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Athletes Exclusive with Mitchel Brown


Mitchel Brown is a distance runner in Victoria, who’s performance over recent years has seen him become one of our great distance athletes. Well he continues to improve his running, he also manages popular running magazine ‘Run For Your Life‘, and has agreed to answer some questions for Athletics Exclusive.

Lachlan – First questions easy, how did you get involved in athletics?

Mitchel Brown – Back when I was in about Grade 1 at primary school, we had the propaganda mongers from Little Athletics come in to tell us how great athletics was and that we should all sign up immediately. I was obviously very impressionable because I didn’t take much convincing. I went home, begged my parents to sign up and I reckon I was down competing by the next week.

Funnily enough, I only found out years later that my dad hadn’t actually been all that keen for me to do Little As. He was (and still is, in fact) pretty heavily involved in athletics himself and had also done Littles as a kid, but he didn’t really have great memories of it and was worried that it might turn me off the sport. He realised pretty quickly, though, that things had improved a lot since his time, and before too long he was in there raking the long jump pits every week.


Lachlan – Currently, what does a weekly program look like for you?

Mitchel Brown – With the help of my coach, Ken Hall, I’ve altered my training a bit over the last six months or so to take a more “black and white” approach to periodisation, so there is now a pretty strong contrast between the different phases of training I work through in the build-up to a peak competition period. At the moment I am coming out a my base phase, where the focus is largely on high mileage and fairly low intensity. However, I am also using this period to develop my pure strength in the gym with heavy lifting (mainly deadlifts) and my pure top-end speed with some sprint work. Then there is also some minor lactic, 1500m-type work – not enough to constitute a full session and really run the body down, but enough to give the legs a taste of it so that it isn’t a complete shock to the system when I get into my more demanding track work. All up, a typical week during this period looks something like the following:


Monday Easy 90min + gym

AM – Easy 35-40min + drills and sprints
PM – 60-70min run inc. 40-50min at strong pace (anywhere between 3:15-3:35 per km depending on how I feel)

Wednesday Easy 100-105min and gym

AM – Easy 60min
PM – Sprints & 1500m pace work (e.g. 4 x 400m in sub 60sec, 1-lap jog recovery)


AM – Easy 70min
PM – Easy 35min + gym

Saturday 60-70min run inc. 40-50min at strong pace
Sunday Long run (2hr-2hr 15min)



After a good period of this type of work, I will start to incorporate some threshold-paced work before moving into more specific track work (i.e. reps at 5000m and 10,000m pace). It’s a training plan that essentially blends together a lot of the philosophies of coaches such as Arthur Lydiard and Jack Daniels, and yet it’s one that not too many others that I know seem to be doing. It can be a little bit daunting to think you’re the only person training the way you are, but it’s a pretty nice feeling when things are going well and you’re identifying the progress, as it gives you the confidence that you have the upper hand on your rivals.


Lachlan – What advice would you give to someone who is looking to start to dedicate more time to athletics?

Mitchel Brown – The first point would be to be patient. I’m now doing training weeks of 160-170km, but that didn’t happen overnight. It was a very gradual build-up over a long period of time, and it’s vital that the process of increasing your training volume happens over months and years, not days and weeks. It’s also important to realise that the same training volume (particularly with aerobic work) can continue to yield returns over many years, and that you therefore shouldn’t get too hung up on doing more and more every year.

The second thing I would say is to not let your running consume your entire life. I remember reading some very wise words from Tim Noakes in Lore of Running that basically said unless you are a World Champion, you can’t afford to get to the point where you are regularly casting aside family functions and social engagements for the sake of your training. People simply won’t understand or accept it, and nor should they have to. What’s more, if you get to the point where your running isn’t going as well as it should be, or you are forced to take time off due to illness or injury, it’s important to have something else in your life for the sake of your own mental wellbeing. I have definitely been guilty of placing too much importance on my running at times; but even though I have now made certain lifestyle choices to help accommodate my running, I like to think that I strike the balance right by affording plenty of time for friends, family and other activities and interests.


