Tom Brazier is one guy who likes it tough! He has always been there or thereabouts in most Ultra races and with results like 1st in the Apline Challenge 100miler, 2nd Mt Buller Skyrace, 3rd Hounslow Classic and 4th Buffalo Stampede SkyUltra its clear he talent! Running for Lasportiva Tom has grown as an athlete over the years and is now one runner who everyone needs to keep an eye out for, especially in the later stages. We got a chance to catch up with Tom and got a very interesting insight into what makes this guy tick!
Skyrunning ANZ: What (special thing) have you done over the last few months to get ready for the world champs.
Tom: Learning Spanish on Duolingo (app) – I’m up to 18% fluent now! But on a serious note, specific technical downhill sessions – basically hiking up and flogging it down a few different tracks on any of the local hills. This should develop skill and comfort on the terrain as well as conditioning quads/knees/ankles to cop a beating. E.g. Taylor Tech Tonne
Skyrunning ANZ: Representing the country, what does it mean to you?
Tom: Sometimes while running I miss the team environment of my old sports like hockey. Representing ANZ brings that team motivation and pressure to an individual sport. It’s an honour and during the hard training sessions or the low points of the race, you have extrinsic motivation to keep pushing because you want to support your teammates and you know they’ll be doing the same.
Skyrunning ANZ: If you could give one tip a new runner looking to one day be standing in your shoes what would it be .
Tom: Don’t be afraid to walk! So many people I race against are scared of walking – they are ashamed to walk in training or a race, even if it means they are reduced to a pathetic pitter-patter jog. Train your power hiking and figure out for yourself where that crossover gradient is that makes power hiking more efficient than running. You might lose 10 seconds on a short climb, but you can make up a whole minute by being fresher on the transition over the top and flogging the descent on the other side.
Skyrunning ANZ: When times get tough in training and racing what is your “secret” to keep pushing or go faster.
Tom: This ties in closely to #2 – remember why you are doing this in the first place (hopefully for fun) and the teammates you are sharing the experience (highs and lows) with. However, any of us who are remotely successful in this sport have got to be competitive on some level – that’s usually the raw motive that keeps me pushing when times get tough – trying to catch the next person in front or avoid being swallowed by the runner behind.
Skyrunning ANZ: If you could run any trail or race in the world which would it be and why?
Tom: Transalpine Challenge in Germany looks pretty wicked. Week long stage race with a mountain marathon each day (or a VK on the rest day haha). I like the concept of stage racing because it really rewards a scientific and measured approach to pacing, recovery and nutrition. It’s raced as a team of 2 who must stay together on the trail. Majell and I have got our eyes on this one for 2017
Now checkout a typical week in the life of Tom as he prepared for the World Champs.
A typical training week for me really depends a lot on when I can fit sessions in with work and revolves around commuting, roughly like this but sometimes the days swap around:
Mon – easy run commute (60m) + gym (45m)
Tues – run hills (60-90m) + bike commute (30m)
Weds – run intervals (30-60m) + yoga (60m)
Thurs – bike commute w/hills (60-90m) + gym (45m)
Fri – easy run commute (60m)
Sat – tempo/race (30m-2h) or long bike ride (2-6h)
Sun – long mountain hike/run (2-6h) + yoga (90m)