It is amazing what Sam has achieved in such a short space of time. Having only started running in late 2012, Sam represented Australia last year in the World Mountain Running Championships. And leading up to this, he had the time for a 1st place finish at UTA 50km (2018), 4th Australian Mountain Running Championships (2018), 2nd Wagga Trail Marathon (2017) and 1st Hume & Hovell 50km (2016) amongst other achievements. The BTU team caught up with Sam Burridge between his work, training and running after his 16 month old son for a quick Q & A.
Sam, what has been your favourite race and course? “I don’t think I could pick one favourite race. Each race is generally awesome in its own way and each has really cool aspects that you take away from them.”
Being relatively new to running it general, we wanted to find out what attracted Sam to trail running. “The fact that every trail is different, each has its own beauty and challenges. I love exploring new trails and not knowing what is around the corner. I love traveling to new races to experience different parts of the world that I may not see otherwise. The trail running community is also a big part of why trail running is so awesome.”
Sam has raced a lot in the last few years. What has been your most memorable races? “I have two, the first is last year’s UTA. Winning that race far surpassed all my expectations. It was one of those days where everything just flowed perfectly and I was so stoked to come away with the win. The second would have to be running for Australia last year at the World Mountain Running Championships. It was such an honour to run for my country and was just amazing overall experience. Running against the best mountain runners in the world was just such an awesome and humbling experience for me.”
Getting the training in is one thing but what do our elite athletes do differently? With the different demand trail running has on the body, we ask Sam if there are any specific training methods he does to prepare himself for trail races. “I try to tailor my training to whatever race I have coming up, whether its focusing more on mountains, endurance, speed etc. Other than that I have a stretching and foam rolling routine that I perform every night as part of my recovery routine. I also book in a massage every few weeks to keep my body feeling as fresh as possible.”
The race diet is always so individual. What race nutrition plan works for you Sam? “I generally only think about race nutrition for races over an hour and a half. For the longer stuff I’ll mainly stick with gels every 40min to 1 hour. I also use some electrolyte tablets throughout the race. I’ve found this works for me for up to 7 hours worth of running but I think if I were to race longer than that I’d have to mix in some real food in there too. I never try anything new on race day so everything is trialed in my training runs in the weeks leading into the event.”
And how about your general daily nutrition Sam? “Not really. I try to generally eat fairly healthy most the time but I’m not super strict. A couple of things I do do each day are I start every day with my porridge and I always try to have some simple carbs and protein straight after a run to replenish the muscles.”
What kit do you run in? “I don’t have any sponsors so I can run in whatever I like. I generally look for whatever I can find on special to tell the truth, I do have a few different shoes for varying terrain that I like and generally try to stick with, Altra Superior’s for the longer trails, Inov-8 210’s for the shorter, more technical trails, then Nike for the speed work and just normal training runs.”
It is a tough job balancing work, training, family and life in general. How does Sam balance all of this and smash his races? “It’s definitely tough as I work full time and I also have a 16 month old son Elijah who’s full of beans. I try to not let my running impact my family time too much so weekend runs are generally early starts, I’m quite lucky with my work that I have the opportunity to run in my lunch breaks which helps a lot, also the running commute to/from work is a great way to fit another run in. With working full time and having a young family I just have to be prepared to switch up my scheduled run sometimes depending on everything else. I am lucky that I’ve got a supportive wife so I can get out for those long runs on the weekends.”
And last but not least, what is on the run horizon for you in 2019 Sam? “So far I’ve only really worked out the first half of the year up until BTU. I’ll be running Six Foot Track in a month, the UTA50 again in May then the big one BTU 60km come July. With those three races relatively close together I’ll be having a few easy weeks post BTU. After that I haven’t really locked anything in yet, I’ve got a few thoughts like maybe a road marathon or potentially Kepler if I can get in. I’ve also been toying at the idea of running my first 100km later this year maybe at the Great Ocean Walk. If I run well this year I’d also love to try for the Australian Mountain Running Team again and compete in the long distance race which is in Argentina in November. I think I’ll wait a few more months to see what excites and inspires me the most.”
Thanks very much Sam for taking time out to talk to us all things trail and we look forward to cheering you on with all your 2019 goals.