In November last year I got the call. I had made the Australian team, I wasn’t just going to get to represent Australia at the 100km World Championships I was also bestowed the honour of being a part of the Australian 24 Hour team.
Three busy months later I am well and truly in the peak of my training with just over a few weeks until race day. The questions I get asked a lot is just how do you train to run for 24 hours? It’s a really good question because it is so different from a marathon or even shorter ultras like a 100km. The physical toll on the body is significant but it is also very much a mental battle and this too is something you can train for.
Generally speaking my training program does not change much from week to week. My training week goes something like this.
Monday: Rest Day I usually do a yoga class
Tuesday: Intervals – long intervals usually at the track.
Wednesday: Social Trail run very easy pace about 60 minutes.
Thursday: Threshold run 60 – 90 minutes in length
Friday: Easy run about 60 minutes
Saturday: Long run 2-4 hours
Sunday: Long run 3-5 hours
As my event is a 2km loop I have been doing some of my training runs in loops. I have done 48 laps of an athletic track and I have run more than 20 laps on a 900m loop around my local park a couple of times. Some people cannot imagine doing that thinking it would get monotonous. I actually find it meditative and I play little mind games with myself. My park is often busy with many people walking, running and personal training sessions and boot camps taking place, which keeps things interesting.
On my longer training runs (up to 5 hours) I usually find someone to join me for at least a couple of hours in the middle. When hotter whether is forecast I start at 4:30am in the morning and finish my run with a cool dip in the pools in Southbank, Brisbane.
While not all sessions have gone to plan primarily due to extreme conditions I have not missed a session and every workout has a purpose. As I go through the motions and when the going gets tough or I think about shortening a session or easing back on the pace I think of my competitors from around the world knowing they will be putting in the hard work and I push through. I am now feeling fitter and stronger than I ever have and can’t wait for the championships to begin.
I’ve raced three times a 55km event in January in the Glasshouse Mountains, the 100km Tarawera Ultramarathon in New Zealand on the 7th February and most recently a 50km in Tasmania. Each event I treated as a stepping stone to the 24 hour World Championships. While I did race these events I did try to pace them in a specific way and always aimed to recover quickly so that I could maintain consistency in my training.
I’m excited I can’t wait to face up to my competitors on the World stage in Turin, Italy. BRING IT ON.