andrew pirie

Last Updated on March 19, 2023 by Andrew Pirie

Training Stuff

New Kid at the Track

(Sep 21) I ended up doing more than what I was supposed to at the track tonight in Sydney as I got confused with last week’s program. I did everything with a rolling start as the explosive block starts on back-to-back days wreaked havoc on my form and caused several injuries from calves to groin issues.

Before I start talking about my session, I want first to mention the situation as my coach has gone overseas. Four senior athletes, including myself, are administering/coordinating the groups to post us training programs.

This situation was made even worse because the Track Oval we train at in Sydney City was closed for renovations from September until March of next year. It’s good in the sense that the track was long due for a makeover, with the most aged surface being almost concrete-like but wrong in the way that it has split the group up. Most of the core group is training in the city, but occasionally, join me at Olympic Park. One positive to come from the split is that more athletes converge due to the number of times and places they find more convenient. I have lost count of the total number of squad members we have now, and it seems to be growing daily.

Yesterday, a kid (20-year-old) at the track ran 16.3, 16.3, 16.8, and 28.7 off 20 mins rest between 150 and 250. While he has never competed, I will say he was training with an excellent coach for a year, so he is not a complete novice. He mentioned he was looking for a new group to train with (his current coach had too many athletes, so he got cut), so I invited him to train with me on Tuesday. I liked him because he was very enthusiastic, probably just so, or dare I say it maybe even more than me, he asked a lot of questions and seemed very excited about his new training group. Even offering to buy me chicken nibbles at McDonald’s, I politely declined as I mentioned he would realize by the time he is 30.

Anyway, onto my session. I did 4×40, 2×60 both 6.8, 2×80 8.9, and 9.0, 2×100 11.0, and 10.9, and then 2 easy 120s. I went to the gym, but then another training partner turned up and did a time trial with some of his schoolmates, so I decided to stay and time and watch his runs and postpone my gym session.

Tuesday Update

(Sept 18) It has been a while since I updated this, and I intend to do a backlog at some stage when I have time to compile/scan my training notes. The main stadium we use ES Marks is now closed, so our training group has split into smaller groups until a new permanent facility can be found. Some of them are training on grass surfaces. However, I decided to drill near the Olympic Park near my house. It’s a large facility used for the Sydney 2000 Olympics. It has two tracks, a 12-lane main track, and a 10-lane warm-up track. The 12 lanes main route was the warm-up track for the Sydney Olympics, and what is now the Telstra Rugby League Stadium was the main track (the way has since then been ripped up).

Today we trained at the 10 lanes warm-up track; training started at 6.30. The session was 80,100,120,140 (2 sets), with 250m at the end. We had 3 4 5 mins between reps and 8 mins between groups. And as my training partner needed to get home quickly, we reduced the rest before the 250m from 15 to 12 mins. It started with light showers, but by the end, it was bucketing down with rain.  Thank god we chose an all-weather track and not a grass surface that evening.

We used a rolling start. I find this start is better as it is not as explosive and helps prevent injuries.

80 8.9, 100 11.0, 120 13.4, 140 15.5 / 80 8.8, 100 11.1, 120 13.7, 140 15.8 / 250 31.0


180M = The Beast! 400m tonight

(Aug 23) This week is my week off weights, so I’ve been doing more long runs to condition myself for the 400m. At 28 and going 29, these are my last competitive years in athletics. On Tuesday started a bit off on my target session but still had the best total score of those who turned up in my training group.

I arrived at training late, as the train took an extra 30 minutes because someone had leaped in front of the train at one of the stations. Hence I rushed through my warmup in 5-10 mins rather than the usual 20-25 mins I require. So I jogged to the track from the bus stop; I already had tights on underneath and did some dynamic stretching, drills, and run-throughs. Frantically putting spike shoes on as everyone was heading over to the start session.


This is how it went:

.6 mins between runs & 15 min between 200m and 300m

120m 13.9, the target was 14.0, about 23.2 200m paces.

140m 15.9, the target was 16.0, about 22.7 200m paces.

160m 18.7, the target was 18.3, about 23.4 200m paces.

