Episode 82 – CRACKNELL EGLOFF MUIR

Ep82

 

Episode 82 of Talk Ultra has James Cracknell talking about the mind of an Olympian, how to succeed at endurance sports and we announce two new projects for 2015. Karl Egloff just set a FKT for Aconcagua, we have a full and in-depth interview. Ruby Muir had a troubled 2014 but turned it around topping the podium at Tararwera. The News, a Blog, Up & Coming Races and in Talk Training we discuss final prep for MDS.

00:10:11 NEWS
 
Ultra Caballo Blanco cancelled! – HERE
 
Aconcagua FKT
Karl Egloff does it. 11:52 – 57-minutes quicker! News here: HERE
00:26:40 INTERVIEW
 
KARL EGLOFF provides us with an in-depth interview about his background and how he became the new record holder for Aconcagua.
Transgrancanaria as the show comes out – Race Preview HERE
01:51:00 BLOG
 
MIKE MURPHY provided a great interview in our last show, he writes here about his hints-n-tips for multi day racing -  HERE
01:56:36 INTERVIEW
 
RUBY MUIR had a tough 2014 with injury but she managed to bounce back with a victory at Tarawera
 
02:29:22 TALK TRAINING
 
RORY COLEMAN talks final prep for MDS
03:03:37 INTERVIEW
 
JAMES CRACKNELL is a double Olympian and an inspiring endurance athlete who has continually pushed to be the best that he can be. He made the top 20 of MDS and then an horrific head injury almost stopped everything… but he is back. We announce James’s next projects…
 
04:16:20 UP & COMING RACES
 

Australia

New South Wales

Wild Women on Top Sydney Coastrek 100 km Team Challenge | 100 kilometers | March 06, 2015 | website

Wild Women on Top Sydney Coastrek 50 km Team Challenge Day: Party All Night | 50 kilometers | March 06, 2015 | website

Wild Women on Top Sydney Coastrek 50 km Team Challenge Day: Sun, Sand, Surf | 50 kilometers | March 06, 2015 | website

Victoria

Maroondah Dam 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | March 15, 2015 | website

Razorback 58K Run | 58 kilometers | March 14, 2015 | website

Razorback 64K Run | 64 kilometers | March 14, 2015 | website

Cambodia

The Wild Elephant Trail | 210 kilometers | March 14, 2015 | website

Canada

British Columbia

Dirty Duo 50 km Ultra | 50 kilometers | March 07, 2015 | website

Yukon

6633 Extreme Winter Ultra Marathon – 120 mile | 120 miles | March 20, 2015 | website

6633 Extreme Winter Ultra Marathon – 350 mile | 350 miles | March 20, 2015 | website

Likeys Ultra 6633 – 120 Mile | 120 miles | March 20, 2015 | website

Likeys Ultra 6633 – 350 Mile | 350 miles | March 20, 2015 | website

France

Gard

Trail aux Etoiles | 58 kilometers | March 07, 2015 | website

Ultra du Bout du Cirque | 100 kilometers | March 07, 2015 | website

Haut-Rhin

Trail du Petit Ballon | 52 kilometers | March 15, 2015 | website

Pas-de-Calais

Trail Bullygeois des Tranchées – 63 km | 63 kilometers | March 15, 2015 | website

Trail Bullygeois des Tranchées – 85 km | 85 kilometers | March 15, 2015 | website

Tarn

Black Mountain Trail – 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 07, 2015 | website

Germany

Bavaria

Chiemsee-Ultramarathon März | 108 kilometers | March 07, 2015 | website

Hong-Kong

Translantau 100 km | 100 kilometers | March 14, 2015 | website

Translantau 50 km | 50 kilometers | March 14, 2015 | website

Hungary

BSI Lake Balaton Marathon+ Fonyód – Szigliget | 52 kilometers | March 20, 2015 | website

BSI Lake Balaton Supermarathon | 195 kilometers | March 19, 2015 | website

Italy

Umbria

Trasimeno Lake Ultramarathon | 58 kilometers | March 08, 2015 | website

Veneto

Ultrabericus | 65 kilometers | March 14, 2015 | website

Jordan

Sahara Race | 250 kilometers | March 08, 2015 | website

Malaysia

TITI 100KM | 100 kilometers | March 07, 2015 | website

TITI 200KM | 200 kilometers | March 06, 2015 | website

TITI 50KM | 50 kilometers | March 08, 2015 | website

New Zealand

Te Houtaewa Challenge 60 km Open Ultra Marathon | 60 kilometers | March 07, 2015 | website

