Ewan Bulger – Diary of a Scholarship winner
Ewan Bulger won the 2013 Rugby Scholarship to attend the Inside Running Academy in NZ. Ewan will train for a month under the tutelage of Academy Manager and former England International player Dan Ward-Smith and Dr Nic Gill who is the lead Strength and Conditioning coach for the All Blacks.
Boats, Planes and Automobiles
Following a boat trip and a series of long flights I arrived at the Seagulls Guesthouse, unfortunately without my luggage, which had been lost in the domestic transfer between Auckland and Tauranga airports.
On arrival I was introduced to a few of the boys from the Inside Running Academy however, two of them were leaving shortly after my arrival so I was only acquainted with them for less than an hour. Fortunately, one of the boys, Matthew from the USA was staying on and we were the only two boys in the guesthouse that night.
After not sleeping for the whole 25 hour journey I headed to bed early and managed to get a 12 hour sleep which managed to almost completely eliminated my jet lag.
I was introduced to the other academy boys who stay at a flat parallel to the guest house. There is a real nationality diversity at the academy with boys from England, Ireland, Australia, the USA and Malaysia. Nonetheless, we all have one thing in common and that is our drive to become the best we can be.
We left the guesthouse at around 0945 and headed towards the gym, which is in The Hanger, an indoor training facility and gym located at Baypark, the home of the Steamers NPC team and 10 minutes away from where we stay. The focus was on lower body exercise so I did squats, cleans, standing long jump and step ups. Overall, the session was tough but the toughest session was yet to come.
Soon after the gym we left for Mt. Maunganui. The mount overlooks Tauranga with its long stretch of beach, which is a hub for surfers, and the large industrial harbour, which is one of the main harbours in New Zealand. But we were not at the mount for the views. Our task was the scale Maunganui in the quickest time possible. Luckily, the harder track was closed so we were forced to ascend the easier, but nevertheless longer track. I achieved a time of 16:21 but sadly, was beaten by around 6 of the boys. It’s going to be a challenging month and even though it is the NZ winter the weather is surprisingly hot.
Day 2 & 3
Today I left the seagulls guest house and moved into a flat where I was kindly welcomed by the rest of the boys from the academy.
Then of to gym at The Hanger and followed by a rugby skills session in the afternoon.
It was an earlier start to Wednesday with gym beginning at 0900 instead of 1000. Nonetheless, a normal session except we were given the choice of what kind of session we wanted to do, either, hypertrophy or skills and speed. I chose hypertrophy, which works on building muscle size, but also I finished the session with some high intensity rowing to help with my cardiovascular endurance.
The afternoon was spent at the inside running academy office partaking in physio screening and attending an opening ceremony for a clinic run by some of the academy physiotherapists.
Friday is referred to as ‘primer’ day. This is in reference to the pre workout substance taken which legally boosts your immediate performance. Most personal bests are obtained on this day for Olympic lifts. I gained a personal best on my cleans of 100kgs. We then had the rest of the day to ourselves, which I spent resting after the intense week of gym sessions and training.
Saturday and Sunday
My first week in New Zealand came to a close with trip to Te Puna Rugby club to watch the Bay of Plenty under 20s versus the Bay of Plenty development side. The game was an exhibition match but this did not seem to affect the players’ willingness to work hard for a win.
The eventual winners were the development side due to their dominance in the contact area and set piece.
Unfortunately the weather has taken a turn for the worst. Rain and large gusts of wind have restricted my weekend.