Final Thoughts Before The West Highland Way Race

When I signed up for the race it seemed so far away. My place was confirmed in December and now the race is this Saturday!

My training has gone well, but not as well as I feel the build up to The Calderdale Way Ultra last year (2016 ā€“ Run Ultra) went. Last year I trained on the route so knew it inside out and got up to a 35+ miles long run in training. I also experimented with food and planned exactly when and what I should eat.

This year has been slightly different due to work and other commitments. I have put in the miles; running back to back to back 100+ mile weeks, running everyday since 12 November and averaging around 76 miles a week for 2017. My longest training run was ‘only’ 30 miles . This concerns me. I see people regularly run further in 100 mile training or, more importantly, spend a long time on their feet in one outing (6+ hours).

Instead of these regular long runs I have used back to back race days (Triple Race Week). I need to have faith in my training. I spent a long time slowly building fitness up through the winter, worked hard in the gym to increase my strength, have finished tough AL fell races and raced at every opportunity to get running hard on tired legs.

From listening to the West Highland Way Race podcast and speaking to other ultra runners, the main things I am going to focus on during the race are:

  • Pace – DO NOT go out to hard!! If it feels easy at the start you can probably go a bit easier, this will pay dividends in the later stages of the race
  • Hydration – Drink water & electrolytes early and often
  • Food – Same as above. Make sure I am eating at least every hour and make sure my support crew know this
  • Mental – Stay positive. Any low points you will come out of. I WILL make it to Fort William, there cannot be a doubt in my mind.

One other thing concerning me is injuries. There has been a niggle in my foot (self diagnosed plantar fasciitis) and although I can train it can be painful and especially sore in the mornings. Also, more recently I have started getting a pain at the top of my right Achillies. Again it is not bad enough to stop me running but has been very sore after racing. I am hoping the forced early taper will allow enough time for me to heal up, I know I am going to have to manage this on race day. Any niggles could become problematic over 95 miles. I have bought some Rocktape and hope this will be of some help.

I’m really not sure what I’m going to eat. Last year I spent a lot of time experimenting with food and had a plan of what and when to eat. I have gone off gels but will be bringing some with me. On all my long training runs I have only brought water with me and on long races simply used a bit of dried fruit for a sugar boost. I’ll bring a bit of everything and see how we go. I guess people who plan these things to a tee probably end up craving the one thing you don’t bring!

This is my first big ultra race and a pile of stuff has been accumulating in the spare room for a couple weeks. As a novice I will not know exactly what I need as not sure how my race will go, but through reading up on what people usually take I am hoping I have everything. Better to have something and not need it then need it in the middle of nowhere!

Big thanks to Dan & Charlotte agreeing to be my support for the race. I am so grateful of them agreeing to come up with me. It is a big job for them not just me! Dan even took my itinerary and condensed it down into his own spreadsheet and is happy to be the designated driver for the trip. Charlotte took a bit of time to come round to the idea but said she is looking forward to it now…

Thanks to Pritesh at Garmin for the loan of a Garmin 920XT for the race. Great bit of kit with 40 hours (40!) battery life tracking a run.

I am really looking forward to the race. I don’t want to put any pressure on myself to run a certain time but enjoy the experience (although my support itinerary is based on a 20 hour finish). The plan is to set off steady, eat, drink regularly and get to Fort William!

Thank you to all the support and well wishes.

See you on the other side…

Thanks for reading.

Clark

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Links

To follow my race progress I have signed up for Twitter updates – @clarkhind

On Strava

West Highland Way Race

If you have enjoyed reading, please like, share etc. As always any comments, opinions, corrections always welcome!

 

 

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