Interview: Rio Olympic Finalist Brett Robinson
Brett Robinson has been one of Australia’s most dominant distance runners in recent years. At only 26 years of age he has already represented Australia 9-times in a major World Championship, with his most recent being at the Rio Olympics where he placed 14th in the 5000m final. Brett has continued his fine form into 2017 with a decisive 5000m win at the Auckland Track Challenge in 13.22 and a maiden sub-4minute mile at the Victorian Mile Championship.
We recently caught up with Brett to chat about future plans, the idea of racing a marathon and where to get a coffee in Melbourne.
SYSSM – What’s been happening today Brett?
Brett – I haven’t been too busy today. This morning I got up and went to the VIS (Victorian Institute of Sport) to go through some gym work. I’m dealing with an injury at the moment, so I’ve been spending a lot of time in the gym. I then met up with a mate for a coffee and got dumplings for lunch. And now I’m here (South Yarra Spine & Sports Medicine) about to have a massage from Richard Squires.
Do you have a local coffee shop in Melbourne?
I’m living in Port Melbourne, with South Melbourne and South Yarra nearby, I am spoilt with choices. I like Wynyard, which is in South Melbourne and Drugstore, which is just around the corner from here (SYSSM).
A Canberra boy originally, how is Melbourne treating you?
It’s good. I first moved to Ballarat for 2 years back in 2012. That was really good for my running. I was living with Collis Birmingham (World Championship 5000m finalist) and Ryan Gregson (Australian 1500m Record Holder) and I was able to follow them. This helped turn me into the athlete that I am today. Then after that I moved to Melbourne, where the lifestyle is faster paced with a lot more to do. I think the big thing here in Melbourne is that there are so many runners. You always have someone to go for a run with in the mornings and in the evenings. When I was living in Canberra I didn’t have that. Those that I trained with were working full-time, so I was always sitting around waiting until 5.30pm to train. … I really do love Melbourne and I see this is where I will be in the future.
Where can we find you training around Melbourne?
All of my easy runs are pretty much around Albert Park, Fawkner Park, The Tan. You can easily get a good 50-60min loop around here. On Tuesday we will workout on the grass track at Waverley, Thursdays a threshold run at Caulfield racecourse and Sunday a long run out at Ferny Creek. It’s a big drive out to Ferny on an early Sunday morning. But it’s definitely worth it for the trails and hills.
Are you big fan of hill training?
Yeah, I try to run as many hills as I can. Usually when I run around the Tan I will run up and down Anderson hill a few times to get some extra hills in. They are great for strength and fitness. When I’m on the flat I feel you have to run a bit quicker. I prefer to run slower and get a few steep hills in.
You said you’re a dealing with an injury at the moment, how’s that coming along after a successful Aussie Season?
I currently have a femoral stress reaction. It’s taking a bit of time to heal. It will get there. Unfortunately, I just missed the World Championships qualifying time by .33. They have roll down for the 5km at World’s this year so it gives me a chance. We will have to wait and see.
Do you have plans on heading to Europe when you’re back fit and healthy?
Taking it a couple of weeks at a time at the moment. If I get to the start of July and I’m feeling fit I might head over to Europe for a race before the World Champs in August. Otherwise I will rely on roll down. However, I’m not going to push it and risk it not healing. Comm Games next year has to be a big focus and I don’t want to compromise that opportunity.
If all goes well will you train at altitude before then?
I don’t think I will go to altitude this year in Europe. I think we might go to Madrid for some heat training. My coach (Nic Bideau) isn’t a big fan of altitude in Europe. We went to Mt. Laguna last year before the Rio Olympics. He would love to go there again, but being based in London and having to fly back and forth it might not be worth all the travel.
Is Mt. Laguna your favourite place to train?
Mt. Laguna (1,750m – USA) is where I feel I get the fittest. I think all my personal bests have come off training there. I do like Falls Creek (1600m – Australia) because it’s social and you can hang out and run with different people every day. I’ve also been to Font Romeu (1,850m – France) and I went to Mammoth Lakes (2,400m – USA) back in 2013. I really liked Mammoth, but it was really high and you had to be careful not to cook yourself.
How’s your training changed from a junior growing up in Canberra to a full time professional athlete?
Of course being older I do a lot more training but the big thing would be that I have a focus and purpose on each training session. If I have a 60 minute run now I’m not going to dawdle around – I’m going to get the most out of it and this is the same with gym sessions. I also have more time to focus on recovery, making sure I’m ready for the next day. I have to be able to backup day after day, so I can get in as much base in as I can.
I noticed you’re a wearing a different logo on your t-shirt since I last saw you, How’s it all going with Nike?
Yeah into the Nike’s. The whole group (MTC) went into Nike early in the year. They have been really good at helping us find the right shoes. They have a huge range.
What shoes you wearing at the moment for your daily jogs?
I swap between Pegasus and Vomero. I think I like Vomero the most with the extra cushioning. Especially when you’re doing 2 hour long runs I feel you need a little extra under your feet.
How many miles are you doing per week and how many will you get out of your joggers?
I’ll get up to about 170-180km a week. I usually have 3 pairs of joggers on the go. I have found I can get about 600-700km out of each pair.
Are you inspired by Nike’s attempt at the Sub 2 marathon?
Yeah… definitely. Everyone around the world was like that was great to watch. He (Eliud Kipchoge) wasn’t able to do it. But he put his body on a pace that nobody thought he was capable of going. To see someone determined to keep pushing against his own and a supposed limit was inspiring.
Any personal plans to race a marathon?
I definitely want to, sooner rather than later. I think people step up too late to the marathon and I want to give it a go when I’m running my best. I have ran two half marathons and I have won the Melbourne half but I have yet to put it on the line over the distance. I felt when I raced those half marathons the pace was very comfortable for me. I also like the idea of putting months of training into something with one goal at the end. Maybe I will run one in a couple of years. But first I still need to get out a fast 5000m.
Thanks for the chat Brett, enjoy your massage with Richard and all the best with your season ahead.
Richard is an energetic Remedial Massage Therapist, with a Bachelor of Exercise Science. His passion for massage stems from a back injury he sustained through AFL football.
Richard has over 17 years of clinical experience and has worked in a variety of settings from health spas to sports clubs, and most recently with the Australian Olympic Track & Field team.