Tuesday, 31 December 2013

The Spine Race Guide part 4 ( Running?)

Making Progress Along The Course

       One question everyone wants to ask is :Do you actually run and for how much of the race.
                          I have no idea   what the Elite runners get up to. (most of them had buggered off into the distance before I reached the 1 mile point!). The winner in 2014 won by  actually moving at 20 minute mile pace !
                          I started this series of blogs with the question “ What would I as mid to  tail end runner have wanted to know before my 2013 attempt” What follows is aimed at runners similar to me whose main aim is to get to the finish line. If you don,t make mistakes you could find yourself up with the front runners.
                          As far as I am aware none of the starters failed to complete the Spine because they were not moving fast enough . The reality is many of the DNF,s can be traced back to running to fast at some time and ignoring what their body was trying to tell them. The cut off times are generous and are only likely to become a problem if you spent to much time resting and not moving
                          I would love to know how the front runners race differed to mine but only out of interest. I am, and always will be a plodder so their strategy has only limited relevance to mine.

                          Before you read this part on my blog it may help to read my original race report blog :              "Inside The head of a Spine Race Finisher "

                       On My Part: I finished the  2013  race in just over the allotted max time as our group was forced to stop at the second  mountain refuge hut on the Cheviots  because it was just to dangerous to go on that night. We made the correct decision to stop using  SMJ . (more on SMJ: Sound Mountain Judgement , in the next blog)

           This is what I remember of my pace divided into sleep /run phases:
1.      I walked up Jacobs ladder the trotted most of the flats and downs on the way to CP1 fast walking the hills.
2.     CP1 to CP 1.5 probably trotted for about 20% of the time ,walked the up hills.
3.      CP 1.5 to CP3 walked 70% shuffled 30%
4.     CP 3 to CP4 Shuffled 20% walked 50% crawled 30%
5.     4CP 4 to CP5 Shuffled 30% ran 30% walked 40%
6.     CP5 to first mountain refuge hut marched 100%
7.     1st hut to second hut 10miles in 7hrs(deep snow stagger)
8.     2nd Hut to finish line walked and crawled on hands and knees (over deep drifts )with a bit of staggering.
However this record only tells half the story. So lets look a little deeper.
         Why My Pace Was The Way It Was.
·      Phase One :1Fresh out of the blocks and quite frankly with no idea of what pace I should move at . As it was I basically ran with the  heard but tried not to build up body heat and sweat.
·      Conditions sub zero with a  very strong dry wind. As I have mentioned before I build body  heat rapidly so for me the conditions were ideal.
·      Underfoot the trail was frozen but the dry wind combined with recent thaws had removed ice from most of the trail.
·      I never used traction aids “TA” although some did.( Some used “TA” because they thought  they aught to rather than they needed to . Traction aids  can slow you down . No one with  TA passed me but I passed several  wearing TA .  The TA runners soon took them off.
All this adds up to standard Ultra Trail Running conditions but a bit colder.  The stone slabs although frozen were mainly dry so we had very little ice to contend with. We all made good progress and the navigation in daylight was mostly follow the leader. ( having said that I still made about 1 hrs worth of Nav  errors due to overconfidence.  
·      The end result was I ran over my natural sustainable pace , Skimped on the food and did my usual trick of dry retching my way for the final 3k into the CP.
Lessons  Learnt From Phase One. a
It is incredibly easy at the start  , surrounded by other runners to run over pace. 
 Almost everyone starts racing
The Spine Racers are mixed up wit the Challengers and we all move at the same pace despite knowing that on reaching CP2 the Challengers won’t need to go on .
In the long term you achieve very  little by pushing hard early but you can do a huge amount of damage to your body.
I  put myself in a position where the medics nearly pulled me from the race.!
Others ignored the forming of blisters and arrived at CP1 with damaged feet.

I wont go into any more detail on my pace over the next few days .My original race report covers the details of my pace.

