10 November 2014

Yearly Review

Yearly Review

Favourite race of 2014 - Mt Arthur Wellington
November & December 2013

No races due to injury in right ankle. Spent a lot of my time on the bike and rehabbing the injury with a return to full load late in December.

January 2014

Skycamp: Got my first look at Bright and the Buffalo Stampede course……

Knapsack 6hr Lap Race: 4th male 60km 6hr 7min. First race and long hitout for 2014.

February 2014

Running Wild Wentworth Falls 16km: 2nd place 1hr 24min 37sec new PB. Poured with rain but was fun and fast.

Orange Colour City Marathon: 4th place 2hr 59min 44sec. Snuck a sub 3 in a last minute decision to run.

March 2014

6 Foot Track Marathon: 26th male 3hr 56min 41sec new PB. Ran a planned and smart race to allow a good finish. Will be my last 6 Foot for a few years.


STS Manly Dam: 3rd place 1hr 34min 9sec. Tough run but managed a good result.


Lithgow King of the Mountain: 1st place 22min 5sec 1st win ever!!! Up a big hill and back down. We ran way over distance but I managed to get my maiden victory by getting away on the descent.

Orange Volcanic Mountain Challenge: 52min 17sec 7th place. Finished well in a deep field.


April 2014

Buffalo Stampede Ultra Skymarathon 2014: 12th place 10hr 32min 34sec. My big "A" race for the year. Very happy with my performance and I am coming back with the intention of shedding some time and going sub 10hrs in 2015.


STS Big Trail Run 46km: 1st place 4hr 3min 58sec. Dress rehearsal for the TNF100. Was battling a hamstring problem and felt pretty good until I kicked a rock up into my leg and corked my calf.

May 2014

Bathurst Half Marathon: DNF. Hamstring went at 5km. Very disappointing and the start of rough times ahead.

STS Kamay Short Course: 1st place 30min 3sec. Ran quite restricted but no mishaps with hamstring.

TNF100: DNF. The writing was on the wall after 3km and my hamstring went out at 31km, pushed on to 36km but eventually turned back to CP2. Very disappointing and a big reality check for me.

June 2014

Glow Worm Tunnel Ted English Bolt: 1st place 26min 52sec. Hamstring was good and I was starting to feel better at this point. Fitness at pace was quite poor.

July 2014

Mt Arthur Challenge: 1st place 39min 29sec setting course record. A true mountain run, flat-up-down-flat, favourite race of the year.


STS Manly Dam: 2nd place 40min 48sec new PB for the 10km. Happy to sit back and wait until the back half to push it along. Nice little battle and a strong finish.


August 2014

Centennial Park Ultra: 50km Mixed Pairs 1st place 3hr 51min 46sec. I popped late on but happy to get a good fast longer run in. It was great to run in a team with Kel.


RunningWild Glenbrook: 25km 1st place 2hr 14sec. I was in second for most of the 27km but pushed the downhill and managed to reel in the win. Close to the best executed race of the year for me.


September 2014

Edgell Jog: 26min 53sec 5th place and a PB. Hit the hill a bit hard and blew up a touch towards the top. Felt confident throughout the whole race I’d hold 1st local and managed this prize. Will have to keep knocking time off in the future to get that podium!


STS Duffy’s Forest: 1st place 1hr 19min 40sec. I enjoyed the familiar trails of St Ives and really enjoyed a controlled and fun 20km run in the bush.


Canberra 101km Trail Run: DNF injury. I was going to plan and had worked through a rough section when I kicked my foot and fell. Unfortunately the pain never subsided and I pulled after persisting for 15km, very disappointing and grounding.

October 2014

Sky Camp – I attended this time as a coach. I had a blast and we saw the entire course across the weekend. A new perspective and view on the Stampede was built and it is again my "A" race for 2015. I enjoyed rubbing shoulders with everyone across the 3 days, it was an opportunity to be sponge to soak in the knowledge.

STS Big Coast Run: 2nd place 2hr 14min 26sec. Ka-boom I went on the sand. Put to the sword but happy with the run on beautifully tough course.

November 2014

Carcoar Cup Half Marathon: 2nd place 1hr 17min 59sec. On my own but pretty happy with the run. All boxes ticked with a view to run much quicker in 2015.

