The sun is out, the evenings are long, the days are getting warmer and by the end of November, the 2016 Blues squad will have arrived for pre-season training.
To celebrate, we thought we’d share the team’s 7 favourite* training sites around the region – each making the most of our unique, mountainous terrain or world-class beaches.
*favourite might be stretching it, but they’re definitely sure to bring results!
1. Bullock Track
The Bullock track is located next to Western Springs Stadium and is 250 m from the 3rd lamp post up to the top. Used in preseason, the players generally complete between 15-18 reps with each one starting on the 3-minute mark.
If you want to give it a go, try and run to the top in under 1.15-1.30min.
2. One Tree Hill
The Blues’ new training base at Alexandra Park will be conveniently placed right next door to one of Auckland’s best runs: the 183 metre volcano One Tree Hill. From the apex of the road, up to the double white lines is roughly 200 lactic-acid-inducing metres!
You want to run as hard as possible on the way up, and recover with a slow jog/walk back to the bottom.
3. Castor Bay
The Kennedy Park stairs offer a 150-step climb from the North Shore’s Castor Bay up to the road. Rather than simply running up and down the stairs, try this session:
Complete 20 Burpees on the beach. Run to the top of the stairs touching every step. Run down touching every step. Complete 18 Burpees followed by the stairs. Decrease your burpees by 2 each time until you finish with 2 burpees and the stairs.
4. Bethells Beach sand dunes
The famous Bethells beach sand dunes have left many Blues players gasping over the last decade and the Blues continue to use this location every 2-3 years. There are a variety of dunes offering different lengths and gradients. A good workout would be to spend 20-30 mins continuously going up and down the dunes. If you are up for a real challenge, try to go up the dunes without your hands touching the sand!
5. Rangitoto Island
Rangitoto Island is a volcanic island in the Hauraki Gulf as well as the emblem seen on the Blues’ logo. From the wharf, where you get off the ferry, follow the track to the top and enjoy the amazing Auckland views.
Try and run continuous to the top. If this is unachievable, jog 60 seconds and walk 60 seconds until you reach the pinnacle.
6. Field Based Training
Wherever you live in the Blues region, it is a sure bet that within 10-20 minutes you will find a rugby field! By finding your local, you’ll always be able to churn out a good running session.
A simple running exercise would be to run hard the full length of the field, from try line to try line, then jog the width. Give yourself a 60 second rest after each lap or if you are feeling fit you can run continuously. Try this for 6-10 full laps of the field.
7. Mount Parihaka
Mount Parihaka is an old, eroded and bush-clad volcanic cone standing at 241 metres, making it visible and recognizable from most places in Whangarei.
The track runs from the start of the Drummond track on the Hatea River walk and makes its way to the War Memorial.
If you’re in shape, try run up in less than 12 minutes.