The best bit of advice I can give about day one pace whatever the conditions are is that in the 268 mile long run, you won,t get to the finish line faster by pushing on early. I believe  Garry's motto is walk the hills . Trot the flats and run the down hills.
 The only thing I might add to that is you have several days to go and you may well  discover that once you get into a balanced state you can start to speed up once past mid way. 

Lets think about the feet issue:
 1 Medics can do nothing about trench foot.
2 Trench foot aggravates  blisters
3 You are stuck with your blisters for the rest of the race.
4 Blisters will slow you up on the trail .
5 If blisters get infected you could be medically DNF'd
And here is a new one you probably have not thought of!
Blisters can cost you considerable time even when not moving.
A bad case of blisters can take a Medic over  one hour to dress.

On arriving at a CP with blisters you need to shower ,wash your feet and get the medic to have a look at any problem . They may well drain your blisters with a Hypodermic and tell you to dry you feet as best as possible leaving them uncovered and powdered while you sleep.
Just before you leave the  CP   you will want the medics to do their magic and dress your feet.
 So far so good but the snag is that it can take up to one hour do dress badly damaged feet  and there are several other runners in the queue in front of you !

At CP 4 Russ swift wanted to run with me starting at 7am . He had to wait to get his blisters sorted .  I could not wait and ran on without him . He never made it to the finish line!
 What I am getting at is you must stop regularly especially in the early stages  (day one and two)and inspect your feet .
Blisters can be a DNF injury on The Spine.
   Avoiding Blisters.
 Try to avoid getting your feet wet. If you run for 8 hrs on dry ground then encounter a stream then try to go around/ jump or even take your shoes and socks off  , paddle across ,dry your feet ,shoes back on and carry on .
  In 2013 ,I encountered only one stream on day one ,paddled  through with wet shoes  and spent the rest of the day with wet feet. What’s 10 mins delay compared with the possibility of trashed feet.
  Personally I always wear two pairs of Socks so never get blisters between shoe and foot . I do sometimes ,with wet feet get blisters between my toes but toe socks and strategically placed plasters help.
   Don’t use Compeed type plasters. The Medics hate them as they are impossible to remove and dress a blister properly without ripping your skin. There is also the possibility of  more blisters forming near the edge of the Compeed . Again the compeed and underlying skin will have to come off.
       Most blisters form on the first day of the race not because of your fast pace or trail conditions but because you will be reluctant to pause and regularly inspect your feet! The faster pace also makes the rubbing action worse.

 There has been talk of the Chief Medic holding a Blister Master class before the race . If it happens I will be in the front row. You should not underestimate the importance of blisters. Make a point of changing your socks regularly.( At least twice a day). If you get into this habit you may well spot the first signs of a blister forming well before you feel it.
                For 2014 I plan to use Salomon  XT Wings again for day one and two. From day3  as the pace slows I will have a pair of Gortex Boots which I may use to try and keep my feet  dry. The  possible reduction  in pace will be more than worth if if I can avoid blisters brought on by wet feet..
(in the event I actually used the boots for day one. For the next few days I used Salomon XT Wings with Army Surplus Waterproof Socks)
         Don’t double knot your laces this will discourage you from checking your feet and your fingers will have lost their fine dexterity, making  untying difficult. Adopt  the method  used by orienteer’s who use electrical tape to wrap around the bow. ( Fold the end of the tape back on itself to leave a short tab so you can remove the tape easily) .
            If you have the Solomon Type quick lace system don’t rely on the little pocket in the shoe to store the loop . You are about to put 270 miles on your shoe and at some time the lasso loop in the end will come loose and snag on the stud of your other shoe . At this point you WILL face plant.
           The Solomon lace system can jam up with mud and ice. If the outer sheath is damaged the core will also fall apart so take a spare "conventional" skinny lace (which will fit through the eyelets) . The standard Solomon replacement system is near impossible to retro fit even in a warm CP (On the trail you would have no chance) 

