Junior races and key sessions as a distance runner By Bianca Puglisi
My name is Bianca Puglisi, I am a distance runner from Victoria who competes in national competitions and I competed in international competitions during my youth. I was very excited when Runners Tribe contacted me to give readers an overview of my training and a little insight into my junior run.
My favorite events are the 3km and 5km and up to 10km for cross country. I have been running since I was 8 winning the cross country and track and field events back to back in elementary school, but have been competing since I was 14 when I got a scholarship at the Maribyrnong Sports Academy . All the gym facilities, coaches and friends from school over the past 6 years have really had a positive impact on my love for the sport. Since the age of 14, I have competed in numerous National Cross Country Championships and National Track and Field Championships.
I have participated three times internationally at the Simplot Games in the United States at the Holt Arena in Idaho Pocatello. I participated for three years in the 3200m, the mile race and the medley. Competing abroad and traveling with many experienced athletes from then to today has taught me a lot about mental preparation before a race, competing away from home in another country to really take me out of my zone. comfort and to compete alongside many well-known athletes has still helped me to this day feel confident stepping on that start line and always bringing my A-game to the track.
Over the past 7 years, I have trained regularly under the guidance of Victoria based Frances Lipscombe and a coach under Athletics Essendon, the club I participate in, which has helped me greatly to be successful and have always ticked off the goals we set for ourselves. Frances has worked extensively with professional athletes from Ethiopia and Kenya. Throughout her coaching career, she has coached junior and senior medalists at national track and field, cross-country and road (marathon) championships.
Our week consists of the time of year of speed training, endurance training, speed endurance, hills and most importantly a long weekly run. Since we started with Frances we have always trained for the 3k event and more recently just over a year and a half the 5k which is my favorite event to train and run and I have had a good time at this distance. The first time I competed in this event I ran a national qualifier and a time of 17:40 for my first distance debut and had goals set for the national championships last year in April. . Unfortunately due to the rise of the pandemic during this time I was unable to travel and the competition was canceled.
Looking back from the start of last year, I really noticed that the kilometer count in my training week was increasing dramatically as I now run 100km per week and my body is recovering and pulling really well and my My workout improved over that time which got me excited to see what I can do after two years off the track and what I can do with the 5k.
Training with many senior members who have done interstate and international races in my training group and someone who is aiming to make it to the next Olympics really motivated me to chase them during training sessions and they motivate me to do better day in and day out by always giving running tips and helping out in training to get fitter and stronger as they pace me on the track during the tough sessions.
I can’t wait to get back on the track and for the future with big goals set for international races full of hope. I have big and small goals set for my career as a free age athlete and I am excited to hopefully take it further over the next few years and really push myself to be the best athlete I can be. .
My four favorite key sessions that I think are really important as a distance runner are:
Increasing my fartlek recently to 45 minutes of intermittent exercise has really improved both my aerobic and anaerobic abilities and my overall fitness.
My favorite would be 2 minutes with a 1 minute float recovery. Recovering the float shows me if I’m able to push again on the effort and I know I’m in good shape when I can maintain the intensity during the very last efforts of the session.
For me, a long run / aerobic run that’s easy for a distance runner is the most important part of the week. 20 km over varied surfaces such as grass, trail, road and hills are involved and mix long lasting landscapes.
Aerobic runs during the week in general during the conditioning phase of the workout are really important to focus on the oxygen carrying capacity for better muscular endurance. Greater aerobic capacity will not only improve recovery, but will manifest itself during the phase when we start to train more intensely.
Basic sprints and speed sessions simply help distance running to increase endurance, muscle development and improve pain tolerance. It really gives the body the support and adaptations it needs to run longer.
Pilates for strength and conditioning
One of my new loves. I have better results in the weekly sessions and my body has become much stronger to run more km each week and I notice it during the sessions. (100km per week)