I had the pleasure of meeting Kris Duffy while running some miles together during the Himalayan Stage Race in India several years ago. Kris is based in the UK, and while he has since had a child with his girlfriend, he’s managed to keep up with training and adventuring. Here’s his guest blog about his experience recently running the TransAlps stage race:
Race report – 2012 Gore-Tex Transalpine (approx 8 marathons, 8 days, 15,000 meters of vertical climb)
Residing in London, I trained hard for this race across the Austrian/ Italian Alps. I trained mainly on roads but often on weekends I would run over sections of the rocky/ rolling UK coastlines. Having successfully completed this race with my girlfriend as a mixed team (14th place – yay!) a few things I have learnt about stage racing:
– It’s not just about your running training. Clearly you need to be running fit, however after day 6 of 8, overall 40% of teams had left the race because of strain on their skeletal system, four broken feet, hurt knees and one broken leg, these injuries I should point out were not from falling, simply from pressure of running downhill for long sections on mountain terrain. I think there is a lot of discipline required, particularly in men, to take it easy in the opening stages, don’t go out fast thus reducing pressures on the body. Women and the mixed teams did far better overall than the men’s teams probably the same way women are better ultra runners – they run smart – it’s a long race and everything comes to those who wait! Overall body conditioning and strength training would be advisable.
– Sleep and food are so incredibly important. I am Vegan and my best day was after eating a very high protein dinner and getting an earl night, the body is easy to break, but incredible at repairing its self overnight given the right opportunities
– Real food is better than gels and sugar/ sweeteners (in gels and electrolytes)
– Always mix in with other nationalities – I always find Americans great to run with, they are always cheery! but most of all you have much more interesting sweets and snacks than in the UK!! – and I do love sharing food! What better reason is there to run than to meet friends, eat and enjoy the great outdoors!