21 March 2021

You choose your hard

Completing a race can be fun. It can be. 

Completing a race can also be hard: if you choose to either race hard or a race that IS hard... like a 100 miler.

Remember, you CHOSE this. Remember your choice now. Don't wig out when it gets tough. This is not last time. This is now! 

Pick your strategies to get you through the hard now, a week out. Do you feel like crap? Maybe, but...

  • Can you make the next checkpoint? Sure. ~ Then do it.
  • Can you make the next hill? Sure. ~ Then do it. 
  • Can you walk a kay or two? Sure. ~ Then do it. 

Run slower than you think you need to. Sprinting is great for a 100m or even a 800m race, but not a marathon or a "miler". Take it easy. Run the last 21km hard if you want to... but take it easy to start at the beginning and in the middle (I started my happiest 100 mile race at a full 3 minutes per km slower than my marathon personal best. And then I slowed down some more 😉).

Eat and drink from 15 minutes after you start. You're going to be doing this for 20 to 37 hours... don't bonk! 

Aim to spend a maximum of 2 to 3 minutes at any given check point! Get in, get fueled, get out... you can walk and eat. 

For a 100 miler, pick 2 or 3 aide stations where you'll spend 10-15 minutes "chilling": stretch, rest, get a little more help. Then go. (Remember, you stink... the aide station helpers are too polite to say so 😝😝). For marathon and 50 milers pick one or two aide stations where you'll spend a little more time! Don't dilly dally even though you smell better than the 100 milers! 

Recognize that you're an individual. You will have ups and downs different to others. Unless you're prepared to stick with someone the whole way (and you WILL always go at the pace of the slowest in the group), rather go out by yourself when you feel good. The mood will change and you'll meet some awesome others on the way. 

Just don't stop. 

By now you should trust your gear. I use Balega socks... mostly the blister resist because:

  • they offer great support without being restrictive
  • they are cushioned in the right places so when the ball of my feet hits the ground it is a little softer
  • because they're thicker the dust and little stones that you collect in your shoes don't irritate the skin leading to problems... 
  • they breathe and get water away from the skin - comfy feet = happy runner
Don't skimp on the required gear. This is the mountains. I once went into mountains in the middle of the hottest summer in a decade. I had shorts. Spare clothes equaled a spare pair of shorts, t-shirt, socks, and cheap windbreaker. 1st day was 45 degrees C (113F). Third day was 40C (104F). The middle day in the mountain was what should have led to hypothermia or death... we were very lucky! It was -5C (23F). Don't skimp on the gear. When you're tired you feel the weather even more!

That's it from me... for those doing #AfricasWildestUltra (Addo Elephant Trail Run) next weekend: see you there! For those doing #UltraTrailDrakensburg next month... I'm jealous! 

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