Lachlan – I remember reading a journal post you wrote about how you changed your mindset for athletics. The piece was titled “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Run”, which made me really think about my own approach to athletics. For those who didn’t see the article, could you explain what you meant by that heading?

Mitchel Brown – Ha! Sorry, but it’s hard not to laugh at this one. I guess I underestimated the significance that might be placed on that title. The whole piece was actually called Col. Birmingham or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Run. Col. Birmingham was obviously referring to Collis Birmingham, who was largely the subject of the article and who goes by the nickname “Colonel”. But the title as a whole was a reference to the Stanley Kubrick film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. I like to trick people into thinking I’m more cultured and sophisticated than what I actually am by including obscure film references and literary quotes in my articles.

In all seriousness, though, the piece was a fairly philosophical take on my 2012 season. I had definitely gotten ahead of myself based on my successes, to the point where I probably thought I was better than what I actually was, so it was a bit of a reality check to get well and truly put back in my place at the Burnie Ten by some genuine world-class athletes. At the same time, it was also an experience that made me take stock of my situation and the progress I had made, and the fact I had come so far in such a short space of time. What started as a fairly negative experience therefore ended up becoming a really positive motivational tool going forward.

In hindsight, given the piece mentioned my more carefree days before training was a big priority, I possibly should have called it How I Learned to Stop Partying and Love the Run. I guess I’ll have to remember that for next time…


Lachlan – For those who are unaware, Mitchel is the Editor of popular running magazine ‘Run 4 Your Life’. How have you managed to continue to excel as a distance runner while taking on such an crucial role at the magazine?

Mitchel Brown – I’ve been really lucky in this sense. The role allows me to work from home, and as much as that can lead to the feeling of being a prisoner in your own house at times, it has also given me incredible flexibility for accommodating my training. While there are very busy work periods, it generally also averages out to being part-time hours, so that certainly helps a lot as well.

Being part of Nike’s Bowerman Athletic Club program has also been a huge help, particularly now that I don’t make quite as much money as I did when working full time. While running is a comparatively cheap sport, all those pairs of singlets, shorts and especially shoes add up to a fair bit over a period of time. Being able to receive this gear from Nike has therefore been of massive assistance, and their efforts to accommodate me with footwear specifically suited to my needs and to respond to feedback on their products have been outstanding.


Lachlan – With the new year fast approaching, what is your main focus for 2014?

Mitchel Brown – I’ve never made an Australian track and field team, so the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow is obviously on my radar. With the easier qualifying standards, I’m hoping I might be able to make the cut over either 5000m or 10,000m to get a taste of international championship experience and give myself every chance of making the team for the 2015 World Champs and/or 2016 Olympics. On paper, I’m not too far off the current 10,000m standard, so I’d like to think it’s possible, but you just never know. I’ve always said that my main reason for putting in the work that I do is that I love the sport, and that if I never made a team for anything I’d have no regrets. It’s a philosophy I plan on sticking by – I just hope I won’t have to worry about it!

Athletes Exclusive with Collis Birmingham


Collis Birmingham is an Australian Distance runner who has represented Australia at the Beijing and London Olympics. Collis has a wealth of experience with athletics and Athletics Exclusive thanks him for taking time to answer some questions.

Lachlan – What better place to begin then, how did you get involved in athletics?

Collis – I grew up in a country town where sport played a huge part most kids lives. And I tried most of them but athletics was always the constant. When I was 8 years old my brother made the state cross country team and I told myself that I’d make it the next year, I did and have been a runner ever since.


Lachlan – What does a weekly program look like for you?

Collis – It differs a little between competition and base training times. It can be between 150-200km a week. And the constants are a long run each week 90min-2hours, a threshold run usually 30min. We’ll spend certain times of the year on the track or doing hill training depending on the goal for that period. Most easy days involve a 60min morning run and 30min evening run.


Lachlan – What advice would you give to someone who is looking to start to dedicate more time to athletics?

Collis – Make sure there is progression in your training. A massive jump in training can bring good results but can also bring injury and/or fatigue. Ask for advice from people who have done it before.


