Aren’t You Worried About The Mountains???
This is a question I keep getting asked this year. I normally reply with something edgy like “I don’t fear the challenge, i embrace it” whilst in reality I’m flip flopping between feeling like I will smash the race out of the park to completely floundering around and struggling to finish. If I hear myself telling people that I have it under control, i believe it… and these ultra races are hugely about the mental power to get through.
So What Have I Decided To Take On This Year???
I decided I needed to focus on running or cycling this year, purely from a time constraint point of view and I opted for the running. I scanned through many races online, trying to find a challenge in an area that would have spectacular views, an area I haven’t been to before and one that isn’t too flat (we don’t want to make it too easy now do we??). I slowly narrowed the races down to a few that took my interest and decided on the main one I wanted to tackle…
…A 53km (or a marathon and a quarter) ultra run on May 11th round the Brecon Beacon’s, a lovely area to visit, so I am told. 3000m total elevation, which averages at about 56m elevation per km. The first 10km alone has about 800m climbing in the first 15km. But the las
t 10km is mostly downhill! Casual cruise to the finish… right?
How Am I Training For The Mountains???
Since Hertfordshire does not have anywhere near the elevation of the Brecon’s… mountain training is a little difficult. Here is my theory:
I am aiming to finish in about 6.5hours, less if I can. All my training has been ran at a faster pace than this, if I was to run this distance locally at the moment I should finish in under 5hours. This gives me a 1.5hour buffer to slow down on race day, which I’m sure the montain’s will help with that!
I also spent the end of last year slowly increasing the weight on my running pack from 2kg to 8kg which I am now used to and have built up my speed with this weight over distance. The plan being I will only be racing with the essential race kit, weighing about 2kg. In theory I will be a lot faster running with 6kg less on my back and the elevation won’t be as challenging.
I plan on running the inclines to keep my speed up, but when it comes to the actual mountains it is much more energy efficient for me to hike up rather than run. My average speed will drop, but my legs will feel stronger towards the end of the race and I can make the pace up on the flats and the downhill segments.
This is my plan anyway, providing I keep my fluids and nutrition intake up I’m hoping this plan gets me through in my goal time. If it all falls apart, then finishing will be good enough.