Nick, it’s an honour to have you on the blog. How are you doing?
Hi Chris I’m going well. Thanks for reaching out and inviting me onto your blog.
2019 has been a pretty big year. What was the highlight for you?
With out a doubt the highlight for 2018 was seeing the runners that I coach all achieve various milestones with their running. Everything was in there. First ultras, multiday stage races, silver belt buckles, massive PB’s, AG wins and outright wins. I can’t wait to see what this year has in store for the team. I know the hard yards are being put in at the moment that is going to set up some exceptional events and races… UTA, National Ultra Champs, UTMB, Milers, Brisbane Trail Ultra, 24 hour events to name a few. Ultra running is going through some exciting times at the moment.
Can you tell us a bit about your book?
Absolutely. It’s aimed at giving ultra runners a complete and sound understanding around ultra running principles in a fun and engaging manner. The principles build on one another so by the end you have confidence in your training and racing.
Personally I found most of the coaching and training books to be quite dry and people would use them more as a reference book and only refer to different parts. ‘Journey to 100’ is written to be able to be read cover to cover with ease. I’ll have to let you judge for yourself.
What inspired you to write a book, and what has the process taught you?
There were a few things that inspired me to write the book. To be able to assist all those who I coach and the trail and ultra running community at large was a big one. I also love to challenge myself, both physically and mentally. The same mindset set which allows me to coach, prepare runners for events and teach concepts allowed me to put the planning and commitment necessary in place to write a book. I also had to be true to myself in that I like people who take action. All that said it was definitely like running an ultra!
The process has reaffirmed to myself that I am capable of all I set my self to. This doesn’t only apply to myself though. The same as I believe anyone can run an ultra, I believe anyone can write a book. The choice is yours.
What do you have planned for 2020 and what are you most excited about?
A big goal from me this year is to gain momentum with my online ultra running community through The Ultra Journey Membership. It’s a membership that gives you access to all the great resources on The Ultra Journey members website and access to a personal training plan you can complete going into your goal race, 50km, 50mile, 100km or 100mile race.
From a personal running point I am looking forward to tackling a few 50km races and hoping to make the Australian Short Course Trail Team.
What has been your greatest running achievement so far?
Winning the State Ultra Marathon Championships in 2017 was really special for me.
What has been your greatest running challenge so far?
I would have to say in 2019, I was running well and in good form ready for a few races that I was excited to run. Then somehow I injured my hip. What made this so challenging was that it was really difficult to diagnose what the issue was. I simply knew I couldn’t run pain free. I was fortunate that I have a great team behind me. It took a few to identify the culprit, which ended up being a tendon, but once that was identified I could progress through the rehab process and am now back enjoying the trails.
You’ve been coaching for some time how. What’s the name of your business and how can people get in touch with you?
‘Journey to 100’ can be purchased through my website at https://www.theultrajourney.com/journey-to-100/ or through Amazon.
What do you love about coaching, and what are some of the challenges?
I love working with individuals to bring the best of them out. They are always capable of more than they realise themselves and with a bit of belief and guidance I find they all achieve incredible things. In short they run their best ultra and achieve their impossible!
The biggest challenge is always helping people overcome inertia. Ultra runners are notorious for being reluctant to use a coach (myself or others), there is a lot of fear involved in committing 100% to goals that stretch your comfort zone. However time and time again once runners have experienced a coach they achieve so much more than they thought they could that they never turn back. They go on to finding bigger and better challenges; I am so very fortunate that they take me along for the journey!
What has been your greatest coaching achievement so far?
I am lucky that there have been many already. To pick one is like being asked who is your favourite parent! If I had to pick one it would be helping Kazu win Yurrebilla. There are two reasons this stands out. Kazu was one of the first runners who I coached and it took 3 years for her to achieve it. There was a second, a rolled ankle and a win. It was a roller coaster with a happy ending.
What’s your favourite post-run food, and what do you eat during long runs?
Outside of having a coffee with my running mates id have to say I am very impartial to a banana smoothie. A bit of honey and a few eggs. Love it!
What piece of advice would you give to new trail runners?
I’ll have to go with two. Find a group that you can run and socialise with is great to make sure running is fun for the long term. From a training perspective read, listen and learn about trail and ultra running. As readers can likely tell I’m passionate about this last part, but this comes form repeatedly seeing the impact and improvement runners are able to make when they have access to the right information. The best bit is it allows them to grow their love of running even more.
What’s next on your race calendar?
I’m looking forward to tackling a few races around the 50km mark later in the year. I’m not completely decided yet. I’d also have to say I’m eager to get back to my local race Yurrebilla, it’s definitely calling!
Many thanks for your time, and we wish you all the best in 2020.
Thanks Chris, hope to see you out on the trails sometime soon.