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Welcome

Welcome to the blog of Running Blair. I am a 20 year old runner from New Zealand who competes in the 3000m steeplechase and middle distance events on the track.

I got hooked on running when I was 13 after my football (soccer) coach told me that I needed to get faster and fitter for me to be successful in football. After five years of doing both athletics (track & field) and football, I chose to compete in athletics full time on a scholarship to Waikato University. Although I’ve been running competitively for 8 years I feel like I have my best years still ahead of me and I am wanting to blog my highs, lows, injuries and personal milestones with my readers.

Overall running now helps me keep sane and gives me my own time to reflect. I’ll share my ideas, what works for me but the most important thing is that YOU do what YOU think is right and work towards YOUR own goal.

Feel free to follow me on WordPress or Instagram (Running Blair)

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My Daily Struggle

Yes, just as the title proclaims I do have a daily struggle which is the easiest thing to overcome but I just can’t. As simple as it is my struggle is GETTING OUT OF BED IN THE MORNING. Its a strange concept because I feel like I make excuses for myself because of the cold (its nearing winter in New Zeland), I find ways of staying in bed by doing uni work or games on devices or I just go back to sleep. By writing this blog post I think I am just trying to make myself accountable for all the times I have stayed in bed.

NOTE: I’m not saying that sleep-ins are bad but I’m just commenting on myself and my own observations.

Productivity

When I sleep in till after 9-10am my productivity is horrible. I don’t achieve what I want to do and I only really do my run workout and then I will just plod around for the rest of the day. Thinking about it now if I’m up at 8am then I have an extra two hours to do whatever I wanted and I would feel a whole lot more accomplished in what I want to do.

Food

This is my biggest issue and could be seen as a third world problem. When I get up at 9-10am do I eat breakfast or lunch? Being brutally honest that is a trick question for myself because realistically I don’t eat breakfast and just have a small snack in thinking I will hold out till lunch.  Probably the worst thing I can do because now I’m only giving myself two meals of the day, not three. This could be seen as a major issue but for me, it’s more just getting across the line until lunch. Maybe I need to change my mentality on it and just go for a late breakfast, late lunch and dinner.

Next Sleep

Finally, the worst part about sleeping in is that you are not tired for your next sleep. This means that I’m only really extending my time that I am asleep in the morning. If I went to sleep at a good hour then I would wake up at a good hour. I’m still getting 7-9 hours of sleep which is enough for me but really I could avoid the sleep-ins if I was in bed ready to sleep at a reasonable hour. I always need to think about my next sleep before its too late.

3 Tips to Wake Up

Lastly, I am going to give 4 tips that I will be endeavoring to try to wake up a bit earlier and not sleep in.

  1. Set an alarm and stick to it. Often I am a guilty culprit of the snooze button and will snooze and snooze it till I just turn it off. Set the alarm and stick with it.
  2. Showers help. I normally do this before races in the morning but showers do really help you. By showering you not only reflect on yourself but you are waking up and stimulating the mind.
  3. Get up straight away. This one is always hard but the phrase I have been told is just to bite the bullet and get up and embrace the cold. This will mean you have a purpose to getting up and will find it easy.

Hopefully, my mistakes help you become better in your own way. Keep on running and moving forward through your day.

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Doha Diamond League Preview

I thought this would be a little different but I’m going to try and give my insight and ideas about who will do well/win their respected events at the Doha Diamond League 2018.

Women’s Pole Vault

An interesting event to start the day off. There is the current Commonwealth champion in Alysha Newman and the Olympic and world champion in Katerina Stefanidi. Also competing in the world and Olympic runner-up in Sandi Morris. Between these three athletes, the top three should be found out. I think Morris has had a good indoor season and can put that form into winning this event but it should be a tight competition for the top three

Women’s Discus

I’ll be honest and say I’m not a fan of discus (mainly cause I was horrible at it) but this contest looks interesting on personal bests. A small field is entered but it looks high quality with two meters spanning between the top 6 athletes personal best. The inform athlete is Dani Stevens who is coming from a Commonwealth Games gold medal as well as the record. Obviously, the reigning Olympic and World champ Sandra Perkovic will be there or thereabouts too. I think the outdoor form of Stevens could get her the win.

Men’s Triple Jump

This event will be pretty closely contested and full of energy as always. For me, the winner seems straightforward in Christian Taylor since he is world and Olympic champion but he has the possibility of an off night. If that happens his challenges can come from Pichardo whos PB is the only other athlete over 18m. Also, Dong, Copello, and Bernard can also push for minor spots for this event.