The Hillary 80 km Trail Race | 80 kilometers | March 14, 2015 | website

Philippines

All Women Ultra-Marathon | 50 kilometers | March 08, 2015 | website

TRD80 Ultramarathon | 80 kilometers | March 14, 2015 | website

Spain

Andalusia

Ultra Trail Sierras del Bandolero | 150 kilometers | March 06, 2015 | website

Canary Islands

Transgrancanaria | 125 kilometers | March 06, 2015 | website

Transgrancanaria – Advanced | 84 kilometers | March 07, 2015 | website

Catalonia

Marxa dels Castells PLUS | 81 kilometers | March 08, 2015 | website

UT les Fonts | 120 kilometers | March 06, 2015 | website

UT les Fonts – Trail de les Fonts | 70 kilometers | March 07, 2015 | website

Thailand

Zulu W 80 km Run | 80 kilometers | March 08, 2015 | website

United Kingdom

Aberdeen City

D33 Ultra | 33 miles | March 14, 2015 | website

Bradford

Haworth Hobble | 32 miles | March 14, 2015 | website

Dorset

Jurassic Coast Challenge | 78 miles | March 20, 2015 | website

North Somerset

Green Man Ultra | 44 miles | March 07, 2015 | website

Wiltshire

Imber Ultra Marathon | 33 miles | March 08, 2015 | website

USA

Alabama

Delano Park 50 Mile Solo | 50 miles | March 07, 2015 | website

Alaska

Tanana River Challenge 45 Mile | 45 miles | March 14, 2015 | website

Arizona

Mesquite Canyon 50K | 50 kilometers | March 14, 2015 | website

Mesquite Canyon 50M | 50 miles | March 14, 2015 | website

Old Man 52K | 52 kilometers | March 07, 2015 | website

Old Pueblo 50 Miler | 50 miles | March 07, 2015 | website

Ultra Adventures Monument Valley 100 Mile | 100 miles | March 13, 2015 | website

Ultra Adventures Monument Valley 50K | 50 kilometers | March 13, 2015 | website

Ultra Adventures Monument Valley 50 Mile | 50 miles | March 14, 2015 | website

Arkansas

3 days of Syllamo | 150 kilometers | March 20, 2015 | website

California

Deo 50K | 50 kilometers | March 07, 2015 | website

Marin Ultra Challenge 50K | 50 kilometers | March 14, 2015 | website

Marin Ultra Challenge 50 Mile | 50 miles | March 14, 2015 | website

Old West Trails 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | March 14, 2015 | website

Way Too Cool 50k | 50 kilometers | March 07, 2015 | website

Colorado

High Line Canal 100K | 100 kilometers | March 14, 2015 | website

Florida

Cross Florida Route 40 Romp | 116 miles | March 07, 2015 | website

Cross Florida Route 40 Romp – 2 Person Relay | 116 miles | March 07, 2015 | website

DWD Green Swamp 50K | 50 kilometers | March 07, 2015 | website

DWD Green Swamp 50M | 50 miles | March 07, 2015 | website

Palm 100K | 100 kilometers | March 15, 2015 | website

Palm 50K | 50 kilometers | March 15, 2015 | website

Georgia

Georgia Death Race | 60 miles | March 14, 2015 | website

Kentucky

Land Between The Lakes 50 mile run | 50 miles | March 14, 2015 | website

Land Between The Lakes 60k | 60 kilometers | March 14, 2015 | website

Maryland

Seneca Creek Greenway Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | March 07, 2015 | website

Mississippi

Carl Touchstone Mississippi Trail 50 K | 50 kilometers | March 07, 2015 | website

Carl Touchstone Mississippi Trail 50 Mile | 50 miles | March 07, 2015 | website

Nevada

Vegas Moonlight Ultra 100 Mile Run | 100 miles | March 07, 2015 | website

New Jersey

Lenape Trail Run | 34 miles | March 07, 2015 | website

North Carolina

Graveyard 100K Ultramarathon | 100 kilometers | March 07, 2015 | website

Graveyard 100 Mile Ultramarathon | 100 miles | March 07, 2015 | website

Reservoir Park 50K | 50 kilometers | March 07, 2015 | website

Ohio

Buzzard Day 50k | 50 kilometers | March 14, 2015 | website

Green Jewel 50K Fun Run | 50 kilometers | March 07, 2015 | website

Pennsylvania

Naked Bavarian 40M | 40 miles | March 08, 2015 | website

Tennessee

Fall Creek Falls 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | March 15, 2015 | website

Music City Trail Ultra 50K | 50 kilometers | March 14, 2015 | website

Texas

50K | 50 kilometers | March 14, 2015 | website

Lone Star Trail Point-to-Point FatAss 35 M | 35 miles | March 14, 2015 | website

Lone Star Trail Point-to-Point FatAss 75M | 75 miles | March 14, 2015 | website

Lone Star Trail Point-to-Point FatAss 96.5 M | 96 miles | March 14, 2015 | website

Nueces 50K Endurance Trail | 50 kilometers | March 07, 2015 | website

Nueces 50 Miler | 50 miles | March 07, 2015 | website

Prickly Pear 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | March 14, 2015 | website

Race Across Texas – D-Town (4 Marathons) | 106 miles | March 20, 2015 | website

Race Across Texas – The Wild West (4 Marathons) | 106 miles | March 06, 2015 | website

Utah

Antelope Island 100 Mile | 100 miles | March 20, 2015 | website

Red Mountain 50K | 50 kilometers | March 07, 2015 | website

Vermont

PEAK Snowshoe 100 Mile Race | 100 miles | March 07, 2015 | website

Virginia

Elizabeth’s Furnace Fat Ass 50K | 50 kilometers | March 14, 2015 | website

Thomas Jefferson 100k | 100 kilometers | March 14, 2015 | website

Washington

Centennial Trail Run | 37 miles | March 14, 2015 | website

Dizzy Daze 100K | 100 kilometers | March 14, 2015 | website

Dizzy Daze 50K | 50 kilometers | March 14, 2015 | website

 
04:20:03 CLOSE
04:23:12 END

 

SHOW LINKS:

ITunes http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/talk-ultra/id497318073

Libsyn – feed://talkultra.libsyn.com/rss

Website – talkultra.com

The North Face Transgrancanaria Pre Race Images

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Athletes from all over the world have arrived in Gran Canaria for the TNF Transgrancanaria. Today, registrations took place and a presentation of the key athletes for the 125km event. With less than 1-day to go, excitement is high for the 2015 running of this event.

