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Basic Run tips for the Port of Tauranga Half from Cameron Brown

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Basic Run tips for the Port of Tauranga Half from Cameron Brown


The Port of Tauranga Half Ironman has one of the most picturesque runs on the Triathlon circuit. The runs takes in the Mount Maunganui base track and Marine parade twice. It looks relatively flat on paper but once you enter onto the base track it's around 3km of mini roller coaster hills that take their toll on the best of runners. For this race you need to be strong and fast!

The first 6km are all totally flat and that's where you need your speed but as soon as you’re off-road onto the trail, you need strength. Make sure you try and do some short sharp hill running in the lead up to race day. A fartlek type session (fast-slow running on short hills) where you change your speed throughout your workout; this will help you get ready for this challenging course. Also make sure you do some of your brick sessions (running off the bike) over some hills or try and find a section of trails 2-3km in length that you can train on and run fast on. It's also a good idea to run on trails near the end of your run as the POT finishes with a final loop around the base track and it happens at the 17km mark! Just when you’re really starting to fatigue.

Race Day

The 2km swim is done, you've survived the 90km bike and now it’s the 21km run. In those final few kilometres on the bike, make sure you finish off whatever is left in your water bottles and have a gel, as you need to start the 21km hydrated and ready to go. It's a good idea to use a Fuel belt on the run, so you can get in your nutrition straight away and you don't have to wait until the first aid station.

Make sure you don't blast out of transition like a 100m runner. The crowds will be cheering you on but control your pacing. Just run your own pace until you find your legs which will hopefully come back to you within the first few kilometres, sometimes they can feel rather awkward after a hard flat 90km.

At every aid station, poor water over your head to cool your core temperature down, it can really heat up on Marine Parade, especially on the base track. Make sure your taking on food (gels, banana's, bars) every 30mins. Don't be afraid to grab a coke at every aid station, this will give you a sugar boost for your body and brain! At around the 6km mark, you will start your first circuit of the Mount Maunganui base track, pacing is crucial over the next 3km, go to hard and you will blow or really suffer once you return onto the road. I like to use what I call as "Baby steps" up each little climb around the base track, slow down and ease your way up these little rollers, you can let yourself go on the descents over the top. Remember there are no aid stations on the base track, so it's important not to miss that last aid station outside the surf club (otherwise you will be running dry for over 3.5km!)

Hopefully you've have stayed within yourself on the first 10.5km loop and you haven't gone out too hard. If you feel good you can start to increase your pace and push on. If you’re wearing a GPS watch you will be able to see if you’re on track with pacing, keep an eye out on every kilometre to see if your close, I like to have mine set for every km so I know my exact pace. If you’re feeling bad then just keep looking after yourself with food and drink, the encouragement from the crowd will keep you going.

Once you make the final turnaround on Marine parade, you’re finally heading home; keep track of your nutrition (I can't stress this enough). The final circuit along the base track is tough but again, keep your stride length short on all the uphill’s. Out of the track and onto the road you have a 1km stretch to the finish line, so soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the finish line. See you at the Mount for the 25th anniversary.

Kick Butt Cameron Brown

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