Men’s High Jump

I’m excited about this event because Barshim has come out and said he will be going on the record here. He is the best jumper in the field and is aided by his home fans. He will be doing his best here to get the crowd behind him. If the winner isn’t Barshim then the only other challenger in my eyes is Protsenko who has a PB of 2.40m which is close to Barshim if he doesn’t seem to fire in front of his home crowd.

Men’s 400m

This race has got a real classy field with all runners being around 44 seconds so everyone will seem to be pushed. For me, the winner is going to be the current Commonwealth champion in Issac Makwala. His form this year is very good and he has broken 44 seconds before. His challengers will come in the names of Thebe and also Gardiner who both are close to the low end of 44 seconds or if not under the 44-second mark. This race should produce some good times if people are running close to last season.

Women’s 1500m

This race also has attracted a good field. There is some close to 4-minute runners here like Semenya, Arafi, Sado, Hall, Tsegay, Sum, Chebet, Jepkosgei, and majority of the field are under the 4:10 mark. For me, the winner is Caster Semenya purely because of her dominance. She did the 800m/1500m double at the Commonwealth Games and the new IAAF ban for testosterone levels has not be implemented yet. Semenya would want to make her mark in this race and really try and show the world that she has the making to be the best 1500m runner in the world along with her 800m credentials. In the minors, I think Linden Hall could run well as well as Tsegay who has the form and then next best PB in the field (apart from Chebet who is out of form currently.

Women’s 100m

This race has some real credentials to be a very tight 100m race with all the girls PB’s spanning 0.3 of a second between all 8 runners. Athletes like Ta Lou, Ahoure and Okagbare will all get out fast with Schippers and Thompson being just behind them at the gun. Finally with Levy, Horn and Kamundji all racing this season who all have powerful midsections it will be a race that could come down to the camera. I think Okagbare could win this as a dark horse. SHe has rarely been far away from medals at a major championship and this race looks like a race she can really make a statement. Traditionally Ahoure runs well in her opening few races of the season so I think she will get a minor placing as well as Thompson looking to bounce back from a somewhat disappointing opening run this season.

Men’s 3000m Steeplechase

In an event that has been dominated by Kenyans in recent years means that there is no surprise that there are 8 entered in this race. For me, the best three chances for the Kenyan runners are Kemboi, Yego, and Nganga who all were improving as last season came to an end. All runners will be looking to be there near the bell lap. Aside from the Kenyans Chemutai, Beyo and Amare all have run this season which will give them a bit of confidence over the last few laps. Chemutai’s last race effort was impressive since he gained a PB so early on in the season. The top three I think will be Yego, Kemboi and Beyo with the others mentioned being dropped in the final laps.

Men’s Javelin

I’m looking forward to the return of Vetter vs Rohler rivalry in the Diamond League. Both men are as close to the javelin record as someone has been for a decade so their performances are something special. If both athletes are in there prime then it will be a good competition but I think the more seasoned Vetter will overturn Rohler for this opener. For third I think the Kenyan Yego can make up the minor placings or Hofmann will make it a German sweep of the podium.

Men’s 400m Hurdles

This is another event where there is not too much separating the field. All hurdlers here have been in the game for a long time so they all know what it takes to run this race well. In saying that, I wouldn’t put it past many of them to go out too hard out of competitiveness and then tire up in the end because of the opening run. For that reason, I think McMaster will win this event because he looked so strong running his 48.25 a few weeks ago. Samba could run a well-executed race for the locals and fill a minor placing alongside Clement or Copello. This race is very wide open which will make an exciting viewing.

Men’s 1500m

Sadly this race might be overshadowed by the Kiprop scandal coming out to the media this week but the race itself has some real depth too. I’m assuming Rotich will do his customary pace-making duties for the field and keep an honest tempo too. Birgen and Cheboi will both be looking to get near Rotich and see if they have the legs in the last 300m. Iguider will be just behind them with Williamz, Manangoi, and Kibet all through the middle. Near the end, you might expect to see Gregson, Soget and El Kaam all backing there kick near the end. I think this race could be run in around 3:35 plus change if the pace was kept honest. I think Iguider will win with Birgen and Kibet in the minors. Also look out for the Aussie duo both who have had a few races under there belt looking to be finishing hard.

Women’s 100m Hurdles

This field is much like the 100m field with only 0.4 of a second spanning the field. In this race, you have Kendra Harrison who holds the world record as well as all women all being in a final of a major championship. With hurdles, anything goes and I think McNeal will be the winner here simply because she has run a 12.43 this season and will have a bit more race fluency over the jumps. In second will be Harrison because she will be looking to come back stronger after a disappointing last year. Third I think will go to the Jamaican, Williams again because she has run over the hurdles and has a swift PB of 12.56 which she set last year.

