D Days
H Hours
M Min
until the 2018 Commonwealth Games commence.
Longines Time
April 4 to 15 2018

Trengove never runs out of motivation

25 Sep 2017 by Fiona Self

When GC2018.com caught up with Jessica Trengove ahead of the GC2018 Marathon course announcement, she had just finished an 18km run along the streets that will soon be lined with cheering fans.

For the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, it was simply a recovery jog.

When she slows to a walk and enters the lobby of her Broadbeach hotel, her breathing is steady and she’s talking comfortably.

Her biggest concern is not her energy levels – which seem totally unaffected from her morning training session - but that of her mobile phone which is almost flat after flying in from Adelaide the night before.

It’s all part of the plan for Australia’s leading female marathon runner, who describes the jog as ‘ticking the legs over’ the day after a 31km run.

It’s been just seven weeks since her history-making performance at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London, where her ninth place finish was the best ever world championship performance by a female Australian marathoner.

But already Trengove’s focus has shifted to the Commonwealth Games. A training week can include up to 200km of running in a marathon phase.

"We’re preparing to be able to start hard training in November, so it is just building the fitness at the moment with two or three sessions," she tells GC2018.com.

"I’d usually do a session on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, and that may involve 8kms of work, maybe fartlek or 1km reps with one-minute recovery. Sometimes I’ll just go for a long steady effort.

"On Sundays I have my long run, which is anywhere between two to two-and-a-half hours, sometimes with a kick down at the end depending on what races I’ve got coming up.

"Wednesdays are a long run day as well, up to an hour and 40 minutes, then Monday and Friday are jog and gym days. On my session days I tend to add a recovery run as well."

Jessica Trengove trains on the Gold Coast

She’s been training under coach Adam Didyk ever since she started competing in marathons.

Their approach to training differs greatly from many modern marathon competitors and borrows plenty from Australian long distance icon Steve Moneghetti.

"I’ve always loved the long runs, however they do get a bit monotonous and you do feel like you get a bit of bang for your buck with an intensity run," she explains.

"You see a lot of marathon runners these days going volume, volume, volume and really high volume sessions, the overall weekly mileage is right up there, but my coach likes the idea of changing it up and really having a purpose behind each run and creating variety rather than day after day of just long, hard running.

"I have so much respect for the likes of Deek (Robert De Castella), Mona [Moneghetti], Benita [Willis], Kerryn McCann, Lisa Ondieke, we look at their methods to try and evolve our own that work for us.

"I love the standard Mona fartlek, designed by Steve Moneghetti and his coach back in the day which involves 20 minutes of on-off running. It’s 2x90sec on, with equal [recovery], 4x1min. 4x30sec, 4x15sec.

"That’s only 6km of volume so my coach throws those sessions in to inject a bit of intensity."

Trengove counts her coach among her greatest supporters and he’s been by her side for all nine marathon races, from her first in Japan, to London, Moscow, Melbourne, Rio and more.

2017 marks Trengove’s sixth year of competing in marathons and it’s seen her reach another level in her racing, including achieving a personal best in the London Marathon in April.

And just six weeks after the world championships, she achieved another personal best at Adelaide’s 14km City to Bay Fun Run, and she’s feeling stronger than ever.

"I think the reason I was able to step up to another level with my racing this year was because I’ve been able to adapt to that longer training and get quality [work] in as well," she says.

"I used to compromise quality by having high volume, so now that my legs are a bit stronger I can get some fast work in amongst a heavy volume."

It’s the training that dictates, to an extent, the plan for the Trengove’s races, to ensure she can perform at her best throughout the gruelling 42km distance.

"If the girls [at the world championships] had gone out at 2.22 pace, and my aim was to stay with the front pack, that would have been dangerous for me because that’s beyond where I am right now in my training," she continues.

"My training sort of indicates what sort of time I could shoot for, so if I’m way ahead or way behind that time, I just keep a bit of a check.

"I probably was a little bit conservative in London at half way, I thought wow we’re running a lot faster than I thought I’d be aiming for, so I chose to hold back rather than go with the girls and I ran the whole second half on my own. Although I ran a PB, I wonder what I could have done if I had gone with them, so that’s why I went in to the world champs really fired up to just try and hang in there if people make moves"

But Trengove says great training doesn’t always predict a great race and the mystery of the marathon lies in the unknown.  

"You can be so fit and so prepared but there’s so much still to factor in with getting your nutrition in, getting your hydration race throughout the race, trying to calm your mind and if you get to 30kms and you think ‘should I be feeling this sore, I’m twinging there,’ it just escalates your whole nervous system. It’s a really interesting event in that way."

In the same way, a race can go better than expected, but it takes a lot of bravery and a little bit of risk.

Trengove says often, it’s worth it.

"If you’re feeling fantastic, your watch is saying you’re up on time but it feels right, I still think go for it or you’re going to look back and never know."