You can read my race preview HERE

The races starts Friday March 6th at 2300 hours (local time)

Who are your picks for the respective podiums?

Who is Karl Egloff? – Part one

CAF_3060Many of you will be familiar with the mountain Aconcagua, primarily because of Kilian Jornet and his recent record set in December. Well recently Karl Egloff, 33 from Ecuador has broke Kilian Jornet’s record with a time of 11:52 (57-minutes quicker than Kilian) I like many others wondered, who is Karl Egloff?

READ HERE

I caught up with Karl just days after his impressive record on Aconcagua. I discussed in-depth his background, home life, sporting background and how he may now be considered a speed-climbing phenomenon.

This week we bring you part one of this two-part interview

*****

KE: I’m so happy I just came back a couple of days ago from Argentina, I feel good and I’m happy, there are a lot of things going around right now and I’m happy to talk to you guys.

IC: It’s great to have you here and I really do appreciate you finding the time to talk to us. Before we talk to you about Aconcagua, a lot of people all around the world are saying who is Karl? Who is he? What his background? I said that you are 33 and you were born in Ecuador. Your father was a mounting guide if I’m correct?

KE: Yes he is and yes, I’m 33. I was born here in Quito, its very high here actually 2000+ metres. My mother was half Ecuadorian half Swiss, she met my father during studies and they made the decision to move to Ecuador and make their lives here, we three kids where all born here. My father is a mountain guide and he took me to the mountains at a very early age. He even took me as a baby in a large backpack.

I went up to the huts of our big mountains here in Ecuador and if he was climbing with a client up to around 1000 metres, I would go too… I got a in the mountains pretty young and as soon as I could talk I would just discuss mountains about mountaineering. My mother was not very happy about that, she was always telling me not to choose the mountain guide career; she was a little bit worried about it. She said it’s very difficult to be at home and to have a family, its difficult because it has the seasons. She was always telling me about other professions, but it’s kind of impossible being a son of a mountain guide. I had homework about beautiful mountains all over the world and I was always asking so much he used to say please Karl stop asking me.

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When I was 15 I got the chance for the first time to climb with him the first glacier here in Ecuador. My father told me, “when you are 15 I will take you because you are at an age where you can realise what you’re doing.” Finally when I did it I was standing up on the summit and he said,

“Son, you have really a lot of energy so I think you should help me with guiding from now on.”

I guess that when things really started for me, I was guiding with him almost every weekend up to 6000 ft.

Unfortunately my mother died when I was 17, so us three kids decided to go study, I went to Switzerland. I was living in Zurich for around 8-years and during my studies I went up to the mountains every time I could; to snowboard, to go jogging and to go trekking.

I finally returned to Ecuador at 26-years old, I actually tried to be a professional football player because here in Ecuador you grow up with football, it’s much more of ‘the’ sport it’s like in the UK. Football is a religion. .

IC: Before you tell me about your football, let’s go back a little bit and talk about your father being a mountain guide and the way that you were brought up, your story is so similar to Kilian Jornet. His father worked in the mountains, his father and his family lived at a refuge, and really from babies they were just born and bred on the mountains, and of course it’s that lifestyle, that permanent lifestyle that adapts you to be maybe an athlete that not only performs exceptionally well in many sports but particular high altitude sports.

KE: I read Kilian’s book and when I was reading it, it seemed like I was reading my story and especially regarding the altitude he was at, I was living at the 2400 metres and we used to go up with my father into the mountains and down into the valley, While reading I found a similarity when Kilian said he used to go out at night without the lights and sit with the nature. I did those things with my father too. I was with nature a great deal. I was always following the paths of different animals and I constantly asked many questions to my father.

When I got bored and the clients were tired I would go to my father at night and ask, “Why isn’t the sun up already/” I was impatient but he told me,

“It’s dangerous on the mountains and you can die up there.”

I would say no, no everything is ok…

When I got older my father used to give me some slack. I could go up to the summit or climb the path for the next days trek. I had already climbed the mountains. My father would just followed me with binoculars and show me whether to go, to the left or right with his hands. So yes pretty similar as Kilian.

IC: Yeah very similar. And of course Kilian a little bit like yourself didn’t start out as a trail runner or an alpinist, he started out in ski mountaineering and skiing and you were just telling us that football was a passion for you.

