Rugby Running Training
I was remembering some of the trainings I used to do for 15’s & 7’s.
I was always into my running when young and very competitive; I can still remember challenging any new kids to my Primary School to a race and racing the older kids when we had cross country through the local Vineyard. Life when I was young involved being outside; running, biking, playing sports, generally on the go all the time.
At Otago University a group of us would go for runs together normally around Logan Park (Highlanders training fields) and up the steps to the lookout. We would have time trials/races up the steps – no method to our madness as it was always a race.
My running philosophy was that I wanted/needed to be first.
The higher the level you got to the fitter and quicker you needed to be. Trainings were tougher, faster and more accurate. With Otago, under Laurie Mains, we would finish our Tuesday session with 100m turn arounds (go every minute) and then sets of down and ups, normally 3 sets of 10. Again my aim was to run each one as hard as I could and not slacken off ie if I finished in the top 3 for the 1st run then I couldn’t finish lower than that. There are always some guys that pick and choose their sprints so the challenge was to run hard and finish in the top 3 every run.
One preseason I went for a jog to the Uni oval and saw Mike Brewer (All Black 1986-95) doing 400m reps. He was running each one as hard as he could then after a short timed rest he would go again, doing 6 sets. I also included this in my trainings; I would do them in 65-67secs with a minute recovery then after 3 reps have a 3 minute break then do another 3 x 400m. My goal would always be sub 70secs. 400’s are great for rugby – work hard for a minute, then a minute recovery then go again. They were tough sessions against the stop watch.
Also with Otago, Laurie Mains & Gordie Hunter got us doing 4x4s. This was done on a rugby field – 400(4 lengths) 45sec rest then 400 (45s rest), 400 (45sec), 400 (1min rest), 300 (30sec rest), 300 (30secs rest), 300 (45sec rest), 200 (15sec res), 200 (30sec rest) then 100. If you averaged 20sec per 100 you would complete this in 15min.45sec and run 3000metres, including 5.45min rest.
When I was in Hong Kong we had some big track sessions geared towards the 7s for the 15 players in the train on squad that later would come down to 9 for the tournament. We would start the session nervously as we had an idea it was vomit material. The session consisted of a timed 800m followed by 5x100m, 3x200m, 2x300m, 400m, 2x300m, 3x200m, 5x100m then timed 800 to complete the session! Again it was my focus to win them all. We had an ex Welsh Schools sprinter in the squad, he was effortlessly quick but after the 3rd sprint I would reel him in. For the 200s & 300s the boys would sort of take turns to give me a nudge at winning. The recovery would be to slow jog to the next ‘start line’. With Jim Rowark coaching us we were a very fit squad and we won the Plate Final in 1990 and lost the Plate semi to Argentina in ’91.
A good mate of mine Gary Cross would train with me. He was a very good hooker for HK 7s team notching up 100+ games in the jersey. We would do the 7min test (equivalent to a ½ in 7s) I would do press ups while Crossy ran (either 22m and back or up grandstand steps) when back I would yell out my press up count. Crossy would then try and beat my number while I would try and get back quick so he couldn’t. After press ups then sit ups then press ups, sit ups until the 7mins elapsed. We would break for a minute then repeat.
We also trained on the running track on the inside of the Happy Valley racecourse, by memory it was 1260m. I would ‘give’ Crossy a 30sec head start then chase the rabbit, we would finish as if it was a 100m photo finish! Competition keeps you honest.
When I went to South Africa to play we did the dreaded ‘beep’ test, the Provincial record was set by their fitness coach – 166 cumulative shuttles, I upped it to 175 plus a smile.
I used to do speed play simulated to a game – start on the dead ball line walk to goal line, jog to 22, sprint to far 22m, jog goal line then walk to dead ball, turn and repeat for a set of 10
When I ran I used to time & record every run, I still do today. Good habits. I used to run for about 25-30minutes hard out, a combination on flat and hills. It is great for reference and also knowing when you go into an important game that you have done the work as your records prove it.
Any sport you have to be fit. The fitter you are the better you last, recover, think, perform, react and enjoy.
So go get your runners and get outside, smile and enjoy.