After previous ultra runs I’ve laid out some of the lessons I have learnt – see here and here, for example.

After this weekends run on the Thames Path, I thought I would do the same again and highlight what I got right and what I got wrong.

Things I Got Right:

  • I chose the right trail. The Thames Path is a flat, interesting, and accessible trail in a country where I speak the language and where there are lots of places to stop, refresh, take a pit stop, eat lunch, or – if anything really went wrong – get home without too many issues. I had fun on the trail and running by the river meant I was able to see interesting things throughout the day. I can’t recommend the trail highly enough – if you haven’t run it, do it.
  • Clothing. Count this as a mostly right: I was a little cold when I stopped moving at various points, but when I was running it was fine. There was only very light rain near the start so a jacket would have meant overheating, and a buff was enough to keep my throat warm. Three-quarter tights, compression sleeves for my calves, and a technical trail t-shirt were all I needed for this time of year.
  • Footwear. The Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 3’s are great and my only regret is that it is getting increasingly difficult to find a pair in my size.
  • Post-Run Recovery. I ate well, I drank a lot of water and electrolytes, and I slept well. I wore the compression sleeves to dinner and to bed and I think this helped my legs feel better…or maybe it was all in my head. In any case, I was walking with only minor discomfort the next morning and feeling better than after the last ultra.

Things I Cold Have Done Better:

  • Hydration. It wasn’t a hot day but I still think I didn’t drink enough. I don’t say this because I didn’t urinate along the way – I did, twice – and again shortly after finishing the run, too. But all up I think I went through less than four liters of water in eight-and-a-half hours and that’s probably not enough to be healthy. I did drink a Coke along the way, too, but even this didn’t really do a lot to help with hydration. For the Saintelyon I’ll need to keep an eye on this and drink more regularly.
  • Nutrition. I ate candy. I should have had something a little more whole and natural but candy is easy and I know I can handle it. My stomach protested a little in the final 15 kilometers but not so bad that I felt really sick, but nonetheless it gets a little boring after a while and I was craving something salty instead of something sweet.

Goals Going Forward:

The Saintelyon is a definite target now and I think I can target a nice, sub-9 hour time, too. Yes, there’s climbing and it is at night, but I think I can manage both and if I start hitting hills in training and slim down a couple of kilograms more I’ll be confident of turning in a good time. I think I have my pacing down for the distance – 6:00 kilometer splits early on and then maybe a little faster in the end now that I am sure I am capable of turning the legs over quickly past the 60K point – and I know I can run that far without blowing up.

I’m not sure I will run the 100K in the Somme next month as it might be too much, but I will decide by the weekend. It could be nice to get another long run in before December and I’ve never run 100K before so it would be a fun new experience, too.

%d bloggers like this: