RT: How are the legs feeling going into the Mile this weekend?
Ben:The legs are starting to feel a little weary and knocked around to be honest, it’s getting to the end of quite a long season now – so I’m just hoping that there’s enough left in them for a good hard mile down 5th Avenue. In the past I’ve pulled out good results despite feeling like this, so I’ll just give it all that I’ve got and hope for the best.
RT:Did you switch up training a bit to prepare for these mile races?
My whole training plan was interrupted by falling ill prior to Moscow, missing quite a lot of hard work and then taking a while to get going again. With the races I’ve had since Moscow, my training has just been aimed at maintaining fitness, while also staying fresh enough to race well once or twice each week. I’ve done one or two shorter, faster sessions to try to make running the Mile feel a little more comfortable, but there’s really not enough time to make any significant changes.
RT:Why did you decide to race these mile races?
I love to race, it’s why I put in the all the hard yakka; the blood, sweat and tears throughout the year. I was keen to try to make up for a disappointing World Championships by getting a few more races out of this trip before heading home to Australia. Dropping down in distance opened up some new racing opportunities, it’s also easier to race more often as the shorter events take less of a toll on my body.
The 5th Ave Mile has always been high on my wish-list. I put my hand up a while back to be selected for the field and was very happy to be invited. I’ve raced the NYRR Healthy Kidney 10km four times and the NYC Half Marathon once. The NYRR look after us so well, and I love NYC, so I’ll keep coming back here and racing whenever it works well with my season plan.
The Mile in Galway was an opportunity that came up at the last minute, through my manager Nic Bideau. I had no other races that weekend so jumped at the opportunity to run my first ever Mile. I know it’s not a huge achievement anymore, but I’m very happy to be a sub 4 min miler now.
There are also often financial incentives for doing certain races. As a semi-professional runner, opportunities to make money to cover expenses are very important. I like to support races that support elite athletes.
RT:Do you think you can beat last weeks time?
I hope so, I’ll need to if I’m going to be competitive.
RT:You’ve had a highly successful time abroad. What do you attest your recent PB’s and successes to?
I have had some good races on this trip, but also a few disappointing results. I didn’t quite get the chance to show it, but I do feel that I was able to get into the best shape of my life this year. I would put this down to:
– Learning some worthwhile lessons by making a few mistakes in 2012.
– Consistent, smart training and racing for all of 2013. Both with my squad (SweatSydney.com.au) and the Melbourne Track Club crew that I travel and train with abroad.
– Incorporating new, specific strength training into my routine, rather than using that extra energy to push out the final 15km each week. This may not work for others, but for me I found the right balance here between mileage, intensity and strength training.
– Keeping my hard days very hard, but making sure my other days are at a level that allows for my hard days to be consistently hard, rather than slowly but surely getting me too fatigued to race or train at a high enough intensity. This was a mistake that I made in 2012, pushing the easy/recovery runs just that little bit too hard.
– Finding a good balance with my nutrition. I was able to perfect an approach that enabled me to be as light and lean as ever while also having enough energy for very hard training.
– Good use of altitude training camps and an altitude simulation tent to make up for living at sea level.
– I honestly think that Beetroot Juice, http://www.ozbeetit.com/ (for anyone interested) has helped.
– A good prehab, rehab and maintenance program to keep the body in one piece as much as possible.
-Surrounding myself with people who support and believe in what I am trying to achieve.
What NB shoes will you be wearing for Fifth Avenue?
I’ll be racing in the NB5000 flats. They are super-light and feel very fast. They also look awesome which will help me fit in on 5th Avenue.