Checkpoints can feel friendly but  Chaotic.  There could be perhaps 60 runners at CP1 on the first night.. ( the faster runners will probably be through and away before the mayhem builds up)
           The boot drying rooms are a particular problem as your shoes will get shifted to make room for incoming runners shoes. All the shoes may end up the same mud brown and be difficult to identify.
            The drying rooms at the CP,s (if they even exist) are often only luke warm with limited hanging space . You cant count on wet gear drying out while you sleep. Limited space can lead to your gear gradually migrating from the heaters while you sleep into a large wet pile on the floor. 
          No one is on the same time clock as you and most of the competitors are only working on half brain power. Especially in the latter stages of the race.
           If you set all your gear out neatly and go for a shower the chances are someone will put it all in a heap in the corner.
           You need to work out a checkpoint routine : Sign in
                                                                                  Shoes of and put somewhere to dry.
                                                                                  Shower if available
                                                                                  Medical initial foot survey
                                                                                  Sort wet gear and hang to dry if possible
                                                                                  Feed then re sort gear for next leg
                                                                                  Wake ,feed again.feed again feed again!
                                                                                  Relocate drying  gear spread around CP.
                                                                                  Pack allowing for forecast ,trail geography and             your general condition.
                                                                                  Medics re build your feet
                                                                                  Check and double check Kit.
                                                                                  Look at map for way back to trail before leaving.
                                                                                  Sign out.

           Your routine order may be slightly different . The  routine can take 1 hour before sleep and one hour from waking to hitting the trail without allowing for any work by the Medics.

           As you can see if you want to finish this race you won,t be able to spend much time chatting.
           You should have special checkpoint kit bag containing : soap,shampoo,foot powder,towel,blister kit,tooth brush/paste.alarm clock, (pen, paper,tape for putting a please wake me at ??? time on bunk/dorm door) regular medication,body glide,sarong ,flip flops/slippers. If you have these all in one bag you can cut the time faffing about and shower fast so you don't wast time. Every minute you waste in the CP will cost you time. You have to be organised!!!
           Get as much information from the race staff as you can about  your next section of trail. Knowing you will face 1km of bog followed by several km of dry flagstones will alter your choice of kit.
         As you get more tired you will have to carry more kit as your slower paced body will generate less heat. Re think what you carry at every CP. Double check that you have not forgotten any vital bit of kit before you go out of the door. As Garry Morrison says” plan your kit for the worst case scenario.”

      Take full advantage of the training courses organised by the Spine Recommended trainers
       I  predict  at some time you will get lost trying to locate The CP’s.   Re locating  the Pennine Way when you have just left a  CP can be surprisingly difficult as well.
   I know of one runner who departed CP4 Alston and blindly followed his GPS for 1km heading back towards Edale before he realized his mistake! ( Update ---this happens every year!)
     You will get lost when you drop your concentration, thinking you are on the obvious path. Having missed a small turn off. It is at this point that your GPS batteries will run flat. (Have you ever tried to change your GPS batteries with gloves on ? you may have to).
     Once you have lost the  trail you will have to make the decision between back tracking and trying to go cross country back to the trail.(at night it is usually safer to back track as you may end up climbing barbed wire and ripping holes in your shell layers)
                              Signposts are few and far between so can't be relied upon even if you spot them.
                              Some of the most tricky navigation is on low level farm land. The trail is often obscured by farm livestock tracks. Your GPS won,t be accurate enough to indicate which side of a barbed wire fence you should be on and the Harvey.s maps don,t give wire fence detail. Its not unusual to find yourself following the tracks of earlier runners who then had to climb several fences to get back on trail.

     Surprisingly you can improve your navigation skills during the race.

