Sydney Track Classic Results

PB!!! Wohooo! 

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Very happy with my run last night at the Sydney Track Classic over 800m. It was a very strong field of girls who all held faster personal best times than me going into the race but I managed to finish 4th!

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I'm learning that the 800m is on a totally different level of racing to the 400m - it is extremely tactical and quite hard to judge your pace. We started out racing in a pack all bunched together across the first lap, then the field strung out into single file as we ran into the second lap. With about 200m to go the pace really surged and I tried to stay up the front to put myself in a good position for the final 100m - unfortunately this kick took a bit of extra energy out of my legs and I didn't finish quite as strongly as I had hoped.

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However I still bettered my old PB (2:05.48 secs) by almost a second and half to finish in a time of 2:03.93 secs. I am extremely happy with my progression from my last race, considering this was only my second real hit out over the two laps!

You can watch the race here: (Fast Forward to 2hrs 11mins on the video)

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zxp3cwDDRM&w=560&h=315]

Now I am fully focussed on the Melbourne Track Classic this Saturday, and the National Championships next weekend where I will be running the 400m at both. Thanks for everybody's messages of support over the last few weeks; I am extremely humbled by your kind and very motivating words!

Until next time! A. xx

(Thank you to all of the amazing photographers who captured the meet last night...Chris Lew, David Wylie, David Tarbotton to name a few. These pictures are from a fellow Sydney University Athlete, Miles Cole-Clark.)

Sydney Track Classic

Hello! Sydney Track Classic

Sorry for the late notice BUT tomorrow marks the date of the Sydney Track Classic. One of our country's top athletics meets. This year it is one of the two finals of the Australian Athletics Tour. All the other tour meets this year have culminated in this weekend in Sydney, and next weekend in Melbourne where we will have our final chances to gain a qualifier for the 2015 World Championships in Beijing.

I am racing in the 800m tomorrow night (14th March) at 8:12pm against some top runners! Not only Australia's fastest 800m runners, but also one of USA's finest Molly Beckwith, and two Kiwi's from across the Pacific, Angie Petty and Nikki Hamblin, who have both competed at the Olympics and World Champs. Would be an understatement to say I'm a little nervous, but I'm also very excited to have a go at the two-lap event once again!

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There are two options to watch my race....

1: Come out to Sydney Olympic Park, Homebush! The actions kicks off at 7:20pm with Sally Pearson racing in the 200m, then continues with an action packed schedule of racing (including me at 8:12pm) and finishes off at 8:30pm with Sally Pearson once again racing over the 100m this time. Tickets are available at the gate on the night!

2. Watch the live stream from the comfort of your living room! http://mossyandrobbo.com/livestream/ Mossy & Robbo will be continuing with their incredible coverage of the Athletics Tour on Saturday night by suppling a LIVE stream of the whole meet. Yours for the viewing by clicking the link above!

Then next week I will continue on to Melbourne to run the 400m at the Melbourne Track Classic, busy busy! But very exciting times ahead.

Hope to see you out there...Or cheer extra loud for me through your computer screens!

A. xx

Two 400m races, four states, 7 days.

Hello! I've had a monster of a week travelling, training, racing and have finally settled back at home for a couple of weeks for my last block of pre-nationals training.

I started off travelling to Perth for the Perth Track Classic to race in my first 400m for the season. It was a great field with basically our whole Glasgow 4x400m team competing, minus two, and conditions were set to be perfect! Unfortunately, Perth had an anomaly of a day in weather, having the only day under 25 degrees in months and cold gusty head-winds on the track making it very less than ideal conditions to race!! I ended up coming third (exactly even with Lyndsay Pekin), in a  time of 54.20. I was quite disappointed with the time and result, but not completely disheartened because the weather and travel probably played a part in my slow time.

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On my way back to Sydney I stopped off in Melbourne to see my coach and train with squad for a few days. This was a great opportunity to get in a tough track session and plan the rest of my season. We did a 400m specific lactic session involving 300m 2mins 150m, 250m 90secs 150m, 200m 60secs 120m. Definitely opened the lungs!

