SHR is Making me Faster!

So for the past 3 weeks I’ve been attending weekly Tuesday running sessions with the newly formed Sydney Harbour Runners. And I must admit that I’m growing to enjoy the atmosphere a lot more than the latest incarnation of Nike+ Run club! That’s not to say that I don’t still enjoy turning up for Monday evening runs though… I still have many friends participating in that club and I’m still a regular. However I don’t expect to make the sort of pace gains that I can potentially make running/Training with SHR!

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With SHR the vibe you feel as soon as we meet up, at Cafe de lucca, is that of purpose. Everyone is there to run, everyone wants to improve and become better runners. There is far less of a sideshow going on. The ongoing emphasis at SHR has been that they will offer something different from the Monday night Nike+ run club event. This has definitely come to fruition… The Launch week was the basic 7.5km highlights course with some changes in scenery. The second week brought out the competitive side in the runners, as we focused on setting our personal Benchmark 3km times.

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The third week introduced technique coaching for 5:30+/km runners, whilst also upping the ante for the faster runners as we ran the 8.5km Pyrmont course! During this weeks running meet I decided to tough it out and push myself to run faster than I have ever run. I opted for the 5:15/km pace group, led by pace leaders Boris Kezic and Kate Stanton. The beauty about the run was this pace group had 5 runners in total. Being a small group we were able to hold a solid conversation amongst each other, which in turn took our mind off the blistering pace we were running at. That’s exactly what I enjoy most about SHR, the groups are intimate enough to get to know the other runners, and we know running together allows people to create or strengthen bonds with each other.

Outside of our weekly running meets, SHR has also provided runners with an 8 week interval training guide. This Training Guide is based on the result of your 3km  benchmark time that we set on the second week. Basically it involves sprint training with 90-100% effort twice a week, upping the work load/ distances each session!

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Sydney Harbour Runners!

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A NEW WAY TO RUN IS HERE!!

On the 15th of October 2013 we had the launch day for Sydney Harbour Runners (SHR). “A run club with a difference” was the promise made by Todd, former head Run leader of Nike+ Run club. And his promises didn’t disappoint. SHR has a strong running community focus, the running group is tight, the run leaders are very approachable and well versed in how to get the best out of our training.

The motto for each and every individual who attends Tuesdays run is to “Train hard, train smart, support each other to be better runners.” And that motto is exactly what was achieved.

We started the evening off with registration and bag drop at Cafe de Lucca (Thank you to the Cafe for allowing us to utilise their space), where I was curious to see who would turn up out of the regular Monday night Nike+ Run Club clan. I was keen as beans to see most of my running friends present. It just added to that family/communal atmosphere.

At 5:55pm we made our way up to Hyde Park for a group warm up and stretch. It allowed the runners to interact with whoever turned out and also warm to our run leaders. This was also where we received the low down on what the running community was all about. We also got an idea of the kind of running activities to expect from SHR, which includes activities such as a benchmark 3km timed dash around Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair, as well as the various running routes and pace groups. The routes are familiar, however the SHR run leaders are open to route customisation along the way. So effectively runners can add distance to the route if they so choose.

At 6:10pm we commenced our run. I elected to run initially with the 5 minutes 30/km group led by Kate and Rachel. However, with my appetite to pass other runners I soon caught up with Todd’s 5 minute pace group about 1.5 – 2 kilometers in. The running group was small in a good way. It allowed us to strike up conversations with anyone who took part, which allowed for a more intimate feel. The smaller groups also forced us to push ourselves to either keep up with more speedier individuals or maintain our leads, in the long run improving us as runners and providing us with the mettle needed to slash our PB’s.

7.9 kilometre run over in shade under 38 minutes, it was safe to say I enjoyed this run club thoroughly. SHR was actually really good!! A lot more intimate than Nike Run Club and with heaps less moving traffic. OH OH and the Recovery Fruit Salad ROCKED!!

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Lululemon Precision Tee

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Morning Run and Breakie

So over the last few years I have started to take my running a little more seriously! And in doing so I’ve been purchasing a lot more running attire to suit my SPECIAL NEEDS. The main problem I have with running and other high intensity exercise, is I sweat a great deal more than the average person. I often liken my ability to sweat to a waterfalls ability to shower/drench anybody who is game enough to stand under it.

To tackle this “special gift” I have been on an ongoing search for the perfect technical running shirt, that will enable me to keep dry for longer. I’ve worn numerous brands such as previous Generations of Nike Dri-Fit shirts, Reebok Tri Blend shirts, Adidas Climacool line, 2XU and even Asics; each brand claiming to offer technology that vents, cools and wicks away sweat better than the other.

