Shona: I was first made aware of Martin Fryer when I was trying to pull out of my first ever marathon, Deep Space Mountain Marathon in 2009. The race organizer John Harding mentioned that even the World Champion and Commonwealth Champion Martin Fryer walks 3 minutes out of every 15 minutes whilst winning running his Multi day events. WTF? Who is this guy? And why is my first marathon going to feature this guy in the tiny field of 30?
Martin Fryer you are an Ultra Marathon Running Machine. A true champion. Winning the Sri Chimnoy 6 day Ultra Marathon in New York 2011 by completing 784km. You are the Australian National 48 Hour Track Champion with 388kms. You are the Commonwealth 24 hour record Holder with 255kms as well as achieving the 1st place and No 1 world ranking in the exclusive invitation only Surgeres 48 Track Ultra Marathon in France completing 433kms.
You are a husband, a father, a biomedical scientist, a sky diver gain WTF! As well as a talented tennis player and coach.
Shona: How on earth do you fit this all in? You are clearly a machine!
Martin Fryer: These achievements were spread out over lots of years but I am always on the lookout for new challenges. I actually don’t race very much. I pick only 2, and at most, 3 “A” races (peak performance) a year and a few “B” races in between. I let tennis go many years ago when I got into skydiving and I cut back the skydiving to the point of stopping about 4 years ago. I absolutely adored that sport but I was getting too busy with running, work and family to fit it in, plus it was expensive and my family were worried about me all the time. I retired with 920 jumps made over 25 years. People that do long runs with me know not to ask me about skydiving as I can tell them hours of crazy stories from those years and my eyes start to light up again with that pumped adrenaline feeling. Back to the question- to be work and family friendly I fit in most of my training K’s as commutes, some with and some without backpacks. While I know it is physiologically better to do one 20K run than two 10K runs, this system works well for me when building base. In a really big week I will do triples – 10K in to work, 10K at lunch and 10K home. Lots of eating, showering and changing in that schedule!
Shona:You are a biomedical scientist, surely being a scientist will help you understand your body, how has this help shaped you into the Ultra Legend that you are today?
Martin Fryer: I’ve spent my working life being heavily involved in reading scientific literature on medicine and physiology and so I naturally think about optimising performance from that perspective. However, I sometimes think it might actually be a disadvantage as you know in great detail what terrible things are probably happening to your body as you run increasingly longer distances. With the wealth of information available on sports science and exercise physiology these days on the Internet there is no excuse for runners not to invest the time to really learn all they can. That being said, once you get the basics under some control (training principles, nutrition, hydration, biomechanics etc) I have found that the real quantum leaps in performance come from training the mind and understanding how to tap into your own unique spirit.
Shona: You are also a father, how many kids do you have, what are their ages and how do you juggle your training and working with your better half? I’m guessing that you have to be sooooo organized?
Martin Fryer: I have a very small, but very loving and supportive family (my wife, Lynn, and my 16 year old son, Luke), which makes life much easier for me than those runners having two, three or even more kids. I met my wife, Lynn, in a Chinese restaurant in Berkeley, California when I was doing research there back in 1989. We married in 1991 and a few years later were shocked to find that the normal assumption of effortlessly creating children was not to be. After quite a few years of angst and a trying journey through the medical system we were finally blessed to conceive Luke in 1996, at a point when we had pretty much given up hope of having our own kids. Lynn works as a primary and secondary school relief teacher so she only has intermittent work, so we don’t face the issue of two full-time parents. Also, now that Luke is older and more independent we have more freedom with our time than during his earlier childhood. So, we don’t really have to be as organized as you think – in fact, we could do better but I think we have a good balance between true organisation and organised chaos. My training runs get done as commuting or at really early hours on weekends so as not to interfere with family or work life too much.
Shona. What was your first Ultra? and how long had you been running for before you ran your first Ultra?