Men’s 800m

This race interests me a lot because of the names that are in it like Som, Murphy, Kszczot, Korir, Kipkoech, and Bett. All these athletes can run 1:42-1:44 but its more a matter of how race fit they are. Out of those names, Murphy is the only one who has raced but no doubt Bett, Kszczot and Korir all are going to be ready too. If it is a fast lap early then I would think it is Kszczot’s race for the winning but if it is slow then I think Bett will win this because of his youthfulness and he is slowly beginning to get his pacing right. I will go with Bett to win this, with Kszczot and Korir in the minors but Som or Kipkoech could also pop up too in a tight finish.

Men’s 200m

For me, the long-awaited return of Andre De Grasse excites me. He’s been off injured for a while and after what he showed in Rio I think he will be the one to fill Bolt’s shoes as the worlds best sprinter come Olympic year. DeGrasse will win but I think Dwyer and Richards will push him to the line. The latter is also in form winning the Commonwealth Games last month over the distance. Lyle’s and McLeod’s performance will also be interesting as they are both new to the 200m scene full time so they could also be in the race with 30m to go or so.

Women’s 3000m

To close the night’s race is a very tricky race to choose. The 3000m is a perfect opportunity for all runners to either test their endurance (1500m runner) or test there speed work (5000m + runners). For me, Obiri is the winner both on form and on paper. She has been a powerhouse in major events either winning them or finishing with a medal. She won the Commonwealth games over 5000m and she meets the majority of her competitors again tonight. Tirop interests me because she is known more for the 10000m and her speed might not be there but she has recorded an 8:35 which is in the top 5 best PB’s of the field. Also, you cannot discount Jenny Simpson or Eilish McColgan from this race too. Both have been in good form up to this race as well. Obiri for me wins followed by Simpson and Tirop both filling the minor spots. I do think this race will be fast paced with a lot of the longer runners looking tot he strength training and trying to hold off the faster finishers.

Final Comment

Finally, from me, I want to put a disclaimer out that this is my opinion and my own idea of how the races could go. This meet has attracted some high-quality races and very good quality athletes which is really awesome to see. The Doha conditions are looking good so as a spectator I am looking forward to some good racing and fast times ahead. Leave a comment or message if you agree or disagree with my choices.

Happy running and spectating

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How Much Mileage Should a Runner Do?

Before I end up writing this post I must put a disclaimer out there that this isn’t backed up by science or hasn’t been tested in labs but it is my own personal debate and opinion on how many kilometers (sorry cause I use metric systems) should a runner be doing.

High Mileage Coaches

The first person who comes to mind when you talk about a high mileage training regime is Arthur Lydiard who prided himself on tough long sessions and making the runners tough. His athletes like John Walker, Peter Snell, Rod Dixon and many other champion athletes ranging from 800m right through to a marathon distance. His method was simple with his athletes running around 160km (100 miles) a week which included his 35km (22 miles) Sunday run which goes through hilly terrain and old country roads. His philosophy also meant that his athletes would do a lot of there sessions on the road and don’t use track spikes until about 4 weeks until there competition. From the Lydiard era to now where coaches like Alberto Salazar uses the high mileage session for some of his athletes. Also, athletes like the Robinson twins in Kenya use the high mileage philosophy too.

Low Mileage Coaches

The low mileage approach is what I had when I was going through high school so it is a bit more familiar to me. The best low mileage coach I have seen is Phillippe Dupont who is most known for coaching Taoufik Makhloufi. His belief is that it is not how much miles you run but the quality of work you put in. Makhloufi has a long run for 70 minutes max in duration but he does it as slow as 6 minutes per kilometer (almost 10-minute mile pace). The low mileage coaches focus on the track workouts and the quality of running rather than the quantity of running. The speed and speed endurance is the main focus, rather than the tempo and threshold training that high mileage coaches use. Doing the majority of the workouts on the track mean that it can be all done at race pace or 10% faster in intervals means that the speed will always be used by muscle memory.

Whats Best For You?

For me as an athlete comparing both methods is important but I still think there is no right or wrong way about how you train. Personally, I get scared in the call room when I hear other athletes saying they are doing 80km a week and are running all the miles but then thinking on it now it doesn’t matter how many miles you run for three reasons;

  1. Everyone body reacts differently to how much they run
  2. If you’re confident in your training and trust your coach you will be competitive
  3. Running is about you and racing yourself so the times you run work for you and other people are there to push you as much as they can

So from those three reasons, it really does mean that people can run low mileage or high mileage and still achieve their goals. I’m finding that the transition to more miles a week has to be a slow process and I’m currently trying to move from 40km a week of running to around the 60km a week. It’s not too high miles but it is really enough for my body at this stage and I’m not losing any speed I feel I would lose.