180m 21.7, the target was 21.3, about 24.1 200m paces (we nicknamed this repetition ‘The BEAST’ because it’s just after mid-set if you exert too much effort in this you die in the 200m)

200m 24.7 target was 24.0, (however I was a good 15-20m in front as everyone exerted too much effort in 180m)

300m 39.0 target under 38 (shoe nearly came off as lace not done up correctly, round curve)

The total score was 133.9 (my best for this so far is 131.3, correction).


The last time I did this session, I DNFED at this last year skipping ‘The Beast 180m’; however, 2 years ago  (2010), I ran 134.3 in week 1, 133.9 in week 2, and 131.3 in week 3.


Two Days of rest followed by a Gruelling Session (rev 1) has now exceeded 10,000 visits in the two months since it started. A special thank you to all our readers for helping make this possible.

After Saturday’s double session Hill Sprints and Weights, I have felt somewhat tired for the last two days and have not been sticking to my diet. What looked like a blocked nose this morning was quickly blasted away with Fes Nasal Spray. At lunchtime today, the main street in Sydney was crowded with a parade of winning Australian Athletes.



I made a lunch healthy at a Japanese Sushi restaurant (some photos to come). Ordering softshell crab, Octopus balls, and Tonkatsu Pork, I always took away sushi from this restaurant after my training. I love this Sushi for several reasons. Firstly It’s cheap at like AUD 4 for 5 rolls doesn’t get any better than that in Sydney. Secondly, healthy, raw fish is a typical diet in Japan and South American countries where they have the highest number of people living to be over 100, not that I would know what to do if I ever lived that long, life is a struggle as it is already. Thirdly the food can be eaten cold, no need to worry about it cooling down and tasting different its cold to start with. Four, it’s packed easily, so I can put it in my bag and eat it on the 45 min train ride home or while I’m waiting for the train. After this, I got my accounting done for the end of the tax year, looking forward to the tax refunds coming back my way.


The Session

Now thinking ahead to tomorrow as I nearly fell asleep on the train. Tomorrow is a grueling Tuesday session. I was supposed to go for a jog today, but I felt too tired, so I will jog and stretch tomorrow morning to loosen the hamstrings. Tomorrow evening at 6.00 is training. The session is 120m, 140m, 160m, 180m, and 200m on 6-minute rest, followed by a 15-minute rest and 300m. So far, my best times for this session have been 13.9, 15.9, 18, 21.3, 23.7, and 37.9. With the best scores from 2010 being (14.0,16.4,18,21.3,23.7,37.9). My goal will be to get that down below that tomorrow, and within 3 weeks break 1:30.0 total time, which will mean having to get the 200 and 300 times down. I think im better prepared as I have gotten used to running 6x200s in 26s (the last one was 24.8s) on 3-minute rests, so 6 minutes will be enough recovery time. However, it’s a bit cold at that time of the evening, so important to keep the thermal 2XU wear on.  My team-mate has got the record at 1:27.0 for this session with his 200m/300m at 22.5 and 35.7!


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Training articles

(Aug 30) My last training article was published on August 20. As there has been a lot going on both in reporting and upgrading this site, I have not had the chance to update this.

I took Friday and Monday as rest, light jogs, and stretches. Saturday, I did hills.



On Sunday, I tapered my 200m down to five times on 5-minute rests. I ran 24.9, 25.8, 25.1, 24.5, and 25.2 (the average time was 25.1). I was happy as the runs weren’t wind-aided like last week as there was no wind present. Next week I will be switching to broken 400s (200m, the 30s 200m) and repeat after 20 mins. In the afternoon, I hit the weights room.  For the most part, my weights have now gone from 5 sets of 20 to 5 sets of 15 to 5 sets of 12. The twelve-rep range is still considered muscular endurance development. In Bench, I started at 45kg and accidentally did 13 at 50kg. I forgot I wasn’t going to 15 anymore. 55kg, 60kg, and by the time I go to 65kg, I could only manage 8 pauses and then did another three. Did Full Squats 60kg x 12 this time; I used the lifters rack, so I had to go right down almost ass to the ground. I followed each of these with very rapid step-ups onto a small box—Lats, Hyperextensions with a 15kg plate, my friend the ab machine, and dumbbell swings.