I then stopped off in Sydney for a night before driving to the Nation's Capital, Canberra, for another 400m race! I had a much better run and fought with Lauren Wells to the line and ended up second in 53.53, almost a whole second faster than the week before. You can watch the race here:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zcIVKbC8NA&w=560&h=315]

This weekend I have the NSW State Championships where I will be running the 400m and 200m, and am looking to defend my State 400m Title. Fingers crossed for a fast race! Then I have a couple of weeks off before the Sydney Track Classic and Melbourne Track Classic.

Until then, I will be enjoying the last couple of weeks of beautiful Sydney summer weather!

A. xx

Hunter Track Results + What's Next?

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Hunter Track Classic Wrap Up.

Imagine this: 15 elite athletes spread out across the lanes on the track, all running flat out trying to get into lane one, first. This was my first experience running an 800m race and it was definitely one to remember!

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 3.05.10 pm I ran the 800m A Race on Saturday night at the Hunter Track Classic and ran a PB time of 2:05.48 and came 3rd! I was really pleased with how the race panned out and am encouraged by the fact I was only 0.4 of a second behind the winner, Brittany McGowan who represented Australia at the Commonwealth Games in the 800m.

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It was tactical and very hectic to say the least (try spotting me in the above pic!) but it was a lot of fun learning the ways of the two-lapper. I learnt that each step I took had to be a considered move and holding your own in the lane seems to be very important when there is so much traffic in the race. I got myself in a good position down the back straight of the second lap, and then kicked home in the last 100m and finished really strongly. The time wasn't particularly flash and I know I had a bit left in the tank, however I only went through the bell lap at 1:03.30. So this means I did a negative split to finish in 1:02.18, which is a good sign of things to come! You can watch the race if you missed it on Saturday night here:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VegWn9iZPw&w=560&h=315]

Now I turn my focus back to the 400m race which I am very excited about. Next up I will be racing at the Perth Track Classic on February 14th, (Valentine's Day..how romantic!) My preparation has been completely different to that of any other year so I have no expectations on times or results but am interested to see how my next races go. But for the moment I am back into a hard block of training for a couple of weeks to get stronger and faster!

A. xx

Hunter Track Classic

Hi guys! I've had a great week of training even in the pouring Sydney rain, (runners take note: a hat is your best friend when running in the rain!) and I am ready for my first race in the Athletics Australia Tour Meets! Here is some info on my race this weekend at the Hunter Track Classic (you can find all the details for the whole meet by clicking the link to your left or the image below!)

Hunter Track Classic

I am in the Women's Raine & Horne 800m A Race which is at 8:24pm.

If you can't make it up to Newcastle there is a live stream of the entire meet by Mossy & Robbo, Athletics' favourite commentators, on their website which will begin at 6pm: http://www.mossyandrobbo.com/livestream/

This track classic is one of my favourites, there is music pumping and they really involve the crowd. It's definitely one of the most exciting meets we have in Australia! I'm running against an awesome lineup of girls and it's going to be a great race to be a part of. There is 4 Commonwealth Games representatives (myself 400m, Brittany McGowen and Katherine Katsanevakis 800m, and Melissa Duncan 1500m) and a bunch of up and coming juniors (Georgia Wassall 800m World Junior Bronze Medallist).  I have absolutely zero experience racing in the 800m so I will be learning with every step I take and trying to mix it with the top girls.

Until then, I will be doing my sun-dance to encourage the clouds to go away and completing the finishing touches to my pre-season training! Hope to see you out at the Hunter Sports Centre on Saturday night or through your computer screen on the live stream!

A. xx

Cross-training For Runners

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Does the thought of going weeks without running make you shudder? Not just because, let's face it, life without running isn't the same...But also because all that hard earned fitness from regular running seems to disappear half as quickly as it takes to gain. It's at this point that runners often begin to think of alternate means to training, or as we call it; Cross Training. I'm going to run you through a few of my tried and tested ways to cross train to maintain base fitness levels and aerobic capacity whilst forced out of running. Now obviously, nothing compares to running and I'm not going to lie; none of these options will give you the same benefit as regular running training. BUT, if done correctly they certainly take the sting out of your come back sessions and are definitely a great way of maintaining fitness or even as a supplement to your regular training.

Swimming and Pool Running

This is my personal favourite when it comes to cross-training. It has the lowest impact, you can simulate almost any running session whilst pool running and there's thousands of variations of sessions to do combining swimming and pool running.