         Here’s how: Early on during day unconfident navigators will probably find themselves  tagging along  in a  large group with a confident  navigator in the lead.
          Now is your chance to   passively navigate by following the  groups progress on your own map (try to always know where the group is on your own map and look ahead to predict what features are coming up on the trail). This  self training will pay dividends later in the race and having someone crosschecking the lead navigator will help the groups progress.
                      It’s a little appreciated fact that the act of navigation will slow your pace.
                      At times it’s how fast you can navigate that dictates your speed. It’s not just about making mistakes. You will  find your brain slows up as the  long term sleep deprivation takes it’s toll. You will keep losing your location on the map or perhaps  keep hitting the wrong key on your GPS.

                     I would strongly advise everyone not to rely on their GPS . The Spine will put a strain on all your gear and your GPS (despite the manufactures claims of its toughness) has a good chance of breaking especially if you have it out and use it most of the time. Never change the batteries of your GPS if there is a chance of the innards of the GPS getting wet. Many GPS units have moisture sensitive parts located under the Batteries
       The other problem with the GPS is you focus your whole world on that little screen. It’s easy to become over insular then start thinking about what’s  hurting and” what the hell am I doing this race for anyway!”. Map and compass navigation forces you to look outward and  forward  keeping your brain occupied with more useful thoughts..
        My interest in navigating is one of the key  psychological tools I use to complete Ultras.
       I don’t think I would have had the willpower to  finish the 2013 Spine if it had been clearly marked .        ( I recently DNF’t  the 2013 -- Winter 100 at 75 miles due mainly to sheer boredom!)
       The Spine Kit List talks about the Harveys 1:40K waterproof maps. These are ok most of the time but they don't show all field fences and walls . You will spend many hours at night in low level farm land and knowing which side of a fence you should be on will save you from clambering over walls and barbed wire fences.   A better option is the OS Adventure map books of the pennine way (Available from :Dash 4 it).This has all the mapping in two  books at 1:25k scale however it is not waterproof so you need a good map case.

    Unless the course is frozen large distances of the Pennine Way pass through Bogs. You need to adapt your pace to prevent the bog from sapping all your energy. Having big feet helps.
    Before the race you need to do training over boggy ground.
    I goes without saying that for some reason you will encounter most of the Pennine Way Bogs at night and in fog!

 Making progress in  deep snow is energy sapping  . It really helps running with others so you can take turns breaking the trail. Any snow deeper than knee deep will be impassable without poles.
         You will often find the ground below the snow is wet so your feet will get soaked in compacted slush. Without gaiters this slush will build up into blocks of ice attached to your lower leg (this is no fun at all , just ask Brian Mullen). Balls of ice will also form on the end of your running poles. To make progress you will have to keep beating your feet against fence posts to smash off the ice.
           In 2013 we had strong dry wind with dry drifting snow. On the higher exposed ground the trail became invisible for several hundred meters at a time . The tracks of the runners in front of you became obscured in seconds. It is at times like this that working with a partner (one on map and one on GPS really helps)
       Night running in snow with a LED head torch  gives you very little depth of vision. Reflection from the snow removes the shadows of trail undulations .
         It can help to run with the torch strapped  to your hand to increase the contrast of the ground you are about to pass over.  I some times ran with two torches. ( The one on my head at low power.)
        A thin dusting of snow can sometimes help you to move faster in the latter stages of the race . By then the soles of your feet will probably   become  tender and the cushioning of the snow lessens the impact of each foot fall.
        The other advantage of snow is the fun you can get examining others tracks. Not only can you use the runner in front of you as a  remote navigator (provided he is not lost) but it will while away the hours.
        If the snow gets deeper than waist deep you will have to crawl over the surface . Use your poles flat on the surface to spread the weight of your upper body.
       You will soon learn how to gauge the  depth of the snow by how much heather is protruding.
      In some places on the course the trail of the Pennine Way is made of flagstones which are sunk below the surrounding ground . Snow collects in this trench and you will have to probe with your poles to allow  you to make better progress  in the shallower snow just along side the trail.
         A thin dusting of snow is all it takes to obliterate virtually all the PW trail markings.

                      Fog/Low Cloud
      Taking your head torch off your head and pointing it by hand will give you better vision of the trail in front of your feet.