Lachlan – After doing some research, I was surprised to find that your first state title was in fact for High Jump, back when you were in Under 9’s. What made you choose distance running over other events?

Collis – I competed in the 800m and came 3rd that same weekend. From memory it was a shock victory in the high jump and I’m not sure I have improved since. But I’ve always enjoyed running and gravitated to distance running after having early success in these events.


Lachlan – At Falls Creek over the 2012 / 2013 New Years break, yourself and Ryan Gregson spoke to up and coming distance athletes about your experiences at the London Olympic Games. Can you briefly explain anything you did differently in these games, compared to the Beijing games in 2008?

Collis – Beijing was my first major championship and there was a great deal of effort spent just to get there. I was still a fair way from being consistent at that level and the main goal was to recreate the form that had got me there. In London it was all about running well at the games, and about being fit and fast enough to compete against the best in the world. The London games didn’t turn out how I’d hoped but maybe I will get another shot.


Lachlan – Finally, what is your goal for the upcoming season?

Collis – This season we have Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. I would like to qualify for this in the 5000m and 10000m. There is also the World Half Marathon Championships which could be my first time at these champs.

Outstanding Aussie Performances in Melbourne Marathon


Lisa Weightman

Today’s Melbourne Marathon saw thousands of people take to the streets to test their luck in any one of five different distances. Not only was it an outstanding turn out by the general public, but there were also some notable performances by key Australian athletes.

Liam Adams, who answered questions for us, came in 6th place with a cracking time of 2:14:09. The time secures Liam an ‘A’ Qualifier for next years Commonwealth Games, which isn’t a bad result taking into consideration that it’s his first time running a marathon.

Lisa Weightman was first female across the finish line with a new personal best of 2:26:05, which smashed her 2:27:32 time that she ran at the London Olympics. This also secures her the fastest ever female Marathon runner in an Australian Marathon, beating out previous record holder Kerryn McCann’s 2:28:3.

Scott Westcott finished just behind Liam in 7th place, crossing the finish line with a time of 2:14:21.

Australia’s distance running community is in a great position with two Australian Male athletes running well under the ‘A’ Qualifying time for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, as well as Lisa doing the same!

You can check out all the results from today’s events by clicking the link below. We have also provided a link to the Athletic Australia’s Selection policy for next years Commonwealth games.

View Melbourne Marathon Results Here

View Athletic Australia’s Selection Policy

Athletes Exclusive with Liam Adams


Liam Adams is a Distance Runner from Victoria. He has taken part in several World Cross Country Championships and has two City 2 Surf titles to his name. He has agreed to answer some questions for Athletics Exclusive.

Lachlan – How did you get involved in athletics?

Liam – I was introduced to athletics through the primary school system. As a young boy I absolutely loved playing all different types of sports and was quite competitive at them too. Outside of the schooling system I played baseball, football and did a bit of umpiring. After making a number of state cross country teams and even medaling at a national championships, I decided that I’d take up running outside of the schooling system and do a bit of training. I joined the local athletics club Athletics Essendon and Gregor Gojrzewski’s squad and through my teenage years I slowly gave up my other sports to dedicate more time to running.


Lachlan – What does a weekly program look like for you?

Liam – My recent program has been geared towards running a marathon. I’m currently tapering so I’ve decided to share one of my training weeks at the start of September.



Monday Morning run 13km
Evening run 20km
Tuesday Morning run 10km
Evening session: 3x6km in 3.05per km pace with last km’s in 3min off 5minutes jogging recovery.
Wednesday Evening run 28km with the last 6km increasing the tempo.
Thursday 20km with 10x200m strides with 200m jogs between.
Friday Morning run: 20km
Evening run: 10km
Saturday 10x1km in sub 3min with the last couple in sub 2.50 off 1min break.
Sunday 35km Long run



Lachlan – What advice would you give to someone who is looking to start to dedicate more time to athletics?

