Thursday, 6 September 2012

I'm going to run 90 miles in 3 days? Really?

In two weeks time, I will be packing my kitbags and getting ready for the start of my furthest event yet - the Toad Challenge. It's a 3 day run (or walk!) along the Thames Path from Oxford to Walton-on-Thames, and covers a distance of 90 miles, with each overnight stay spent in a school hall in a sleeping bag.  There will be about 80 of us taking part, and although it should be pretty straight forward (follow the river!) we do need to navigate the route.

It's fair to say I'm nervous - although I was scared about the 50 miler (which of course turned out well) this is going to be another totally different experience, and it's a trip into the unknown as I've never done a multi-day event before so really don't know how my body is going to cope. However, although I'm apprehensive, I'm positive that I will finish because I know that's my only option - I have to prove to myself that I can. If at this stage I couldn't do three flat stages along a river, I would lose all and any confidence that I have about being ready for the 10in10 by May next year!  However, as yet I really don't know how much I will end up running or walking, and haven't decided whether I'm going to aim for any particular finish-times.  I think I will see how my running goes over the next couple of weeks, and decide nearer the time but it's likely that finishing will be my only goal.

So, I have the sleeping bag, I think the kit, hopefully I've got the legs for it...all that's left is to actually do it! 
I was chatting the other day to Traviss Willcox, ultra-marathoner extraordinaire (he ran 114 marathons in 2011 alone) and he's run a couple of days of the Toad Challenge too. He emailed me some very useful advise about multi-day running, which I have copied for you below.  

Traviss also made two comments which weren't in his top 5 tips, but I thought were great and I will remember them both: carry some money with you as ice creams can be very tempting on a warm day and 75% of it is in the mind (at least), the most important thing is to wake up and think, "this is what I shall do today"

Top 5 Tips: Multi-day racing advise from Traviss Willcox

1) Make sure you get some protein in as quick as you can after the day's run. I prefer powders with creatine and HMB...but anything will do.

2) Wear more than one pair of shoes, my feet swell a little bit so I have day one trainers and day two trainers half a size or size bigger. Helps with blisters...and if your feet get soaked on day one, can be a right pain to get them dry by day two. 

3) Eat a bit more than you think you need and you need more than you think! If you eat too much probably the worst that happens is you feel a bit sick and throw up, if you eat too little you'll keel over and all sorts of trouble can ensue. Same with fluids, drink plenty...and electrolytes, salt...take plenty of stuff on board

4) Make friends with ibuprofen...and take them before soreness or pain gets bad as they'll likely prevent damage as well as mask the pain. Just make sure you eat something with them, even a jelly baby will do, they can be harsh on an empty stomach.

5) If you get a problem, fix it. With a marathon, you can do the last 5 miles with a stone in your shoe, 10 miles with a blister you know is forming etc. When you've got to do it again tomorrow you'd best sort it out straightaway or you'll regret it in the morning, nobody cares about times....

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