Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Preparing for Sinister 7 2013

Weather you are a relay runner or soloist getting ready for next weekends Sinister 7 you will want to dial things back and focus on relaxation and rest and aim to keep your race planning as simple as possible, the keys things being apparel, shoes and your hydration system. Your apparel needs to be light and provide ventilation and your shoes need to be comfortable and match the conditions of the day and your hydration system needs to match your volume needs and be comfortable.

As well be sure to carry your mandatory gear regardless of how you are feeling or current weather conditions as things can change quickly in a mountain trail ultra.
  • Headlamp w/ new batteries (must be carried after 8pm)
  • Toque or warm hat
  • Full water bottle or hydration pack
  • Wind/water resistant jacket
  • Timing Chip (assigned at registration)
  • Whistle
  • Space blanket
  • Race number (assigned at registration) 
Mental Game
The mental game is huge at this point. If you can focus on the positive and turn any set backs into positives you will be so far ahead come race day you cannot imagine. Focus on the positive completion of your leg or race and use every set back along the way as a reminder of how hard you have worked and nothing stands in your way.

Once your run begins take each moment as it comes and stay in the moment not focusing on the outcome and your event will be enjoyable the entire way. Once you focus on the outcome that is when things become overwhelming.

There will be moments of weakness and fatigue but if you slow the pace and focus on working through the period will pass and you will rebound in time. The disappointment of stepping off the trail is far harder at the end of the day than working through a rough patch and waiting for your energy to return.
Training
In terms of training, the big thing is to arrive at the start line well rested, relaxed ready to run. If you are feeling the need for one more long run I would suggest this Wednesday June 26th would be your last opportunity at which point you would look to reduce your training load.

June 24th - 30th
  • Monday - Regular training
  • Tuesday - Regular training
  • Wednesday - Regular training or last long run depending on how well your training progressed
  • Thursday - Regular training
  • Friday - Regular training
  • Saturday - Regular training
  • Sunday - Regular training
July 1st - 7th
  • Monday - Regular training
  • Tuesday - Regular training
  • Wednesday - 15 to 30min easy run on soft terrain
  • Thursday - 15 to 30min easy run on soft terrain
  • Friday - 15 to 30min easy run on soft terrain
  • Saturday - Race day
  • Sunday - 15 to 30min easy run or bike
  • Monday - 15 to 30min easy run or bike
Continue to complete easy runs each day and make all your plans early in the week in terms of what you are going to wear and what you are going to use for nutrition and having everything set out ready to go.

Race Basics
If you listen to your body and remove expectations you will have a wonderful day on the trail following these basic rules of ultra running;
  • Pace by feel
  • Drink when thirsty
  • Eat when hungry
 
Nutrition
With the above basic rules in mind and your equipment sorted out your last consideration is your race nutrition. Basically you want to focus on drinking based on thirst, your body will notify you when you need more water and then based on the following guidelines plan out your nutrition strategy.

Pre-Race Hydration
There is no need to over do pre-race hydration simply drink your normal levels of water, otherwise you will feel bloated and lethargic for the start of the race.

Hydration
You will need 150ml of your preferred sports drink every 15mins or 600ml per hour
Your sports drink will provide electrolytes and a portion of your needed carbohydrates

Carbohydrates
You will need 15grams of carbohydrates every 15mins or 60grams per hour
In addition to the carbohydrates you receive from your sports drink you will need to supplement this with gels, bars, cubes or real food.

No difference in absorption rate for bars, gels and fluids
o   you can mix and match to find what your stomach tolerates best

 You can consume food like soups, potatoes but keep to the rule of 15
o   do not consume more than 15 grams of carbs in 15 minutes
o   do not come into transition and sit down and consume a pizza
o   have the pizza cut up into small pieces and consume in small portions

Start right from the start utilizing the rule of 15
o   start 15 minutes into the race and continue to the end 
 
Aid Stations
This is the layout of the aid stations for each leg of Sinister 7 with distances for each leg and distances to the next aid station or transition. (the distances listed below are based on last years course these may be adjusted based on course conditions due to the current challenges with the flooding)

Leg 1 Total: 15.5km total distance of leg
o   First Water: 9km to first aid station
o   Transition: 4.5km to transition area where you have access to water 

 Leg 2 Total: 16km total distance of leg
o   First Water: 10km to first aid station
o   Transition: 6km to transition area where you have access to water

Leg 3 Total: 35km
o   First Water: 6.5km to first aid station
o   Next Water: 10km to second aid station
o   Next Water: 6.5km to third aid station
o   Transition: 12km to transition area where you have access to water

Leg 4 total: 32km
o   First Water: 5km to first aid station
o   Next Water: 5km to second aid station
o   Next Water: 7.5km to third aid station
o   Transition: 14.5km to transition area where you have access to water

Leg 5 Total: 22.7km total distance of leg
o   First Water: 12km to first aid station
o   Transition: 10.7km to transition area where you have access to water

Leg 6 Total: 13.8km total distance of leg
o   First Water: 9km to first aid station
o   Transition: 4.8km to transition area where you have access to water

Leg 7 Total: 12.8km total distance of leg
o   First Water: 6km to first aid station
o   Transition: 6.8km to transition area where you have access to water

List of what is available at the race aid stations.
With this many aid stations available to refill your water bottles or hydration bladders you can reduce the amount of water you carry whereby reducing the weight you carry. For example if it is 10km between aid stations and you plan on taking one hour to reach that aid station you would really only need to carry 600ml's of water before you can refill your bottle.

If you have a special sports drink, you can keep extra sports drink in a small baggie and use to refill your water bottle at each of the aid stations.

By doing this you can reduce the amount of fluids you carry and focus on carrying the amount of gels and bars that you will need maintaining your 15grams of carbohydrates every 15minutes.
 
Carbohydrates
Simply look at the carb content of your favorite sports drink, gels and bars and then mix and match based on your requirements, i.e. for a two hour leg you would need 60grams of carbs from your sports drink or 30grams of carbs from your sports drink and 30grams from your gels and or bars.

The take home message is not so much what you use as fuel but how you consume that fuel and if you can take small sips, small bites and start early you will stay well stocked and energy levels will remain even throughout your event. 
Shoe Choice
Your shoe choice will depend solely on the weather, if it is wet you will need a trail shoe with some bite, it can get slippery. If it is dry and hard packed you will want a fairly non-aggressive tread patterned trail shoe or road shoe.

Overheating
If you feel you are overheating and are starting to feel the effects of your effort your body is giving you cues that your pace is too fast based on terrain, heat and other factors, your best course of action is too slow the pace, drink based on thirst and with time you will start to feel better and will be able to slowly increase your pace again.

A Few Extras
Here are a few things that can make the race easier;
  • Lube, use sports slick or body glide in areas of friction.
  • Have a small tub in transition with face clothes to wipe away sweat and dirt.
  • Have a cooler of ice in transition to use in water bottles and face clothes and to take with you to keep you cool.
  • Do not sit down in transition, always keep moving and ask your support crew to walk with you if needed.
  • Have spare singlet, short sleeve, long sleeve so you can adjust based on temperatures.
  • Have spare shoes with tread options so you can adjust based on weather and trail conditions.
  • Lastly all those other items already outlined in the S7 racer package.
Good luck at Sinister 7 and if you have any questions stop by the shop or send me an email and we can guide you in the right direction.