Warby Trails & Tales

Well I must say I’ve been pretty good with my training since my last post.  With the date for dragging my sorry butt 56kms along the fairly challenging Two Bays Trail, I’ve become a lot more focused on a) training and b) nutrition.

In the last few weeks I’ve clocked up a few decent runs and kms, broken in a new set of trail running shoes and adjusted my nutrition intake.

Following my last post I headed off down one of my favourite running trails, the Warby Trail to put some serious kms in my legs and fine tune my nutrition intake for race day.  Check out this earlier post for more info on the Warby Trail.



Wandin Station on the Warby Trail

For the run, I packed 2 litres of water with a couple of Shotz tabs dissolved in it to provide electrolytes and magnesium in my camelbak, 3 Winners Energy Gels (Berry Burst flavour) and 2 x Swisse High Carb Energy Bars (Mixed Berry flavour).  There are precious few water stations along the trail and as it was going to be a warm day – I was concerned about hydration.

Now that spring has sprung and summer is upon us, it is also wise to carry compression bandages when running bush trails.  Why? In case of snake-bite.  While highly unlikely that I will surprise a snake with the amount of noise I make when running, but nevertheless – best be prepared.  If a brown or tiger bites you, you want to delay the spread of venom by immobilising the bitten limb, apply the compression bandage to the entire limb and seek help asap – I just hope I never need to put this knowledge into practice!

I started the run from Wandin station which is a shade over 28kms from Warburton along the trail.  Normally I head out from Mt Evelyn right near Cog Bike Cafe (Mountain Bikers – it’s open again!).   The aim was to clock up at least 42kms and if feeling good maybe 46kms or more.

While the Warby Trail is a beautiful run, it is nowhere near as challenging as the Two Bays Trail run – and I must keep reminding myself of this as I train and not become complacent.


Map of the Warby Trail


The rest of the Warby Trail

I took off at a good pace and and tried to quickly settle at my target pace of between 5min 45sec – 6min 15sec per km, as my target time for the Two Bays Trail run is 5hrs 30mins-6hrs even for 56kms.

The scenery as always along the Warby Trail was fantastic and I stopped to take a few snaps along the way, before realising that my iPhone was probably going to be tested for a run of more than 4 hours, while listening to music, tracking the run via Endomondo and taking happy snaps! So not as many shots as I would have liked, but enough to add to the photos shown in my earlier post.


Long stretch just near Seville

I’ve run the Warby Trail many many times and as I have trudged past the Carriage Cafe near Seville Station I look up towards the lucky sods sipping their coffee and hoeing into a hearty breakfast and wish it was me!  For those not familiar with it – the cafe is around 7kms from Cog Bike Cafe at Mt Evelyn along the trail and is an old train carriage converted into a cafe (see the pic below).


Cafe near Seville Station

While I didn’t stop on this run, I did a few days back at the end of a 31km run.  Diane and I agreed to meet there following our respective runs – so I’ve finally eaten there!!  Brekky was pretty good – if I was being a critic, I would say the mushrooms were fantastic (would have liked more) the sausages and bacon good, the eggs a little overdone.  Coffee was good but (and I know I’m a coffee snob) I don’t understand why some places serve cafe latte in tall glasses designed for Irish Coffees of Hot Chocolates… it just isn’t right.

All in all though, the service is good, the location and outlook fantastic and it’s good value – give it a try!

Anyway, back to the run and some more pics of the trail.


The “people” you meet on the trail.


Brekky time!

There are a large number of bike riders (and horse riders) along the Warby trail and large sections where you are running through farmland.  Consequently, the trails are generous and wide and pretty flat – afterall it was a rail trail.  In this, it differs considerably from Two Bays Trail.


A shade over 20kms from Warburton.


One of the many bridges along the trail.

There are a number of bridges to cross along the Warby trail and not all are even so best to stay focused when running across them as it is not difficult to trip.


The back of the Home Hotel in Launching Place.

As I hit Launching Place and ran behind the Home Hotel (I would have preferred to stop in) I had run just over 16kms and this is where I pretty much put the camera away and focused on the run and preserving my battery.

My gel intake plan was one every 45 – 65 minutes.  I planned to scoff the Energy bars in the second half of the run and take fluids as and when I felt the need.

