Notes for North Face Training


This is a fuller explanation of what is in the training program, and a few things that aren’t included at

Please keep in mind that I’m an amateur like you- this gives you an excuse to ignore or change any of this advice you don’t like…..

Monday Nights

This intervals session changes every week and typically goes like this-

2km warm up

6-15x hard effort runs up a hill or around a circuit that includes a hill, i.e.. do 3 sides of the circuit at 85-90% effort, then one side at a cool down pace

2km back to start

Have a look here for a session that will give you an idea of what to do

-don’t wear your pack to this session

Wednesday Morning

flat, easy 10km- this is an easy version of the back-to-back run that a lot of the more experienced competitors do. Its designed to get your legs used to working when a bit tired, and people using this strategy report that it helps their fitness a lot. Wear your pack

Wednesday Nights

This is a tough session where your effort is in going up the hills, concentrating on keeping your rhythm and not stopping. Small steps, moving your arms, keep your heart rate under control. One of these courses took me 6 weeks before I could do the whole thing without stopping. Wear your pack, over the weeks steadily increase the weight so that you’ll be used to running with it. I guarantee after a while you’ll hardly notice it.

Thursday Nights

This is a middle distance run that you do at a slightly faster pace. Hopefully you will find someone to run with that can push you along a bit. If you run with a club, you might step up to a faster group and see how far you can stay with them. Wear your pack.

Saturday Run

If you’re training for an endurance event, this is the most important run of the week. This is known as LSD (Long, Slow Distance) so just concentrate on getting to the end- your other runs will help your speed. It’s not a race, don’t chastise yourself about how long it takes, don’t worry if you have to stop for a drink or snack, but do take it seriously! This is getting you used to being on your feet for hours. Always take water, food, enough clothing, some money, sunglasses and a cap. Yes, you’ll need to wear your pack!

Sunday Run

Some people swear by active recovery, where you go for a shortish run the day after and event. As we get closer to the North Face 100, you’ll be doing major distances every weekend. If you go for an easy trot around your suburb on Sundays, your legs may not feel like they’re made of cement. Don’t forget your pack!


Some people recommend a 2 week taper, I feel better with 1 week. You should figure out what is best for you. Taper doesn’t mean stop all activity. You should go for a couple of runs during your taper to keep your muscles awake! But nothing that’s going to require recovery time. For 2010 I did about 16km the Saturday before the TNF100 and 7km on the Wednesday before. This was just about perfect- I was full of energy and bouncing off the walls by the weekend- it really is quite a scary effect!


I’ve just had a look at some of my results from last year and realised I was in better condition then. I’m a better runner now, however I’ll have to lose a couple of kilos if I wish to beat last years times. (Update, only a week later and I feel great, much more like a runner! Must be those extra km’s)

If you’re like me, your diet will take care of itself. I’m not a dieter, and I eat a lot of junk food. But the closer I get to an important event, the easier it is to say no to chips, pies etc. Especially after Christmas!

Weight Training

As much as you might like running- to become a better runner you’ll have to strengthen other bits of you. When you run on trails, you’ll need good core strength to help you move your legs into position and to stabilise your stride on uneven surfaces. I’ll seek more info from someone who knows what they are talking about to explain more about what’s required.

Cross Training

What a great idea, I’ll take cycling thanks! To be honest, I’ll be struggling to do what’s already been proposed, however it would be nice to add some cycling or swimming. But if I take any more time out from family duties I may be murdered in my sleep. And rightly so.

Running at Night

Unless you’re a tiny Spanish bloke called Killian you’ll probably be doing some of the course at night. You really, really need a good light. Best get a headlamp so you can keep your hands free, make sure you have spare batteries- and for the event use Lithium batteries even though they are eye-wateringly expensive. You really need some night running experience. In 2011 one of our first training runs was through the bush in the dark with bucketing down rain. It was fantastic, and we made some great friends that night.

Suck it up Princess

You need to learn the difference between ‘I can’t’ and ‘I can’t be bothered’. Sometimes running hurts. You get sick of it. It’s raining, cold, hot, overcast or too sunny. Missing a session isn’t going to make any difference to your results, but missing a few might. You need to be able to get to the start line even if it’s blowing a gale, and say ‘I can do this. I’ve run in much worse’. However-


Don’t get injured, it sucks. If you have a choice between not completing your training or doing it and getting injured, bypass the training. As they say ‘you have to make it to the start line to have any possibility of finishing’ Actually it’s ‘to finish first, first you have to finish’ but I don’t think many of us are going for the win in a 100km race!