Martin Fryer: My first ultra was 6 Foot Track back in 1997, and it is one of the only races that I have kept constant from year to year, with 13 done (and no DNF’s) so far. I was living in Sydney then and had just joined Sydney Striders and was keen to try an ultra after having broken the 3 hour road marathon mark some years before and was looking for a different challenge. My introduction to ultrarunning was kindly supported, guided and mentored by some of the “old school” Striders such as Mike Ward, Kevin and Dawn Tiller, and Warwick Selby. I was keen on going sub 5 hours but got bad cramping along Caves Road in the hot conditions that year and struggled home in 5:03. It is very exciting these days to see the phenomenal depth of trail running at the pointy end of the 6 Foot field but I am still proud of finally cracking the top ten (9th) at 6 Foot in 2010, with time of 3:46 at age 49.
As for my running background – I ran a bit at high school but quickly noticed that I was a slow-twitch man and was not well suited to mainstream track events that I was forced to endure (800’s, 1500’s 3K). However, I did do a City to Surf back then and ran a 51:50 with no clue what I was doing. Tennis, skydiving and University study/research took me away from running through to age 30 when I did my first road marathon in the US in 1991 in Sacramento, California (3:08). At that time there were fantastic trail events (including ultras) in the San Francisco Bay Area being run by EnviroSports and I quickly came to love trail races and training runs of 20K to 30K, particularly on single track in the Redwood forests and along the trails on the clifftops overlooking the coast north of San Francisco. It’s funny to recall a day back then when I met a few local runners for a training run in the Mt Tamalpais area and during the run I found out some of them were ultrarunners and they were training for this race called Western States 100. I struggled through my 30K of training that day and then I found out that these guys were doing another 50K that day- something I could not comprehend. I clearly remember thinking that these guys were head cases! The lesson there is to be careful how you judge people as 16 years later (2007) I went back to the US and confirmed that I was also a head case by doing WS100 myself!
Coming back to my running background – I came back to Australia in 1992 and cracked 3 hours (2:58) on my third marathon in Adelaide. I thought that was enough and then only ran casually from ’92 to ’97, instead concentrating on career moves and promotions as an academic, and doing quite a bit of gym work ( I was 75kg then and I am 60 kg now- so that’s 15 kg of muscle!). My first year of ultras in 1997 was all trail runs and included 6 Foot track (45K), Brisbane Waters Bush Bash (about 50K), Royal National Park 50K, and the Brindabella Classic (54K). It’s sad to see the demise of a few of those classic trail runs but there are plenty of great races now to take their place and trail runners are spoilt for choice.
Shona. What is your favourite race? What is your favourite trail event?
Martin Fryer: Such a hard question as they are all so different experiences.
On the road it would have to be Coast to Koszciusko as it is such an epic event in terms of distance, landscapes, scenarios and moods.
On the track it would have to be the 48 Hour format, whether it has been at Runaway Bay (QLD), Caboolture (QLD) or Surgères (France). Obviously the enjoyment is not about the scenery in this case but more about the feeling of conquering the difficult task of running for two successive days in a row on little or no sleep. I guess with three Australian National 48 Hour Championships under my belt (346K in 2006, 393K in 2008 and 388K in 2011) and a World Championship win in France in 2009 (433K) it must be my favoured track event.
On the trail it would definitely be Bogong to Hotham: I’ve done it 4 times over many years with successively faster finishes: 9h35 (2000), 8h35 (2001), 7h54 (2005), 7h37 (2009). This would be closely followed by the Bright 4 Peaks series (which I did for the first time last year and came 3rd outright). There is something magical about the Vic Alps and the expansive views you get when climbing peaks (in good weather!) there. For a one off – there was nothing like being part of the “Aussie Assault” of the Western States 100 mile in 2007 (20h30, 21st place).
Shona: Which event have you learnt the most about yourself from?