So that’s the wrap for 2014. Plenty of races and new trail found. I had a good year but it was up and down due to injury and form drops. I’ll learn from everything and aim to come back better each time. I can’t wait for 2015 and I’m kicking my training off this weekend at Narrowneck where I’ll be running with Kel to the finish.

At a glance;

                        Races – 22 (4 ultras)
                        Wins – 8
                        Podiums – 4
                        DNF’s – 3 (2 ultras)

                        Best Performance – Buffalo Stampede Ultra 12th overall

Big thanks to the following for doing what they do;

Kel - best wife ever!

Family - no way we'd be able to run without your support and time.

Up Coaching/Brendan Davies - Brendan has supported me from day one and continues to. Not going to get a better mentor in my opinion.

Mountain Sports - big supporters and great friends. Can't wait until 2015's events!

Sydney Trail Series - I love my monthly trail race in the city, new trails await next year.

Hammer Nutrition - backed me again at Canberra, looking forward to potentially working together on a permanent basis in the future.

29 September 2014

The Day After the Day That Was

Canberra 101 2014

I towed the line late September down in the ACT for the Sri Chinmoy Canberra 101 Trail Run. This event was my first 100km race 12 months before and I was keen to run well, off what was a solid build up. For some reason or another my pre-race thoughts on how the race would go began to unravel around 5hrs in. Then after a fall shortly after that point, my race fell apart. At 70km I decided reluctantly to withdraw, fearing an injury and not being able to weight bare on my right foot, I felt this was the most sensible decision.

Disappointment and dejection. Two words that come to mind the day after the day that was. I had been careful in my build-up, balancing my training for this event and the Edgell Jog, a 7.5km road race, three weeks earlier. My training had gone well and I felt faster, stronger and mentally better prepared than this time last year. I was ready to race the 100km and had been planning on a slightly more reserved start and building into the event a leg at a time.

Off Ainslie, a spot I didn't reach in 2014
I went through 50km in 4:49 and was on track for my 10:30 goal when the mid-race demons arrived. I was ready for this and backed up a notch walking and running until the moment passed. When I departed the Arboretum I was back holding my planned effort again pushing towards the shorter but tougher back half and hopefully a push towards the end. At this point I kicked my foot heavily on a tree root and fell, a fall that took the wind out of my sails. There was no return from here, my efforts to run became more and more difficult with the pain becoming quite strong.

I pushed on hoping it would settle but after climbing up and trying to run off Black Mountain my persistence was beginning to become stupidity and realising any more km would just further inflame the problem and lead to an injury. I really had my head on for this one and was pretty bummed I went out, it wasn't mental but physical and this is the hardest part to take. I felt I was running with discipline and believed that I would have finished well if my foot came good.

No excuses though, I dropped at 70km and it is unfortunately another DNF. Can I run ultras? Well the answer is yes, the optional comment box would probably read "still very inexperienced and learning how to transfer 2/3hr efforts into the long stuff. Hit and miss at the moment but will improve with further training and patience". The hardest thing is the time, dedication and sacrifice that I and also Kel had put into this event and its build up. Things like foregoing social events, getting up at 4.30am for runs and fronting the cash for accomodation, travel and so on all seem wasted when things good belly up. They arent but at the time you seem a touch lost in the disappointment.

I have only been running seriously for two years now, this I need to remember. I put a lot of pressure and high expectations on myself and the romance of an ultra is something I need to control better. I have made an effort to reduce my ultras next year and I feel I need another solid year of training before I can run the long ones hard. The next few months will be building, mindful of the year gone by and what my new goals for 2015 are. I aim to progress and by ringing things back a touch giving the body a rest from the long long runs I will be ready for 2015 and what it throws at me. I have a good year but a year not without it's low point so far, my main goal is to finish off well and have some fun again, because frankly speaking the last 1.5hrs was not fun at all and that goes against why I run in the first place.

So the next question, Canberra 102 in 2015Well I dont like leaving things open and I had planned on Surf Coast Century but nothing is finalised and I like the nations capital. Why is this race messing with me? what makes it tougher than the stats show? I dont know, maybe it is the heat that comes with late spring, while not overly hot Im not acclimatised as yet due to the cold winter, or just maybe it is the race itself. If I were to sum the Sri Chinmoy Canberra Trail Run, fast, open and exposed with short and sharp pinches thrown in along the way. All set in and around Canberra on its diverse, hard and rocky interconnecting trail system letting you see where you are going and where you have been.

So with that I leave that question unanswered, Canberra 2015who knows?

