Qwik-View: Dr Joe Piggin

Marathon Training NZQK: Not too many of my readers will be familiar with you and what you have achieved. As educated readers I’m sure they are potentially going to Google your name and will discover that you are an academic in the world of Sports Management & Policy. Can you give us a brief intro into what you research and how that impacts the world.

JP: I have been working at Loughborough University in the UK for 6 years now. It’s a great university for many reasons. The students come from all over the UK and all over the world. I am part of the Sport Policy and Management area. My research involves trying to inform ethical policy about sport and physical activity. I think this is particularly relevant because of issues about “unhealthy” sponsors, the threat of privatisation of public spaces, the over-medicalization of physical activity, and so on.


QK: Those that will dig a little deeper down the Google page will discover that you are also a talented athlete in your own right having won some significant events and also have some pretty sharp times to your name. Which race result do you consider your greatest athletic achievement?

JP: The first would be the winning the New Zealand Marathon Championship in 2008. It was a wonderful day from start to finish. My parents, friends and family were there at the finish line.


QK: Whilst preparing for the Rotorua marathon in 2008 I understand you teamed up with and did a lot of training with Scott Winton. What did a typical week look like for you as part of that build up?

JP: Now I look back I was lucky to train with such a great group of people. Scott was an incredible runner and very nearly qualified for the 2008 Olympics, so it was a privilege to train with him. One of the “meatiest” weeks would look something like:

Monday – easy day, 2 X 40 minute runs

Tuesday – easy morning run, and evening “X Games” 16K course from the Auckland domain over to the harbour bridge and back. The course was called the X Games because we would run through the middle of Auckland traffic in the dark. If you got X’ed, it meant you got into trouble on the course!

Wednesday – easy day, 2 X 40 minute runs

Thursday – morning 20K – 30 K tempo run along the Auckland waterfront.

Friday – easy day, 2 X 40 minute runs

Saturday – Tempo run in the Auckland Domain. Anything from 5 X 2 Miles to 3 X 5 miles. This was difficult (and not only because I had been used to thinking in kilometres all my life).

Sunday – Long run between 2 and 3 hours in Woodhill forest on the West Coast. We would park the car at the Murawai car park and run in the forest for a couple of hours. These runs were at medium pace and would get quicker toward the end. We would “ice” our legs in the surf after the run. Good times.

QK: You have been privileged to run all around the world. What is your favourite location in the world to run?

JP: Dunedin in New Zealand has so much beautiful countryside to run in. Everything from the Botanic Gardens to the mountains is amazing. Dunedin is also home to “Rib Cage”, a course written into folklore. It involves ascending and descending every street on both sides of North East Valley in Dunedin (including the worlds steepest street). As well as Dunedin I would say Switzerland. It’s an incredible place. I have a theory, which is not very well thought-out yet, but I think places which have some form of natural elevation contributes to well-being. Being able to look out over a landscape after running or hiking up it is good for the soul. I think it’s got something to do with perspective (of course) and a feeling of awe. Built up, flat urban areas can never evoke the same feeling.

Note: These are some of Coach Ray’s favourite place’s too. Check out this article about my favourite run in Dunedin here. And a Strava profile for myself running the Rib Cage here.


QK: What was the secret to your success whilst you were at the sharp end of elite marathon running in New Zealand?

JP: Without wanting to be too cliché, I think it was all the great friends I had as training partners along the way. Oh, and lots of running in the hills, which helps so much with leg strength.


QK: What have you learned over the last 12 months that more people should know?

JP: Ahhh, eat less sugar. Food companies and supermarkets try to sell as much sugar-laden food as possible … (this is not exactly a conspiracy theory). So I think we all need to eat less sugar.


QK: What are the two biggest training mistakes you have made and how did you come back from them?

JP: I should have had a lot more rest days. Rest, of course, is when you recover. When you are racing, you end up feeling obliged to do something every day, but I think it does more harm than good. So I would recommend people have more rest days and more rest week, where you forget about training altogether!

