The Hardest Training of All – Complete Rest

It’s been just over 6 weeks now since I completed the Coast to Kosciuszko 240km ultra marathon. The finish of this race marked over 415km of racing in the space of only 3.5 weeks with the race rolling off the back of the Great North 100 miles in mid November – 52 hours of tough racing in less than 4 weeks.

Not doing much - pics Nick Weinholt
Not doing much - pics Nick Weinholt

So what have I been doing since then? Not much. The past month has involved next to no running and this is actually a critical element of my training throughout the year. Twice a year I have a complete break from running to let my body, mind, work and family life rebalance itself in order to be 100% fit, rested and above all else, motivated to lock into a new training block and target key races with the focus and dedication required to perform well on the day.

Scott Jurek, one of the world’s best ultra marathoners, indeed a seven time Western States winner, is a believer in this approach and I have followed his ideas with success.

So when people ask me how my training has been going over the holidays I tell them it’s been tough. Not running is difficult. I managed to keep it to only a few runs in great parts of Australia over the break.

One such run was a spectacular run in the Kosciuszko National Park with Nick Weinholt. We ran the Blue Lakes Loop which is a stunning 23km loop around the main range and Blue Lake. This loop takes in the tallest peaks of Australia as well as some great Alpine and glacial lakes.

Driving up from Jindabyne through the clouds, past dozens of maniacal kangaroos we finally broke through the clouds at about 1,700m before reaching Charlotte Pass at 1,860m in blue skies and sunshine and 2 degrees Celsius. The loop heads out along the main range track to Mt Kosciuszko where you can stand on the top of the world taking in the breathtaking views.

From the top heading back down we took a right along the main range track towards Lake Albina, a high alpine lake. Continuing on past Club Lake, Mt Carruthers is crossed and then Blue Lake comes into view. After a few moments admiring the view we dropped rapidly to the Snowy Mountains River and then back up to Charlotte Pass. This was a great morning out and one of my favourite runs and a great chance to confirm that the altitude training is progressing very well.

Heading along the main range track
Last snow on the main range - pics Nick Weinholt

I would encourage everyone to think about whether you are motivated in your training and focused on your goals. Do you bound out of bed each morning looking forward to your next training run and complete it to a high standard? If not it’s likely you’re in a training rut and need to take a break to freshen up so that you can bank that fitness you have, live off the interest for a few weeks, then look to make the big gains in a few weeks after some time off to really give your training the boost it deserves in 2012.

Ultra168 is heading back into the Alpine this weekend, this time to Victoria for a 5 day training weekend with the No Roads racing team, who featured heavily at the pointy end of the Bogong to Hotham race. The sledging and sandbagging has already begun and it is sure to be a fun weekend. If you are in the area or keen for a break over the Australia day holidays let us know and we will catch up for a run on some trails such as Quartz Ridge, Diamantina Spur, Bon Accord, the Razorback, Spione Kopje, and the Staircase Spur to name a few.

Feathertop, a Victorian Alpine must-do
Feathertop, a Victorian Alpine must-do
Andrew Vize
Sydney based Ultra marathon runner.

6 thoughts on “The Hardest Training of All – Complete Rest

  1. It is good to hear of people taking a decent break after key races.

    As hard as it was at times the 4 weeks after C2K was a great time to rest and let the body recover.
    Getting over all those niggles that come with the large training blocks and starting fresh is a good way to avoid injuries.

    Can’t wait to get back into the big training sessions on the trails!

    1. Couldn’t agree more Ewan, it was good to catch up over the weekend and just have a nice morning on the trails with no time or distance pressure. Looking forward to TNF and then UTMB… Will be an awesome 2012….

  2. Great article Andy. Yes Rest and recovery are very important aspects of Ultra Running as our C2K Champion affirms. Chat soon.
    Dave E

  3. Good thoughts there Andrew. It is important to recover after any major effort as our bodies need to get over the shock off ultras.

    But I am jealous of your current training regimen down at the Alps. Looks like I will be sticking to the hills around Heaton and Somersby for pre 6ft.

    Keep it up . Good luck all with your training for 2012.

    Otis

  4. Hope the high country training went well. Was looking out for you all out there. And the big ride, that is a great way to cap off the weekend. Gotta love those mountains.

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