I won't finish if I don't start

18:19, Feb 05 2013
Ian Allen
Ian Allen during the Forrest GrapeRide - another event he didn't train for

Three weeks into training for the Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon and I've managed one run.

Visions of last year's Forrest GrapeRide, when I crossed the finish line with vice-like cramp in both legs and a dead bum, come to mind.

To be fair, I didn't know my 16-week training programme with All Blacks strength and conditioning coach Nic Gill had started.

Race organisers have brought Mr Gill on board to help competitors prepare for the 21-kilometre run in May.

There's also a 10-week programme, but I guess they felt I needed the extra training.

The only problem is that, for some strange reason, I have a problem with training for a particular goal - it's like cheating.


The real challenge is running 21 kilometres with no training - to put your body through hell and keep going.

That leaves me in a quandary: stick to my principles and be the laughing stock of the newsroom [again], or knuckle down and train?

Curiosity and past experiences lead me to the latter.

That and an All Blacks coach breathing down my neck. I spoke with Mr Gill last week to discuss my training schedule, which he had loaded onto the Training Peaks website.

Everyone who signs up for the programme gets a personalised routine, which Mr Gill "tweaks" as the weeks progress - a first for the annual race.

I'm supposed to tick off each day's exercise and leave comments for Mr Gill, who is more used to working with the likes of Richie McCaw and Dan Carter.

"The programme that we want you to follow should get you across the finish line," he said. "The idea is that you shouldn't have to do a lot of thinking."

Mr Gill logged onto my account as we talked and noticed I hadn't completed any of my scheduled 35 minute runs. I've since been for one.

"You need to start," he said. "You'll not finish a half marathon unless you start running. The idea is to build you up slowly so you don't get hurt."

After a brief chat about my normal weekly routine, Mr Gill had completely rewritten a training schedule to suit me.

"We'll get you there in one piece," he said.

We decided I could keep jiu-jitsu on a Tuesday, football on a Friday and beer on a Saturday. This half marathon will be a piece of cake.

The Marlborough Express