Another mistake I made was not doing enough stretching. I just always found it was a bit boring. I still don’t have a solution to that one.


QK: What does your athletic future hold?

JP: Marathon running can become quite constraining, whereby you avoid activities because of the risk of injury. But now I have backed off the heavy training loads, it would be great to have a diverse portfolio of activities.

How to Fuel For a Half Marathon

Fuelling for a Half MarathonThis post started out as an email response to a question about fuelling for a half marathon:

Previous advice during a race is not to drink the sugary electrolyte drinks and stick with the water. This stops the energy system switching from fat burning to sugar burning and back. What are your thoughts. Both isotonic drinks and water are available at the drink stations.

First of all the body doesn’t switch from using one fuel to another like a light switch.  It is more a transition from one to another like a facet that controls the amount of hot and cold water flowing to make warm water.

The higher the intensity you are exercising at the greater the proportion of carbohydrate (CHO) is used as fuel.  The lower the intensity the greater the proportion of fat is used at fuel. At some point in the middle it uses 50% from each. The CHO used for fuel is primarily from the muscle glycogen stores or circulating in the blood as your blood glucose. Fat stores get mobilised as Free Fatty Acids (FFA) into the blood system for transport to the working muscles. At no point does the body operate at 100% of one of the fuel sources.

CHO is also stored in other locations in the body and if the blood glucose drops this gets mobilised and returns the blood glucose to a ‘normal’ level. This is where things get interesting. For people who are adapted to eating a high fat diet, their ‘normal’ is different from those that follow a ‘traditional’ diet. But the key thing is that at the higher intensities they will still be burning CHOs.

Even people with less than 10% body fat have a large amount of energy in their fat stores, compared to the small amount of CHO stores on their body. You will still need to keep your CHO stores topped up during the event.

For the half marathon anyone should be able to maintain their PZ4-5.  PZ6 is a little high and will certainly deplete your bodies CHO stores quickly. Holding back a little and maintaining PZ4-5 for the full distance will mean you don’t require a large amount of supplementary CHO but still a bit. Read more about Pace Zone (PZ) intensity here.

Aid stations are roughly every 4km, so my advice for you would be to alternate a decent swig at each aid station (certainly not a full 200mL bottle worth), alternating between water and the electrolyte drink. This will keep you topped up without creating any massive swing in anything.

If you would like further advice feel free to contact Coach Ray.

Coach Ray is the Head Coach & Director of Qwik Kiwi – Endurance Sports Consultant.

Coach Ray specialises in assisting first timers and recreational athletes to achieve their sporting goals. He can be contacted at www.qwik.kiwiray@qwikkiwi.com and 021 348 729. Make sure you sign up to his monthly informative newsletter.

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Book Review: Matt Fitzgerald – 80/20 Running

Tri Coach NZFitzgerald, Matt (2014) 80/20 Running – Run Stronger and Race Faster by Training Slower New American Library

I’ve been wanting to read this book since I heard it was published. Matt Fitzgerald is an engaging author who researches his topics thoroughly. He is a runner and a coach himself, but primarily a writer and has a number of books with a running or triathlon theme. Having finished 80/20 Running I’ve moved on to reading another of his books – Iron War which I have been wanting to read for many years. This is the story of the race to win the 1989 Hawaii Ironman.

Back to the book in hand.

This book is really great at helping you understand the science behind by why Arthur Lydiard’s training programmes and philosophy were so successful. Although it refers to a large body of scientific evidence, it is written in  such a way as not to overwhelm you with science, but simply written in layman’s terms which help you clearly understand each concept as it is introduced and discussed.

The main premise of the book is that 80% of your training is conducted at a low intensity and the remaining 20% is conducted at moderate or high intensity. For those that use the training intensities that I use in my coaching that is roughly equivalent to Level II, Borg 2-3, PZ3 or the Endurance Power or HR Zones.

