My last half marathon race just before we went into lockdown.
It has been about a month and a half since New Zealand came out of lockdown. I have to admit that I really enjoyed being in lockdown. I don’t think I’d ever been fitter. Thankfully I have been keeping up the gains I made during lockdown and the volume and intensity of my training has probably even increased since then. I am running faster than I ever have before. Last week during a tempo training run I managed my fastest ever kilometre and had I not paused my watch at a road crossing it would have been my fastest 5k time by over a minute. I am cycling further than I ever have too. @run.vince.run and I are still commuting to work on our bikes, I am trying the commute twice a week, on Wednesdays I cycle to and from work (23k each way), and on a Friday I cycle to work, then after work I do my tempo or a easy run (depending on what I have done earlier in the week). Vince then comes and picks me up and we go for our traditional Friday night swim (which is normally only between 1 to 1.5k). I am really enjoying the cycling we are doing. Last week I was having a great ride and we pushed it out past the planned 2 hours 30 minutes and did just over 3 hours.
Riding my new time trial bike.
Unfortunately, because of the current situation, the marathon Vince and I were planning on doing in July has been cancelled. We were both really looking forward to a trip to Samoa and 10 days of running. Luckily they have transferred our entry to 2021 since Samoa’s borders (and ours) are still closed.
Finishing a swim on our last trip to Samoa
We found out a couple of weeks ago that the race was cancelled so I stopped my marathon training (which is a version of the Hanson’s marathon training plan- instead of the 6 runs a week, I was doing four: the tempo, the speed, the long run and an easier run the day before the long run so that the long run was replicating the last kilometres of the marathon rather than being run on fresh legs) and I have switched to training for my next half marathon which is in September. Originally the Waterfront Half Marathon was scheduled for April but had been postponed to September. It is a fast and flat race so I am hoping to get a personal best. My current PB was set in 2014 at 1:43. I attempted a PB last year in Wanaka at the Southern Lakes Half but didn’t manage it. However, I think I am in a really good place to get my PB. I think that in nearly completing the marathon training plan it gave me a great base fitness. I was doing my tempo runs at a sub 5 minute pace (4:53) (which was well above my target pace). I was telling Vince that my first tempo run of 8k was fast, and then each week that it got longer I just managed to keep that pace up. It gave me the confidence to know that I could do the half marathon tempo training runs - my target tempo is 4:42- at the pace required since they were shorter. I managed the first one I did (and only one so far) at 4:23 pace!
During lockdown the pools were closed so out of all my activities I thought my swimming would have suffered. However, I did not lose as much fitness as I had thought. Before lockdown I was attending a swim squad. In the lane I was in there are two groups, a group of 3 swimmers that were faster, then three swimmers that were a bit slower (but still too fast to be in the ‘slow’ lane). I was in the slower group of swimmers before we went into lockdown. Occasionally (if I used a pull buoy or paddles) I could keep up with the faster group but I was normally completely stuffed by the end of it. Since coming back I have moved into the faster group of swimmers in my lane and am very much keeping up with them on most of the swim- on sprint work I am still a little behind.
So, I made a big decision, and I have signed up for my first FULL IRONMAN! I am going to do the IMNZ in March 2021. I have always been hesitant about doing a full ironman, the idea of doing a marathon after a 180k bike ride was completely insane to me. However, now the idea excites me. I was excited to be signing up. I know I will do the training and on race day I will be looking forward to putting my hard work to use. I have a great coach (yes, I am biased but his training plans have worked well for me and he is my biggest fan). I can’t wait to hear “Kirsty, you are an ironman”. What makes it even more exciting is that I know Vince will be there at the finish line. I will keep you informed of my progress and training and whether I get my PB in September. Stay strong and keep active :)
Vince and I after our long run this weekend.