Martin Fryer: The Sri Chinmoy 6 Day event in New York in 2011. I don’t think I’ve ever quite been the same since then. It took me many, many months to assimilate what had happened to me in the race. It is very hard to put into words but I guess I as the days progressed during the race I found myself going through some profound shifts of self-awareness and consciousness. The first 48 hours were fairly normal but were tough due to cold wind and rain throughout the night and day. By the end of the third day the body was pretty much destroyed by pain and fatigue and I retreated to my mind and ego to keep me putting one foot in front of the other. During that day I had an unusual moment when I was passing a garden bed in the park and suddenly felt an electric feeling like a bolt of lightning coming down through the top of my head and down my spine, triggering a huge warm flush and goose bumps all over my body. What immediately followed were a beautiful, euphoric, dreamy, peaceful couple of hours where I realised that I had no pain and fatigue at all. All of my senses were heightened, particularly visual, as colours took on a brilliant richness that had previously been missing. Unfortunately this wore off, and the pain and fatigue came back, but somehow I now seemed to have settled in to a relaxed acceptance and appreciation of the authenticity of the present moment. So, it seems to me that during this race I gradually lost my body, then my mind, and finally my ego and sense of self and was left with the most simple, childlike existence of just “being”- purely running from the heart and not from the head, with no expectations. The overwhelming atmosphere of camaraderie, friendship, respect, reverence, human spirit and love that I experienced through the race forced me to realise that “letting go” and feeling deeply immersed in the spirit of a race and its participants is infinitely more powerful than trying to control everything from an analytical point of view. I’m sure that everyone that runs, particularly trail runners, regularly gets glimpses of that feeling of “oneness” when they feel a natural part of the beautiful environments which they are passing through. After the Sri Chinmoy 6 Day Race I reflected on my previous best performances from over the years and it suddenly became crystal clear to me that these had occurred when I had truly captured that same spirit of oneness – it wasn’t just about the training load.
Shona. Do you like to train in a group or on your own? And Why?
Martin Fryer: I like both but predominantly train alone, mostly because I need to run at times that suit my schedule rather than other groups. Training with a group is something I should probably do more of as the few times that I do train with groups (particularly those stronger than me, like Marty Dent’s Sunday Run group) the quicker I progress to good racing shape. That being said, when it comes to ultras I think it is absolutely crucial to do at least some very long runs solo because you need to learn to be at peace with the thoughts and emotions that unravel as you progress through the inevitable peaks and troughs that will come over time. For this purpose, I have a favourite run in the Brindabella Mountains that I try to do at least once a year. It’s about 105K long and has many thousands of metres of ascent and descent and crosses the Brindabella Mountains from Cotter to Corin Forest (or in reverse). I did it overnight last time, getting a friend to drop me out at Corin at 9pm on a Friday night. It was beautiful but eerie being out there overnight as there was so no moon and there was a lot of wildlife moving about, either straight past me out of the dark, or lurking in the nearby bush. There had been a lot of rain so there was a continual sound of running water through much of the night that turned it into a complete stereophonic head-trip. About 12 hours later I made it to Cotter, tired but ready to start my weekend with my family and a good long training run under my belt.
Shona: What is your favourite training session?
Martin Fryer: I have a couple. You may be surprised by this but my two favourite sessions are 1) Short sprints (16 X 30s sprint/30s float) on grass or road, and 2) Long, steady, continuous hills (3K to 5K), or long reps (1K to 3K) of hills at 5% to 10% grade on firetrails at around threshold effort. Looking back at my running logbooks it is clear that these sessions are critical and effective at lifting me from base fitness up towards racing fitness.
Shona: How did you go about running your first 100 Miler?
Martin Fryer: Poorly! After winning the Glasshouse 50 miler Steven Bradbury style in 1998 in a very slow time (9h48) I came back in 1999 to do the 100 miler- but purely on gusto, and with completely inadequate training and preparation. That lead to my first DNF at about 136K and 22h elapsed with a mixture of heatstroke/dehydration and appalling blistering. Thankfully, I learnt a lot from this experience and came back in 2000 to finish 2nd to Paul Every in 20h58 – not a fast time by today’s standards but it was held on a considerably harder course and at a hotter time of year, and forced you to do 2 loops of the tough 50 mile Western loop that included lots of dusty, eroded gullies.
Shona: What are your most cherished achievements?
