and Gas boom’ I actually won $6,000 as the first Australian to finish.  I was 7th overall but behind 6 Africans, at the time I had no idea there was prize money for the first Australian finished but the money was well received by my Wife who stole it for one of my Daughter’s private school fees, bless her. Different story now as we are in a recession, last year first prize was a $50 Athletes Foot voucher, which probably gets you a pair of socks. I remember in 2009 the first place was $25,000, got to love a recession.!

The image below shows me ‘winning the event’  in 2013 but what you can’t see if the first Woman about to break the tape. She has been conventiately photoshop’d out. Please note I had to slow to let her break the tape ahead of me as I was working for Chevron at the time, the major sponsor, and they would have been less than impressed if I had barged past the first woman and taken the tape myself. Funny thing was this was my pb run and I still maintain that young lady cost me a few seconds but I am gentleman and ladies always come first, especially when there’s a finishing tape and my beard probably gave away the fact I was not first lady….


Photoshop trickery…

So today was the first day I started to think that there was a chance I was not going to make the City to Surf. This will hurt and hurt big time. Runners love numbers and more than numbers they love streaks and finding a big city marathon and being one of the inaugural runners is the holy grail of streaks for a runner. If I was to miss the City to Surf Marathon in August I would have blown probably my last chance to be an inaugural runner at a major marathon, this is a big worry as of now ! I will know a lot more Tuesday as I have booked in for my second UT scan on the right calf. I’m prying it has shrunk from the original 5cm tear  to something more manageable. Am I confident ? Not sure, I’m enjoying my Elliptigo time but it ain’t running and although I feel my fitness is not taking too much of a batting it will serve no purpose if I can’t run. My physio always said missing the City to Surf was a possibility (but he is the most pessimistic person the the world!) but I never really took his view on board until this week where I’m still unable to run. This culminated in a failed attempt on Tuesday where I managed 500m before turning back feeling very sorry for myself.  You start to feel you’ll never run again which I know is preposterous but runners, when injured, are the most pessimistic people and will always ere on the worst case scenario when they feel there is no improvement.

On the bright side I’m still young (compared to an 80 year old?) so have plenty of Perth marathons ahead of me and even if I miss the City to Surf this year there will always be next year and running streaks are there to be broken so it had to happen eventually, of course you can be sure I will do everything in my power to not miss the City to Surf. Right another cup of tea me thinks, roll on Tuesday .

Last years Perth Marathon , floating to a 6th place finish but not tomorrow….