The final four Tuesday’s before leaving Newcastle for Rio I set myself the challenge of completing four favourite aerobic workouts. Week one I ran 800’s on the track, week two was 1km reps on the grass of No.1, today being week three was bush miles or more specifically Carrington miles as we run on the gravel trail in the harbour side suburb of Carrington.
I earlier completed miles on the track during this preparation (see entry 99 days to Rio) which was reminiscent of a typical mile session set by Ian Leitch during my break-through years. I loved those track sessions and become quite good at them, enslaving myself to the stopwatch and the target times that ’Leitchy’ had set.
This ’bullish’ mindset of thrashing myself on the track underwent some alterations during my time in Canberra training under Dr Dick Telford. One of Dick’s go to workouts to get away from the track was to complete mile reps in the bush on a favoured piece of fire trail behind the track at the Australian Institute of Sport. It took me a bit of convincing that mile reps in the bush were just as good as mile reps on the track but looking back it was one of the best adjustments Dick could have made to my mindset at the time. And whilst I had been removed from the favoured track surface I was running alongside guys like Michael Shelley, Philo Saunders and dual Olympian Sisay Bezebah who ensured that there was no slacking off! During my final year in Canberra in 2004, a year where I broke though in the marathon, I recall completing 5 x bush miles with Sisay almost every Tuesday afternoon for about 8 weeks. I ran my third fastest half marathon off this preparation and have enjoyed the prospect of ’bush miles’ ever since.
Upon returning to Newcastle in 2005 I spent a good 12 months searching for the best ’bush mile’ circuit the region has to offer. I finally settled on the Carrington Trail after noticing local coach Stan Barwick using the trail with David Bradney who he was coaching at the time. David still has the record for the fastest mile (on our standard course) on the circuit. That particular day I was riding a bike alongside David who ran a 4:17 on the dusty gravel trail. Not bad!
Today’s workout was a group session where I had set myself to run 2 x mile, 2 x 800, 2 x mile. The broken mile in the middle is a way to wake the legs up in the middle of the session and stimulate a lift in intensity for the final two repeats. It worked well and I was glad to have Guy Walters bring his A Game so I merely had to ’sit on his shorts’ as he set a lovely rhythm.
So that leaves one more Tuesday. One more chance to put away another tough workout where I run as hard as I can, have a little break and repeat. One more chance to test myself against some old benchmarks and reflect on a long history of thumping myself on the trails and parks of Newcastle.
I look forward to recalling my final 3-minute session from Adamstown ovals with 19 days to go to Rio…