Martin Fryer: On the track it has to be my victory with 433K at the Surgères 48 Hour Race in 2009. It is significant to me for many reasons. It was an invitation-only race that featured the best runners from around the World. To turn up as the first ever Australian entrant and run 224K on Day 1 followed by 209K on Day 2 in this prestigious event on debut met my definition of the “perfect” race. As far as I know, only Yiannis Kouros (GRE) myself and have ever run two consecutive days of over 200K outdoors and Tony Mangan (IRL) has done it indoors. My distance stands as the second longest all-time distance run over 48 hours- second only to Kouros’ phenomenal all-time World Record of 473K.
On the road it would have to be (in the same year) winning the 2009 Commonwealth Championships in Keswick, UK, with 255K, setting a new Commonwealth record and having the great pleasure of receiving individual and team Gold medals (with Jo Blake and John Pearson) as Captain of the Australian team. After that it would have to be winning Coast to Koszci (with absolutely no clue what I was doing!) in the early pioneering years (2005) and also running a road marathon PB of 2:45 at Melbourne in 2010 at age 49.
On the trail it is harder to pick – finishing Western States 100 in 2007 (20h30) as fastest Aussie at the time was enjoyable but I didn’t run a particularly smart race. Winning the Brindabella Classic (54K in 3h59) in 2006 in my favourite training playground and also finally achieving a top ten finish at 6 Foot Track in 2010 were both memorable achievements.
Shona: What characteristics do you think go into making a multi day Ultra Endurance Athlete?
Martin Fryer: I’m still trying to work that out myself but so far it seems to me that development is required in the three key areas relevant to almost all types of running – physical, mental and emotional/spiritual.
Physical: a long and consistent base of many years aerobic training, a strong understanding of correct pacing and optimising the use of walk and run efforts strategically, ability to enjoy and digest a wide variety of different foods and drinks, ability to recover and keep moving day after day with minimal sleep.
Mental: Resilience- staying calm and patient and mindful in the midst of recurring obstacles and episodes of extreme pain and fatigue
Emotional/Spiritual: – in order to transcend your previously perceived limitations you need to develop the ability to tap into an unwavering spirit of faith in yourself and/or your capacity to access the infinite energy of God, the Universe, Mother Earth, or whatever other higher source of inspiration that you can tap into.
Shona: What sport did you play as a kid? I’m guessing Tennis?
Martin Fryer: Organised sport as a kid was dominated by tennis and Rugby Union, both of which I did pretty well at (District representative in both sports) because I enjoyed them so much. Playing Rugby was pretty much a religion growing up in Randwick and I played from age 6 right through to early University. I finally quit because I was really getting hammered being only a 60kg/175cm half-back playing against these huge First Grade players (including massive Fijian and Samoan islanders). I did some running but not much of it was competitive or organised. As a kid in the 70’s I grew up in the suburbs of Coogee/Randwick and the days were non-stop full of board surfing, bodysurfing, skateboarding, bike riding, scooter riding and walking everywhere- so it was natural to be outdoors and fit and have fun doing it. A very hilly area so it was a prelude to building a natural strength.
Shona: Is there a family history of amazing athletic ability? Like a long lost uncle or granddad/grandma or dad/mum who excelled at sport? Or are you just the “Stand Out Kid/Freak” in the family?
Martin Fryer: All that I am aware of is that my Dad was a pretty good sprinter in his youth and subsequently played a lot of Rugby as a running back for Mosman and North Sydney. He also ran a few marathons in his forties at respectable pace (3:30-ish). I wouldn’t say that I am a “Stand Out Kid/Freak”- more like someone of moderate ability that has discovered their athletic niche and potential fairly late in life and has learnt, systematically, the techniques for how to squeeze the toothpaste tube of their running potential until there is nothing left.
Shona: Do you have a coach or a mentor that you work with to keep you motivated? Or is your success self driven?
