I usually find it’s best to not ‘over plan‘ all the little details, as things rarely go as you imagine it will, and it’s easier to roll with the punches when you’ve not set your heart on things going a precise, certain way.
However, it is always nice to get the basics right.
In years gone by, I’ve got this all kinds of wrong. Sometimes due to a lack of experience; other times more down to a lack of money. Here is a basic breakdown of what I’m taking on this trip, and why:
Bivvie – Used this on several adventures now. Not as warm and comfortable as a 1-man tent, but ten times easier, lightweight, and has never let me down in keeping the rain off.
Sleeping bag – Could possibly manage on a 1-season here looking at the forecast, but playing it safe with a light(ish) 2-season. I’ve been agonisingly cold at night one too many times; including mid Summer when the weather has wilfully forsaken me. Not taking any chances this time.
Inflatable pillows – Bought these in Holland a few years ago when I realised the ground wasn’t getting any warmer. Can either keep hips and shoulders off the ground for temperature reasons, or a pillow for comfort reasons.
Safety bits – All the same stuff you’d see in an ultra-marathon mandatory kit list: map, whistle, lights, waterproofs, first aid, emergency food etc…
Phone and chargers – Providing I have no trouble keeping things charged, all the cycling and running over the five days will be uploaded to Strava.
Other stuff – Obviously, I will also need to carry some minimalist spare clothing and basic toiletries. Will also likely need to carry more water than usual, as it’s ironically quite hard to find fresh water near the coast.
Bike – My accomodation at Anglesey Outdoors at the start and finish have kindly agreed to store my bike and cycling bits while I’m off running. Cycling hasn’t really featured much in my training, as in my alarmingly short memory, I seem to recall it being dead easy. I hope I have that right….
Training for an adventure like this is a little different to most (sub-marathon) racing plans. For example, I’m hoping to cover 50+ miles on a couple of the days if I can, but I’d never deliberately run close to that in training. There’s so little to gain from doing it, but would increase the chances of injury during the actual event.
I have, however, practised running in the ‘style‘ and ‘average speed‘ I intend to use, which will include little sections of tactical walking to economise energy. Not every coach would agree with this training philosophy, as it essentially rewards, and therefore promotes the desire to stop running, which is difficult enough to deal with at the best of times, BUT, it also encourages a less capitulated style of walking, as your muscle memory now realises that walking does NOT mean the end.
Bottom line: it’s horses for courses on how best to train for ultra distances.
As you can also see from the images of my running club sessions; I have also been training with clients to maximise core strength and mobility, among the many other conditioning elements, specific to runners.
I would like to raise as much money as possible for my local hospice, the East Cheshire Hospice (justgiving link below).
They do amazing, and sadly essential work for those unfortunate enough with life limiting illnesses, and they need our help for funding every day.
So in memory of all those I have known, who have been at the hospice at one time or another, I’m going to be giving it everything I’ve got next week!