The full run as recorded on Endomondo is located at the following URL.  http://www.endomondo.com/workouts/114176849

I turned around 25kms into the run, just past Millgrove, to head back, thinking I would crack 50kms.  I was running strong, felt good, it was warm but manageable.  As I reached 40kms the unthinkable happened – my camelbak ran dry.  No water and 10kms from the car where there was a car boot-full of icy cold Gatorades and water waiting for me.

As I ran on – I contemplated pushing it and running the full distance, but I wasn’t sure where the water station was and it was hot, I was out of gels and the prospect of trying to swallow an Energy bar without a drink wasn’t realistic.  Running past the magical marathon distance I was feeling strong, but knew that without hydration I was potentially going to do more damage than good which could ultimately effect my run at Two Bays Trail – which was less than 4 weeks away.

43kms clicked by and despite feeling in good form, I started to pull up.  I figured I could manage a 6-7km walk without water, but not running after already completing a marathon.

About 3-4kms away from Wandin station I found the water station and stopped for a long drink and and cool down.  I was extremely thirsty, hot and becoming tired.


Water station on the Warby Trail – 8km from Cog Bike Cafe, Mt Evelyn

I mentioned earlier that there are limited water stations along the trail.  The above pic presents the only one I have found on the trail and is 8kms out from Cog Bike Cafe in Mt Evelyn, or 1km from Seville Station headed toward Warburton (its locations is locked away in the memory banks for good now!)  There are cafes and townships a little off the trail where you can buy a drink, but not many traditional drinking stations – another note to self, always have some cash on you when running!

This water station is a cracker – looks a bit shabby but the water is cold and refreshing.

The final stage of the walk to the car was fine and I was keen to crack into the recovery Gatorade and icy cold water bottles in the car – which I consumed while stretching.  After each run (especially long ones) I invest 15-25 minutes stretching as part of my recovery.

By combining the run (43.8km) and the walk (6.7km) I completed 50.5kms in under 5hrs 30mins which wasn’t too bad considering the long walk.  I am confident I would have completed the 50kms in 5hrs with appropriate hydration and fuel management.  While much easier than what I expect Two Bays Trail to be – I’m thinking that 6hrs on race day is a reasonable expectation.

Since this run I’ve maintained a pretty good training regime, even with Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.  My runs have included:

  • 5.4km easy run with Missy the Golden Retriever – a Christmas Day early morning run.
  • 10.2km at 3/4 pace with some trails and hills – a Boxing Day run.
  • 20.2km run at a little quicker than easy pace with some hills, trails and road running.  Followed this with a 1 hour bike ride.
  • 4.1km steps/hiking up and down the 1,000 Steps in Upper Ferntree Gully (twice!) to get some hills training in. (more on 1,000 Steps in my next post)
  • 8.7km trail run in Park Orchards 100 Acres bush reserve (more on the 100 acres in my next post)
  • In between these runs I’ve been incorporating swimming and water exercises to aid recovery.

With the new year here and less than two weeks before the race, I’ve become very focused on nutrition.  From this point on – no chocolate, big reduction in refined sugars, alcohol and dairy. Increase in protein and a few days out from the race start building up the carbs.  Ben and Kat bought me “The Paleo Diet for Athletes” for Christmas.  While I probably wouldn’t class myself as an athlete, I’m picking up some good tips from the book and already adopting the principles into my diet.

There is a recovery drink home-brew recipe which I have tried and it seems to work exceptionally well.  I’ve tried it a couple of times and found my recovery and improvement in well-being after a hard work out is quicker and better than what I have tried before.  I’ll post it in the next few days for those interested in giving it a go.

Well that’s more than enough for this post as it is a bit of a catch up for being so slack with my blogging 😉

Btw, I’m still running with music and given the hours I am out and about always on the look-out for some new songs to run with – so if you have some – please share.

Every now and then, I question whether running with music is the best thing to do.  Recently, I was running the Warby trail, the musical calls of bell birds hanging in the still morning air, magpies warbling high above me, filtered sunlight breaking through the tree canopy and mist rising from the cool morning ground – it was almost transcendental.  And what song should come through the earphones?  Metallica – Holier than Thou… a great running song, but not quite befitting of where I was.

That said, my favourite running song from the last week or so of trail running.

“I’m Not Your Stepping Stone” – The Monkees

Happy Running!  Happy Trails!  oh and of course … Happy New Year!

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