Lucy Bartholomew burst onto the ultra running scene by running her first 100km race with her dad when she was just 15 years old. Since then, the Melbourne, Australia native has continued on her upward trajectory, tucking a number of accomplishments under her belt, including winning the Ultra-trail Cape Town and Ultra-trail Australia, and coming 3rd in her first ever Western States 100. The plant-based athlete loves cooking up new recipes, and when she’s not running you can find her in the kitchen, spending quality time with family and friends, or practicing yoga in the sun. Here she gives us her ‘5 from 5’ – 5 questions with 5 tips, answers or ideas.
Hi Everyone! I hope you are doing well, safe and making the best of a difficult time that we are all in together. Remember that you are not alone, you are worthy and all those emotions within you are totally valid. Let’s Do This asked me to write a blog to introduce myself, and maybe share some light in these darker days. I decided to call this blog my ‘5 from 5’. 5 questions with 5 tips, answers or ideas. The hope is that we can get more people to do their 5 from 5 and start a positive chain reaction of good ideas.
1. What is your background and how did you get into running?
Name: Lucy Bartholomew
Age: 23, born 20th May 1996
Country: Australia, Melbourne
How I got into running: My Dad was always a runner. I watched him complete marathons and run as his commute to work, but was never really interested in it myself. When he wanted to try something new and entered a 100km race in 2011 held in the Blue Mountains, Sydney, I became more interested; not so much about the running, but the scenery, the challenge and the people that this sort of race drew. Once I watched the whole event take place I knew I wanted to do it. Then, at 15 years old, I ran side by side with my Dad for 100km along the Victorian coast line and haven’t looked back since.
5 words to describe you? Stubborn, mindful, passionate, consistent and motivated.
2. What are your top tips for joining the Ultra running world?
- Don’t do it alone: There are so many good social running groups that are suitable for everyone, and are more about enjoying the process and finding the best pub/cafe after!
- Get the right gear: If you’re really going to give running (at any distance) a chance, you need to invest a little bit. For women, the right sports bra will change the feeling of running. For guys, the right shorts can help everything fall into place.
- Fuel your activities: Eating and running go hand in hand, energy in-energy out. Make sure you are eating enough the days you are training, and enough of the right foods; I opt for a plant-based diet but any diet filled with unprocessed and colourful foods will help a lot. If you’re looking to step into the ultra world, eating ON the run is your next challenge; find things that sit well with you and don’t just listen to the gel ads. Try alternatives until you find what works best for you.
- Research: Social media and media in general is amazing, you can find the answer to anything you want. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, read reports or articles. The trail running community that I know are some of the friendliest people and the most giving of their time. I still remember writing to my heroes and being gobsmacked they wrote back.
- Make it fun: Consistency is the key to success in the running game. Of course it’s not going to feel great if you just go out and run hard, rest for two weeks and then go again. Just a little something every day to help you achieve your goals will help build that ‘base’. “Brick by brick” is what I like to say. By making a strong foundation, your bones and muscles have time to get strong with you.
3. Other than running, what do you do to help yourself be the best athlete you can be?
- Sleep: This is a huge part of your body’s ability to recover. When we get into a routine, sleep tends to fall to the bottom of priorities. If you find yourself always pushing off sleep to get an extra run in, be careful as that can often be counterproductive to your performance. I aim for 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
- Nutrition: Take the time and energy to meal-prep nutritious, healthy meals and snacks as much as you can. Nowadays, it really is so easy to eat well; things come already chopped and prepared for you, and all you have to do is whack it in a bowl and put it in your mouth. I love making things like bliss balls for after runs, smoothie bowls for breakfast and hummus ready for a wrap or crackers whenever I need.
- Strength: I don’t mean you need to get a gym membership, some protein powder and to start squatting 3x your body weight. You can do most things with just your body weight and a mat. Including some core work, squats and single leg/balance exercises into your routine will help you a lot with your form and muscle activation in the long run.
- Blood tests: I am a huge believer in knowing what’s going on inside your body. Being intuitive is great, but I think we all too often just get used to feeling tired, and call it “life/ work/ training”. Finding out about your hormone and vitamin levels (e.g. Iron, Vitamin D etc) at least twice a year can help you understand your body and treat and train it optimally.
- Breathe: It might sound lame, but taking the time to sit, breathe and relax is one of the hardest things to do these days. Take some time to centre yourself each day or each week to understand your ‘why’; the why you are doing what you are doing, and let go of the doubt.
4. What are you doing during COVID-19?
- In Australia we are still allowed outside so I am still doing my training runs but keeping them closer to home to reduce the risk of needing help that can come with running in more remote areas. I am also doing a lot of my runs solo, to reduce my contact with others.
- Taking the time to cook my meals and really enjoy the process of creating and eating them.
- Finding that yoga routine that got lost sometime in 2019.
- Colouring in. I’m a huge fan of sitting down and being a kid again and forgetting the problems!
- Sleeping in, taking the mornings slow and listening to the body; not trying to be a hero.
5. What are your top 5 running highlights or lowlights?
- Winning the Ultra Trail Australia 100km on my 21st birthday with my brother crewing me and my Dad behind me.
- Coming 3rd at the Western States 100 in 2018. It was my first 100 mile event and I ran it blissfully unaware of how far 160km actually is.
- My first 100km with my Dad. Running side by side for 12:30:00 and finishing knowing it wouldn’t be my last.
- Running the Oxfam 100km with 3 of my best mates, 1 who had never run more than a marathon before. Seeing that process and being a part of every step (and every vomit stop) was something truly special.
- Throwing up for 50km of a 120km race in Europe and wanting to quit. After walking up a hill and dropping all expectations and fears, as night descended I found myself catching headlamp after headlamp and ended up finishing 5th.
Thanks Let’s Do This for creating a space to escape the constant talk of the world right now. Running will never leave us and the community will only be stronger after this. We got this, one step at a time!