KE: Yes, definitely. Football is like a religion in Ecuador, you do nothing else but soccer at school, everyone is asking for the teams. No other sport exists. So actually for me the way I feel free is to do sports; it’s like a drug That is why I used to do my homework quickly so in the afternoon I had enough time to organise another soccer game or another competition at home and so yes definitely football for me became everything. When my mother asked me what I want to do when I leave school I said, ‘I want to be a professional football player,’ and she said forget it, sports won’t get you anywhere.

My coaches said have the energy and the talent, but my mother being from South America was very conservative. Before she died she said I don’t care what you do just don’t become a mountain guide or a sportsman, now here I am, 10-years later and I am both. I tried really hard to please my mother, so I started academics. I started in Switzerland, I tried to work in other places too but I was never happy, this is the most important thing; you must follow your happiness! When I returned back to Ecuador I really had to have a year off before starting a new business and starting my new tourism agency and in those days I started to go biking.

I used my bike to go to and from the gym. There is a very funny story where a guy said to me, ‘I heard you have a lot of energy Karl, would you like to join me as a bike partner in the most important mountain bike race in Ecuador?’ I said, yes but I didn’t have any experience in competing on the bike, I lacked the technique. He just said, ‘Don’t worry come with us.’

So eventually I went with him to the mountain bike race and when I waited on the start I asked him about all the cyclists who looked so professional? His reply was so funny, ‘Professionals? Yes, this is the most important race here in Ecuador and all the international professional mountain bike racers are here.’

I was too eager but I had a great race. After a sponsor came and said, ‘Karl we want to sponsor you.’ It was great news, it was my first race and I felt under qualified but they told me not to worry and come to the office on Monday!

IC: Wow perfect, that’s nice!

KE: Yeah it was, I was 26 and I said ok, So I started to train and train and train and after 2 years I started to travel with the national team to different competitions and to championships and then finally I qualified for the world cup in 2011 in Italy as the first Columbian mountain biker. A year later I qualified for the next world cup in France and then I got invited to the professional team. I started actually to be a good biker…

IC: So it was a really exciting time to just test yourself in sport but while this was going on while you were involved in mountain biking were you still mountain guiding?

DCIM999GOPRO

KE: I was yes, exactly. I started in 2007 at my first agency and then 5-years later I started my own company. Biking was also a big part of my life, I was really happy with biking but there is a point where it costs a lot of money, you have to go for International championships and you need to live somewhere else. So we had a family decision, we sat down and discussed my options. I was 31-years old, which is relatively old in mountain biking, so I decided to quit!

IC: It’s interesting that you say at the age of 31 there’s no future for you in biking, you were obviously very good at it and carried over fitness and strength from trekking and as a tour leader. 31 is quite young to think that there’s no possible future. Do you think back now with your running success and think you made the wrong decision?

KE: Yes of course, I think the main point here is that we live in a very conservative country were sports is not a future, you don’t grow up here with your parents saying yeah go play tennis… become professional and so on. I was criticised by my family, they said sports would not get me anywhere. I had an opportunity to work for a Swiss mountain guide company and they gave me the chance to work as a mountain guide in Kilimanjaro and a few other places. It was a great opportunity, I was getting a salary but they wanted me to focus on the job so I could manage all business here in Ecuador.

IC: So it was a career decision, a business decision and family ties to the mountain. I guess it didn’t really feel like you were giving up sport but just changing disciplines.

KE: Exactly, I was always jogging I was always training but I never competed as I never saw it as a competition. Nobody thought about running here before but now it’s the second biggest sport after football. In 2012 I quit the biking and focused on the job and in 2013 really focused on guiding and a lot of doors opened for me. I was in Nepal and other countries and I was earning for the first time in my life. For me it was like, oh finally I have money I can get a car and grow up with the company; this is why I slowed down but I never stopped completely.

IC: Cool so let me come to Kilimanjaro. That is when I first became aware of your name and funnily even though you broke kilian’s record on Kilimanjaro it still didn’t really get much recognition. It was reported in several places but it didn’t get worldwide exposure, it was a bit under the radar. But I can see now knowing your history why you would make an attempt on Kilimanjaro. With your background is the seven summits now on your mind?

KE: Exactly it all started in 2012. My friend Nicolas who is now part of my team asked me to’ rabbit’ him up to a summit; actually one of the highest mountains we have here in Ecuador. It is almost the same altitude as Kilimanjaro. We were stood in the car park and he said to me, let’s go for the record! It’s funny, I had never run on the mountain and he said that’s why I have brought you here to help me on the mountain and make you faster. I wondered if I was fast enough or if I was any good? When I reached the summit I realised I had broke the record by 25-minutes. On the way down I met Nicola and I said I was sorry for leaving him behind but he just laughed and said, ‘Don’t worry, this was the only way I could get you to realise how good you are at this.’

I continued down and broke the world record and it became big news here in Ecuador. A lot of people criticised as they said the mountain was dangerous and that people can die on the mountain. But I am a mountain guide so I know how dangerous it is.

DCIM999GOPRO

*****

Tune in next week for part two.

How does Karl prove and verify his records?

Read about Karl’s Kilimanjaro record and read how he managed to knock 57-minutes off Kilian Jornet’s Aconcagua record.

all images provided by Karl Egloff ©

You can ‘HEAR’ the full interview on episode 82 of TALK ULTRA published on iTunes March 6th. The show is available for free – please subscribe!

