Melbourne Trail Runners Hill Clinic – 4th August 2013

It was a chilly winters morning but nonetheless Judge and Balboa rocked up to Studley Park for their inaugural attendance at a Melbourne Trail Runners (MTR) session. MTR have been going for six months or so and put on free monthly group trail runs and cheap breaky afterwards. Fantastic idea!  On this particular Sunday they were also holding a free hill technique session run by Ultra nut Richard Bowles. Over the past 12 months Richard has tackled the Bicentennial National Trail in its entirety (5330km),  ran from one tip of New Zealand to the other (3054km) and also completed the Israeli national trail (1009km). A fairly impressive resume!

Prior to the technique session the “experienced” half of the group, which Balboa and Judge foolishly put themselves in, headed off for a one hour run up the river. Balboa and Judge latched on to the front few runners and tried to hang on which was a tough challenge particularly for Judge after his long, slow run in arctic conditions the day prior. Unsuprisingly he was feeling far from spritely and in the words of the great Phil Ligget the elastic came close to breaking on several occasions. The trail was first class with lots of undulating single track and some short technical sections which included a couple of dry waterfalls. I think this was the “Goat Track” that I’ve heard a bit about but never quite knew where it was. The Bearders will definitely add it to their list of top training options.

Following the one hour “warm-up” there was barely time to chomp down a complimentary Powerbar and get Judges heart rate below 220 before the hill technique session commenced. Richard had found a nice little steep pinch for some practice and after a few words of wisdom put us through our paces. Balboa AKA the Portuguese Panther sprinted up and down like a gazelle. The Judge’s efforts were somewhat akin to a lame elephant. He was pretty sure that Richard’s comments to “stop slapping the ground” were directed squarely at him. Some good tips were learnt though and it was a very worthwhile session. After a few reps everyone was knackered and breakfast was calling. A brilliant breaky of fruit, cake and pastries for the bargain price of $4 topped off a great morning.

The Gazelle and Elephant feeling the burn
The Gazelle and Elephant feeling the burn

Lessons of the day:

  • Avoid long runs the evening before an MTR session unless you enjoy blowing up in the first km
  • Carrot, Pineapple and Coconut Cake is by far the best cake Judge has ever tasted and he doesn’t make that statement lightly
  • And some serious tips learnt from Richard – run quietly, drive with the arms, big rumps make for good trail runners

Overall a fantastic morning and the Red Bearders will no doubt be back for some more MTR sessions in the future!

The Judge contemplates going back for thirds…


                 Today’s words brought to you by: Judge