This book is a great read for anyone participating in endurance exercise whether for sporting goals or health and fitness goals who would like an understanding of the ‘why’. Why is your training better and more beneficial at the lower intensity? It is also an exceptional read for coaches who would like to be reminded about the most proven training philosophy that has created the most successful athletes ever.

Reading this book has reinforced to me that I am doing the right thing with the training programmes that I produce and will continue to do so.

I don’t sell anything on this blog, the link above to Amazon allows you to purchase the book at the best price available. Amazon give me a small credit if you click the link and purchase the book through them. I would greatly appreciate it if you are going to purchase the book that you use this link.

If you would like further advice feel free to contact Coach Ray.

Coach Ray is the Head Coach & Director of Qwik Kiwi – Endurance Sports Consultant and is a prominent triathlon and marathon coach in New Zealand.

Coach Ray specialises in assisting first timers and recreational athletes to achieve their sporting goals. He can be contacted at www.qwik.kiwiray@qwikkiwi.com and 021 348 729. Make sure you sign up to his monthly informative newsletter.

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Periodisation of a Season

There are a number of methods to periodise a training build up for an event. Some of the more prominent coaches and academics in this area include Tudor Bompa, Joe Friel & Jon Ackland. They have all written numerous books on the subject. The key aspect they all share is that you start off with general conditioning and then progress the training volume as you move closer to your major events of the season. As you move closer to these events more and more specific training is included. Intensity of training becomes more race like, the closer you get to your main race(s) and training volume is decreased (but not the intensity) as you get closesr to your major race(s).

Tri Training NZ
Jack Daniels, PhD

The philosophy and processes I use with my Qwik Kiwi athletes is based heavily on that of Jack Daniels, PhD (no not that Jack!!!!!!).  Jack has worked with a range of runners as a coach and as an academic since the 60’s and has developed what is known as the VDOT system in the Daniels’ Running Formula. As an athlete he competed at the Olympics and has coached recreational athletes through to Olympic level athletes, as well as being declared the “World’s Best Coach” by Runner’s World Magazine. What Jack does is break the season into four phases:

  • Phase I: Foundation training and Injury prevention (FI)
  • Phase II: Early Quality (EQ)
  • Phase III: Transition Quality (TQ)
  • Phase IV: Final Quality (FQ)

During each phase you have specific goals and aims of physiological development that we try to achieve. These will vary depending on what you are preparing for. Early Quality will look a lot different if you are trying to run 5km in under 16 minutes compared to if you are training to complete an Ironman.

Typically a season will be about half a year long to allow you a couple of build ups in a season. This will give six weeks training in each of the above phases.

Foundation training and Injury prevention (FI) Phase

During this phase you are preparing your body for the training that will come in the following weeks. You will be strengthening the connective tissues of your body so that when we load them up a little bit more during the quality phases they are strong enough to handle the loads given to them. Your muscle cells will be adapting  and we also start developing your aerobic base of fitness that will grow over the following phases.

This phase is primarily based around steady intensity efforts of a sustained duration that produce many desirable cellular adaptations in the muscles, heart and lungs which will make you more efficient. If training load is increased too quickly during this phase the body can often get burnt out if it isn’t ready for that much training load. I emphasis caution in this phase. Being slightly under-done in this phase results in  better results come the end of the FQ phase than if you over do it here.

Early Quality (EQ) Phase

This is a great opportunity to develop your economy and efficiency as well as some speed to get you prepared physically and mentally for the phases that follow.

Training during this phase is a step up in both duration and intensity from what was completed in the FI phase.  It will be getting you ready to handle the training load in the TQ phase. If there isn’t enough time to do any or much in this phase it will be minimised or missed out of shorter programmes.

Transition Quality (TQ) Phase

This is the toughest and most demanding of the training phases concentrating on long intervals. What is long for you and your events will vary depending on what your goals are.