Training is like baking – Marc Laithwaite

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In recent posts, we’ve been talking about enhancing fat burning to boost endurance. This week’s post was due to focus upon pacing strategy for training and competing and specifically how pacing interacts with the types of fuel you use when exercising. However, as we’ve been discussing Maffetone in recent weeks, I’ve had a few messages stating that I’ve contradicted myself. The reason for this is that I am a believer in the importance of short and high intensity workouts for endurance performance. In the past I have outlined the danger of too much low intensity riding and running, specifically how it makes you slower. I understand why this may be seen as contradictory, so let me explain…

If you are competing in Ironman, one of the things you need to consider is your estimated time and pacing strategy on the bike section. To calculate your ‘race pace’ a simple and popular test is the cp20. During this test, the rider is required to sustain the highest power output for a 20 minute period and from the results, you can calculate your ‘functional threshold’. Some of you may have heard these strange terms before but in simple terms your ‘functional threshold’ is the output you should feasibly be able to manage for an hour. The calculation is simple, look at the average power for the 20 minute test and 95% of that figure is your functional threshold

Using functional threshold you can guess the amount of power that in theory you can sustain for all distances up to the Ironman 112. For example, 70% of your functional threshold is a reasonable target for Ironman. The critical thing here is that the power you can hold for only 20 minutes (a very short period of time) predicts Ironman pace. So, if you cannot ride quickly for 20 minutes, you will undoubtedly be riding slowly in Ironman over a distance of 112 miles, as 70% of ‘slowly’ is ‘even slower’. A common mistake people make when training for long distances is that they focus on endurance only and ride lots of slow miles. They ‘get it in their heads’ that Ironman is all about ‘the distance’ so ride long and slow. As a result of doing so much slow riding, their 20 minute power output is reduced to a score potentially even lower than when they started! Subsequently, their Ironman pace (70% FTP) is therefore also reduced.

So the solution is simple, just train to produce the highest power output for 20 minutes by doing short and high intensity riding and you’ll PB in Ironman? Unfortunately not… The test dictates your Ironman pace from the amount of power you can produce within the 20 minutes. However, the critical part is that the test also presumes that you have done the mileage, so therefore have the endurance to support your performance.

The same applies to running and training for a marathon. Let’s say as a ‘guess’ that if you double your 10k time and add 4-5 minutes, you’ll be close to your half marathon time. Now double your half marathon time and add 10 and you’ll get your predicted marathon time. You’ve probably heard that formula before, it’s been around for many years. The key thing to point out is that when using that formula, your 10k time is therefore dictating your marathon time. As with our cycling example, if you can’t run quickly for 10k, you can’t run a fast marathon.

However, the formula of double 10k and add 4-5 minutes or double half marathon and add 10 presumes that you have ‘done the mileage’. You can’t just train for 10k racing and expect to run a great marathon. Your 10k time will ‘predict’ your running speed in the marathon, but without the mileage in your legs, you won’t be able to hold that pace for the entirety of the race.

So let’s look at it this way:

  1. The 20 minute test in cycling or the 10k time in running tells you how quickly you are capable of riding or running Ironman or marathon.
  2. Whether you have done the long distances in training will determine whether you are actually capable of maintaining that speed and reaching the finish line in your target time.
  3. As a quick summary, ‘how fast can you go and can you keep it going?’

The simple lesson to learn here is that both long-term endurance and maximal output over shorter distances are equally important for performance. If you choose one but not the other, you’ll either manage the distance ‘comfortably but slowly’ or you’ll go quickly at the start and die a painful death at the end. Don’t dismiss either of these key factors if you want to hit your target time.

To finish, I’ll go back to something, which I mentioned 3 weeks ago, when writing about the Maffetone formula. Each training intensity, level or zone has it’s own benefits and purpose. Too frequently athletes do their easy stuff too hard and their hard stuff too easy, as a consequence the sessions merge into one grey area of moderate intensity. When riding or running in zone 1, there are specific benefits, which are lost when you push too hard. When attempting a high intensity interval workout you will not gain the specific benefits of that session if you do not push hard enough.

Training is like baking, you need to put lots of different, but high quality ingredients together or you’ll find that on race day the whole thing will just taste a bit bland.

Go forwards endurance students, train well and practice burning the fat

- Marc Laithwaite

About Marc:

Sports Science lecturer for 10 years at St Helens HE College.

2004 established The Endurance Coach LTD sports science and coaching business. Worked with British Cycling as physiology support 2008-2008. Previous Triathlon England Regional Academy Head Coach, North West.

In 2006 established Epic Events Management LTD. Now one of the largest event companies in the NW, organising a range of triathlon, swimming and cycling events. EPIC EVENTS also encompasses Montane Trail 26 and Petzl Night Runner events.

In 2010 established Montane Lakeland 50 & 100 LTD. This has now become the UKs leading ultra distance trail running event.

In 2010 established The Endurance Store triathlon, trail running and open water swimming store. Based in Appley Bridge, Wigan, we are the North West’s community store, organising and supporting local athletes and local events.

Check out the endurance store HERE

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The North Face® Transgrancanaria® 2015 – Race Preview

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Transgrancanaria kicks off the first race of an ever growing European calendar and just as has happened in previous years, a stellar field will assemble on the island for what is always a tough and challenging series of races.