Martin Fryer: I have never had a specific coach or mentor but like many runners I have sought advice from many different people and sources. There are many helpful resources and advisors around but ultimately I believe that we are all unique in what we respond to best (and how), so ultimately we have to learn by experimenting with a wide array of techniques and develop our own portfolio of tricks and treats.
My success has been self-driven, and has been gradually developed over many years through my love for learning from new running experiences coupled with the fascination of wondering just how far I can run. All of this has been boosted by some of the World-class performances I attained along the way that helped build my self-confidence and my ability to race under pressure.
Shona: What is your hydration and nutritional plan when you are racing? Is it different from when you race a 25km through to 100km to 100 Miler then a Multi day Ultra Endurance Events?
Martin Fryer: Yes, while there are similarities in nutrition and hydration needs across all events it becomes more an issue of what I can stomach at a given pace and the amount of rest time available (if any). My starting nutrition/hydration plan for races is based on what is suggested in Steve Born’s (Hammer Nutrition) “The Endurance Athlete’s Guide to Success”, which is available for free on the internet. So for me it is typically a range of 300 mL to 750 mL fluid intake per hour (depending on conditions) and roughly 1000kJ energy via Perpetuem/gels per hour for a lot of my races up to about 100K or 12 hours. I’ve been using Hammer products, particularly Perpetuem, since about 2002 and have added in some of their gels, Endurolytes (electrolyte caps) and HEED as extras since then. As the races get longer and the pace slower I add in more real food, mostly due to flavour fatigue from the sports products, though I did do a 24 Hour treadmill event back in 2008 (246K) only on fluid-based Hammer products.
So, I probably wouldn’t take in much more than a sip of water in a 25K race; stick to gels and Endurolytes for races of 40K to 60K; alternate Perpetuem and gels and small bite size snacks from 60K up to 100-120K; the same but add in more variety of sweet and salty snacks (I like low fat yoghurt, custard, pea or lentil soups, savoury rice, rice pudding, noodle soups, rice crackers with avocado and chutney etc.) for 120K to 320K (up to about 24-48 hours in duration) if there are aid stations or if it is a track race. In the 6 Day races I have pretty much done the first 2 days this way but by the third day I need to start adding at least a couple of larger meals to assimilate during my longer rest/sleep breaks as well as a couple of big milkshakes through the day packed with extra fat calories by adding coconut milk, extra whey protein, honey, bananas, etc. Despite all this I still managed to lose 4kg in this year’s Unix 6 Day Race in Hungary (815K) – so it is really tough to keep on top of things and keep the fuel going in a Multiday. One of the great palate cleansers that the Europeans use in Multiday races is non-alcoholic beer, and I have incorporated that into my repertoire!
Shona: Is your nutritional plan different from when you are training compared to racing?
Martin Fryer: Yes. Most of my main long training runs are in the mornings. All runs of up to 2 to 3 hours duration are done after an overnight fast and a cup of black coffee, and I only take in an electrolyte cap or two most of the time. If I am training for something like a road marathon or a fast, open trail marathon I will sometimes do a different long run where about two thirds of the run is done at high aerobic pace – so I do the first hour easy then have a gel per hour for the next 2 hours and do them at a bit under threshold pace. Runs of 3 to 6 hours duration I would normally aim for a normal fluid intake (300-600 mL/h) but keep the energy intake a bit lower than racing – about 500 kJ per hour seems to work well to keep a decent pace and recover OK. For training runs of 6 to 12 hours I am pretty much getting up near race energy intake- maybe 750 to 1000 kJ/h plus normal fluid and electrolyte intake.
Shona: I know you are totally gutted to be missing the world IAU Championships in Poland this year due to injury.
Martin Fryer: While I am disappointed at not going to Poland it was my choice based on several other reasons rather than injury. I’ve been an Australian 24 Hour representative four times at either World or Commonwealth Championships over the years and there is a time to move on and pursue other goals as well as let a new breed of runners come through and get International rep experience, which is so crucial to their development. As there is only partial funding of representative athletes it ends up costing quite a bit over the years and it does take its toll that way as well. Finally, I feel like there is not much more I can do in the 24 Hour format, having broken 250K on both track (259K in 2010) and road (255K in 2009). I still have at least one more to do as I have the M50 24 Hour track Australian record targeted, after smashing the M50 100 mile and M50 200K records in Taiwan last year by several hours (I did 15h06 and 19h13, respectively). I pushed too hard to try to get those records in humid conditions and ended up being carted off for medical treatment with 3 hours to go, never to return.