The best way it is summed up as is what I heard a few years ago. If you imagine it like money and if you had $5 and you were doing low miles you would be going and finding the apple store that has good quality apples to make your juice. If you had the same $5 and went to a store where you got two bags of apples for your juice. Both people used the $5 to make their juice, they both have the end result and they both feel good in the way that they made the juice. If you said to either of them to do it the other way they probably wouldn’t because one wouldn’t want to downsize the quantity and the other wouldn’t want to lose the quality of the apples.

My Verdict

Finally, it wouldn’t be a post without some opinion in it so in my own personal eyes I think that getting the best of both worlds in your training. This means including the quality of your track sessions but not losing your aerobic confidence by doing the long runs. A weekly session of doing 3 quality track sessions and 3 longer runs or thresholds would be sufficient to how you train. In my opinion, though nothing beats the quality of sessions so a less mileage is better if you are doing high-quality track work for your event. Naturally, if you are training for an 800m you can get away with the low miles compare to if you are training for a marathon you would probably need to run a few miles to make sure you can run the marathon event. It is all in proportion to your event and your training that you need to run more or less than the person do a longer or shorter event than you.

Hope this helps your training thoughts and perspective.

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My Biggest Mistake

It’s strange to think that to this day I know my biggest mistake I do when training but never ever seem to change how I go about it. My biggest mistake is always going off too fast in a long run and then either walking or going too fast than what I needed to do. I often think “hey, I’m on (insert pace here), I can keep that up for an hour” but its never the case. My biggest offender by doing that is where I live. I live on the top of a hill and when you are feeling good you always do push the pace down the hill and let your legs go and your pace quickens, however, I forget to slow back down.

Running to fast to soon is a common mistake made by even the best of runners. People don’t finish races because they have gone out too hard. People stop and walk because of it. It is a purely natural thing. Below are my three tips to try and slow yourself down in the long run.

1. Listen to slow music

I’ve found listening to slower songs with less volume helps you slow down and control your run. Even listening to a podcast makes you go a bit slower because you are focusing on the words and not a beat which means you feel like you are in control of your own workout. As the run gets a big longer start playing the music with more beat and slightly louder and you will feel your tempo pick up for sure.

2. Focus on breathing

This is pretty much as it sounds. Focus and listen in on how your breathing and if you are breathing at a good rate compared to your goal pace. For my long runs, I want to breathe as normal as possible which means sometimes I have to think “can I have a conversation”, and generally after that thought, I change my speed back to an easier speed for myself.

3. Remember you can’t speed up time

My biggest fault is this. I think if I can run at a faster pace then the run will go quicker but it is never the case – it feels worse! You can’t make a 30-minute jog faster by pushing the pace because 30 minutes is 30 minutes. No matter how fast I think I am that final 5 minutes of my 30-minute jog is hell and I really struggle. Going off slower and building your way into the run is the best thing you can do. Find a comfortable pace and just stick to it. Find marker points and hit them feeling good and not wanting to crawl into a hole in the last 5 minutes of your run.

 

Hope this helps you all

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Why Run?

Throughout high school, people always use to ask me why do I run? or what is fun about running? but realistically I had no answer for those questions. As time goes on the reason why I run is for the self-achievement and feeling you get when you go further or fast than you have ever done before. The feeling you have when you meet your goals is really hard to explain. The thing I like about running is that there are no two runners the same and everyone can run. Running is in majority of sports so when you race you could be running against a basketballer, netballer, footballer, rugby player or just someone who likes to run. There is no right way about being a runner other than you have your shoes on and you can run the race.

Naturally, the main reason why people run is that of the benefits it possesses. Benefits range from person to person like weight loss, de-stressing or increasing fitness. As a beginner runner people can lose half a kilogram (1 pound) a week from running twice in that week as well as getting fitter as they run. The reason why I run is to de-stress and take a step back in my life and take time to reflect on whats bothering me and what I can do to tweak things in my life.

Finally, the rewards of running, meaning that you really do feel the full effect of how cool it is to be a runner. Rewards can come in many ways; Personal bests, medals, health benefits or sense of achievement. Whatever you think you need to make a reason to run I would fully say go for it because the reasons that keep you in it really do make you feel on top of the world. All you gotta do is keep moving forward.

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