                  Race Plan  
              Try not to get into a race on day one or two. It’s during the first two days that you will sew any seeds of a later DNF by damaging your body. Spine Racers will probably get dragged along by challenger runners. Having talked to Mark Brooks (2012 Challenger winner) I know he said that   quite apart from feeling knackered by really pushing the pace over 105miles , his feet were wrecked and he would not have been able to go any further.
        Any runner doing the full Spine  should try to think of the first 150 miles as a training event for the second half.
       The Challenger runners can afford to damage themselves and run their reserves down to some extent  .  Anyone who completes the full Spine will probably have used 5 times the physical and mental energy than the Challenger runners by the time they reach the finish line.
         Challenger Runners should not underestimate the task before them. Yours is probably the second hardest race in the UK . Expect a finishing time perhaps 50% longer than that of the Lakeland 100.
          Because you can count on the weather being unpredictable you will have to remain as flexible as possible with your plan . The ability to adapt to what the race throws at you is what will get you to the finish line.
            Accept the fact that your body will be damaged by the end of the race and your mind will probably never be the same again.

              Get really comfortable with your kit. Know the best order to load your pack.
              Practice how fast you can drop your pack ,take out your spare thermal layer and put it on under your waterproof then get moving again. An exposed ridge in driving rain is the wrong time to discover the zip is really difficult to re-thread!
           Listen To Your Body ----The Spine Race is not an event where the phrase :”Man Up And Push On “ always works.
          Damage limitation is the only way to cover 268miles ,you have to run smart.

           If you find yourself muttering about "Digging Deep" as you head up hill beware! The hole you are digging will be deepest when you reach high ground. Once on the high ground you will be exposed to the full force of the elements. It's on the high ground that you will need reserves of energy,  if you used up all your energy on the climb then you will be in trouble.
           This is one critical difference between The Spine Race and a normal Mountain Ultra. The flatish high level trails on the Spine will give you little respite.

          Right from the start try to get really good at changing layering so your body temperature is under your control. Avoid sweating as damp clothing will not keep you as warm if you slow up or have to stop for any reason. The climb up to Kinder Scout is very exposed but if you look ahead for Photographers and MST they will be lurking in the more sheltered spots where you could change gear.
            Forming a team by running with others.
            Some runners will run with friends right from the start. Unless you know each other really well this is difficult to do as you may well be miss matched . (its something I have never tried)
             Half way through day one large  groups may start to form. Some in the group will be tempted to run over pace through fear of being alone and navigating solo as the first night approaches.
            The over paced runners will be doing themselves no favours and might not realise  that another  group runner  is in exactly  the same situation . If you are not happy with the pace :speak out and announce that you are dropping back (It is more than possible that another runner from the group will join you.
            Some of us are quite happy to run solo. Others especially if they are not confident about their Navigation will tag along with others.
           Most of us  mid to tail end runners will spend much of the race running with others. The company helps pass the time  especially during hours of darkness and sharing navigation and planning helps.  You must be comfortable with each others pace and sleep/walk /rest cycle.
            Navigation duties can be divided up : Map and compass navigation.
                                                                        GPS monitor to cross check .
                                                                         Path finder (the one with the best night vision) who's role is to scan ahead and work out the best rout through a boulder field or bog.
           My night vision is terrible and I wear specs so I particularly value a path finders help. 
           Don’t be tempted keep up with a naturally faster runner because you don’t trust your own navigation.
            Running with others brings certain obligations . The slower runner must take action if they are slowing up the faster runner.    Most fast runners,  because of what I call : "The Way Of The Spine "won,t be able to just take off and leave you.
            Perhaps the best balanced group is one with a slow good navigator leading a group of stronger runners who are less confident.
           One Thing You Can Count On Is That All The Runners Really Look Out For Each Other
           We all run with each others safety as out top priority.
            Running with a partner for several days.