Shona: What are you injuries? Where and when do you think they started? What sort of rehab or cross training are you doing to get you up and running and racing Ultras again?
Martin Fryer: I was still pretty messed up in terms of leg fatigue for up to 8 weeks or so after the Unix 6 Day Race in May this year, which was also a factor in deciding to miss September’s World 24 Hour Champs. I did the Bush Capital 63K at the end of July as a solid training run (5h08) but then had foot pain issues for several weeks in mid August. I initially thought possible stress fracture but it resolved with a week rest and no scans were done. I managed two good weeks at the end of August and started to feel my fitness getting stronger, with a 37:30 in a windy 10K race (still a few minutes off my PB). Disaster struck in early September with a recurring calf strain that started to lock up until I couldn’t even walk. I tried a week off with cross training (elliptical trainer) and some icing of the areas. Unfortunately it came back again within 3K on my first run back. Now I’ve had another light week and had a bunch of dry needling and deep tissue work to try to get rid of it and have done a bit of walking. I’m disappointed as it looks like I will miss Centennial Park 100 now and I need to know that I have got this injury sorted out. I have never had it before but I have had some issues with Achilles tendonitis over the years and I probably need to be more attentive to post-run stretches. The physio suspects that a bunch of issues through my posterior chain are contributing to the problem- so it seems like deep tissue work, some rest, some stretching, and maybe some gentle cross training and walking is about the extent of the treatment for the next while.
Shona. What is the biggest recovery tip? Food? Rest? Ice Baths? Recovery Jogs?
Martin Fryer: All of the above, and I would particularly stress the “Rest” part – good quality sleep, power naps and relaxation/meditation. After hard races or training runs I try to rehydrate properly and have food or liquids with carbs/protein in a 3 or 4 to 1 ratio- sometimes sports supplement like Hammer’s “Recoverite” or a banana/whey protein/honey smoothy or equivalent. I tend to ice sore spots for a few days after hard races followed by heat after 3 or 4 days but I don’t take any anti-inflammatories in order to allow the natural recovery process to occur. I have tried many post-race protocols in terms of recovery jogs but my best results have come from not running at all (sticking only to walking/swimming/cycling/elliptical) until there is no residual pain in the leg muscles. This can take 4 or 5 days after hard downhill eccentric muscle damage at a race like 6 Foot. I do wear compression tights and elevate my legs after hard training/racing sessions. In Multiday races the leg elevation and icing is particularly critical as your feet swell up a few full shoe sizes because you are on your feet for 18-20 hours per day.
Shona: What is your favourite quote, or a few words that you have made up that you may say or remember to keep your mind focused when you are racing or training?
Martin Fryer: The South African running/triathlon coach, Bobby McGee, defines fours stages of running: the athlete, the warrior, the elder statesman, and the spirit runner. I’m somewhere between the latter two stages which explains why one of my favourite quotes from his book “Magical Running” is: “Realize that you can contribute joy, pleasure and fulfilment to many others through your running. The purpose of life, and therefore running is to serve.”
This quote is essentially saying that you can serve others by using your life and your running for your own good and the greater good of society in general. Ultimately, your life will be most complete and fulfilled when you serve others through your own endeavours.
I do have several sets of phrases and keywords for focusing during races but my most common is to repeat these 4 words in succession, with each word timed to every 2nd step- “Powerful-Effortless-Focused-Strength”.
Shona: What would you say is your biggest strength when you are racing?