One of the main benefits of swimming is increase in oxygen capacity. Learning how to control your breathing while swimming allows increases in oxygen capacity and strengthens your lungs. When it's time to hit the running sessions again, I found my lung capacity was much greater and I could slow my breathing down, allowing deeper breathes and more oxygen into muscles.

Another advantage of swimming is the choice in swimming stroke. Freestyle, backstroke, and breaststroke etc.. all use slightly different muscles and allows you to target different muscle groups simply by changing stroke. Swimming without using your legs is also an option if you need to rest up completely. This is tough but still holds aerobic and anaerobic gains whilst training your upper body muscles.

Pool running (deep or shallow water) is awesome for runners looking to maintain fitness. I run in deep water and use a floatation belt and tie it with a rope to the side of the pool so I can best replicate the angles of a natural running stride. As with cycling, the most important part about structuring a pool running session is the recoveries. Keep them short!! Other than that you can basically replicate any running session. For example; if you had a session of 10x200m (in 30secs) with 1min recovery, you could do a pool session like 10 x 30sec on, 15sec off, 30sec on. If done with the correct intensity, this could get you quite lactic!

Some other examples of pool sessions that I've done in the past are:

Session 1:  Swim 100-300m 6 x 45 sec run/ 20 sec rest (kick board 25m recovery) 6 x 30 sec run/15 sec rest (kick board 25m recovery) 6 x 15 sec run/15 sec rest (kick board 25m recovery) 10 x 10 sec run/10 sec rest (kick board 25m recovery) Repeat. Swim 100-300m

Session 2:  Swim 100-300m 5 x 1min run/20 sec rest 10 x 45sec run/20 sec rest 10 x 30sec run/10 sec rest 5 x 1min run/20 sec rest 5 x 45sec run/20 sec rest 5 x 1min run/20 sec rest Swim 100-300m

One problem a lot of runners have with swimming is boredom. I have had this myself, I find staring at the line at the bottom of the pool in silence and slogging away by myself quite boring! Never fear, I have found a solution. A company called Underwater Audio have taken normal iPod Shuffles and waterproofed them from the inside, out. This has been a game changer for me and I now use swimming and pool running as a supplement to my training and recovery, not just as a form of cross-training when I'm injured!

Check them out by clicking on the image below:

Underwater Audio

Cycling

Riding a stationary bike is a great way to maintain lean muscle mass and aerobic fitness. Most injuries allow you to cycle immediately or at least after 1-2 weeks of complete resting. The main focus when using cycling as a means to cross train is the overall time you are exercising. It's easy to start feeling the 'quad lock-up' associated with cycling early on and think you've done enough after 10 or 15 minutes. Fortunately with cycling, your muscles recovery quickly due to the very low impact, and you can soldier on cycling. It's important to remember when you are doing cycling sessions to build aerobic fitness that recoveries between reps need to be kept short in order to keep your heart rate up! The only negative with cycling is that it is very targeted on your quadricep muscles. I've definitely noticed an increase in size and strength in my quads after a block of cycling cross training, and felt maybe the other muscle groups didn't get quite the same gains. Having said this, it's great to use and will definitely get you working hard!! Here are some example bike sessions I've done in the past:

Session 1: 10min easy cycle warm up 10 x Fast 30secs, Easy 30secs Easy 3mins 10 x Fast 20secs, Easy 20secs Easy 3mins 10 x Fast 15secs, Easy 15secs Easy 2mins 5 x Fast 15secs, Easy 15secs Easy 2mins 5 x Fast 30secs, Easy 30secs 10min easy cycle warm down

Session 2: 10min easy cycle warm up 3 x Fast 2mins, Easy 2mins Easy cycle 5mins 4 x Fast 1min, Easy 30sec Easy cycle 3mins 4 x Fast 45 secs, Easy 45secs Easy cycle 3mins 4 x Fast 30secs, Easy 30secs Easy cycle 3mins, 6 x fast 20secs, Easy 40secs 10min easy cycle warm down

Do you have other forms of cross-training you like? Tell me about it below! Would love to hear from you..

A. xx

Nike and 2015

Hello!

