Interview with Brittany McGowan: A freakishly good year

You chose to do you’re pre domestic training up at Perisher this year. What was the reason for this and how do you rate your current fitness with the Aussie domestic season looming?

My old coach Pat Clohessy retired late last year and on his recommendation I have recently moved to Canberra to train under Philo Saunders. Philo has been going to Perisher for the last 12 years, so I decided that I would give it a go. Perisher has been great! Honestly I couldn’t think of a better training camp environment, it has been definitely been my best training block so far. Training was hard up on the mountain but I am feeling good coming into this season. Starting with Philo has meant a slight change in my sessions; we have also been slowly increasing my mileage to assist with the endurance side of things.

You had a freakishly good year in 2014, with Australian records, World relays bronze, a national 800m gold and plenty more? What do you attest this terrific year to? Was it consistency in training and or tweaking certain aspects of your running?

Yes, freakish is exactly right. I was very much a 1500m runner coming into the 2013/2014 season; it wasn’t until The Hunter Track Classic that I even considered running the 800m seriously. Everything just snowballed from there, PB’s, a national medal, Comm Games selection; I really grew as a runner this season. I was consistent in training, went to bed early, ate well and ticked all the ‘right’ boxes, but I believe it was my experiences throughout the year that I attest to my success. I went to the US last year for a month with the MTC crew and I learnt more about running and the running world in that one month more than I had in my entire running life. These are the types of experiences that helped me grow as a runner, being allowed to rub shoulders with World champions at the Sydney track classic, racing for a Commonwealth Games qualifying time in front of my home crowd, sharing a room with Zoe Buckman or a meal with Hannah England. It might sound silly but the thing that changed for me was realising that there was more to racing then just getting to the line first, it was all about the things leading up to that moment that make the difference.

What are your major goals for 2015 in regards to running?

On the 30th July 2014 I found myself standing in lane 7 in full Australian kit lining awaiting my Commonwealth Games debut, I have never felt so excited or proud in my whole life. This is my goal for 2015. To get back in the green and gold. Of course with the other half of Bruncan by my side (Melissa Duncan).

What does a typical training week currently look like for you?

Sunday AM: Long run 75mins

PM: Short bike session

Monday AM: Gym

PM: Long bike session + 5km run

Tuesday AM: Swim

PM: Track session

Wednesday AM: Gym + 10km Alter G run


Thursday AM: Swim

PM: Surge/hill session

Friday AM: Long bike session + 5km run

PM: Short bike session

Saturday AM: Fartlek session

PM: Swim

This is what a normal training week looks like for me. Not much has changed since I started training with Philo, he really understands that there is no ‘cookie cutter’ way to train an athlete, we are all individuals and need to be treated as such. It really is great having Philo as a coach because not only does he still run at national level, but he also has a doctorate in sports physiology, which means he can pace you in a rep then test your lactate levels after it.

Can you talk us through one of your key/favourite sessions?

Anybody who knows me would tell you that training is certainly not my favourite activity. I am by far a better racer than I am trainer. Racing is a mental game; you can will your legs to go faster, tell yourself you are better and sure enough after 2 or so minutes you can walk off the track and that is you done. These are the types of sessions I love, short, sharp, fast reps like 3x 200m + 3x150m. You get in, get it done and then you are out of there! This is a session I would do close to racing, as it helps me keep ‘my eye on the ball’ so to speak.

If you could give young up and coming runners some advise, what would it be?

I think a lot of young runners feel like they have to be the best RIGHT NOW!! They spend years and years training hard and doing ridiculous k’s at such young ages, when really they should be out there seeing everything life has to offer. Don’t get me wrong I am not saying they shouldn’t be running, but young kids need to be kids first, runners second. It took me until the age of 21 to decide this is what I wanted to do and I am so thankful to my parents for always supporting my decisions and never pushing me into anything, I believe I am much better off for it.

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