Training tips

Everyone who has participated in the Tararua Race has at some stage trained for it. If you would like to contribute your tips then we invite you to write a short article. We will then display it here so that others may learn.

Please contact us with your article attached. We accept most file types.

Tips from participants

  1. "I have run the race three times now. One of those as a team and each time it has been completely different.
    I have never trained specifically for this race. The Tararua race has usually been one of a series of races. I have mostly used a coach and have achieved the best results by doing this. My training usually starts in earnest about December and builds. It would end up being something like this:
    Monday      1hr - 10min warm up, 40min fartlek series, 10min cool down
    Tuesday     1.5hr mod pace
    Wednesday 1hr - 20min warm up, 30min hill reps, 10min cool down
    Thursday    2hr mod pace
    Friday        Rest day
    Saturday    2hr mod - fast pace
    Sunday      3hr easy but with hills
    I run almost all on forest roads and tracks.
    Closer to the race; Tuesday and Saturday would change to 5km and 10km time trials along with an increase the hill reps. I will also try to do an off road race or a long run a month before (and maybe two weeks) before the Tararua race.
    While there is an emphasis from most coaches to do uphill work, it is very important to do downhill work as you are running downhill for a long time in this event (a total of 2,475 mtrs). Also it is really important to actually run on some very rough tracks to get used to the footwork, to strengthen ankles and legs. As it gets closer to race day, do at least one run a week with a pack filled with all the gear you need to take. Running with a pack is different than running free. Learn to drink regularly and eat regularly on your longer runs. Weigh yourself before and after long runs too make sure you don't loose too much; adjust your fluid intake accordingly.
    I have walked the track on a couple of occasions, a month before race day, just to let me know what I am in for and highly recommend this for people who haven't done it before. It is a good long day trip and allows you to work out some pacing notes. Again for those that haven't run it, pacing is critical. Don't go hard out to start with. The best time I did was when I went out at a relaxed pace and used someone who I thought was going a little slow for me as a pacer.
    Most important is that you enjoy the day; it really doesn't matter what time you do."

    Jamie Campell (Participated 2002, 2004, 2005)

Training tips in general

The following are other training tips that relate to off road running. Also see the invitation above.

  1. Get used to those hills
    Running on hills takes training and dedication to bring optimum results. Training on hills is naturally the first place to start but if you want to make the mountain into a mole hill then specific hill workouts are a must.
    Think of a hill workout as a running weight workout. The exaggerated knee lift, driving arms, and pronounced toe-off necessary to run up hills strengthens you every bit as much as hitting the weight room. Hill running also works the cardiovascular system, as your heart tries to keep pace with the increased energy equired to fight gravity. Consequently, hill workouts are very taxing and should be done only once or twice a week. Following are four basic types of hill workouts. Each has its own benefits:
    Short Hills - They are relatively short hills of 100 to 200 metres that you repeat multiple times. They can be tacked on the end of an easy run or used as a complete workout. Because these hills are short, you should run them at a fast pace with a walk or slow jog back down the hill as a recovery.
    Hill Power Run - This workout builds strength for a strong marathon or half-marathon. Pick a route that has rolling hills, try not to slow down as you roll over each rise. Don't attack the incline as you do when running short hills.
    Hill Long Run - Longer and less intense than the Hill Power Run. Run this at your long-run pace, but make sure you have some rolling hills in the last half of the run. When you hit the hills with fatigued legs, you'll be forced to work on your form. This workout will also build the strength and confidence necessary to race well late in a longer race, whether it has hills or not.
    Long Hill Circuits - This is more of a traditional long-interval workout. The key is finding a grass or dirt circuit that has a number of uphills. The distance of the circuit can be as short as a 500m or as long as 2kms. Run the downhill sections at a semi-easy (75 percent) effort to avoid injury. Run the flat and uphill sections at a faster pace.
    Consistency is the key, while at the start it will be difficult, keep at it and you will find it easier as time goes on.