Workouts in this phase build on what you have done previously. For this reason if key sessions are missed in the EQ phase I’ll often move them over into this phase so ensure we aren’t jumping ahead too far. Here we are optimising the components of fitness that are key to your primary event.

Final Quality (FQ) Phase

The best way to develop in this phase is from races and race-like training. Of course we need to recover more from training like that and once again it will all be dependant on your goals.

This phase is geared towards preparing for actual race conditions – intensity (& duration if not too long e.g. Ironman or marathon).

Planning the weeks

When there is enough time to plan a 24 week build up doing six weeks in each phase is great, but in very rare cases we manage to plan something with exactly 24 weeks to go. If you are lucky enough to be planning more than 24 weeks out from a major event we can spend more time in the FI phase and develop a very effective aerobic base, however more often or not there is less time than the 24 weeks. Here is a handy wee chart that is adapted from Jack Daniels’ book Daniels’  Running Formula.

No of Weeks

FI

EQ

TQ

FQ

1

1

2

2

3

3

4

3

1

5

3

2

6

3

3

7

3

1

3

8

3

2

3

9

3

3

3

10

3

1

3

3

11

3

2

3

3

12

3

3

3

3

13

4

3

3

3

14

4

3

4

3

15

4

3

5

3

16

4

3

6

3

17

4

3

6

4

18

4

4

6

4

19

4

5

6

4

20

4

6

6

4

21

5

6

6

4

22

5

6

6

5

23

6

6

6

5

24

6

6

6

6

If you have only got two weeks to prepare for an event you are best focussing your training on the FI phase. If however you have say……17 weeks to prepare then spend the first 3 weeks in the FI phase, then 3 weeks in the EQ phase, then 6 weeks in the TQ phase then 4 weeks in the FQ phase.

An overall training plan needs to build through the various phases of training in sequence to allow appropriate adaption in the time frame available. Following Jack Daniels’ methodology and adapting it for cyclists, triathletes and mountain bikers based on their personal goals I have been successfully planning the build ups of many athletes over many distances for a few years now. Previous to that I was heavily influenced by Jon Ackland and Joe Freil (and Tudor Bompa). What Jack Daniels does is give more detail but still follows the same principles of the other gurus of periodisation.

If you would like further advice feel free to contact Coach Ray.

Coach Ray is the Head Coach & Director of Qwik Kiwi – Endurance Sports Consultant.

Coach Ray specialises in assisting first timers and recreational athletes to achieve their sporting goals. He can be contacted at www.qwik.kiwi, ray@qwikkiwi.com and 021 348 729. Make sure you sign up to his monthly informative newsletter.

Share this post so your friends can benefit as well.

Oonagh and the Sunshine Coast Marathon

To endure 42.2km’s, on a flat warm Queensland course was the goal.  Executing effective training when you do Fly In/Fly Out work 2 weeks on/off, working 13 days in a row was not going to be easy.  Neither was training from the small remote island of Nauru, 50km south of the equator.  So I requested the help of Ray Boardman.

Ray designed a programme around me working hardest when I was home and maintaining my endurance whilst away.  Nauru is a flat island with heat averaging around 30 degrees.  Wild dogs are everywhere so the available running routes are minimal.   But to help me through I had set a secondary goal… to raise money for a sick little baby Poppy Harrison and to measure my progress with a Half Marathon on the Gold Coast in July.  This helped me stay on track during the most challenging times.  When you do something for someone else, the fear of failing them becomes bigger than the originating goal.  It definitely was not without its challenges.  This is my normal routine when in Nauru, where fitting in sleep and training become my main two priorities over the last 4 months.

