Tomorrow night’s Lurdunum race is not a long one, at least according to what has so far been revealed. The route is expected to be something around 22 to 25km but with a bunch of climbing. It should be run on roads and paths inside the city, so it’s not really a trail run. But besides these basics, I and everyone else involved know precious little about what to expect.

As a result, preparing for race is a little bit different than it otherwise might be for a course I know something more about.

When I ran the Lyon Half Marathon back in October 2015 the only thing I was tossing up before the race was exactly how cold it was going to be. I had a jacket that would keep me nice and warm if the cold and rain kicked up, but it would make for a sweaty run if the rain held off. In the end I decided to go with arm warmers and a short sleeve technical t-shirt up top, and three-quarter tights on the bottom. I was a little cold at the start, but got warmed up quickly and delivered what turned out to be a perfect race.

For the Ploeren 12 Hour race I had weeks to plan my race day gear, my nutrition, and my hydration. I packed a bag, I had backups of everything, and I was prepared for cold, warm, wet, and dry weather – and pretty much everything else that might be thrown my way.

For this race, though, I don’t really know what to expect. And, as I am carrying everything with me on the run, I don’t really want to be carrying spares with me up the many staircases I suspect will be included on the route.

And so I am going to keep things simple, or at least as simple as I can.


I’m going with three-quarter tights, a Craft  technical t-shirt, and a Kalenji jacket that is good for protecting against the wind and the rain. If it really seems to be cold in the hours before I leave the apartment then I’ll add some gloves and maybe the arm warmers, too. I have a running cap that is light and also wind- and waterproof.


Though I like the Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 3‘s for trails, I think I’ll peg for the Nike Free 5.0‘s as the Kiger’s can get a little slippery on metal surfaces and, in town, there’ll be a fair few metal manhole covers on the paths that might be hard to spot. Better safe that sorry. The socks will be nothing special (Arpenaz 50 Mids) and I’ll use the Kanergy compression sleeves on my calves, too.


The race organizers have suggested bringing along a light, and my Petzl Tikka RXP headlamp will do the job perfectly. I’ll be leaving the iPod Shuffle behind on this run to make sure I am paying full attention to the course. I will take my Samsung Galaxy S5 in the sweat-proof pocket of my pack, though, to let Cécile track me – she does worry so.


I bought the Camelbak Circuit last year and I haven’t had any issues with it at all. I’ve used it for runs up to 50km in training without a problem, and so I’m not worried about it doing the job tomorrow night. It has a bunch of pockets, including a sweat-proof pocket for my phone, and is comfortable to carry.

Hydration and Nutrition

I’m going to keep things simple. The only liquid I’ll be taking with me is water in the backpack. As for food, while I don’t think I’ll need much at all for the distance, I’ll wrap a couple of handfuls of soft candy in foil and try and get one handful down each hour. This has worked for longer runs before, and I will probably be thankful to have some sugar if the run really ends up going for the four or five hours the organizers warn it might. I’ll take a cup of coffee or two in the hours before the run to make sure I have a little caffeine boost for the night ahead.

Even if tomorrow is not really a race – there’s no entry fee, no sign on, and no timed splits – I’m looking forward to this first hit out of the year. At the least it will be good for getting time on my feet in during this ‘getting back into it’ phase of my training, but at best it will be an enormously fun hit out in a city I love with a group of other passionate runners.

Bring it on!

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