           You could be running with a partner  for several days together forming a very strong bond. It is not unusual to swear to stick together till "the finish line do us part."=====     BUT -Remember the Spine is a long and unpredictable race.
           One of you may be forced to drop out. It is important to discuss how you will both handle this scenario  if it happens. Talk about it because it will be up to the runner pulling out to give their partner permission to carry on without them.  The stronger  runner will feel  uncomfortable  about breaking the team and possibly sacrifice their own race if they have to make the call about splitting a partnership. Both of you could end  making a bad possibly dangerous  decision.
            Don’t be surprised if you can’t get on with another runner .  The sleep deprivation will  make you very intolerant of others habits and foibles. Tensions can also build up if one team member faffs about at checkpoints when the rest of the team is ready to hit the trail.
           A solo runner joining up with a team that has been together for some days will  often find it difficult to become part of a tight established  team.
            Probably the worst case scenario is that of a good fast navigator with   a weaker runner ( who is afraid of running alone ) desperately trying to keep up.
            It  pays to be improve your navigation so you can run your own race.
            To finish the The Spine Race you will have to use all your mental resources mush more than your physical resources . This is a subject that is covered better than me  by Andy Mouncey  in his blog Cracking The Spine crackingthespine2014.blogspot.com/‎ It is well worth a read.



                 I won't go into to much detail on this subject as it has been covered by many others.
                 There is plenty of advice on fast carbs, slow carbs , Protein balance and calorific intake.
                 Most of the studies done on long  ultras are on 100 mile races. The Spine yet again is different.
                The bottom line is: You need  to pack food that you can take in rather than what  the  food studies  say you should be eating.
                 Hydration is easy to skimp on in cold conditions. Keep Drinking.
                 You will need to eat a vast amount  to get your body to the finish line. The rate of energy drain from your body used by just staying warm will have a major impact. Think about how hungry you felt the day,s after your last long Ultra. Build up your rate of consumption as the race progresses.
                Figures of 10,000 cals per day have been mentioned. (Your day could be over 24 hrs of continuous energy demand)

                  On a race this long very few of us can deal with energy jells for long. You need solid real food.
                  Pig out as much as you can at checkpoints . Stop at cafe's ,Pubs  for meals and shops for whatever you fancy.
                   I know some competitors cooked up hot meals whilst on the trail.( This is something I will try in 2015)On the plus side you will probably get your food faster than in a pub and your pack is open all hours. On the minus side you may get chilled and it will split up a group of runners .
                  If you intend to cook out on the trail when not actually camping I would suggest you pack an ultralight disposable foil jacket with a foil hood so you don,t get chilled when brewing up. This is the sort of gear they issue at the end of marathons if you look chilled . With care they can be scrunched up and used again. It will be worth practicing eating hot rehydrated food while you walk. (can you squeeze the food into your mouth or do you need a fork?) . If you can eat while walking you will stay warmer and gain ground.
                   It may well be worth pre packing ziplock bags of snack food for each phase of the race( most of us find that we crave  savoury food  . If you can get some thing down your neck at 15 min intervals you won,t go far wrong but in practice you won,t do this.
       Personally the only high tec food I can tolerate are Cliff Shot Blocks.(you need to drink with them)

       Shot blocks have several advantages : They can be opened with a Mitted hand and teeth.
                                                                    They are mess free so the wrapper can be stowed.
                                                                    They come in small bight sized portions.
                                                                    They can be shared with a flagging partner.
                                                                    They look and taste like Chivvers jelly blocks.

                   The rest of my portable diet consisted of : 9 bars , Mule Bars ,Salami, Cheese, Nuts,Pies , Jacket Potato,Pasties ,Chips and anything any one was foolish enough to offer me.