For the men, we have some of the 2014 big hitters missing: Ryan Sandes, Julien Chorier, Timothy Olson and Sebastien Chaigneau. That leaves the podium wide open… you’ll soon see though, Transgrancanaria has no shortage of male talent gunning for the top slot.

For the ladies, 2014 champion Nuria Picas returns along with Fernanda Maciel who placed 3rd. The only significant name not starting is Francesca Canepa.

The third race of the 2015 Ultra Trail World Tour (UTWT) looks all set for an epic battle.

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MEN

The competition among male runners will be tough and exciting. Many elite runners already know the race but we need to watch out for several names that are racing for the first time who stand a great chance to contest the podium.

Iker Karrera, Anton Krupicka, Pau Bartoló, Sondre Amdahl, Carlos Sa, Gediminas Grinius, Yeray Durán, Antoine Guillon and Javier Domínguez arguably head up the elite field but there are no guarantees of victory…

Experience always provides an advantage; previous editions of Transgrancanaria have shown that this course offers many surprises due the tough and challenging terrain. Joe Grant, Brendan Davies, Sebastien Buffard, Anthony Gay, Sylvain Couchaud, Cyril Cointre, Christophe Le Saux and Yan Longfei will all ensure that the ‘hot’ contenders will have to fight hard for victory.

Who’s shooting for the podium?

Iker Karrera ©iancorless.comIker Karrera has all the potential to be an unstoppable force at Transgrancanaria. He has a great combination of strength, speed and endurance; Ail essential ingredients for success at Transgrancanaria. Iker’s 2013 Tor des Geants and Eiger Ultra Trail performances and arguably, he would have been a potential 2014 UTMB winner had an unstoppable Francois d’Haene not turned up.

©copyright .iancorless.com._1080340Anton Krupicka had a couple of low-key successes in 2014 with Jemez 50 and the Dirty 30; both great comeback races that precluded a strong and impressive Lavaredo. This had us all thinking Anton is back! Unfortunately, it all went pear shaped at UTMB when his body shut down. If Anton is ‘on’ then he will push at the front and contesting the win. The distance suits his racing style and the technicality will play into his hands.

Gediminas Grinius had a stunning 2014 with 3rd, 4th and 5th places at Lavaredo, UTMB and Raid de la Reunion. Three tough races! Based on these performances, Gediminas has all the potential to podium once again and should all things align, he may even win.

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Carlos Sa is an ever-consistent performer who performs exceptionally well on a multitude of surfaces, distances and temperatures. Think: Badwater, UTMB and Marathon des Sables. Without doubt Carlos will be in the mix, definite top-10 material and if he has a great day, the top-5 is not beyond him.

Sondre Amdahl like Gediminas Grinius had a great 2014. He placed 6th at Transgrancanaria last year and then 7th at UTMB. His recent 2nd at HK100 is a sure sign that he is in form. He has prepared meticulously for Transgrancanaria… he even moved to the island! 2015 may very well provide an opportunity for a breakthrough performance?

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Pau Bartoló won the 2014 CCC and a tough and challenging Transgrancanaria course will play into his skill set. He’s going to need a great day to make an impression on the podium but this island has a habit of jawing runners up. A little patience early on may well pay dividends later.

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Brendan Davies is a guy who likes to run, a win at TNF100 and top-10 at Western States proves this. However, he always seems less positive on technical courses and as we all know, Transgrancanaria has plenty of this. If Brendan can find his legs and get in a rhythm, he will be a contender.

Javi Dominguez was 7th last year and followed that up with a solid 5th Raid de le Reunion. He’s a shoe in for top-10 but the podium will likely elude him unless several other runners crumble (possible on this course) and he as a great day!

Antoine Guillon is part of the unstoppable WAA team who somehow seems to manage racing almost every race in the UTWT calendar and still come out with great results as his 3rd, 4th and 5th at Tor des Geants, UTMF and Transgrancanaria show. I see no reason why Antoine wouldn’t make top-5 again!

©iancorless.com.IMG_1749Yeray Duran was 4th last year and is always fired up for what is his ‘home’ race. His form however can be little unpredictable, so, I’m going to sit on the fence; he could very well have a brilliant day or a disappointing day. Let’s go for the former… top-5!

Yan Long Fei won HK100 ahead of Sondre Amdahl arguably to his incredible sub 2:15 marathon speed. Ultimately though, Transgrancanaria is not going to all Yan many opportunities to open the after burners and run… I see Yan having a similar race to Brendan; they could both potentially struggle with the technicality.

©iancorless.com_TCC2015_Day6-2991Plenty of other great male runners in this race and any of them could shine. For example, Joe Grant will like this course, how he performs very much depends on his recovery from The Coastal Challenge, which he raced in early February.

 

LADIES

©iancorless.com.IMG_2858The female field can often lack depth, but not at Transgrancanaria… 2014 champion Núria Picas heads up the ladies race along with 2014 3rd place, Fernanda Maciel. Nikki Kimball fresh from The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica will also be a major contender.