However, I did improve on my Tuesday session on August 27, with a new score of 132.9 in total. 133.8 on August 20. The session was 120,140,160,180,200 in 6 mins and then 15 mins and then 300. This time I went 14.0, 16.0, 18.8, 21.7, 24.6, and 37.8. It was funny because holding back a fraction on the first reps led to huge gains in the 300m. My coach advised me to hold back a little and then aim for around 37.5 in the 300m. Some of the training partners went way too hard on ‘The Beast’ 180m and could not get to the 300m. However, I felt a bit fresh after the 200m.

In the 300m, my training partner, who had saved his energy for the last rep, applied the same tactic. So this time in the 300m, I went out fast and focused on attacking the curve, which has been my weak point in the 400m.  He was in the outside lane, so I didn’t see him. I heard him coming. But I threw in everything to hold him off and held on 37.8 to 37.9 this time.



On Wednesday, I did 3x350s on 5 min rests, 47,48, and 50s. I was exhausted halfway through the third one, so forget about focusing on kicking on the curve; I was trying to stay awake. In the later evening did weights. Deadlifts 12 reps on 60,80,100. then I only managed two on 120kg, so I had to review this for next week. I got up to 44kg on my 5th set in the Incline Dumbbell Bench Press, which I was happy with. Tbar row, DB swings, abs. I skipped seated rows as the machine always seem to be occupied.

Thursday felt hungry. So I pretty much ate the whole day. I was late for training, so I had to warm up quickly and did some speed work.


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Saturday Hills, Gym, and Babylonian Demi-Gods (rev 1)

(Aug 19) It has been a tough week for Sports Blogs Post Olympic Games. Especially Track and Field blogs in the Philippines. We had 189 views on Saturday, our lowest count since August 1 (when we had 166 pictures). Pinoyathletics has now covered its Olympic backlog and will now be getting up to date on local sports news. We have also looked at the situation with the PSC reaction to the team of 11 sent to the Olympic Games.

I am posting my Saturday session to fill in the time between events. I get up at 7.00, but in this case, I was unable to sleep, so I pretty much just lay in bed from 1.00 in the morning. When I get up, I need to have breakfast, which won’t make me spew up or not spew up too badly later. I opted for a large bowl of Nutri-Grain with a bit of Milk.

As I get to the station, I realize I need to buy a ticket; Saturday is the worst day to gain access as the ticket office was closed. I have to go and get out money from the ATM for the ticket machine. I hate being in this situation as the ticket machine doesn’t do weekly tickets (which are much cheaper). So I end up having to waste money on an extra one-way ticket to the city. PAK! But it’s still better than getting a $200 fine by the NSW Police for not having access.

The city’s trip to make my hill sprints is a 45-minute train ride and then a 15-minute bus ride (I don’t have a car), followed by a 10-minute jog to Centennial Park in Sydney.  I knock back half my creatine with water on the way down (im saving the other half for later when I go to the gym). When I get off the station, I swipe my ticket and remember to go and buy a weekly ticket.

As I get off the bus, im still wearing my heavy backpack with my spikes, four drink bottles (creatine now empty, whey protein with milk, Gatorade, and plain water)  gym towel (yes im going to the gym after this even though I had no sleep), skipping rope (for warmup), a bottle of amino tablets, wallet (of course). I put on my headphones attached to my cell phone and begin the jog past the cricket grounds to the park. As I go for the jog, I overtake recreational runners wearing my backpack. I see this almost as a type of resistance training, and I remind myself I need to buy a weighted vest for some of my training sessions, particularly the 6x200s in 26s off 3 mins. I stop by the bathroom to change into my 2xu running shorts. Then head over to the trees where my training group is showing up.