       One good  Mountain Food Trick worth trying is the :Warm Jacket Potato Recipe

  1.     Take a large uncooked potato and bore a hole half way into its centre with an apple corer or knife .
  2.     Insert 1/2 a crumbled stock cube into the hole and plug with the removed core.
  3.     Microwave until almost cooked ( about 10 mins).
  4.     Take from microwave and wrap in foil then a polythene sealed bag.
  5.     Wrap the bag in your down Jacket and put the whole thing back into your pack.
  6.     Now the best bit ---6 Hrs later take out the still warm potato .
  7.     Use the potato to warm your frozen hands 
  8.     Bight into  it and discover the salty stock cube has spread through the centre of the potato so you can choose how salty you like it by the depth you bight.
  9.     Smile the cold long night is not so bad after all  and you are gonna make it to the finish!

    I hope I have not totally pissed of the checkpoint kitchen staff manning the microwave if you all go for this but believe me its worth trying out.
          Cooking Food If You Have To Camp Out.
                After years of experimenting in Mountain Marathons I find The Expedition Foods high cal range of dehydrated food taste's best. They are easy to use and you eat them straight out of the packet.
For a cheaper fast hot food option Morrisons A H Couscous makes a simple snack. (The bag it comes in is not waterproof). For drinks search for non diet one shot hot drinks in the supermarket
                 Remember if you plan to cook at CP 1.5 you will need replacement dehydrated  food  supplies  in your drop bag.
                 In 2013 I consumed at CP1.5 :    A bowl of noodles from the cp tent.
                                                                      E Foods main meal x 2
                                                                      E Foods  rice pudding
                                                                      3 nine bars
                                                                      E Foods  Porridge
                                                                       3 mugs of one shot Horlics
                                I told you I was a pig !
                       The food  part of the Blog feels a bit thin so I would welcome input from other Spine Vets  and anyone with local knowledge . I would also like to publish  the Grid Refs of suitable Cafe's ,Pubs and shops so competitors can put the in their GPS's

    Start ---CP1:         Pub at SD 969179---( Probably dusk on day 1 , and aprox 18 k from CP1)
     CP1----CP2          Pub at Lothersdale
     CP1----CP2          Pubs in Malham.
     CP1---CP2:          Cafe at gift shop SD978779 -- (slight detour off trail but worth it)
     CP1---CP2:          Co op  Gargrave    SD 933542------( at dusk day 2) and The Swan Pub.
     CP1.5:----             John's Noodle Bar SD 895660 ( good overnight stop with hot drinks)

               Updated Thoughts After Finishing Again In 2014.

Looking back at the 2014 race I did actually preform better. This however was nothing to do with actually running faster but more due to better decision making.
               The plain truth is that I probably spent only 10% of the time on my feet actually running!

               So how could I go even faster in 2015?  The answer is obvious but I don,t really want to face the truth. I need to concentrate my physical training efforts on that 90% of the time that I am walking.

Now for the  2015 Training Plan  :  I am lucky that I live only 6 miles from my work.
                                                         My rout to work is 90% fields, woods and footpaths.
                                                         I can take exactly the same rout each time I go to work on foot.
                                                         What I plan to do is try to reduce the time it takes me to get to work
           Now The Catch----------------I will only walk and march.
           The aim of this exercise is to increase my walking pace.

If I can walk 11% faster this will have the same result as me running for twice as long during the Race. 
                     The real bonus is that by walking I will use less energy

 Exactly how you train yourself to walk faster and burn less energy I have no idea. That's what my 6 mile commute should show me.
                    I know it can be done as I came across a competitor in the 2013 Winter 100 who despite being much shorter than me could maintain a fast walk at my trotting pace . Her job was as a professional  Dog Walker and she used her work time to train herself to walk faster.
                   I know all you ultra runners reading this Blog won,t be able to stop yourself running. I have the same trouble myself but you really need to work hard at your walking. Think back to some time during one of your ultra,s when another competitor walked past you. I bet it hurt your moral
                    Train yourself to be a fast efficient walker and you will make that finish line sooner!


1 comment:

  1. Hi Ian,

    Many thanks for posting this series of blogs about the Spine. I've picked up quite a few tips from them and as I'm not the most organised person in the world it has helped me to focus on a few issues I had not thought about.:) Cheers