This is Ben St Lawrence. Dual Olympic Finalist (Rio and London), Australian Record Holder at 10k, NSW record holder at 3k, 5k and 10k, Commonwealth Games and World Championships representative. Wow quite a list of accolades! And one hell of a nice guy. We are chuffed to have him on our team of ambassadors. We caught up with Ben recently to find out what he is up to at the moment.
What are you training for?
I'm currently building up to my first ever Marathon, which will be in Berlin at the end of September. I'll race some domestic road races here in Australia before I head to the Swiss Alps for a three week training camp leading up to Berlin. It's a new challenge for me, as I have mostly raced 5k and 10k on the track, but I'm excited to see how it goes.
What does a training week look like for you?
I'm not back to full training load after an achilles injury and an extended disruption to my running after Rio, but over the next month it will basically look like this (below). My goal as I head into the twilight of my running career is to listen to my body a little more, not take quite as many risks in training and hopefully have more consistent years with less injury and burnout. With this in mind, Friday is an optional day off running if I am overly fatigued, and some of my double and triple session days can be moved around depending on how well I am recovering from the training load. I have a plan leading up to the Marathon, but it is adaptable.
Mon: 60 min run, strength session and either a swim or a 30 - 40 min run. All Monday running is at a steady pace, not too hard.
Tue: Long session, either a long tempo run, tempo reps, long reps or combo session. Optional second run or cross training.
Wed: 60 min run, strength session and a second run of 30 - 40 min.
Thu: Medium Long Run, 1.5 - 2 hours. Swim.
Fri: 45 min run and strength. Optional second run.
Sat: Session of hills, fartlek, shorter reps or a combo session. Optional second run.
Sun: Long Run, hoping to hit 2 - 2.5 hours most Sundays.
The total mileage will be anywhere from 120 - 170km + - I am not too concerned with how high this goes, but rather I will aim to execute the key sessions and runs, and add as much mileage as I am able to handle around this. With the swimming and strength/gym sessions in there, I don't need to force the mileage too high, I am wary of this as in the past it has been my undoing.
What has been your hardest training session to date?
It was 2012, I was training for the London Olympics at Mammoth Lakes in California. The session was 6 x 800m hill reps, at 2200m altitude on a sandy road with a headwind. Feeling flat and getting absolutely dominated by my two training partners (both 27:2? 10k guys). On a good day this session is hard, on a bad day it is brutal. I do think though that getting through these bad sessions can be more beneficial, and lead to greater adaptations that the days when you're feeling great and setting PBs. I always try to give each session the appropriate level of effort, so on a bad day I just put the head down and try to get on with it, knowing that the good days will come again.
What is your favourite running location?
St Moritz in Switzerland. It's absolutely breathtaking, with sensational trails, beautiful lakes and snow-capped Mountains. You feel like you're running in a postcard. I'm excited to be heading back in September.
What do you do to recover?
I get my nutrition right. I try to re-fuel soon after I train hard. Protein, carbs, hydration. My go-to recovery drink is a smoothie with all sorts of good stuff in there, starting with Bananas and ANPC Cocoa Protein, I add a couple of medjool dates, frozen blueberries, a little kale, some nut butter, coconut water or water, some LSA and Flax, soaked oats, sometimes ice. I often improvise depending on what is fresh in the kitchen and throw it in the blender.
I get massages, I foam roll, I try to sleep or at least rest as much as possible. When I'm too sore to run, I try to get in the pool, as I feel that getting out and doing some active recovery can help.
Tell us something about you that most people don't know?
When I was younger I was a busker (or street-performer) playing African drums with a mate of mine. We made good money and had a blast.
Well Ben, you have inspired the folk here at ANPC to throw on those running shoes and get out into the fresh winter air. And for those who need help with their running whether it be technical help, fitness or motivation, Ben is an Exercise Scientist and Coach at Run Crew, a coaching team that offers specific, personalised coaching for every runner, regardless of experience or speed, and covering target races from 800m through to ultras. Learn from the best!