Overall each shirt/singlet top provided a similar satisfactory level of performance, i.e. keeping me cool up to a point. My main gripe has always been the accumulation of sweat during a run. I often find the weight of the shirt increases a greater rate once sweat has absorbed into the shirts fabric, making longer distances an uncomfortably weighty experience. This often results in my shirts sloshing around, not to mention certain smells that arise post run.

Last week, running as part of the Lululemon Tuesday run club, I was offered the chance to product test their Precision tee. Their decision must have had something to do with my profuse sweating ability under mild to warm weather conditions… Never having tried a Lululemon product before I was initially curious about the way it will perform differently from the established brands. However, I kind of cynically anticipated similar results to them as well.

Before I took the tee on a road test my excitement drove me to do a bit of late night online research, to take a look at the claims of manufacturer. Technology features such as Silverescent® fabric, which claims to provide the shirt with anti-stink/anti-static qualities, built moderate interest in me… Odorless static free running is always a plus; as well as a Circle mesh back panel, said to keep you cooler longer whilst providing a 4 way stretch ability got me keen to feel whether it would breathe a little better than my 2XU Tech shirt!

On Wednesday evening I decided to go on my usual “Post Nike-Runclub 7.5km run around town. Wearing the Lululemon precision tee for the first time, I was surprised with how light and thin it felt on the body. It was kind of like wearing a two ply soft tissue shirt… Mobility felt good around the arms, and I was able to sense a slight cool breeze through the shirt on a 27 degree evening, meaning it had a high level breathable feel.

My Wednesday run felt good but nothing out of the ordinary, the sweat was being effectively wicked for a good half hour duration. And any sweat that did accumulate on my chest didn’t seem to overly weigh down the shirt. This was probably attributed to the fact the shirts weight wasn’t a lot to begin with. Pushing on toward the end of my run though, a sizeable sweat patch had formed limiting the shirts ability to wick liquid away from my chest. Again being one of my main running annoyances I was able to pick it out as a flaw. Surprisingly though no bad odor presented itself after the run, which is always a positive. Out of the box I experienced no under arm or nipple chafing, which is a bane of most newly purchased technical garments. The shirt is also blessed with the ability to quickly dry out after you exercise, meaning you don’t remain sticky or damp for very long.

Some minor negatives would be related to the colour combination. My shirt is a two tone red (front) and Black (back). The back panel, though meshed and quite airy, actually gets quite heated with the sun beating down on it. Also perhaps more reflection panels, or in this case stitching could help for visibility with late evening or night runners!

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Weightloss, Speed gains, I run, I jog, I move

My Running Motivation

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I STARTED RUNNING BECAUSE I NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT

For me running was a burden, having flat feet was my excuse preventing me from doing it over long distances, and I believed that it was a quite boring hobby… Little did I know that years after it’ll become my hobby, my sport and my love!!

I started running because I needed to lose weight! I suffered from mild insomnia induced by breathing difficulties. I consulted my family doctor and was awoken by the reality that at “120 kg you are clinically overweight.” “For a person of Asian descent your body shouldn’t be this big.” He told me that he can prescribe me a concoction of drugs that would provide short term relief to my problems, but in the long run lifestyle change was the best way to go.

This was a shock to me, I wasn’t always overweight in fact I was a very active individual. I was a part of many basketball and cricket teams, played representative sport in those sporting disciplines. However those feats took a back seat in years 11 and 12 when study became my main focus and a bottle of soft drink a day (sometimes 2) became my sole vice. In those years I can attest to ballooning from 80 odd kilos to 100+

My father was the reason I saw the doctor. He kept urging me to have a check up, knowing that I’ll be shocked to discover that I was overweight. He nagged and told me that every once in awhile it was good to monitor your health. Time and time again though I brushed it aside adamant that I wasn’t overly sick and I never caught colds or flu’s so it must mean I’m quite healthy, fit even. I heeded his advice in December 2005 and I was shocked by the reality…

First weeks after realizing I was overweight I fell into a state of denial. I eventually pushed aside the self pity and decided to go for a walk as defiant proof that I wasn’t overweight… 4km walk done and dusted in a slow hour, I was sweating profusely, breathing hard, my heart pounding and I was dying for a drink… I realized that day I was fat..

THE FOOTPATH TO RECOVERY

I made a pact to myself that I would run and walk at least once a week in an effort to lose the unwanted baggage. I also committed myself to limiting my soft drink intake!

Days and months past and I began to make gains in endurance. I decided to set myself a goal of running non stop for 3km around a predetermined google maps path. I started off slowly, initially running and walking certain sections of the route until I was confident enough to add all the sections together. Success!! My first running goal was achieved! The following week I aimed high and pushed on for 5km… I unlocked that achievement too and with it I caught the running bug!

7 YEARS ON

I’m 30 kilograms lighter, run 3-4 time per week over varying distances and I’m aiming to run a big one!! 42km Marathon!