My name is Louis McAfee and I am currently training with Gold Coast Run Co, a running group of all shapes and sizes led by Jacko Elliott and Andrew Stalling. After a brief stint in the US, I’ve had the pleasure of being involved with Gold Coast Run Co for the past 18 months. The best part about this training group is the culture that has been created by Jacko and Andrew. The squad’s social capital has allowed me to make friends of all ages. I’m lucky enough to be a part of this group with my closest mates. However, we also have a bunch of up and coming juniors and a scattering of seasoned veterans that add to the mix. I valued my time in the US college system, but this balance has allowed me to really find out what running is all about. My training partner Lachlan Cowley and I will drive down from Brisbane to the Goldy at 4.30am for training. I can safely say I don’t enjoy that side of things, but I love the fact that we can get the work done, go for a quick dip and head straight to brekky for a chat. The focus is not entirely on the running and I think that’s why we have enjoyed some success as a group. At the end of the day, it’s all about the love.

As we head into track season, here are some of Jacko’s mysteries:

Mona Fartlek

This session is another staple of many Aussie runners weekly program. Our group will use The Spit trails for this fartlek.  The Spit combined with training with triathletes makes for a pretty tough hit-out. For those who have had the pleasure of training with triathletes will know that rest doesn’t really apply in the session. I will try and hit 2.55-3.00 in the ons and 3.10s in the offs. For most, that is not impressive and I don’t blame you for thinking that. However, the undulation of the spit is quite deceptive.

3k Tempo, 3x1k, 3×200

Seems like a fairly simple session but when you mix the speed of the k’s with and 2’s with the tempo it can be a bit challenging. The aim of the session is to cruise the tempo, run @ 5k pace for the k’s and rip in for the 2’s. We haven’t done this specific session much but the idea behind it we use as a staple.

Modified Michigan (1k tempo instead of 2.2k hilly tempo)

I don’t think there’s a runner in this world that hasn’t heard of the Michigan. The session is bloody hard but it does put hairs on your chest if you can do it right. Unfortunately, I am yet to fully master the session. I won’t bore you with my times but every time I have tested this session I’ve ended up with a niggle the next week. From experience, the session is best done when knowing your body in the tempo. The key is to not be a hero and run for form.

400m reps @ Pizzey Park

I wasn’t really a big fan of the grass track but this has to be one of the best grass tracks in the world. 400 reps will vary from 8  for a pre-race tune up to 16 for a race specific workout. Our last session of each year will see the group take on 25 400’s on a 2 minute cycle, which is always a bit of fun. I like 400’s because we usually have a train of dudes ripping in. You will never see me on the front of one of these sessions. I use the session to find my rhythm behind people to simulate what a race will feel like.

As you can see, the sessions we roll through are not excruciating. There’s no secrets in our training we just try our best to get the work done. Jacko has taught me the extremely important virtue of patience, which I try my best to display. Consistent mileage rather than smashing one decent session has been my focus since training with Jacko.

Hope you enjoyed,

Louis McAfee