Wellington Round the Bays Training Hotspots

So you’re one of the 13,000 entrants in this year’s AMI Round the Bays. By now, two weeks out from the event, you should have a nice base of running mileage behind you. So the next week or so, before you begin your taper, is about sharpening up with some quality workouts.

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Oriental Bay: part of the waterfront way-marked path.

Even top runners can’t run a personal best without workouts or build up races. It’s important to inject some speed into your legs, remind your lungs what it’s like to run fast, and get some of that eye-of-the-tiger factor back into your running.

So today (Friday 1 February) is just over two weeks out from the big race. Over this time it’s a good idea to set aside two to four days for quality (faster) running, with one of these sessions being quite intense. These workouts might include:

  • a session of 1k reps (3-6 reps at your 5k race pace is ideal with 1-2mins rest/jog between each);
  • a weekly 5k race (perfect for the intense session);
  • a shorter track race (800m to 3k) to really sharpen you up;
  • a track workout of 5-10x 400 reps (run at 1500m-3k race pace with full lap recovery jogs—a great way to develop an efficient running style and to feel comfortable when racing);
  • a tempo session (15-30mins of running at a speed you could hold for an hour).

You can finish all of these sessions with some fast (but controlled) 100-200m sprints. These will help with that big final kick into the finishing chute.

So, where can you do all these workouts? Well, care of the Runner’s Guide to Wellington, we’ve provided a list of the top workout spots in Wellington:

Karori Park | An ultra nice-to-run-on crushed limestone path surrounding the Karori Park cricket fields, about 990m long (so basically a kilometre).
Thumbs Up: Ideal for tempos and 1km reps.
Thumbs Down: Get there early to beat the hordes of bat-swinging cricket kids on Saturday mornings.
View online map. 

Newtown Park | Freshly resurfaced, this is Wellington’s only 400m all-weather athletics track (so perfect for 400m reps, 1k reps and even tempos). Races are held every Saturday afternoon and are free for Athletics New Zealand registered runners or otherwise just $10 (Sat 2 Feb: 800m at 2:20pm and 3k/5k at 3pm; Sat 9 Feb: 1500m at 2:35pm and requested distance event at 3:15pm—arrive at least 45mins before start time to register).
Thumbs Up: Open for everyone to train and race.
Thumbs Down: Not available during group bookings, when soccer is being played or when there is a race on.

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Some of the world’s best battle it out at Newtown Park. Photo: Rowan Grieg.

Hutt Park, Seaview | Similar to Karori Park with a 1k limestone path (although you do need to connect it by running on the grass for 200m, following the fence line). There is also the option of turning it into mile loops (one full loop plus a half loop).
Thumbs Up: Perfect spot for 1k and mile reps.
Thumbs Down: Can get windy.
1k loop map and 1 mile add on map.

Wellington Waterfront | Follow our stunning waterfront all the way from Ferg’s Kayaks at Queen’s Wharf to the wind wand (Zephyromter) at Kilbirnie (6.5km one way). Spot the brass plates set in the pavement that measure every 500 metres.
Thumbs Up: Great for 1k reps and tempos and for getting to know the RTBs course.
Thumbs Down: Even on a “still” day this can be windy!

Grass Tracks | Many high schools have accurately measured grass athletics this time of year. Try St Pat’s Silverstream, Tawa College, Trentham Memorial Park, Adventure Park (Discovery Drive, Whitby), and Ben Burn Park (Campbell St, Karori—shorter than 400m).
Thumbs Up: Well-mown grass can feel great under foot (try barefoot running!).
Thumbs Down: Not so good in the wet and often not available in school hours or saturday mornings.

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Trentham Memorial Park grass track. Grass can be incredibly inviting.

Weekly 5k Races | Scottish Athletics’ Waterfront 5k (every Tuesday 5:30pm at Chicago Sports Bar, Queen’s Wharf; $7), Lower Hutt Parkrun (every Saturday 8am at Ewen Bridge, Lower Hutt, free), Porirua 5k Series (every Wednesday 6:30pm at The Mill, Kenepuru Dr).
Thumbs Up: Casual race atmosphere—good simulation for the big day.
Thumbs Down: Give yourself a good week to get over a 5k race before you run Round the Bays.

Have fun sharpening up for the big race on Sunday 17 February!

PS. And be sure to grab your self a copy of the Runner’s Guide to Wellington to explore more of Wellington’s incredible running terrain.

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