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Sunday, 7 February 2016

Aftermath: My first ultra

I have written down some thoughts on taking on my first ultra (Coastal Trail Series, Dover: ~35miles/55km, 15th of 49 finishers and 65 starters) regarding training for it, food, clothes, what worked well, what went wrong, how to improve, etc. 

I had an awesome experience and a really great day - couldn't have asked for more for my first ultra. I intend to learn from my experience to make the next ultra an even better one...


Training:
I've been training for this event for some months, and I think I was well prepared for the event.
  • Weekly training: I had build up to a weekly base of approx. 90 km including a maximum of 36 km + 16 km back-to-back in weekends. This worked quite well, so I guess the weekly distance was okay for a trail race of this distance.
  • Hills: I had included some hill-work in my training to prepare me for the 1300m of elevation in the race. At least once a week I included 6x to 12x repeats up/down a small hill - some of these repeats as sprinting. This seem to have prepared me well for the hilly course of the ultra trail (+/- 1300m).
  • Weekend hilly trails: Have also included hilly trail runs in weekends. Great to get some hills when already tired on the long-distance runs. 
Overall, even though the hills around where I live, are nothing compared to those in the race, I think they prepared me well for it.







Fuel:
I have been trying to use other stuff to eat than gels and energy bars as I find them quite expensive. I haven't tried gels, but I'm not convinced that I can eat that stuff...
  • Apples: It was so refreshing to bit a juicy apple after the first 30 km. I will definitely include this in the future fuel kit for a long run.
  • Bananas: Always good. 
  • Chocolate bars: Ate half of one. No need to bring as many next time! 2 should do it as a backup.
  • Home-made muesli-bites: Good stuff. Easy to make. Easy to carry in a small plastic bag. Can be a bit dry, so consume with water.
  • Crisps: There were salty crisps at most check points. This is going to be in my pack from now on - good stuff!
  • Jelly Babies: These were also at most check points, and was quite good. To be included.



Clothes and shoes:
I think I managed to put on just the right amount of layers to stay warm for the somewhat 0 degree and windy start and throughout the race. No chafing what so ever. I didn't change/take on/off any clothes besides one of my two buffs at times. My shoes (Salomon Speedcross 3) did the job of giving me a good grip while I could see others slipping and toe-tipping in the muddy path. My running vest (Salomon Advanced Skin 12 Set Trail Running Backpack) was great - no movement at all and no chafing! It held my food and water and most importantly my camera :-)

Best M.

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