INTERVIEW BY MATT FOX
(Q) Hi Nick, thanks for taking the time to have a chat with us at Runners Tribe / Collegiate Draft, it would be great to hear an update on how you’ve been lately:
(A) Really good. November was quite an odd Month with a small taper for the UQ 1500m Classic, a rest week, then a week off to recover from an illness (the body can’t handle a late night like it used to!) and then the 500km Endeavour Foundation relay which requires a pretty light 2 days either side of it. Finished it off with a really solid week of training and in a great spot heading into December
(Q) Tell us about the UQ 1500m Classic and the build up to that. Was this an important one on your program?
(A) Not as much as previous years. I did a couple of testing sessions but we did not try and turn up in PB shape like previous years. We were certainly there to win, but time was of little importance
(Q) And the win came, good stuff. Your training is very interesting as it’s a lot less mileage than the usual 1500m runner. It would be good to hear some information about it and perhaps even some on these “testing sessions”
(A) A testing session. The one that made me feel very comfortable with my fitness was a 600m in under 1:20 and then 5 “Lactic 300’s” Which are 300ms @ 1500m pace with 100m jog. As the season heats up there would be some 400’s or 600’s or even 1000’s before that fast rep and then back to race pace work to finish off.
The Fast Rep might be a 300m flat out or a 1000 in 230 for example. Anything that develops some serious lactic
(Q) Sounds very lactic. And how much mileage do you churn through on an average week, in the winter and in the summer? Perhaps a basic training layout (if you want to give it, if not, no prob).
(A) In the winter I work off a single sheet of paper and a list of things to do. It changes month to month to add variety and my mileage is whatever it takes me to do it all. Somewhere between 45-65km…..Depending on if I ran or biked to warm and cool down for my gym and speed sessions. Generally I have a Long run 15km, 2 gym sessions, one sprint session, one track set (600’s-1000m reps), 1 Tempo and One Fartlek/Hills based session plus a rest day
In the Summer we start to work on a more day to day scripted training program and seem to average about 50km. At the moment I am sprinting like a 100m guy twice a week. At the end of the month one of these will change to more of a 400m type session. The other main difference is one of the tempo sessions is dropped to add another track session.
(Q) It sounds rather intense but certainly seems to work for you. Are you planning to focus on the 800m or 1500m in the near future?
(A) The gym get’s pretty intense. I dislike immensely the sort of pain you experience in the gym.
In terms of a focus event, the 1500m, but there is only subtle differences between how the training would look for that and the 800m so I am confident of running both during the year and doing well.
(Q) What are the goals for the 2014 season?
(A) I want to be in the Commonwealth Games team
(Q) Simple enough, and what will it take to achieve this?
(A) Consistent work, sound mental state, belief and a 3:35 1500m would not hurt!
Someone might make the team with a 3:37/38 such is the nature of the 1500m but I can also see guys running 35’s and missing out. It is gonna be a fun domestic season
(Q) There are a fair few guys with the potential to run the standards for next year’s commonwealth games, who do you think will be the top guys to beat?
(A) Golly ….Gregson, Riseley, roff, Kaan, Wright, Williamsz, Huffer, McEntee…..I am going to miss someone here and feel like a dick. Someone like Birmingham might decide on a different double and try to crack the 1500m team. The 1500m depth has the potential to really cause the event to explode and help guys take the next step. I am under no illusions I am well on the outer looking in….but I think as the years go on you get more and more desperate. Hopefully that helps me out in the last lap a few times
(Q) You’ve proven a few times though that you can get into extremely good shape in a short period of time, and in this shape can be a very dangerous finisher in races, but I guess the question marks over you, as you can probably admit to, have been the timing of this form. How are you planning on conquering this in 2014?
(A) A much more slow and deliberate build up. The one time I timed it perfectly I was running 20km a week returning from surgery. This has been the first winter with some serious consistency since I went to college. Coupled with not worrying about trying to run at Zatopek this year I think I will be fine in ending the season in my best form.
(Q) That Zatopek run in 2010 proved your abilities and anyone there knew you had a time much quicker than 3.40 in you that day. Speaking of College, let’s talk a little more that. You went over as a very strong junior having run 1.48.9 as an 18 year old out of high school. Tell us about your experience there firstly…
(A) I think that is what drives me. Everything felt so good that night. Then when I ran 3:39 in March I feel horrible. I want to know what I can hit if I have that “night” again. \
College was probably best described as a learning experience. I learnt how to study, cook, clean and a lot of life skills. I also learnt you can’t expect to get on the party weekly and run fast. Life in College Station went to ugly places but I still love it and A&M and would give anything for a chance to go back and redo it.
(Q) If I was a young talented athlete interested in attending College in the USA, what would you advise me?
(A) Go. Experience life, learn about yourself but make smart choices. If you can find a place that feels like home then take that chance, Just remember the enjoyment experienced from running great races over there will far outdo anything even the greatest party can offer.
(Q) That’s great advice. You’re currently studying at the moment, as well as working as a coach at Nudgee College and just recently signed as an Agent at Collegiate Draft… what are you studying and tell us a little about your work.
(A) I just finished up an Exercise and Health science degree and now move onto a Diploma of Education. I love working with that 13-18 year old age group…it is a great mix trying to win competitions but also provide a great experience for the boys so that they want to keep running and they make friends and memories to last a life time…like my coaches did for me. I am super excited to work for Collegiate Draft…the chance to help young athletes gain the opportunities that I did is really special and I think it will be really rewarding.
(Q) Great to hear. Let’s push a little further outside of the running and talk about what else you like to do with your time and a little about your love life…
(A) Well I am just working out how the single life works again…any tips? Scary world! In my spare time I get right into my gaming…bit nerdish but that PS4…O my…I might miss a week of training playing that thing. I love working on my Jump Shot in the backyard (Can’t dribble) and have been practicing my football skills incase I get a chance to be on Fox 8’s TV show “The Recruit.” Other than that most of my time is taken up by training, recovery, coaching, uni or running errands as President of club Pacific AC and organising aspects of the Nudgee XC and Track programs
(Q) It sounds like you live a fairly varied lifestyle. Single tips? A guy with some confidence like yours surely doesn’t need tips here, I’ve seen you in action here…
(A) Ahh a bit rusty. I did nearly pull off the rebound of all rebounds..but just got outdipped…..It was still therapeutic though
(Q) Outdipped! Tell us…. Was it Britney Spears?
(A) Went to toilet…random dude pulled a Chris Paul like steal! Credit to him
(Q) Damn it. Who sponsors you at the moment and tell us a bit about how they help.
(A) Nike and Revive Ashgrove. Chris Adams from Nike has been amazing. Sticking by me during tough times and also looking after my school team fitting them out with the latest kicks and giving them a nice discount. People like him help people like me keep fighting for it. So do people the guys at Revive. For the past 2 years they have helped me progress my body to the point where now I have not been hurt in 12 months…some sort of record. Its been a great mix of Physio, Massage and most importantly Pilates.
(Q) And it’s really good to see you return them the favour by promoting via social media, great work. Last but not least, a question that some people may have been wondering, what have you been doing since running 3.39?!
(A) Well I ran that with a big ass stressie in my back (L4/L5). I had to learn how to breath again after that…I headed to the US to have a crack at London and got Pneumonia on the plane and had to come home, developed a hamstring tendonopathy and miss another 4 months recovering from that. That really threw my confidence about and I pretty much was too scared to race at all last year….Like having the yips. I believe I have got that confidence back and am looking forward to getting plenty more races in.
It’s good to hear you’re back. Thanks a lot for the in-depth chat Nick, we’ll talk again during the season.