I think I can speak for many people in the ultra running community when I say that ultra running is a slippery slope. Only two years ago, almost to the day, I ran in my first trail race, TRAQ’s Pinnacles, 18 hills over 18km. Now only two years later I have finished five ultras, including three 100km races.
After each one of those races, I’m sure I told my partner that I would never do that again, yet here we are!
This time around, it’s the Noosa Ultra Trail Hinterland Traverse. A race covering 80km through Noosa’s five National Parks and State Forests and with a total elevation of 1750m, its relatively ‘flat’ in the grand scheme of things. Whilst I’m excited to get to race day and give it everything, this race is actually part of my lead up to the BTU miler in July which will be my first time racing over the 100-
mile (160km) distance. I never thought I’d label an 80km race as a ‘warm up’ race but again, here we are!
At the time of writing, the race is six weeks away, on the 25th March. This is part 1 of my journey to race day but I will continue to document my build up right through to the BTU miler. This will be completely unchartered territory for me so there’s sure to be some interesting happenings along the
I should probably give a little bit of information about how I came to run ultras. I’m a badminton player, turned triathlete, turned cyclist, turned runner, turned trail runner, turned ultra-runner. Very much the natural progression of course.
I went on my first trail run during the early days of Covid after my usual footpaths became overrun with people. Since that first run, I’ve completed the BTU 60, Glasshouse 100, Kunanyi Mountain Run 68km, Scenic Rim 100 and Blackall 100. I had sort of winged it with training for those and drew on my knowledge from training for previous sports to try and get me prepared, which worked for the
most part. But, after having a horrible day out at the Kunanyi Mountain Run in Hobart last April, I decided to enlist the help of Jamie at Run Vault Performance to ensure that I never toed a start line unprepared again.
Back to my prep for Noosa. After finishing my 20:23 for 2023 challenge on New Year’s Eve, the fire in my belly was well and truly lit. I spent about three weeks recharging my batteries to start the year and have just finished my first training block of the year.
With Noosa being on the flatter side for an 80km race, the first block of the year focussed on speed endurance meaning longer efforts around threshold pace. An example of a training week during this block is as follows:
Monday – 60min strength session followed by a 40min shakeout run afterwards
Tuesday – 90min speed session including 2x10min, 2x5min and 2x2min efforts starting at threshold and speeding up as the efforts shortened
Wednesday – 90min aerobic Z2 run
Thursday – AM 60min aerobic Z2 followed by PM 90min aerobic Z2
Friday – 90min hill session including 3x200/400/600m hill repeat efforts
Saturday – 90min aerobic Z2 run
Sunday – 4-hour trail run
Wednesday or Thursdays are usually a rest day but I’m not always the most responsible when it comes to rest days, I just want to run!) Plus this also depends on where we are placed within the training cycle. Easier weeks have 1-2 rest days whereas a tougher endurance build block could have 10 consecutive days of training.
My totals for this three week block were just shy of 36 hours of training (strength included) and 375km. Thanks to having a fairly flexible job and an understanding better half, I’ve found that this sort of volume works well for me and allows me to maintain a healthy work-life-run balance although this definitely wouldn’t work for everyone, especially if you don’t like 3:50am alarms!
This coming week is a reset week which means that we’ll dial back the volume but we’ll dial back the time spent at high effort to let the legs soak up the last three weeks of training. I have one more three-week block of training to come before my favourite part of every race prep, taper time.
I look forward to checking back in during taper to report on how the last training block went and
how we’re going to approach the race. Let’s get it!
If you're looking for coaching and guidance with your running and strength training, I highly recommend the team at www.runvaultperformance.com.au