Back to Cowan (to Brooklyn)

So another weekend has passed and another day had on the trails. We are currently training for the Oxfam Trailwalker (maybe they should be calling it Trailrunner) in August, and putting some time in on segments of the track.

This weekend involved an out an back starting at Cowan to Brooklyn across a moderately technical section of single-track and fire trail. The great thing about the trails in this area is the challenging downhill sections and good level of elevation gain.Some of us are only just getting back onto the trails after a brief training hiatus/recovery – so the shorter distance was appreciated.

Salomon packs and gear still holding up well – but the endless pursuit of proper gear continues. Enduralytes are now a staple.

Excellent weather made for a great day out. Now looking forward to doing some ‘mountain repeats’. More to follow. =]

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Brooklyn to Berowra Training Run

Continuing with our theme of not sleeping in on weekends, we decided to rouse pre-dawn for a trip north of the city to Brooklyn. Our plan of attack was to conquer the section of trail that follows the Oxfam route from Brooklyn to Berowra, then turn around and experience it in reverse.

With the logistics sorted earlier in the week, we car pooled from North Sydney  for an uneventful trip to Parsley Bay at Brooklyn. As only two of the three of us had run the trail before, we knew what to expect of the hills to follow, and were very thankful for the lower temps to start the day.

Besides missing the first turn left off the road to the trail head, (only 300mtr into the run), we stayed on track all day with no fatalities to report. The beautiful clear skies had us steadily applying the suncream throughout as the temperature steadily climbed, and the corner shop at Cowan provided a well earned cold bevvie for the trip back North after the earlier turn around at Berowra.

The health of the area could be seen with the abundance of wildlife we encountered. Bush Turkeys must be going through a baby boom, and we narrowly missed stepping on a large Goanna, and a frisky snake that crossed our path on one of the last descents back into Brooklyn (must pack those compression bandages for the next jaunt!)

The trail was in great shape with no extensive water damage from the rain in the past month that I thought we may encounter. And it was far from lonely out there, with many walkers, and the occasional runner to be seen darting along the fast single track, or wheezing up a climb.

A final thought goes out to the poor bugger that was seen running back and forth searching for his car key. Although it was found by one of the walkers we encountered, we only hope he found the walker in the end.

Strava Data:

http://app.strava.com/runs/5636005

http://app.strava.com/runs/5636077

Altitude Training in Sydney

After reading a an article by Andrew Vize which has some good tips for preparing for a race, myself and a colleague visited Sydney Altitude Training to see what it was all about and conduct a baseline assessment.

The center offers training in a reduced oxygen environment (13.5% O2  Рequivalent to approx 3800m altitude, compared to the 20.9% O2 available at sea level), which simulates training at a higher altitude. One of the rooms is focused on cardio, and has six bikes and two treadmills, whereas the other room is focused on functional activities.

The baseline assessment involved wearing a O2 sensor which would detect the concentration of oxygen in your blood (and your heartrate, although the heartrate function was not so accurate), and riding a 20min program on the velotron bikes (which are connected to a computer and provide all sorts of useful information, such as power through each crank). It was suprising to see the difference that existed between each leg, and the dominant leg which applied more power – greatly noticeable when shifting up. Whilst completing the program (which involves a staggered increase in workload), the staff monitor and record your O2 levels and heart rate.

If you have got everything nailed down (good structured training program, diet, sleep) and want an additional edge leading up to an event then altitude training might be the way to go. If these other components are lacking, then you may wish to focus on these before investing in such a technology. We found that our perceived rate of effort effort was much higher, so this would be a great activity to rehabilitate whilst still obtaining a good cardio response.

The center has friendly and knowledgeable staff, and a mountain of research papers which they are compiling on the science behind the concept. More info is available at their site, or check out Andrew’s post for other good tips (and a free baseline assessment).

Mt Solitary Training Run

Following the cancellation of the 6 foot track trail marathon due to river conditions, we decided to go for a run over Mt Solitary in preparation for next months event.

As far as trails are concerned, this one was tricky, with the group getting lost a few times on the eastern side of the mountain where the trail was less defined and broke off into smaller campsite areas.

All of the rain also ensured that a healthy dose of leeches were encountered all over the place. The numbers dwindled however once we passed over the Kedumba river (which was very refreshing), up the Sublime Pt trail and onto the servicetrails to Leura.

Strava Data:
http://app.strava.com/runs/5003799
http://app.strava.com/runs/5003930