Training tips from world-winning athlete Braden Currie
As a triathlete, multi-sport and adventure athlete, and 2022 Coast To Coast champion, Braden Currie’s training is his full-time job, so it is no wonder he knows Wanaka’s mountains and tracks like the back of his hand. Braden shares with us his favourite and very accessible tracks and what he packs on an average day of training.
A set of favourite training tracks from Braden Currie
We have lived in Wanaka for 10 years now and it’s close to every day that we acknowledge how lucky we are to call this place home.
Having the ability to step out your door and access the mountains, lakes and rivers is incredible and as family we try our best to make the most of any spare time, we have by enjoying what’s around us.
As a triathlete I swim, bike and run for my job. I train 30-40 hours per week, and I treat my training as a job, trying to do the best I can in each session. Like any job it has its moments, but there is still a huge amount of passion that goes into what I do. I love trail running and if there is a long trail run on my program, I know that know that if I get it done, that I will feel better for it mentally and it will help fuel the rest of what I need to get done.
What a multisport athlete takes with him
If I am heading into the hills, I always take these items no matter how short the run is. I have spent enough time in the mountains to know that things can turn pear shaped pretty quickly and I also might find myself in a position where I end up helping someone else out. So for me, I would prefer to have extra weight in my bag if it could come in handy.
- The Macpac Amp Ultra 10litre running vest
- The Garmin Inreach mini which allows me to text or call in no mobile reception areas.
- An e-perb (Personal Locator Beacon PLB) as this is the best way to quickly alert someone of my whereabouts or someone else’s if there is an accident that needs an emergency response.
- Rain jacket
- Geotech long sleeve thermal and pants
- Gloves and a hat
- First aid kit with a survival blanket.
- I always take a good amount of food and water, as well as a packet of Radix dehydrated food just incase I end up out there for a while.
All of this stuff just stays in my run bag, that way I can just grab it when I head out the door.
Here are some of my regular favourite trail runs and solid hikes in Wanaka:
This track is great when the weather is hot! There's a few kilometres of exposed farmland at the start, but then you get deep into the native forest where it’s shaded and cool. I love technical terrain and there is plenty of it here. It’s an undulating run alongside the river until you get closer to the hut. I normally run in and out to Fern Burn hut for a long run, but you can keep going past the hut and turn around anytime.
Grandview Mountain Track – 18km
Grandview is a good option when it’s windy as it’s mostly protected from the northwest winds and isn’t too technical. The first 4km are along the flat and then it gradually climbs up a 4WD track to a high point. The views over Lake Hawea are pretty epic.
The Millenium track - 12km
I love this track, especially first thing in the morning. It’s often protected from the wind in most parts and gets the morning sun. The trail is in good condition and despite the undulations it’s a pretty fast trail to run on.
It’s a longish drive out to the track but it’s worth it. I normally build in some extra running by running into Mount Aspiring Hut and back as well as doing the Rob Roy track to make the drive worth it. But it’s one of the region’s most beautiful trails. It has recently been worked on and the trail is wide and not very technical.
More of a hike than a run! It’s steep from beginning to end but a solid 2-3 hour fast walk journey which is good for your legs and gives you incredible views across Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka. Most of it is on a 4WD drive track so it’s not technical.
Breast Hill track - distance varies
This run/hike is as long as you want it to be. But if you make it up to the first hut you're doing well. It’s spectacular and very technical on the first ascent up the rocks. More of a scramble than anything for the first part.
The skyline track is about 23km from start to finish. You need to do a car shuttle as it’s a one-way track that finishes either at the bottom of Mt Roy or in the Cardona Valley (depending on which way you go). I prefer starting at Spots Creek in the Cardrona Valley as the first 8km approximately is a bit of a slow grind through farmland. After that it gets interesting. You start to get up to the tops along a 4WD track before traversing between Isthmus and Mt Roy peaks. This is my favourite bit. It’s exposed and can be pretty windy, and it’s technical terrain but there’s nothing more magic than being up there on a good day. From Mt Roy you begin your 8kilometre descent on a consistent gradient down to the bottom.
Outdoors as fitness inspiration
If I can offer advice for anyone who wants to get out there but finds it hard being organised, have everything accessible and ready for when you want it, makes the process of getting outdoors that much easier.
When you have spare time at home, spend the time making up tubs of gear for different activities. I have a hiking tub, a biking tub, a climbing tub, a water sports tub, to name a few of them. The goal in life for me is to make sure I have everything I need for any sport. This is where my family and I put all our value in terms of what we choose to spend money on. It brings us more quality time together as a family and memories we will always have, which makes it priceless for us.
If you’re lacking track inspiration, the Plan My Walk app by the NZ Mountain Safety Council helps with that. You can find a track near you, enter your trip dates and find out if there are any track alerts. Another important planning step is the weather forecast and the app’s interactive gear list. You can then put all of that into a trip plan, assign an emergency contact, share it and you’re ready to go!
Enjoy the rest of your summer and autumn in NZ, while we have the place to ourselves. It’s a pretty epic place to call home!
Further information for those heading out