To start the year off on a positive note I have some exciting news; I have joined forces with Nike and will be running for them throughout the 2015 season and beyond. I am thrilled to have the chance to run in and represent Nike, admittedly it's been a dream of mine for quite some time! The brands roots and history are in track & field, so their product is second to none when it comes to running.

NIKE

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I unfortunately suffered a bit of a set back at the end of last year with a minor injury in my foot. This led to a few changes in my training program where I've been trying to stay off the tartan track, and out of my spikes, and keep to grass running. I've also had a bit of a longer approach to my sessions which I am thoroughly enjoying for a change!

On another note, I had my first unofficial race at the NSW Club Championships over the 800m. It was a miserably wet and cold day, so I wasn't expecting too much however I ended up winning with a time of 2:07.05. I was really happy with that time considering the conditions and am very positive about the season ahead.


Club Champs


Now I am on track and preparing for my first race of the Australian Athletics Tour which will be on the 31st of January in Newcastle. I'll be racing the Hunter Track Classic in another 800m! I'm really excited to race there again, it is always a fun night with music and all kinds of entertainment, for example, last year I arrived onto the track before my race sitting on the back of a convertible! Here is a link to the meet website where you can find who I'll be racing against, and some of the other athletes competing in different events:

http://www.huntertrackclassic.com.au/news/2015-event-list/

I have also just returned from a short training stint in Melbourne with my new coach Peter Fortune. I did some tough sessions that definitely worked the legs! It was great to train with him and with the squad there...He has some interesting stories about past athletes he has coached (one of particular note, Cathy Freeman) that is really motivational to hear before you begin a hard lactic session!


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That's all my news for now...I will keep the updates coming as the season unfolds. Stay tuned!

A. xx

2014 Wrap Up (Bahamas, Europe, Commonwealth Games, Morocco)

WOW! What an athletics season this has been. 2014 has definitely been my biggest and best year running and I have loved every minute of it.

Starting with the Nationals & Commonwealth Games Selection Trials where I ran a PB and qualified for the Commonwealth Games, then onto the World Relay Championships in the Bahamas which was an amazing experience to run for the Australian 4x400m team... and this was all before May!

Then began my journey to the Commonwealth Games, which was a long one! Starting with a training stint in Cologne, Germany for a month amongst some other Comm Games team members where we travelled around Europe for races to prepare. Then a week with the Australian team in Gateshead in England for final training and team preparations.... Finally I moved into the Village in Glasgow and began the most memorable week of my life!

The whole experience was very surreal, eating in the dining hall with superstar athletes, training amongst the Australian team, but most memorable was of course walking into the main stadium which was filled with people cheering, and running some great 400ms, holding my own against the world's best.

I ran some of my fastest times ever across the 4 races that week, my final results were 10th in the 400m and 4th in the 4x400m which I am extremely happy with!

Here is the only video I could find online: Relay Final (1st leg (52.2)- 4th place)

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBUSomNbZC4&w=560&h=315]

Upon returning home to Australia after a short break I was asked to compete for Asia-Pacific in the Continental Cup in Marrakech, Morocco. I knew I was not anywhere near the shape I had been in Glasgow but unfortunately had less than 2 weeks notice to prepare before I flew out to run the 400m and the 4x400m. It was still a great experience and is the fastest race I've ever been a part of as the winner ran 49 seconds! I finished 7th in the individual and 4th in the relay, which I was happy with considering my lack of preparation..

Now I am finally back home and starting back at training to build a big fitness base. I have made the very hard decision to change coaches and training squads after a decade, but am excited as to what the future holds now.

I just want to say a huge THANK YOU to every single person who supported me along this journey, I would not have been able to do it without you. I am so grateful to have an amazing team of family, friends, support staff, and readers who push me to achieve my goals every day.

Training and Racing in Europe

Hi guys! Thought now would be a good time to update you on my progress so far over here in Europe.

I've been here for 3 weeks now and have done two 400m races in the last 2 weeks and had some really solid sessions with some of the other Aussie athletes whilst in Cologne.

I settled into Cologne quickly, we had a good set up as our apartment was in between the track/gym and the physio which was only a 5min tram in either direction. I unfortunately came down with a head cold after getting off the plane which wasn't ideal but luckily it passed quickly and just in time for my first race too.

