The Art of ‘Chicking’ – Nikki Wynd GOW Interview

Smashing over two hours from your 100km time from last year is no mean feat. But that’s exactly what Nikki Wynd (pictures above with her 2010 Oxfam crew) did at this year’s GOW100km to run an awesome time of 12hrs 9 minutes and claim 6th place overall – ‘chicking’ many of us guys in the process 🙂

However it was a below par performance at this year’s North Face 100km that really got her to think seriously about how to run a hard 100km and get to where she is right now. Following on from Julian’s piece yesterday, here’s the perspective of the female winner, and a little bit more about what she did to change her training and nutrition plans which saw her achieve a brilliant time at this weekend’s GOW100km.

1.) Well done on a cracking time – you smashed your PB from last year. What was the difference this year?

After having a disastrous race at TNF in May, I knew a few things had to change if I was going to get serious about posting a great time at GOW.  I have never been a big eater during a race and after TNF this was one thing I knew that I needed to address.  I decided two things that I needed to look at were the number of kms per week and my nutrition (will discuss this a bit later). I train with Darren Mooney and Steve Lane and we probably used to average around 100kms per week.  Steve was recovering from injury and Darren and I were chatting about training going forward and we both decided we needed to start upping the kms.  So we started doing around 150kms per week, and we also did a few races as “training” runs (Shepparton Marathon, The Tan 50km & YY50km) where we didn’t taper and just ran on tired legs and this seemed to help as well.  Plus we also did three weekends leading up to GOW of back to back runs, where we did around 50kms on both Saturday and Sunday.

Nikki at this year's Tan 50km 'fun run'

2.) When did you take up running and what inspired you to competing in ultras?

I have always been into health and exercise and joined my local gym when I was 14 years old and am still a member.  I have probably been running on and off for the past 15 years.  I did my first marathon 15 years ago and then probably for 10 years after that just did fun runs here and there.  About three years ago Darren, Steve, Deanne Bleg and myself  decided to do Oxfam as we’d done a couple of marathons together, so we started doing a few of the trails and events as training runs for Oxfam.  We had a great run at Oxfam and came 3rd overall and 1st mixed team.  Then from here Brett told us about GOW 2010, so we entered and loved it and then it was a matter of finding what other ultras we could do.

3.) Describe your typical training week

I run and train with a group of friends from my local gym, we plan the session then it’s whoever shows up! On a Monday morning no matter what we’ve done on the weekend we do a real easy 10-12km plod.  Tues we do a track session, usually around 20kms all up.  Wednesday we do a 20kms run.  Thursday we head up to the 1,000 steps and spend 2-2.5hrs running up there. Friday depending how we are feeling and what we have planned for the weekend will either be an easy run of 16kms or a rest day.  Saturday and Sunday we do a long run each day, and just mix it up by heading to either Lysterfield, Churchill, Ferny Creek or 1,000 steps.  Along with running I do some boxing, spin classes and Pilates.  I actually just love all of the training that prepares you for a race!

Nikki at this year's GOW100km

4.) What do you do for nutrition during races?

Before TNF I was never a big eater and after having such a bad race at TNF I knew this was one thing I needed to take a serious look at.  So I started to do some research and came across Hammer Perpeteum, I thought this would be perfect for me as I knew that if I consumed the Perpeteum I was going to get the nutrition I needed without having to eat lots.  In training we experimented with both the liquid and solids and they worked really well so I was sold.  So during GOW I starting off carrying the liquid in a handheld and then switched to the solids for the remainder of the race.  Apart from a few lollies and a couple of Vegemite sandwiches I ran all of GOW on Perpeteum solids, I had no flat spots and felt great all day.

*Note that Ultra168 readers can get a 7% discount on Hammer products. enter ‘168’ into the promotional code box at checkout.

5.) There’s more and more women competing in ultras races than ever before, what is it that you think attracts women to the sport?

I think in general women seem to be more concerned with their health and fitness and running is something you can do anywhere and anytime.  I know from my own personal experience I’d done marathons and it was like “well what’s next?” you need a new challenge.  Ultra runners are such awesome people, it’s not as competitive as say marathon running and everybody is so happy to have a chat and encourage you at the same time.  During GOW, Bryony and I were running along together chatting about our kids.

6.) The eternal question 🙂 Very few women DNF big ultra marathons – are women mentally tougher than men?

Ha ha ha yes I think we are!!  I do think that the guys often go out to hard and seem to blow up! Whereas women are a bit more conservative and tend to pace themselves.  I always try to stick to my game plan, I never try to allow myself to get sucked into somebody else’s pace. It’s amazing to watch the carnage happen around you and it always seem to be guys that have just gone out to hard! (Note, your editor can relate to this as Nikki passed him on Johanna Beach)

 7.) What have you got planned for the next 12 months?

My main goal is to go back and do TNF and have a great race there, and then I’m really keen to do my first 100 mile race which would be Glasshouse in September.  We always support Brett Saxon and do his trail races and events so will be doing most of these as well.

8.) Do you have any aspirations to represent Australia in track or trail races?

It’s funny because I have been asked this question before and it’s not actually something I have ever thought that much about. In a way it makes me laugh because I don’t think I’m really that good a runner, I do it because I love it,  but in saying that if the opportunity came up I wouldn’t say no.

9.) What advice have you got for other women aspiring to hit the trails?

I think trail running is for everybody, you don’t have to be a certain height, weight or age, you don’t even have to be  super fit. You can walk the hills, run the downhills, you meet such nice people, travel to such amazing parts of Australia, and its so much fun,  just get out there and give it a go!

But you do need support from those around you, and that is a huge factor in helping you to succeed. My husband Adam, son Dan and my in-laws have been great in crewing and supporting me when I just head off to the tails each weekend. Darren (aka Narred), my training partner has also been great and he’s put up with all my complaining, I couldn’t have done it without him!

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Dan on Twitter
I'm a mediocre runner who can bat above his average when I train hard. A man of extremes, I do enjoy everything life offers and consider it an absolute pleasure just to be able to put one foot in front of the other and let my mind wander somewhere different.

6 thoughts on “The Art of ‘Chicking’ – Nikki Wynd GOW Interview

  1. Nikki, that’s a classy race and so great to hear your thoughts on training and racing. It’s pretty simple really, run a stack of km in training, get your nutrition right, then turn up and execute a well thought out plan flawlessly.

  2. Well done Nikki,

    What an awesome performance, very proud of you.

    Get in the Green and Gold girl and go for it!!!!!!!!!!

    You seem to be getting better by the year so who knows what can be done in the future.

    Great interview well done once again.

  3. Nikki, awesome run. Was great to see how you powered thru the final 30k when others were dropping speed and your strength on the uphills is great! Congratulations on a beautifully executed plan, can’t wait to see how you go at TNF next year.

    Hopefully can share some trail time again with you some time!

    Dan, another great interview – thanks to you too for the company along the way! One thing I love about ultra trail races is actually having others around after way too much training on my own.

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