Lance Armstrong said “It’s not about the Bike” …..it is however “all about the Shoes!!”

Over the past 10 or so days of training this runner has learnt some interesting lessons about the switch to off road running. It’s not that I only ever run on the road but 90% of all my past running would have some type of tarsal or hard gravel component. The other big change I need to make is a mental change from clock watching. When I run I am constantly watching my pace. When I finish I click through my Nike band to see my time, distance and average pace. I need to adapt my way of thinking. I’m not going to be averaging 5-5:30 kms which was the aim while training for the marathon.

Last Tuesday I stood on the bridge at the arrow river and looked up at Tobin’s track, it was a beautiful morning; most of the village was still asleep so off I trotted one foot in front of the other and 15 minutes later I was standing at the top. I was pretty happy with this – I have walked Tobins many times and the thought of running it has always been a touch intimidating due to the fact it is simply, and constantly up.

Saturday rolled around and it was time for my next big run; Macetown. I love this track and have done it on several occasions before. It is beautiful – you can be a couple of km in and feel like you are hundreds of miles from anything and anyone; before you know it you’ve been running for a couple of hours.

In my training I like to have a plan in mind at the start of the week. I usually run 5 times a week when I am training for an event. Additionally, I try to swim on a Friday and have a strength session on a Tuesday, occasionally an RPM somewhere along the week. Saturday morning is the big run of the week, with a medium to big around Wednesday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday are the smaller 8-12km days. This works for me but if I have any advice at all it is that, training is such an individual thing. There is no right way or wrong way just your way. I listen to my body and if on a Monday I am feeling good I push on; if I’m still a bit sluggish from Saturday I ease off – it is important to know your limits.

I made the most of a morning away from the ‘Grind’ on Waitangi Day and thought I really needed to get outside of my comfort zone and the security of one foot safely landing in front of another. I set out on a brisk but beautiful morning and turned left on to the ‘New Chums’ track off Tobin’s Track. To describe New Chums to those of you not familiar with it; a goat track: It has steep inclines and just as steep declines, it was a bit wet and slippery but it was amazing! I came out the other end with scratched legs and arms, a tree root had gone through my shoe, there was mud, blood, sweat and I was grinning from ear to ear. I enjoyed it so much so that when it came to the fork in the road to take me either back to Arrowtown or up and over Sawpit Gully Track I chose option two.

Not once over the past 10 days have I shook my fist at a crazy driver or turned my face away from a spray of gravel. I’m starting to think these off road runners might be on to something…..

Key things I have learnt:

-running up Tobin’s track in Arrowtown is not that bad at all; in fact I would go as far as saying I would rather run it than walk it.

– running down Tobin’s/sawpit gully tracks is horrible…quadriceps pain

-its true Mizuno wave prophecy shoes are fantastic road running shoes

-the track into Mace town is exceptional.

– Tom Shand from Trailblazer Nutrition has sent me an amazing nutrition plan; I suspect this is going to prevent me from having to drink out of local creeks (current running nutrition). I know how important it is for endurance running and from this Saturday Tom’s plan is the boss……this will be interesting.