From Europe, Caroline Chaverot, Emilie Lecomte, Denise Zimmerman, Ildiko Wemescher and Elena Polyakova are the main contenders but they will need to suppress competition from American and Canadian: Aliza Lapierre and Stephanie Case. Manuela Vilaseca, Dong Li, Wyan Chow, Nerea Martínez, Xari Adrián, Silvia Trigueros and last but not least, Claire Walton make this arguably one of the strongest female fields we have seen at Transgrancanaria.

Who’s shooting for the podium?

©iancorless.com.IMG_2053Nuria Picas was unstoppable last year winning or making the podium in pretty much every race she ran. Kicking off 2015 with a podium place at UTMF was clear sign that Nuria was running herself in to form. I think she will show the ladies a clean pair of heels at Transgrancanaria and take a strong and decisive victory.

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Fernanda Maciel placed 3rd last year and arguably gave 2nd place away to Francesca Canepa (who has decided not to race) after having a to-and-fro battle with the Italian. Fernanda had a strong 2015 consistently making the podium in UTWT races. Recently, she has had an extended period at Aconcagua and all that altitude must be advantageous.

©iancorless.com_TCC2015_Day4-2099Nikki Kimball needs no introduction, she has been there and done it: from Western States to UTMB. Nikki, like Joe Grant raced The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica and by contrast to Joe, I don’t think TCC will have fatigued her, on the contrary, it will have provided a great kick-start for a potential podium performance in Gran Canaria.

Aliza Lapierre placed 5th at Templiers in 2014 and has won Bandera 100k. I can’t help but think that a ‘running’ course would play into Aliza’s hands more than this course, however, she has loads of class and we can expect that to shine through for a potential top-5.

Emilie Lecomte copyright iancorless.comEmelie Lecomte lacks outright speed but she is a pure mountain lover and she has endurance in abundance. The tougher the better! Emilie has set records on the GR20, excelled at Tor Des Geants, Raid de la Reunion and Ronda dels Cims.

Nerea Martinez and Emelie are made from the same mold and ironically have very similar race histories. Top-10 for sure and don’t expect Emelie and Nerea to finish next to each other in the results.

Wyan Chow won HK100 and may well upset things a little. I don’t see victory coming Wyan’s way but a podium is a possibility. Similarly, Dong Li who placed 2nd at HK100 and Sai Kung 50 will almost certainly make top-10 but the podium is a long shot.

A surprise may come Caroline Chaverot who placed 5th at Mont Blanc 80K in 2014 and my dark horse is Claire Walton and possibly Elena Polyakova.

Stephanie Case gets a nod as a last minute entry.

Follow the race in images and posts on Facebook HERE and on Twitter HERE

 

Note:

Elite runners will not be seen just in the Ultra race but also in the Advanced race of 83 km. The Advanced has been included this year for the first time in the Spain Ultra Cup® Aml Sport HG and will start from Moya town. Furthermore, this race will allow runners score points for the Championship of the Canary Islands. Zaid Ait Malek, from Morocco, Jorge Aubeso, Pau Capell, Judit Franch, Laia Díez, Yolanda Fernández, among a number of local runners from the Canary Islands, are the ones who will keep the level of this race very high.

Additionally, last year winner Nuria Domínguez will participate in the Marathon and the Polish Tomasz Kilsz, winner of Marathon in 2013, will run this year the Starter race. Efrén Segundo, Trail Series, Championship and Cup of the Canary Islands winner, will participate in the Promo race.

 

What is the UTWT? 

The aim of the UTWT is to gather the most important races of the five continents and to offer the runners the opportunity to discover new landscapes while running. These races also show how diverse trail running can be: steep mountains on Gran Canaria, strenuous uphill in the Alps, paths in California, hills and beaches in Hong Kong or the Moroccan desert.

The proposed races are made for runners with high adaptability and each and every of them is unique: The North Face® Transgrancanaria®, Vibram® Hong Kong 100, Tarawera Ultramarathon, Marathon des Sables, The North Face® 100 Australia, The North Face® Lavaredo Ultra-Trail®, Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run, Eiger Ultra-Trail®, Ultra-Trail® du Mont-Blanc, Ultra-Trail® Mt.Fuji® and Le Grand Raid de la Réunion. All these races require different skills in order to win or to be one of the finishers.

Suunto Launches Ambit3 Run GPS watch

Suunto Ambit3Run Trio_1

The Ambit3 Run is a smart Bluetooth® enabled GPS watch for runners for whom style, fit and functionality are of equal importance. It is a running partner, coach and guide, letting you plan, progress and recover more efficiently.

Plan your workouts and discover how well you have recovered

The Suunto Ambit3 Run lets you create and follow detailed interval workouts with the Suunto Movescount App. Set the duration and intensity you want, activate your workout and when used with the Movescount App, the voice coach will guide you through the workout.  A software update later in the spring will allow you to compare your running performance against your last 30 day average and analyze your recovery using a quick recovery or sleep recovery test.

Ambit3 Run has full GPS navigation meaning you can plan your route online, download and then run without fear of making a wrong turn.  Battery Life of 10hrs when GPS accuracy set to 1 sec, 15hrs when set to 5 sec and 100hrs when set to 60 sec.