Liam – If you are dedicating more time to your athletics or running, you are most likely going to come across restrictions such as work, studies or any other important commitments. There is a huge degree of sacrifice in chasing your goals and dreams but you also need to way up the important aspects outside your athletic ambitions. I’d say that it is important to be flexible with your extra training that you are dedicating to your sport and work around your studies, work or any other important aspect of your life. I also think that having things to distract you from constantly thinking about athletics or training reduces the pressures/stresses and makes you enjoy it more. You probably aren’t going to get the best out of yourself if you’re not enjoying your training. Be focused on your goals and enjoy the journey in trying to achieve them.


Lachlan – What is your goal for the coming season?

Liam – My goal for this coming season is to lower my personal bests through a range of distances and hopefully be closer to getting some qualifying times for Commonwealth games. I’d like to improve on my B-Standard in the 10,000m but I’m mindful that I just might not be at my peak for Zatopek. I’m hopeful of making the commonwealth games and that’s what I’ll be striving for in this summer season.


Lachlan – You’ve competed in Sydney’s annual City2Surf several times now, taking home two victories in the last three races. Do you prepare for these ‘fun runs’ any differently to what you would do when participating in, just say an, Athletics Australia meet?

Liam – I put a lot more emphasis on Athletics Australia track meets. My winter is based around high mileage and forming a strong base for the summer season. There is probably two key races I usually peak for during winter and that is city2surf and national cross country championships. The city2surf is a big event during the winter calendar so I do try to target that race and be quite fit for it. This year’s winter was a little bit different though, I sacrificed my preparation for city2surf and skipped my first national cross country championships since making my first Victorian team in 1998, just to concentrate on preparations for Melbourne Marathon. My training coming into city2surf was quite a hard training block and I thought I was either going to have a better result then previous years or be quite flat. Unfortunately it was the latter but never to mind I believe I got a vital block of training completed for what I’ve been gearing this whole winter season towards. There are similarities in targeting key races and how you approach these key races in the different seasons, but I believe I am always a stronger runner in the track season and that is when the more important races are for me.


Lachlan – If all goes well, this Q&A article will be posted Saturday night, which is the night before you take part in the Melbourne Marathon. Is this your first marathon? Can you explain what you have done differently in preparation for this type of event? Not only from a physical perspective, but from a mental one as well.

Liam – Yes, this will be my first marathon so its quite an exciting time to see if I’m ready to step up to the marathon distance yet. My training has been quite interesting in my preparation to my debut marathon. My training block before the city2surf was quite tough, I was doing roughly around 160km per week and doing some fairly solid sessions. I was quite stiff and sore during this phase so my body probably wasn’t handling it that well, but straight after city2surf I really amped up my mileage whilst improving the quality of training too and the body really handled it well. Before this winter my highest mileage week was 178km’s at Falls Creek and I was quite exhausted after that week. This last block of training over the winter has been stringing together weeks of high mileage around 200km’s per week whilst doing some fairly good sessions. I’ve been quite surprised with how the body has handled the training and quite impressed with some of the sessions that I have been able to do in this massive increase in training load. As for the mental aspect, well I think the mental aspect for preparing for the marathon comes along with all the hard training you put in and getting those long runs done. I’m a firm believer that I have been quite focused on my goal in the preparation for this marathon and that all my hard work that I have put into my sessions and all of my runs will be rewarded with a good result. All the training and hard work that I have put in for this preparation has definitely mentally prepared me for this marathon. Even though it’s my first marathon and it will be hard to accurately gauge how I will go over the distance, I am fairly confident that I’ll have a successful marathon debut.

Welcome to Australia’s New Athletic Community, Athletics Exclusive.


Athletics Exclusive is a new Athletic Community which focuses on building a relationship with the broader athletic community in Australia. No longer will you find yourself sitting in a marshalling room and not know those around you on a more personal level. We believe that it is important for everyone to be heard, as everyone has a story to tell and everyone can learn off other’s experiences.

This is why, Athletics Exclusive will let everyone contribute – Not only those with the highest level of experience, like so many other athletic communities out there. But don’t fret, we will also be seeking valuable input from the elite athletes as well!