Dayshift
0400 – Get up
0440 – Bus to breakfast (25min)
0530 – Bus to work
0600 – 1800 Work 12 hr shift
1815 – Run home through 1km goat  track
1930 – Cool down, shower, eat, relax
2100 – Sleep

Nightshift
1430 – Get Up – conduct training
1530 – Cool down , Shower
1630 – Bus to Dinner
1730 – Bus to work
1800 – 0600  Work 12 hr shift
0615 – Bus to accommodation (30min)
0700 – Shower, eat
0730 – Sleep

Regardless of our circumstances, location or resources, any goal can be achieved if your REASON WHY is clear.  For it is not the achievement of the goal that makes it worthwhile; it is the journey and the person that you become along the way that is the biggest achievement of all.

New Zealand’s Newest Marathon Course – Taupo, NZ

Listen to your Coach… Listen to your Body!

These are words that I used to pay lip service to, but eventually they rang true.  I have written previous articles about completing an Ironman or completing a Half Marathon, etc with varying results.  It wasn’t until I was completely disappointed with myself and my results from the Ironman NZ 2013 that I decided to get a Coach.  My selection was simple.  It was Ray Boardman from Qwik Kiwi, not just because I knew him as a Physical Training Instructor in the New Zealand Army, but because I saw him on the course that day supporting his clients and noted that he stayed out there to provide encouragement when I was struggling. He didn’t have to as he had clients that had finished, but he showed an installed belief to look out for those that needed help.

This brings me to my catch phrase of ‘Listen to your Coach… Listen to your Body’. Once I signed up with Ray I went about his training program with enthusiasm, but when I missed training for various reasons such as injury or work commitments I would play catch up and hammer myself, but then have to let Ray know that I had an injury which came down to not following the program correctly.  Ray’s advice is “If you miss a training session, get over it and move on”.  He is dead right, and since then I have had little to no injuries.  Being stubborn though, I’m not very good at listening to my body, and it comes down to more than just the signals the brain receives from injuries!

Taupo has a long standing Half Marathon Course.  In fact in the district they have three over the period of July, August and September which I have competed in.  But for the township they have never had a full stand-alone Marathon course until August 2015 (albeit the Ironman in Taupo has a Marathon component).  I was eager to be part of their first Marathon and negotiated my training programme with Ray.

Unfortunately I felt the flu building up in the few days leading up to the event, but I met at Huka Falls for the 0730 hours start in the cold, wearing a T-Shirt as I knew I would heat up later.

The Taupo Marathon being the newest Marathon course in New Zealand is set in a beautiful setting where we ran across the Huka Falls Bridge and alongside before heading to an off-road trail run on Mountain Bike trails for about 20 km’s, followed by hitting the roads around the lake for the remaining 22.2 km’s, which is incidentally part of the Ironman Marathon Course.  The rain held off and the scenery is spectacular, but in hindsight I should have listened to my body and not competed, the event took me almost four and a half hours where I coughed and spluttered the whole way round and made myself worse for wear which hindered my continual training.

However, if you wish to find a full Marathon course with beautiful scenery, check out Taupo, NZ in August 2016.

Remember – listen to not only your Coach, but also listen to your Body…

John Humphries

Wellington Half Marathon

This time around this event would be part of a handful of confidence boosters in my build up to Challenge Wanaka 2016 (first ever iron-distance).

I wanted to run this event in 2.30 hrs (even-though previously I’d done it faster), feel “comfortable” and not cause any of injuries I’ve been recovering from over the last 12 months to flare up, so this was going to be a challenge.

The week beforehand I started to doubt achieving this goal so I sent Coach a text – give me a pace to run or realistic time to finish in, but really do want to go under 2.30. In Ray’s response on pace & time was also the final sentence “You can do this”.

I lined up at the start knowing that the first few kilometres could be quite congested so decided to “go with the flow” which ended up being faster than my target pace, but I felt relaxed knowing it would settle. I had also decided to try and keep slightly under pace target as I knew the northerly on the return would play its part as well as fatigue over the last 5kms.

I not only came in in 2.29.12 (officially), but best of all I felt good – comfortable, in control, injury free and importantly going forward a step up in confidence.

Yes, I can do this!

 

Helen Majorhazi