12 September 2014

Strengthening the Structure


Strengthening the Structure

With my injury issues from 2014 fresh in my mind I have been thinking about, reading about and looking at improving my strength training routine to avoid any further problems down the track. With endurance training comes many hours of work and this has an impact on the body in many ways so the likelihood of an injury, whether it be acute or chronic, is high. The challenge for all endurance athletes is finding their limit and not over doing it which may result in injury or a performance drop or both.

After consulting with my physio, John Roberts of Bathurst Physiotherapy and Sports Injury, and looking at some photos of me running throughout the year I concluded that I had some imbalances in my running gait and this was causing problems. John believed I had an issue within my glutes and I felt this along with poor balance and stability caused by poor hip strength/flexibility was my issue.

Why? I did no work on strength in 2013 and very little in early 2014, this was partly because I get bored with this type of training easily and because I felt hill training was enough. How wrong I was, I needed to be inventive with my routine because hill training isn’t enough.

I have been focused on two things with my strength, developing a routine I’ll stick to and a routine that is effective. I have been reading plenty of articles to provide me with solid evidence to develop my training and from this reading in the last few months I have been tinkering with my routine to suit my running training load (10+hrs a week) as well as my work and family commitments. I am currently happy with where it is at and really believe not only is this helping with my racing but also with recovery and injury prevention.

I’m a big stretcher, I know there is evidence pointing towards the other direction but with the addition of my foam roller the 20-30min I spend each night working out the sore spots helps me greatly. I have also been completing core work daily for 15min and this was to stay in my schedule permanently, it was up to me to include enough strength to get gains, but not too much to get disinterested.

My strength program is very much running based, single leg, uneven weight distribution, balance, plyometric and low weight/high reps. I do 3 x 20-30min sessions weekly and they are as follows;

Foundation – basic resistance moves, squats, lunges, calf raises, etc. with a kettle bell/plate/barbell generally on an uneven weight distribution. I follow a 3 set of 15 rep plan with no rest generally. These are the base building exercises aimed at allowing the other sessions to target the specific areas.

Balance – single leg and balance based. This is low weight and with a dynamic focus on my biggest weakness, my balance. I am improving but this is still in the early days and I anticipate further gains with consistency. Balance allows efficiency and lowers injury likelihood as well as giving me an opportunity to add resistance through the full range of movement.

Plyometric – bounding, hopping and jumping. I have always done plyo work but this time it is more specific and targeted in developing explosive power. Plyo is a great way to activate the fast twitch fibres that often lay dormant in endurance runners. I am careful with my training and would not recommend jumping straight into plyo work, it is very beneficial but if done incorrectly potentially debilitating.

So a bit of food for thought, but for me it is a direction I intend on following consistently in line with my running based training. I have been doing running drills and technique work but without the strength training this has been futile as when fatigue hits the body it can’t hold the form. The pictures at the top show this perfectly.

2013 – Same endurance base more or less but my form is sloppy, swaying and leaning right at the end of the Edgell Jog. My hips are weak, my balance is out and my torso is rocking from side to side. I am over striding, leaning forward too far and reaching in my gait. My arms are out and my drive phase isn’t going directly forwards.

2014 – At the same point in the race and still just as buggered but my form is strong and my technique is solid. I’m on my toes driving forwards with my knees and arms in equal drive planes (directions). My hips and shoulders are square with no torso roll or lean allowing my head to remain stable.

A picture tells a 1000 words, so I’ll leave it at that.

29 August 2014


September 28 will mark the second running of the Sri ChinmoyCanberra Trail Run, this year it’s 101km and I am toeing the line again for a shot at a pb and another 100km ultra.  I have been keeping this race in mind since returning to full training and I am again supported by Hammer Nutrition in my venture to the nations capital for the event. When I was plotting my return I marked in key build up events and three main “A” goal races for the end of the year.  Those being Canberra, Egdell Jog and Big CoastRun. From there I planned my training to suit these events, which has been a challenge considering they are quite diverse events indeed.
Fuelling the long run again.

I have been back into full swing for around 6 weeks and my load and mileage is back where I want it to be. Each week I can run longer, faster and more efficiently as I have been focusing on making sure everything is done right. I have also been super strict with my core and my new strength program, which has included some balance work and plyometric work. I have also been reading about various training methods including the use of HIT/Intervals (Seller & Tonnessen, 2009 & Finn, 2001), plyometric work (Ramirez-Campillo, et al. 2014) and training methods to enhance physiological methods (Midgley,  McNaughton1 and Jones, 2007) over the past few weeks and I have been gradually incorporating aspects of this reading into my own training program.

