Noosa is known as the jewel in the crown of the Sunshine Coast, as it boasts stunning scenery, excellent climate, great restaurants and shops. But the real jewel in my opinion is the Noosa National Park. With nearly 500 hectares of forests, coves, beaches and high cliffs, and walking ( = running ) trails in which to access and appreciate the stunning scenery and breath taking views, it is easily in my top 5 best runs in Australia.
As I embark on another winter getaway to this fabulous destination, I thought I'd share with you some of the great running training opportunities to be had here. For if you love running as I do, then wherever you go, so does your running training.
DAY 1: LONG RUN
What better way to start a holiday than with an Easy paced Long Run to take it all in. From where I am staying, it's a 10 minute easy warm up into Noosa, run out past Little Cove another km to the gates of the NP, to where the fun starts. Finally some hills, and trails to absorb as you trace around the cliff tops, overlooking some of Australia's most beautiful coastline up to Hell's Gates. Continue up & over into the park along the undulating trails that course through beautiful forest and finally around to the start again. The full circuit is about 7 km, so another circuit beckons, or back to base for a stunning & very rewarding run.
DAY 2: 1 km INTERVALS
Back down to the gates of the NP, again an easy 15 minutes. Over to the right of the car park is a short trail that winds up and around, and back down to the car park again. It's Trail #1; distance 1.07km. Simply perfect for some 1 km Intervals, with a bit of extra difficulty in the form of twists turns, tree roots, a dozen or so (up) stairs and immersed in nature. Enough to keep you focussing hard on good, strong form, finding where your forefoot will land & picking up your feet- then trying to stay smooth, light & easy...then fast!
5 x 1km repeats with 2 mins rest; then that bloody big hill ( Noosa Drive) back towards the Junction for your cool down. I can see that being a feature for a future run.
DAY 3 : REST DAY
Okay, just an easy stroll or jog into town for a 1 hour massage.
Walk back, drink plenty of water. Have a swim.
DAY 4: HILLS
Can't avoid that hill. it's too bloody big, too long, too irresistible to not to run up it. Besides, it would be rude not to!
Start at the bottom at the roundabout of Noosa Drive & Hastings St. Take the path to the left to the staircase that winds up into the trees. Don't start too fast, it's long, 259 stairs in all, plus some flatter trail sections!! Follow the road, turn right and return back down via the roadside path to the start. Nice long recovery. Repeat x 5-6.
For a harder repeat, try to hit every second step. You'll be at your threshold before you know it, you'll have no choice but to drop back to each step. Focus on picking up the feet, knee drive & glute activation.
An alternate set of stairs (pictured) you'll find at the south end of Hastings Street. 200 or so steep, short steps. Short & fast repeats, as performed by 3.5 year old Duke.
DAY 5: TEMPO
Nice easy warm up to the NP again. Tempo run the full circuit of 7km. You won't maintain your Tempo pace, but work hard up the hills, keep up your cadence on the flats as you recover a little before the next incline. Check your time, and Repeat!
Easy run back to Noosa Beach for a cool down & swim in the pristine waters.
Does it get any better?
DAY 6: Deserved day off or optional EASY RUN.
DAY 7: LONG RUN
Take the road toward Sunshine Beach. Turn left off David Low Way onto Solway Drive, follow down to Surf Life SC. Off to the left you will find the boardwalk, take this high point alongside the beach and pop out onto the sand with about 500m to the end and where the National park starts. You are welcomed by a steep climb of about 220 steps to get your heart rate going!
Follow the trail up & over to Lion Rock, down onto the stunning Alexandria Bay. Enjoy 1 km of uninhabited golden sands to the end where you ascend further up into the NP trail near Hell's Gates again. You can go either way here, following the same trail or explore some of the many cross trails that all seem to end up back around towards the Park gates. When you've had enough, head back through Little Cove to Noosa Beach for your rewarding & cooling swim to finish.
P.S. Don't leave Noosa without indulging in possible the best burger EVER, from Betty's Burgers & Concrete Company. You've earnt it.
Have a great holiday!