Martin Fryer: Without a doubt it is mental toughness, closely followed by an intuitive understanding of good pacing. The mental “toughness” though is not just gutting it out all the time but knowing how to keep focused and also knowing how to deploy one’s various thinking “personalities” or modes when they are required. As I have discussed in many interviews before I find myself using either Scientist mode (analytical thinking), Hippy mode (relaxed and experiential) or Mongrel mode (aggressive determination) to deal with different scenarios and stages of a race. They all are useful ways of thinking/feeling but if you play the wrong mode at the wrong time you will not achieve a best performance – for example- employing Mongrel mode on Day 1 of a 6 Day Race is asking for trouble as it uses up too much energy and emotion!
Shona: What is your running schedule for the rest of the year?
Martin Fryer: Unfortunately that is a bit up in the air with this current injury. If I can get rid of it soon I will rebuild base in what is left of September plus October- then maybe do Bright 4 Peaks again (Melbourne Cup weekend) as a great way of building stamina and strength. Maybe some short road events during November to build and test out some speed. In December I have been invited (all-expenses paid) back to the Soochow International 24 Hour track race in Taipei, Taiwan, so it seems rude to turn down such an opportunity. Early 2013 plans are Brindabella 100K (or maybe 100 mile) in February, 6 Foot in March and then maybe the Sri Chinmoy 6 or 10 Day Race in New York in April.
Shona: What shoes do you like to wear? You can list them if you like?
Martin Fryer: Lightweight trainers/Road Shoes: Asics Speedstar, Brooks ST4 Racers, Adizero Ace, Mizuno Wave Ronin, Mizuno Wave Precision
Racing Flats: Saucony Fast Twitch, Saucony Grid A4, Asics Hyperspeed, Nike XC Waffle (XC)
Trail Shoes: Inov-8 F-Lite 230, Inov-8 X-Talon 212, New Balance MT100 and MT 101
Ultra Trail Shoes: Same as Trail Shoes but I do have some old pairs of Inov-8 Flyroc 310’s and some Brooks Cascadia lying around that I use for bushwalking and orienteering/rogaining.
Shona: What are 5 stand-out tips that you would like to give any runner about training and nutrition to keep them racing regularly as you?
- Nutrition: No rocket science here. I would suggest just eating a balanced, healthy mix of fresh foods without being a food Nazi (with all the stress that goes along with that) and being careful not to exclude any major food groups unless you truly have some particular health issue. Many runners I know don’t eat enough good fat in their diet and their health and ultra performances suffer accordingly.
- Nutrition: Timing is everything. Eat high GI carbs and a little protein after hard runs. Eat low GI carbs and a moderate amount of protein and fat the rest of the time. Eat mindfully. Eat to run, not run to eat! Take nutritional snacks between meals only during large volume training. Practice how to eat and drink while walking briskly and purposefully (up steep hills on trail and during walk breaks in long track and road races).
- Training and Racing: I truly believe that variety in training and racing is the key for running longevity – helps to maintain motivation and reduce boredom or staleness. Push yourself to learn from new experiences that are out of your comfort zone. Over any given week do workouts (or parts of workouts) that cover all heart rates from walking through to flat out sprints. Vary the terrain – don’t get stuck on just trail or road or track- mix it up! Trail and road runners should also include some orienteering/rogaining events in their program for to build navigational competence and confidence.
- Training and Racing: Don’t forget training the mind and spirit. Do some very long solo runs occasionally. If you haven’t done it already- make it a priority to study relaxation/meditation/self hypnosis techniques and do these daily as a non-negotiable part of your training. Immerse yourself in inspirational stories from runners of all levels and use the energy and emotion to open your own heart to effortless running.
- Planning: All runners should have short term (weeks to months), long term (6 months to 2 years) and really long term (2 to 10 years) plans for their running. Work backwards from some of your craziest dreams and aspirations and make it happen systematically. For example, I made a plan to eventually do a 6 Day Race more than 10 years ago but wanted to work my way up the distances and durations systematically in order to enjoy the journey and to do it well. Like all plans, make sure you have some flexibility and keep a sense of curiosity and openness to new opportunities that may arise along the way.
Martin Fryer thank you so much for taking the time out to speak to me.