The Workout Series
By Reilly Shaw
This is my first time writing for Runners Tribe and something I am grateful for the opportunity given my own mum (Susan Hobson), deservingly, has featured on here a few times this year.
Once an ACT boy I now live and train in Melbourne under the guidance of Craig Mottram. His group which comes under his own business Elitewellbeing has changed a lot in the near 4 years I’ve been part of the group. When I first joined in April 2014 I was the baby of the group with the likes of senior members such as Kelly Hetherington, Georgie Clarke, Chris Discombe, local legend Zacca Newman and Craig himself as he was still training. Now the group mostly is made up of younger up and coming runners, coming out of the Melbourne school system, particularly Haffie Strintzos who was the U20 Cross country champion this year.
Myself, I spent a year at college in the US at Auburn University. It was an experience unlike any other in Australia, however, I didn’t fully get the experience I was personally after so decided to move back to Melbourne as I wanted Craig guiding me through my senior career.
We as a group don’t do anything vastly different to what I’ve experienced across many groups around the country. Naturally each group has their spin on common threads. Each week we do thresholds, hills, longer reps (or track in summer) and long runs at Ferny Creek in the Dandenong ranges.
However, unlike any other group I’ve personally been part of, our group has such a range of personalities, ages and abilities. This mix keeps the group extremely grounded and there is no pecking order, yet everyone is respectful of their place and contribution to the group and each member’s abilities and aspirations. If you are a respectful person and work hard you are welcome in the group irrespective of PB’s or ability.
The main sessions we do on a regular basis follows…
Devils Session (Tempo & Hills)
The session comprises of:
6min tempo, 4x300m hills, 6min tempo, 4x300m hills, 6min tempo
Sometimes the duration and number of reps are played around with just for change but the basis of the session revolves around the above structure. It’s a great blend of 1500-5k type work and surprisingly takes about 45mins to complete, which adds in a harder element of concentrating for a longer period.
This sessions name came about one day at training, as it was the first time we were doing this specific session. One of the younger lads in our group came up with a name Devils set as the 3x 6min efforts completed during the session was alike to the devils number of 666.
This session is no different to pretty much any other distance runner and certainly isn’t a trademark of our group, just another staple session done each week. It is usually 30 minutes for the older group members and some of the younger members in the group do 20-25mins.
I have rarely done two weeks of a threshold the same way as Craig likes to break the 30 minutes into 3-5 blocks in which we play around with HR zones. These zones are taken from all the group members doing physiology testing. This makes each athletes effort specific to what they are trying to get out of the session. Usually it is any combination of below, at threshold and above threshold making each week slightly different but still getting similar effort each week. For example, when we run ‘below threshold’ it is in a very calculated zone.
5-6x 1km Hills
This session has become one of my favourite and a base work staple. 1km hills are becoming more frequent in our groups training year-round and it provides a tough session which requires good concentration. The hills are part of a triangular circuit which makes the recover short as we don’t jog back down the hill we just ran. The recovery is roughly 400m long so times are approximately 2 minutes. The aim of these is to start out at a strong but controlled pace and I usually aim to knock of 3-5 seconds per rep.
This is a session I had never done this way until I started being coached by Craig. Again, it isn’t anything specifically special but for me this is the most unique session I have ever done that is related to Craig’s coaching.
The session has 2 parts, firstly some sort of continuous running to get fatigued. Examples are laps of straights and bends or sometimes we have done half of Deek’s quarters.
The second part we change into spikes and do 3-4 sets of 300m/100m float/300m (with a lap jog between sets). The aim is to run the 300s just at or above 1500m race pace and the float is usually done in 20 seconds. I really like this session as I find it’s the most specific session I have ever done to that of racing a 1500m. By the end of the session the pace becomes increasingly hard, yet still an achievable pace to run if you’re fit. However, the most important part of the session comes in teaching you to stay relaxed and in control while also running fast.
Hopefully this has provided some insight to what myself and the group does on a regular basis and I believe there is a massive untapped resource in having Craig as a coach. I’ve never had a coach who has instilled so much self-belief in an athlete and has a knack for understanding people extremely well. Combine that with his knowledge as an athlete and his eagerness to learn makes for a pretty good combination.
Should anyone have any questions about the group please reach out, I would love nothing more than to see it grow into a strong Melbourne base for many runners.
Thanks for reading
Main cover picture by Ewa Facioni – Zatopek:10 2017