Falls Creek Trip #1

As I write this blog from sixteen-hundred metres altitude at the popular Falls Creek Ski Village in the Victorian Highlands, I am chilled out and recovering from my Sunday long run. With my coffee sitting next to the laptop and all my recovery food & drink already consumed, I will now attempt to give you an interesting read.

I have been coming here (to Falls) for ten years now, and I always enjoy coming back here. Out of all the trips I have made, this is only the second time have I gone to Falls in November. The last time I came here in November was in 2009, shortly before my 28:19 Zatopek:10 effort and twelve weeks before my 2:11:00 marathon debut. I am here this year to recapture the form of 2009 and improve upon my 10000m & Marathon PBs over the next couple of months.

For those that have been to Falls Creek over the Christmas and New Year period, the numbers a extremely different when you come here in November. At Christmas there can be anywhere up to 130 people on a run, while in November, there can be only a handle full of people on a Pretty Valley long run. This can make for a VERY long run if you can’t keep up. However, this scenario tends to highlight how remote and peaceful Falls Creek can be. People come from all over the country to train where all the previous greats of Australian distance running have trained. Deek, Mona, Mottram, and more, have all used the ski village of Falls Creek as a place to concentrate purely on running and springboard themselves to great performances in their illustrious careers. There’s something about coming here that brings out the best in athletes, and I have always come off the mountain stronger than I arrived.

It’s been tough up here so far. I have found that there are usually three scenarios when getting to altitude: 1) hitting it straight away and training like a machine, 2) taking a week to adjust to the terrain and altitude before training very well, and 3) struggling the entire trip. Any scenario is a good scenario, providing that you take the opportunities to rest and recover while here. I think for this trip, I am following scenario two. The kilometre reps on Tuesday were a bit of a struggle in the cold and wet conditions. Spion Kopje on Wednesday was a dismal day (freezing cold, sleeting, a howling wind and fog that meant I couldn’t see more than fifty metres in front of where I was), but I still managed to run the tough twenty-three kilometres in one hour and forty-one minutes. Quarters on Thursday was not very good either, running only sixteen minutes. However, by the time yesterday (Saturday) rolled around, I was on top of it all and ran the Fitzgerald Hut loop strong, then extending the run by turning right at the road to run back to the Village,making the run twenty kilometres. Next week, I’ll hopefully roll over the second half a bit quicker than yesterday while still being controlled.

With half the trip now gone, I only have until the 20th November to maximize being a full-time athlete before heading back home to Heidi and the full-time-worker/part-time-runner life. It’s a great place to train if you can live without a lot of the creature comforts we become accustomed to at home. I always miss Heidi when I go away for a couple of weeks, but it’s a necessary evil if I want to improve. The next couple of months are going to be very important as I prepare for my last shot at Olympic Qualification in the marathon. With summer trip #1 to Falls Creek almost over, below is a little snapshot of my training so far this trip. Some of the runs below have links to Garmin Connect so you can get an idea of the running up here at Falls Creek. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, 5th November 2011 60mins (13km)
Sunday, 6th November 2011 2hr 15mins (32.5km)
Monday, 7th November 2011 16km easy 8km easy
Tuesday, 8th November 2011 Session: 8 x 1km, 60s recovery 8km easy
Wednesday, 9th November 2011 Spion Kopje – 23km (1hr 41mins)
Thursday, 10th November 2011 Session: 8 x 400m, 200m float 8km easy
Friday, 11th November 2011 Tower Run + Baby Aqueduct (16km easy) 8km easy
Saturday, 12th November 2011 Session: Fitzgeralds Hut Run + back to village (20km) 10km easy
Sunday, 13th November 2011 2hr 15mins (33km)

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