6ft Track Contenders: Part 5 – Sam Walker

For our final installment of mini-previews for the guys, we focus on a relatively new runner to the holy grail of 6ft track running, Sam Walker.

Sam made his 6ft debut in 2010, with a time of 3:37, bagging him 7th place in the process. But his elevation as one of the favourites comes hot of the heels of a tip from Brendan Davies, our current male ultra runner of the year who predicts Sam will have a very good 6ft track this time round.

Sam known as a bit of a ‘roadie’ as us trail runners tend to refer to them as, but he has some serious form. He won the Canberra 50km in a time of 3:06 last year, this after finishing 3rd overall in the marathon proper in a time of 2:32 dead. On that form, you’d have to say Sam will definitely be amongst the contenders for this year’s 6ft and is certainly one to watch not just now, but in the future too.

Take it away Sam…

How has your training build-up gone this year? Have you stuck to a typical routine or done things a little differently?

I’m happy with my build up this year, it’s been a fairly typical training routine. I’m a member of Northside Running Group which has a great 6ft Track training program which involves a lot of long epic Saturday runs all over Sydney. I’ve probably got out on the course a bit more than previous years too, which always helps with your preparation.

Sam on the trails with NRG - big supporters of 6ft track.
Sam on the trails with NRG – big supporters of 6ft track.

What kind of kms are you doing per week? And at what kind of intensity?

I’ve been averaging around 100km per week, but I have mainly been focussing on my endurance and hills. I’ve incorporated a few shorter races into the build-up to maintain speed too.

As a lead runner, what do you think is most important training aspect for 6ft?

I would say the key aspect for 6ft is strength endurance. Therefore the key session each week is the long run that incorporates some element of strength – be it hills, trails or both.

6ft is quite a tactical race, where do you see your own specific strengths e.g. on the flat, hills, technical trail.

I think my strength is that I’m reasonably consistent over the different aspects of trail running.

Much is made of saving enough in the tank for the Black Ranges, where do you believe the race is won or lost?

I feel like I’m still learning about the race having only done it once before, but I think the race will be won by the person who can run the strongest up the hills and then maintain their form over the last 20km.

What nutrition do you use for the race?

I’ll be carrying some gels and taking on water and electrolyte at the aid stations.

Likewise, do you consider trail shoes, or is 6ft ‘flat’ enough for road shoes?

I’ve used my NB lightweight road trainers before which were fine but this time I’ll be opting for my Inov8 flite 195s which are a hybrid road trail shoe, which I think will be ideal.

Care to put out any predictions for your time? 

I’ll be looking to better my previous time of 3:37. From what I can tell, times can be fairly dependant on weather conditions so I’m not putting too much emphasis on time, instead focussing on my form and what is happening around me.

Thanks to Sam, and all the other guys that have helped to contribute to our previews this week, we hope you’ve enjoyed these little snippet insights into how some of the front-runners are preparing for the big dance on Saturday.

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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.

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