‘Doing both Cryo and mHBOT the night before the race was a massive benefit for me.’

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Professional Motor-Racing Driver, ANDRE HEIMGARTNER smashed his first Half Marathon at the 2018 Run Melbourne event. He shares how Whole Body Cryotherapy and mild Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (mHBOT) was a key part of his marathon training. Here’s his inspiring story . . .

1. CONGRATULATIONS on running the 2018 Run Melbourne, Half Marathon! What inspired you to run?

To compete in a half or full marathon had always been on my to do list but I never had been involved in the running sense so it all seemed a bit extreme and hard! I think I was just looking for a new thing to train for and when this popped up I called together a couple of my mates and we all entered. Funnily enough I was the only one to actually complete the race! Haha the others made excuses to why they couldn’t compete!

2. How did you get into running? How many races have you completed?

My cousins in New Zealand are actually Olympic runners, so i’d heard a lot about it obviously. I’ve only completed the one race but I am intending on doing many more and one day hopefully doing the New York Marathon. 

3. What was your training schedule in the lead up to the race?

Luckily I have an amazing performance coach in Joshua Webb from Webb Performance. He has actually competed in the Hawaiian Iron man! So Josh was able to guide me through the build up, however typical me this was all done last minute and I only had about 4 weeks to train up from hardly ever running to a half marathon distance. My training covered a range of runs from short interval sprints to longer distance run etc. It was important to mix it up and not just go run as long as you could each time.  

4. What was your protocol at Alchemy Cryo in the lead up to the race?

With putting such a high load on my body cardio wise I knew I needed the best chance at recovery. I found doing three runs a week was easily achievable with doing Cryo and mHBOT, it definitely helped my body repair it self in time for my next run or gym session. A nice side affect was the reduction of inflammation in my joints which made the whole process much more enjoyable!

5. How did Whole Body Cryo help your training?

I’ve been doing the Whole Body Cryo for a while now, with the high load of training thats required to be an athlete or even compete in a marathon it does put a toll on your body. So I’ve found the Whole Body Cryo to be a good way of reducing my recovery time. Also I battle with a back disorder called kyphosis, which is a curve in the spine. While running this did present a small issue but nothing a bit of yoga and Cryo didn’t fix.

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6. How did mild Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (mHBOT) help your training?

The hyperbaric chamber was very very interesting. At first I was wondering what on earth am I going to do for an hour, laying in a pressurised pod with no music, tv or phone haha. However, once I had my first session these worries went away. The chamber is a very unique experience, apart from the health benefits its just a really nice place to do absolutely nothing hahaha. The oxygen you’re breathing makes it so easy to breathe that you go into such a relaxed state and I am yet to not fall into an amazing sleep.  The health benefits are similar to the Cryo but I did notice it was more beneficial for helping me heal an old injury I had.

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7. How did your eating, sleeping and soreness change?

I’ve always been a bad sleeper and this definitely improved with regular visits to the Alchemy Centre.

8. What was your protocol at Alchemy Cryo the day before the race?

I tried to go in every week for a Cryo and mHBOT, this really gave me a much needed boost during the week.  Doing both they Cryo and mHBOT the night before the race is a massive benefit for me, I noticed in my training when I did this the night before a ran, I always felt great and smashed my PB’s the next day!

9. How did your experience as a professional motor-race driver help you to prepare mentally for race day? 

This is a interesting one… I actually felt extremely nervous before my race!  More than before a Supercar race! So many things went through my mind, did I train enough (no), am I wearing the right shoes, did I eat and hydrate proper etc etc. Id only started running 4 weeks prior! haha. Also I had many internal battles going on “Andre youre just doing this for fun it doesn’t matter what time or result you get. Its all about completing it” then the other side of me.. “ Andre we must get below 1hour 30mins no matter what and get the best position possible” its fair to say once I did my shoes laces up it was all business haha. 

10. Which songs were on your running playlist?

I actually didn’t listen to any, again the competitive side of me didn’t want to carry around the extra weight of a phone and headphones!

11. How did you go? Were you happy with your time?

I think everyone wishes they went better or tried that little bit harder! However at the end of the day I smashed my PB by running the race in 1 hour 36 mins, I placed 431 out of 4784 and ran an average pace of 4:33min/km. 

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12.  What was it like? What was your favourite part of running your first half-marathon?

It was amazing I never thought id be that type of person to get up at a ridiculous hour, go stand in the streets in the middle of Melbourne for ages, in the middle of winter waiting for a damn running race to start then put yourself through running a half marathon and love it! haha. It was actually one of the best things I’ve done personally, I have raced cars all over the world and been to most countries and done some amazing things but that was definitely up there with some of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve ever had.

13. How did Alchemy Cryo support your post-race recovery? What was your protocol? 

After the race I was extremely sore so to be able to come in and do more sessions to reduce the inflammation was great. 

14. What are your top tips for people who are starting to long-distance run?

My tips would be to have a realistic training period before the race, 4 weeks is not long enough to do it properly. 

Go and get your feet scanned when your looking to buy running shoes, so they can find the best shoes for you. I didn’t do this and it caused me a lot of pain until I finally went and got the correct shoe for how I ran. 

Make sure you vary your runs, don’t only run long distance or short. Do some interval running, hill running mix it up! This will also ensure you don’t get to bored.

15. Amazing! So when is your next race? 

I was hoping to do a few more this year however my racing schedule is just to busy to do it properly so I will defiantly do run Melbourne again next year and hopefully another one soon.

Catch ANDRE HEIMGARTNER via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Youtube.

Inspired to combine Cryo + mHBOT? Grab a pass HERE. Questions or comments? Email: southyarra@alchemycryo.com.au