Training Update – 6ft Track Focus

It’s been a manic last few weeks with the arrival of my two little daughters, but I want to make sure I balance spending plenty of time with them, but getting out and running too, along with the wife and work too. Work has thrown another thing to think about into the mix, but hey it kind of pays the bills, so should be regarded as important 🙂

Having had a good few weeks off running, getting back into the swing of things is always going to be hard as you try to regain the lost fitness. Personally I think it important to have a good break completely from running, not just physically but mentally too. I don’t mind losing the fitness somewhat as I believe it makes you stronger in the long-term and with it, an improvement in your times too over the forthcoming year.

Usually I run first thing in the morning with my training buddies over in Balmoral, but living my life in 3-4 hour shifts over the last 4 weeks has meant a ‘run when I can philosophy’ rather than at a set time. An hour here or two hours there has also meant that I’ve been far more focused for my training too I think, although last week I think I finally felt the effects of weird sleeping and eating patterns.

In terms of the year ahead, the big focus for me is UTMB in August. This will be my ‘A’ race for the year, followed by GNW in November and possibly C2K after that if time and the body permit. I’ve split the year into two, with a focus on shorter, faster stuff for the first six months and then the longer stuff in the second half. In between my two ‘A’ races later in the year will be a number of others dotted around to use as practice. But I’ve also set out two ‘A’ races for the first half of the year in 6ft and TNF100km.

The first cab off the rank is 6ft track in March, and January 1st saw the start training for that. Pre-training for the real training started 10 days prior where the goal was to just log as many kms as possible to get the legs used to running again. It’s been tough, but I finally feel like I’m back on track having logged a good 300kms in the last couple of weeks. The goal for January is to hit 600kms of longer ‘slower’ stuff with plenty of hills and stairs, and then cut that down to 400kms in February but with a focus on running these at a faster pace than those in January. Indeed, all training as far as I can imagine over the coming weeks in January will be based around running up and down as many hills as I can find, and then throw in some shorter faster laps of the Bay to keep sharpness right there.

This race has got to rank as one of my favourites in Australia - it has everything and there's no better feeling than motoring past people who've gone out too hard on the Black Ranges

All of that should provide a good base for The North Face 100 in May, so the plan will be continue training after 6ft, logging up the kms. Indeed, the Saturday just gone was the first outing on the track as I headed down there with Andrew ‘Doona’ Vize and a few of his buddies tackling 6ft for the first time.

This first outing was very much a gentle one as we get the legs used to the trails and the hills again. After a nice meander down to Cox’s river from Megalong Road, I left the boys as I wanted to run up Mini Mini and Mini Mini Saddle to see what the time difference was between walking and running. I have some goals in mind for 6ft this year and to achieve them, there will be far more running on the hills than the last two where I’ve pretty much walked the entire way.

Having shifted a fair few kilos, running up the hills was far easier than the last time I attempted, so now its a case of doing the calculations for race day to see what the cost benefit of running a certain percentage of the hills are, and how much time off from last year that will give me.

Hills, hills and more hills...

I have a fair idea in my head at this stage, however there will be quite a few more runs down to the foot of Mini Mini to test this again and again before race day. At this stage it’s looking good, but the real test will be how much of the hills can be run once you’ve got a fast 15kms in your legs from the start to Cox’s River. A few test runs will be done here also, along with some Black Range running, and from there I’ll put all the data together and then come up with a plan for my race day as to the target time that I think is realistic.

For now, its hills, hills and more hills…

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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.

11 thoughts on “Training Update – 6ft Track Focus

  1. Dan I reckon all your time is won or lost from pluvi onwards. Having the lags to run fast from there will make up far more time than whether you run up mini mini and pluvi. Johnathon Worswick is the best case study of this. He often has average splits to the river and to the top of Pluvi but he has a top 5 spit from Pluvi to the end and often breaks 4 hours.

    1. I hear ya Charlie… I’ve walked all of the hills the last two years, but I do believe that to run under 4:30 you have to start running at least 50% of those hills. I agree that post Pluvi is where you make up that time and the Black Ranges makes or breaks you… BUT I am so not in the Worswick category!

      This is part of working out what the overall benefit of running the hills are, you have to have the legs to run the Ranges hard. It’s such a fine balance, which is why this race is so great.

  2. There are as many approaches to this as runners! For me I had prepared really well for the hills, had done speedwork in February, and had a well rested body for race day (via Injury). But I took it easy down to Coxes, stormed up the hills, felt really good at Pluvi, and was able to hold on.

    Dan if you can also storm it down to Cox’s and sustain it from there on, well done mate….! High risk methinks, but you have had two good six ft runs, so….

    Think I will be a bit faster to Cox’s this year, and if I have prepared well enough, will have same strategy up to Pluvi and hopefully a tad faster to the finish….looking for at least a 5 minute PB!

    I will clap you in at the finish….


    1. That’s the thing though Johnbo, as you say you dont need to storm it down to Cox’s… a controlled fast run is all that’s required. I got down there in 1:20 I think last year and it was firm, but not stupid. I won’t be going much quicker than that I feel, as there’s 5-8mins I can make up on the climbs and then another 5 or so on the Black Ranges I feel. All of that should have me at the finish line waiting to clap you in I reckon.

      1. ….there might be a bit of to and fro-ing between us along the route then (said he optimistically). Looking forward to it!

        And yes, hill training is the important key ….

  3. Will be interesting with no early starters this year, but still have the slower ladies from W1 holding the single track up around the river. I think i may do reverse plan, quicker to the river expecting a hold up, then very easy up the 2nd half of both climbs. With the plan to run in a straight line home. Not in a ZigZag !! Will see how it all pans out. Good luck..

  4. I struggle to run 80+ ks a week with 2 kids under 4. Where / how do you find the time to run 600kms in Jan with 4 week old twins ??? How do you get a leave pass for the day to train on the 6 Foot Track ??? You must be married to a very understanding women. All the best for your training & the year ahead.

    1. Hey Phil, I do have a very understanding wife who knows that running is part of what I do. As for the 600kms, it’s very much a goal so hasn’t been hit yet. It’s just about on track, but we all know that babies can pull on your time, so while it is a goal, it’s not the end of the world if I don’t hit it. I just do what I can do. Hope your training is going well. Are you doing 6ft?

      1. You’re spot on Dan. I learn’t a while back to never count the ks until they’re in the legs !
        I missed out on 6 foot this year so now trying to ramp up the ks for a crack at a sub 3 marathon in Canberra.

  5. Is it just me or does the course profile picture have start and finish locations reversed? The profile looks correct, but I wasn’t expecting to run from Jenolan Caves to Katoomba when I booked my room in the Caves House 🙂

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