My focus has been on endurance and speed during this block of training. I am naturally going to go up and down hills because when I run at Lithgow I love getting onto the trails around Hassan’s and there is only one way and that is up! So I have been really focusing on short but intense interval sessions, longer sustained intensity runs and getting the fast twitch fibres activated. My long runs have been progressing weekly in both speed and distance and I have been lucky to be able to include a couple of longer races to help here too, my longest run for a while is planned for Sunday where I’m aiming for around 50km in 4hrs.

Trying to hold form late on
Only time will tell if my training is going to pay off but I have been trying to milk every session for what’s its worth and each session will give me some sort of adaptation for my planned races. My coach Brendan has launched his UP Coaching business and we are continuing to work together but now I’m more in control of setting my weekly schedule and using Brendan as a mentor, someone who provides bigger picture feedback as opposed to the daily reports. I am very interested in coaching and I see this, as an opportunity to further improve my own knowledge through reading and experience and it’s perfect as I have Brendan there if I require extra help.

CP ULTRA 50km pairs, 1st mixed pair home. Kel and I ventured down to Sydney for the newly managed Mountain Sports Centennial Park Ultra run. We planned to split the laps just off even and get our longest runs in “at race pace”. It turns out we both probably bit off 1 lap too many but we were able to hold onto 1st mixed pair, not that anyone was really worrying about the race in the first place.  I really enjoyed the atmosphere at the event and ultimately I got a fair bit of feedback intrinsically about where I was at from this run. Next year I plan to return for a sub 8hr Aussie 100km qualifier.

Full results here

Glenbrook Podium
Glenbrook is an area of the mountain I have visited but never ran in other than at Knapsack Park. I entered the 25km option of the Running Wild Glenbrook Marathon race and was planning a fast, well-executed race based on the training I have completed of late.  My impressions of the course were mainly of smooth fire trail with some single track, a few climbs and just over the 25km or around 26km, well I was wrong.  It was a race of two, up the Red Hands Cave and then after to the finish. The first section was tough, plenty of stairs, loads of single track and a couple of solid climbs with the section to the finish once back onto the fire trail after the caves being much more runnable and flowing. I was at the front early on and settled into 2nd for most of the race, exchanging running partners along the way always aware of the plan and conserving energy levels for a final assault on the quads into the finish. All went to plan and when I came out of the single track I felt really good and I was surprised with the trail in front of me, appearing far more runnable than first expected. So I picked up the cadence and ran to the turn point with purpose, rounding the corner it was all systems go into the finish, where I ended up picking up 1st place with around a km to go. My race had been carried out in a manner I had planned and I feel as though I’m hitting form once again, just in time for the big races ahead.

Full results here

My confidence is coming back and I am setting my goals for the next few events ahead. I’m very much looking forward to these races and if I can plan according to my training and form I will walk away satisfied each time.

Looking Ahead

Edgell Jog – September 7 – 7.5km, pb 27:52 5th male is my best result at my local race. My goal is always a pb and then a strong run, but I am really keen to crack the podium and be first local home again this year. I have been able to focus on the event a little more in training and the 25min efforts in tempo, shorter more intense interval sessions and course familiarisation hasn’t been occurring by accident. I am focusing on the jog this year and aim to be ready to run come Father’s Day.

Tree Pose - area to improve
Canberra Sri Chinmoy – September 29 – 101km, pb 11:39 8th male and my debut hundred in 2013. Hammer Nutrition again supports me in this event and I have been focusing my training for this one. My long runs are increasing in length and I plan on racing up to 30km but no further up until this event, the marathon at Mudgee really taxed me last year and I don’t want to have to recover for too long after my long runs. In the event I have to be able to run between the climbs and I am preparing accordingly with all sessions trying to get the body ready for race day.  I would love a 10hr time and a top 3 finish and I really believe I’m better prepared than last year, only time will tell.

SkyCamp 2015 is in October and I am going down as part of the UP Coaching team.  I am really looking forward to camp and will post a blog when all the information and logistics are sorted.  Rego opens for Buffalo 2015 on the 1st of September so I am super excited.

Photo Credits

Jo Brischetto and Alix Campbell.