Having tried to suppress the memories from March 29th, two weeks on I am now able to bring you the results you have all been waiting for…did James and Alex make the distance in the Mount Buller 45km Skyrun, with only 6 weeks worth of training behind them??
The journey began in the Mount Buller village, so it was down hill to begin with. This may sound like a nice way to warm up, but when your quads are on fire to begin with from CrossFiy Open workout 15.5, the heavy eccentric loading of down hills put me in the hurt locker from the start.
The game plan was to run as fast as we could down hill, let gravity do its thing, run at a comfortable pace on the flats, and walk up the steep hills. The energy expenditure in running up hills outweighs the time gained so given our level of preparation and experience of trail running, walking up the hills was the best option.
We had planned to eat early and often. We packed gels, energy bars and litres of water with electrolytes to fuel us for the adventure ahead.
The first climb brought us to the summit of Mount Stirling.
After a quick feed, drink and photo we were off towards Craig’s Hut.
With a heavily rocky and unsteady terrain, every step needed to be accounted for. Mentally the focus required for this was draining, so any opportunity for a selfie was taken, not only because Alex loves a selfie but also for a mental break.
From Craig’s Hut, we backtracked up the grueling hill we just so recently descended to pass Mount Stirling summit to head down to Mirrumbah Park, which is located at the entrance gates of the mountain.
The kind down hill gradient meant we were able to find some rhythm and a decent pace.
After around 30 kilometers we reached the final checkpoint at Mirrumbah Park, which meant a 12 kilometer hike directly up the side of Buller to the summit.
With the down hills behind us, which torched the quads, the up hills did much the same for the hamstrings and glutes.
Fighting fatigue and mental demons, we conquered the Mount Buller summit, with only a few k’s left to get back to the village.
The last stretch of downhill was most certainly the most painful, with fatigue well and truly set in, increased eccentric loading and poor control, everything hurt. But for a fraction of a second while crossing the finish line, it was all worth it.
- Ideally we would of completed a more comprehensive training program of at least twelve to sixteen weeks to gradually increase volume and load. For those building from base level, we'd suggest a good 6 months of strength, conditioning and cardio.
- Strength training is vital, Having adequate strength will help with eccentric loads down hill, and a strong posterior chain will help propel you up the hills. We prepared in a conjugate style training method, with four days of upper body and lower body max and dynamic effort. Our runs were mid week and on the week. We Always made sure we didn't max out the lower body directly before or straight after our run.
- Reflecting on our program, we would should have incorporated more posterior chain bias strengthening and endurance work under fatigue by adding extra volume of exercises such a sled pulls and weighted lunges to build glute and hamstring strength and endurance once we were already tired.
• Incorporate more relevant event practice. For us, extra hill work would have benefited our preparation.
• Good nutrition pre, during and post event is essential.