My first 400m race was in a small town called Oordegem in Belgium. It was a good field with athletes at a similar pace to me and not too far from Cologne so we could just drive there. I came second in 53.22. I wasn't overly happy with the time but considering the circumstances surrounding it, it was a pretty solid effort and I gained a lot of insight into where I was at and things I needed to change in my training.

The next week was a pretty big week of training and I was on the track a lot! I also managed to sneak in a sight seeing session around Cologne with a few of the girls. It is a beautiful city and a very active city. Everyone rides bikes everywhere!

My next race was in Kortrijk in Belgium, it is a tiny town but very fancy and beautiful. Lots of 5 star restaurants and hotels, but of course also very pricey! The race itself was a bit funny as it was a 6 lane track, but they had entered 7 athletes. So unfortunately they had to split the race into two, and the fastest heat which I was in only had 3 girls! I ended up running a similar time to the week before and finished 3rd (out of 3!).

On our second last night in Cologne, the soccer World Cup was on and as it happened - Germany was in the final! We went out to dinner in town to soak up the atmosphere and watch the match. It was absolutely a memorable night. Germany ended up winning and everybody took to the streets to celebrate. And by celebrate I mean riot. It was amazing to be there and see Europeans going crazy for soccer!

Just yesterday I left Cologne and have moved into the Australian Athletics Team Holding Camp in Gateshead, England. It is a relief to finally be here and to be really gearing up towards the Commonwealth Games now. We received our uniforms yesterday which is really exciting!! They aren't as bad as the media made it out to be...just the kermit the frog jacket (see below) but I really like our competition kit and am so proud to be able to compete in the green and gold again. The team atmosphere here now is building and I think everyone can't wait to actually move into the village in Glasgow and start competing!

The weather has been kind to us so far, patchy sun and not much rain. It is a bit colder than I expected though but I think that's just because when I think of summer, I think of warmth...

Anyway moving forward I have my last race on Saturday in Loughborough, England where I will be running in a 200m. We move into the athletes village in Glasgow on the Monday and then it is only 6 days until my first race!!

Enjoy the pictures below of training, races and a few Cologne snaps.

Lots of love to everyone and a big thanks for your continuous messages of support!!

A. xx

Getting ready for Europe!

There is only 1 week until I fly out to Europe to begin my season in preparation for the Commonwealth Games! I will be basing in Cologne, Germany for 3 weeks while I do a couple of races and then move into Team Camp for a week before heading into the Athletes Village in Glasgow. I am so excited to get over there to finalise my training and start racing! I thought I'd let you in on a few sessions I've been doing and a few my favourite New Balance things that I will be taking in my suitcase with me.

I've been focussing a lot on my strength & conditioning sessions in the last couple of weeks, building strength and muscle to ensure that I stay strong while I'm overseas and more importantly, am able to perform at my peak at the Commonwealth Games. In the gym my S&C coach is very particular on my technique and being snappy/explosive with every exercise. Along with Cleans/Squats/Deadlifts I also do a lot of foot contact drills, explosive jumps and medicine ball throws.

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On the track I have been focussing on race specific sessions that are super tough!! One of my favourites is split 400ms:

2-3 x 200m, 60sec, 200m
(aim to at the pace of your 1st 200m of a 400m race each rep)

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To take with me in my suitcase over to Europe I'll let you in on a few of my favourite NB things that help get me through my gruelling training regime. My absolute favourite pieces at the moment are from the New Balance by Heidi Klum range.

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I absolutely love the new colours and patterns in this range, and more importantly how comfortable and wearable it is. The Hottie Bra (see above right) is definitely one of the things I wear the most in my wardrobe. It is super supportive for running and has lightweight & breathable material, which helps in some of the longer sessions!! I also have the matching Run Shorts which have a loose fitted outer layer and a fitted under short. Really great for gym sessions too!

 

 

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My new favourite New Balance shoes which will definitely be on the plane with me to Europe are the Fresh Foam 980s. I use these at the gym and for my track session warm up/longer reps. They are so comfortable and different to any other shoe I've worn. Without being constrictive they are still supportive and lightweight. Definitely give these a go!

If you want to have a look at any of these things head to www.newbalance.com.au 

Thanks to New Balance Australia for your continued support and belief in me. I will be representing #TeamNB overseas very proudly.

 

Enjoy! A. xx