Lucy Bartholomew is an Australian Ultra-Runner who, at age 25 has done more in endurance sports than most will in a lifetime. With an amazing perspective on ultra-running, recovery and following her own unique journey, we’re proud at Premax that she uses our products and we’re cheering her on through her journey every step of the way.

Fresh from her 240km Larapinta trail experience, Lucy sat down recently with Randall Cooper, CEO & Founder of Premax, to discuss ultra-running, injuries, recovery and much more. 
Lucy Bartholomew Ultra-running

My first question for you Lucy, is you’ve started so young and have had a decade career, most people start out ultras in their late 20s, early 30s. From a physical perspective how has that been for you?

I think it’s been a good thing for me, I started when I was young, running long and slow and so I built up that cardio system and muscles. My Dad was very good at making sure I was progressive. I have so much respect for my body and capabilities, what I can do and how I can push myself. I’ve lent heavily on my body's ability, it parallels my mental health. I only really began to question my body a couple of years ago when I had some injuries and tore my hamstring. My body couldn’t function how I thought it could, and how it’s been able to for 10 years, and when you think like that you respect it a whole lot more and I don’t take it for granted anymore.

You do a lot of miles and you’ve only had a few injuries, as an athlete you mature and understand more about your sport but also your body. If you had to pick one thing that was your best injury prevention tip what would it be?

Rest and sleep. When I wasn’t being coached by someone, my philosophy is more is more and I was just continually running, but if you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always got.

The equation I’ve always heard is stress + rest = growth. Stress is the training but then you need to have the rest periods and I don’t think I fully appreciated that. When you’re younger, life is full of gas and it’s not sustainable. I’ve learnt to love rest days. To fully have a shower, stay clean, put different clothes on, do different things. I’m not just a runner and it doesn’t define me.

Lucy Bartholomew

We say the same thing - rest days are training days, you do them properly and they actually help you perform better. As a physio you often hear people say I’m getting pain, how do I know if I’m doing damage. It’s a question I get often, and I reflected knowing I was talking to you tonight about when you did the Larapinta trail, and I’m sure it hurt. When you’re doing such a long run and It’s hurting how do you know if it’s good or bad?

That’s a really great question, ultra runners have a bit of a warped perspective on what you should push through. There almost seems to be pride in showing up to the start line with the most tape holding your body together or how many Panadol you’re popping.

I think for me, I don’t use any pain relief because I think if something hurts I need to feel that. That’s my body telling me something is happening. Having gone through my injuries in 2019, I rolled my ankle, tore my hamstring and I felt what a real injury felt like. I tried to push on but you realise, if I just stopped when I first felt it, this would not be an issue.

I think my perspective has really shifted and on the Larapinta, I told my coach I was worried about fitness, because of being in lockdown and he said Lucy I wouldn’t worry about fitness when it comes to 250km as long as you’re uninjured and you’re stoked, you’re go as far as you need to go. You’ll find fitness along the way. It really stuck with me, uninjured and stoked - I was happy I was there, this was my dream.

Making sure I was checking in that I wasn’t injured, I was able to look at it completely differently. I fell at 30kms and I banged my knees and had blood coming out of my legs and hands. I cleaned it up with some water and walked off and I just remember thinking ok like this is all so superficial it’s not deep, you know what deep feels like.

I checked in with how I was feeling, making sure everything functionally was working and ok. Yes everything was fatigued and it was starting to hurt, but it’s an intuition and I respect my body enough and want it to look after me for many many years,I wasn’t out there to break myself, I just wanted to be stoked and uninjured.

Great insight, and how do you go recovering from an event like that? A lot of people who think about recovery think they’re thinking 1-2 days, but one of the cliches I often use is ‘long events need long recoveries’. Is that your experience?

Yes, I would say my biggest fault in my career is my lack of recovery, and I think it’s true in ultra running that we lose respect for what running does to our body. For us, you don’t get out of bed for less than 30kms, it’s not a run if it’s not over 40kms. Once you look at it like that you lose that perspective and you’ve got to look back when 5kms was a long way and remember that for most people that’s a benchmark. When I was doing 100kms and 100 miles I would think oh I’m going slower so I can recover faster and I can do more and continually keep pushing. After Larapinta I really wanted to step back and instead of always thinking what’s next, what’s happening now. I wanted to be ok with sitting in the moment. I’ve done what I wanted to do and I’ve achieved something I didn’t think was possible or imaginable.

I’m so content and there’s nothing to prove out there for me. For me this is a long recovery, it’s over 40 days since Larapinta, and I spoke to a friend who did a long run in December and she said she’s still feeling the ramifications and isn’t rushing it. That’s what I need to do, I was so appreciative of those 50 hours of running and now I’m in it for the long haul on the recovery.

Lucy trying on Weather Defence Facial Cream

Why Premax?

I equate it for a female having the right sports bra. You can make running comfortable, or you can make it uncomfortable.

When you find the right stuff you know and Premax is good for your skin, it doesn’t just sit on top of it. When you’re doing ultra running, you want to have those things sorted, you don’t want to have to think about those kinds of things. I know Premax is going to help me.

It’s about making it a preventative measure, especially with Ultra Running you need to eat before you're hungry. Put your jacket on before you’re cold.

You have to be ahead of the game, it’s known as problem solving on the go and when you have the Premax range, you can be ready for any situation.

Photo credit: @joshlynott

Photo credit: @byranhynes