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Preparing for a Backyard Ultra Running Event: A Training Journal

Athletes Notes: Mik Petrofes

A month ago I joined Jamie and the Run Vault Performance Athlete team for online programming to prepare me for my first Backyard Ultra Event! I decided to have a chat with Jamie to see what was possible after deciding I wanted a new challenge for myself to see where running could take me. I never gave running much thought beyond lacing the shoes up and going. I grew up running with my dad and have always loved it but my mindset was very much “I have to run”, not “I get to run”. I completed my first half marathon last year at the GC Marathon and while I was stoked with my time, the training and the actual run event were stressful for me.

I didn't follow any particular training program and I had zero idea around how to fuel my body for pre, during and post race... I knew I wanted to complete the GC Half again this year and already said I wanted to have more fun with the process… which then lead to me wondering what’s the next challenge. And I landed on the Toowoomba Backyard Ultra.

This past month has shown me how much structure makes a huge difference for me and has started to shift my mindset around why I run. It’s more than lacing up the shoes and hitting the pavement. It’s having the discipline to stick to the plan, remembering why I started and trusting the process.

Jamie has already helped show me that mental strength is of most importance and I'm keen to push past what I thought was possible and become a smarter runner.

The event is to take place in Toowoomba, a town west of Brisbane, Australia on the 05th of October 2024. I'll be journaling my training (both good and bad) leading up to the event which we will publish here.

Keep in touch with me and Run Vault Performance on the socials where we'll update my progress towards this challenge!

Coaches Notes: Jamie Hunter

I've known Mik for a while now through mutual connections and our FitazFK Run Club where Mik is a regular attendee. I gain a great deal of satisfaction supporting people grow with their running journey, looking for more challenges to break new ground.

When Mik and I first discussed the prospect of a backyard ultra event I could sense both excitement and nerves from her all in one. Two of the most important emotions that I want to see in the first instance of thought towards and event. Why? It shows the individual respects what lays ahead, respects the work that will need to be put in and can sense the challenge will foster growth in their life.

An endurance athlete needs at least one of these events in their calendar every year. We all need to work towards something that scares us, motivates us and inspires us to be a better person and runner. A backyard ultra event is one of the very few out there that can do just that!

It's been a month coaching Mik and she has invested heavily in her training and journey towards the backyard ultra race. Mik has a background is strength and group fitness training, more recently focusing on Hyrox and team style events which are still entered into for this year leading up to the Toowoomba Backyard Ultra.

A backyard ultra event is 100% on feet, so we are balancing current strength training with running training to take into account a few important points...

  • We want to continue building strength and power for Hyrox in August

  • We want to keep variety in Mik's training to become strong, stay strong and injury proof her

  • We want to gradually build up her running load without too much progression to avoid burnout and injury

  • We have a couple of smaller running events in the next few months to expose Mik to a competitive running race environment we can use as experience and reflections towards the main event in October.

The first 8 weeks is strength building and injury proofing. Variety and controlled progression in Mik's training is critical in these weeks to keep Mik motivated, progressive and in one piece.

Training Peaks Performance Management Chart
Variety and Controlled Progression are key in the early stages of structured training. Picture - Mik's Training Peaks Dashboard

A backyard ultra event has no set end time or distance. It essentially is up to you. For now, we are not talking distance or time based goals for the event. For Mik, this is a personal challenge however as we get closer to the event with a few months of consistent training under her belt I have no doubt this topic will find its way into our conversations.

We'll check back in with you in a month, until then...happy running!

Hit us up here at Run Vault Performance for more advice, tips and guidance with your own running journey today!

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