Hill Sprint Session

I have now switched to a dynamic set of exercises recommended to me by UST Sports Science Graduate Trecia Ricalde, currently working as a personal trainer for warmup. Inchworm, Running arms, Lunges, Walking High Knee, Lunge Twist, over-under (basically walking a march). I then follow up with some wall drills swinging straight legs, swinging cross legs, and hurdle tucks. After this, I do a stride out followed by a skip 3 times, followed by a stride out butt-kick run three times, and then I put my long spikes on. As we are running on grass, the spike nails are 12mm long; they are 6mm long on the track. I do a couple of run-throughs on the grass.

I had come ready for the standard 120,130,140,150,150,140,130,120 hill session, but today, the coach tells us we will only be doing four runs. He doesn’t tell us what distances wherein lies the rub. He gets us to run a further four times up the hill over 40m to complete our warmup; I win all of these, although the coach is the one who says go, and he takes an early start after I win the first one. The session ends up as 100, 120,150,200; at least we have 8-minute rests. I’m close behind on 100-150 in the top 2-3. However, the coach makes up a bet; he says whoever finishes last on the last one will be buying coffee for the winner. He then proceeds to handicap everyone according to their ability for this event. In the dying stages of the race, the more senior sprinter in the group, Iain, passes me, and I see him raise his hand going over the line Ben Johnson style. I then look over my shoulder and see the coach being given the last stride by Tim, one of our younger student sprinters, and looks like the one who made a bet is buying the coffee.


At the Gym

After rewarding myself with a tasty bacon and egg roll and downing my bottle of whey protein, I decided to head to the Sydney University Gym. My warm-down jog is the same route back to the bus stop I did this morning. Luckily due to fluids being consumed, my backpack is now a bit lighter. I get off the bus a bit later and grab another bus to the University. When I get to the University, I notice this cool statue I never saw before and thought it was very proper outside the gym.

gilgames statue sydney university
Much Cooler than any Marvel or DC Comic book character. The Legendary King of Uruk Gilgamesh went on a quest for Immortality in the 3rd Millenia BC.
gilgamesh plaque sydney university
This plaque explains the legacy of one of the Legendary heroes of the very ancient world.

As I am now focussing on the 400m in my last competitive season of athletics. I am doing a much higher rep range. Last month I started on 5 sets of 20 reps, and now I am down to my third and final week of 5 sets of 15 reps. I will have one week off weights and then move down to 5 sets of 12 reps. 12-15 agents are considered muscular endurance, which is specific for a 400m run. I started with the Dead-lift. I like to keep warm, so I kept my tracksuit tops and bottoms on for the first lifts warm-up was 50kg x 15, then a short rest, then 80kg x 15. The speed of the lifts was still good at 80kg. I then decided I would make this third rep my last one and went for a rep PB. My previous was 95kg a month ago for this number of agents. I put on 105kg put a good song on my headphones, chalked up my hands, and removed the tracksuit. These were definitely all ‘Dead’ Lifts as I found by after number 12, I had to concentrate on resetting the lifts. However, I was surprised I could get to this many. Later I tried 180kg but failed, but was able to get one out at 130kg. Interesting how important gradual progression is.


Incline Dumbell Press – 12kg (each hand) x 15, 18kg x 15, 22kg x 13

Tbar Row pulls 5 sets of 20,20,20,32,32 kg.

Situp Machine 5,5,10,10kg (usually do this last, but someone was using a seated row)

Seated Row 25,32,39,45,45 kg. (exhausted)

Dumbbell swings 3 x 100 swings x 3kg.

Wrist strengthening exercises 2×4 exercises with 5kg in each hand.


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By Andrew Pirie

Andrew was elected Vice President of the Association of Track and Field Statisticians in 2020 after being a member for 7 years. He has worked as a PSC Consultant and Research Assistant from 2013-2015, Consultant, and Sprint Coach at Zamboanga Sports Academy from 2015-2017. And Currently is Consultant Coach with VMUF 2021- Current editor and chief of, and has recently done consultancy work for Ayala Corp evaluating the Track and Field Program. Coaches Sprints, Middle and Jump events he is  Level 3 Athletics Australia Coaching Certification in Sprints and Hurdles. Currently working towards a Masters Degree in Education. He can be contacted on [email protected] You can find more information on Coaching here

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