Q&A: Meek But Not Mild - Page 3
How did you break speed sessions down?
You need to target your sessions at the pace you want to achieve and then sometimes faster. I would do some track work running 400s or one-mile reps. We all think: speed, it’s going to hurt. But if you find sessions you enjoy, it makes a big difference. Also try training with others.
So back to the heat chamber, what was day 1 like?
I went in thinking that I would run at “pace” but actually you run at a slow pace so your temperature doesn’t rise too quickly. It feels bearable at the start. [The chamber administrators] monitor the core temperature and mine went too high after 30 minutes so then I had to walk and rest to keep it under control. It’s not physically as hard as you may think. It’s all about core temperature.
By day 3, my resting core had reduced dramatically. It gets easier and easier unless you are a moron like me and fall off the treadmill.
Let's go back to the day 3 of TCC, when you had Veronica Bravo and Julia Bottger ahead of you. Did you think you were losing the race?
When you can’t see the other runners you immediately think you are losing [lots of time]. However, when it is so technical, you can’t think about anything other than what is below your feet and what is ahead. I just had to follow the course markers and cover the ground as best as I could. All the time I was thinking, I just need to get on the flat or get on a good hill and start chasing and pulling time back.
You got through the section and started to chase. You clawed back the time, you caught Julia and Veronica and then on the final beach section in 100-plus-degree heat you pulled away and got another stage win. How did you feel?
The third day was the longest and most emotional day. Even though we still had three days of racing ahead, I had concentrated so much that I was exhausted.
I didn’t want to take anything for granted. I could have fallen and hurt myself and with Veronica and Julia chasing, I couldn’t be complacent. I raced hard to the end.
What are your tips for multi-day racing?
Assess what you as an individual want from the race and then train accordingly. You must have a goal. Do you want to compete or complete? It makes a big difference. If you get your mind it the right place it is half of the battle. Prepare mentally, don’t be scared of the environment.
Have a great understanding of your body and how it recovers. Without doubt eating after exercise within an hour is key, especially for multi-day racing and training. Rest when you get an opportunity; elevate your legs. For sure your feet and ankles will get tired.
Relax, eat, drink and let everything settle. If you can sleep, do so. It provides great recovery. Ultimately, common sense prevails.
TCC and MDS are very different. At MDS you have to be self-sufficient and carry a pack, whereas at TCC tents and food are provided so you can run light. What are the pros and cons of both races and which did you prefer?
That is very tricky. At TCC with food in abundance, you can eat when you want and as much as you want so that makes recovery easy. However, everyone has that option so it’s not a personal advantage, it’s just a different scenario.
At MDS, if you have planned well and your nutrition is optimum and your competition may have not, this can be something you work into a positive. It’s a game of calories versus weight. I like the challenge of the MDS scenario but your running style must change. It depends if you prefer faster racing or a more expedition type of approach.
Between MDS and TCC, which race was the hardest?
The Coastal Challenge—the course has everything, ascending and descending. The damage it did to my legs was far greater than the MDS. I found the MDS was harder from a food perspective, it took me four to five weeks post MDS to put the weight back on. The Coastal Challenge course tests the body and mind and the continual changes of terrain keep you guessing and working hard.
Ian Corless is a creative director and host of an ultrarunning podcast called Talk Ultra, available every two weeks 'for free' on iTunes and talkultra.com. In addition to this, Ian is a photographer, writer, reviewer and blogger at iancorless.com. Ian is currently travelling the world capturing stories from some of the most iconic ultras on the planet.