Unlike a lot of the girls, I race against who have transitioned as juniors into seniors I didn’t start competing in athletics until I was about 23. I grew up playing basketball but had a break from sport altogether for a few years through uni, until a friend asked me to join her for 1 running session and I quickly remembered how much I loved to run! I had never competed in 400m hurdles before but given both of my parents were hurdlers I figured I would give it a go and very quickly found it was the event for me! Fast forward 9 years and I have been so fortunate to train under some incredible coaches and alongside such inspiring, strong women across the world. After a year with Max Binnington who helped me fall in love with the sport again, I moved to London and was coached by the late Lloyd Cowan with training partners such as Olympic gold medalist Christina Ohuruogu and Commonwealth games medalist Bianca Williams. Being part of such an elite squad I learnt so much about the 1%ers of training and what it took to be successful. When it was time to move back to Australia I had developed a new level of passion for the sport and joined an incredible squad of women led by my dad’s former coach Peter Fortune (with my dad being my hurdles coach).


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From all the coaches and athletes I have worked with over the years the thing I have learnt/enjoyed the most about the training of a 400m hurdler is the variety of areas we need to work on to be our best. My weekly sessions consist of speed, lactic endurance, hills, hurdles, tempo and strength training. Depending on the time of year my weekly schedule changes but often it looks something like this:

  • Monday: AM: Gym PM: Speed
  • Tuesday: Speed Endurance
  • Wednesday: AM gym PM: easy 30min jog
  • Thursday: Hurdles
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: Hills or racing
  • Sunday: Tempo track eg. 10x200s


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Here are some of my favourite sessions from over the last few years which helped me finish in 5th place at the Australian Championships last year.

1. 6×200 diminishing recovery (5,4,3,2.1) 

This is one of Fort’s most well known sessions and is one that gets the lactic pumping by the last rep, which is perfect for 400 specific training and a session we often do throughout the racing season.

The key with this session is not to go too hard in the first few 200s as that 1min recovery will come back to get you at the end (that is if the lactic bear hasn’t already jumped on your back half way through!) I generally aim to finish the session with an average rep time of around 27.0 knowing the first few 200s are often a bit quicker and the last one is whatever you have left!

2. Hurdles: 1 x start to h5, 1x 400m over 8 hurdles

This is the session I will always aim to do about 2 weeks out from a race as an indication on where I am at! A hurdles race is all about stride patterns, and practicing a race plan is hard to consistently do in training.  It’s always a challenge to replicate the feeling of that last 100m when your legs are dead and you still have to get over 2 more hurdles, so this is what we are focussing on in this session.

The first rep over 5 hurdles is to practice your pattern over the first half of the race – I aim to do 16 strides to h5 so getting this feeling as relaxed and natural as possible is so important. The second rep is all about replicating that race day lactic without the pressure of the full 10 hurdles – I know if I run a quick time over this rep I am in good shape for the next race!


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3. Hills: Cathy Freeman Ramp approx 160m (5 x hills with 6-8min rec) 

If hills was an actual event I would 100% choose it – I love all hills sessions and i’m a true believer that the Cathy Freeman ramp in Black Rock, Melbourne is one of the hardest hills for a sprinter, but one of the best for getting you strong and fit. This session is done at a fairly fast/ high intensity with an aim to try keep your form over the last 20m which is the steepest part of the hill. I can hands down say I have never finished this session being able to walk or talk! I’ve even now found myself a collection of nearby soft plants that I curl up in for about 20min post-session.

4. 8-10 x 200 with 90sec recovery 

This isn’t your typical 400m session but Forts squad consists of a lot of 800m girls so I have found joining in with them for this aerobic workout has been really beneficial, and one I actually really enjoy! This is run at the 800m girls race pace so around 29-30sec. For me I use this session as a way to keep up my fitness and practice running in a relaxed rhythm off a short recovery.



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