Follow your friends using the Suunto Movescount App

Using the watch together with the popular Suunto Movescount App brings additional benefits. You can customize your Ambit3 watch and share your Moves while on the go as well as receive call and text notifications on the watch so you don’t need to stop to see who’s calling. Or you can make a Suunto Movie, which turns your route into a playable video file. A new feature of the App, available via a software update this spring, will be an activity feed which lets you follow your friends’ activities – and lets them see what you’ve been up to. The App is currently available for iPhone/iPad users and becomes compatible with Android in April.

Suunto has also teamed up with TrainingPeaks. Moves can now be seamlessly synced to TrainingPeaks after uploading to Movescount. The online service offers advanced training advice for endurance athletes. 

The Suunto Ambit3 Run has a rrp of £200/£250 (with the Smart Sensor) and is available from March 3rd.

For more details, visit www.Suunto.com/ambit3.   @suunto

Suunto_logo [ConveWHITE_rted]Press release by Suunto

 

Interview with MARSHALL ULRICH

Marshall Ulrich Interview

 

There was one day though when Jean lay in her bed at home in a darkened room, battered and exhausted from all that disease was doing to her. The gloomy scene made me claustrophobic. My wife was wasting away in a lightless cabin I wanted to run and I told her so.

 

“How can you leave me right now? How can you be so callous? I need you. I’m so tired. Please stay.”

 

“I have to run.”

 

“Don’t do. Please, god I’m alone.”

 

I looked at her desperate to go. I left. I ran and I still regret it.

 

Marshall Ulrich has run more than 120 ultra marathons averaging over 125 miles each. He has completed 12 expedition-length adventure races, and climbed the ‘Seven Summits’ all on his first attempts. Is he, ‘the ultimate endurance athlete?’

He finished the first-ever circumnavigation on foot of Death Valley National Park, about 425 miles in one of the hottest, driest places on earth. He ranked this expedition as tougher than ascending Mount Everest, but not as challenging as his record setting transcontinental run of more than 3,000 miles from San Francisco to New York City, which was the subject of his book and memoir; Running on Empty.

In his sixties, Marshall inspires adventurers, active and armchair athletes, and a growing general audience by sharing his experiences and defying the ideas of “too far,” “too old,” and “not possible.”

I caught up with this amazing man to get a glimpse into what makes him tick.

You can read the full interview on RUNULTRA HERE

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SCOTT KINABALU SUPERTRAC – First Impressions

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Spring is here and new run shoes are a plenty. Christmas takes place in December but I have to say, if you are a runner, February is stepping up to be a great month for a few surprise presents. Recently I have had new shoes from The North Face (Ultra MT, Cardiac and TR2, the Salomon S-Lab Sense 4 is due to arrive any day and several weeks back I looked at the Scott Trail Rocket and mentioned the Kinabalu.

Today we are taking a look at a new shoe from SCOTT, the KINABALU SUPERTRAC.

This is a shoe I asked Scott to make some 12-18 months ago! Having used and loved the Kinabalu (Here) I pleaded with them to come up with an 8mm drop shoe with a more aggressive sole. They have only gone and done it!

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This shoe is a winner!

Looking at current shoe trends, Scott like The North Face, Salomon and other key brands have realised that a lower drop is the way forward. For many companies, 8mm provides that sweet middle ground. New Balance, TNF and now Scott have confirmed this while Salomon pave a way with 4mm and 6mm drop shoes.

As mentioned previously, if you are after a fast trail shoe (for dry conditions) and with a lower drop (5mm), you can’t go far wrong with the Scott Trail Rocket. But if you are after a shoe that can handle mud and a multitude of different conditions then the 8mm drop, Kinabalu Supertrac may be for you!

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Carrying over many of the characteristics of the Kinabalu, the Kinabalu Supertrac in summary :

Fits like a glove, laces up nice and tight, hugs the heel without rubbing, the toe box provides a secure hold of your foot with a precise feel and grip is AGGRESSIVE!

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In Detail

The Kinabalu Supertrac introduces a new level of technical shoe and a completely new concept of superior grip. The shoes are designed to match the needs of trail and mountain runners in the most extreme conditions : mud, snow, rock and mountain! Delivering great traction on soft and rough surfaces and all within a shoe that provides great comfort, cushioning and with an 8mm drop.

It comes as no surprise to me really. As I said previously, I loved the Kinabalu. I just wanted more grip and lower drop. Scott have that now provided me with that, so this can only mean one thing: happy runner!

If you are familiar with the Kinabalu, this ‘Supertrac‘ version will feel familiar. The tongue is padded, extremely comfortable and the laces are thin and textured. Importantly, the laces stay tight when tied. Scott’s ‘Lace Locker‘ is present and this provides a no nonsense simple solution to store loose laces.

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The shoes are neutral fitting and cushioned using AeroFoam+ which provides additional cushioning, increased durability and great rebound. The upper is breathable mesh with synthetic overlays and the lower part of the shoe is constructed from EVA and rubber.

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The toe box is reinforced extremely well and will withstand some serious contact with rocks or unwanted obstacles. I usually prefer a wider shoe and the Supertrac allows for this but still holds my forefoot firm and without hot spots.

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The heel is injection moulded, plush, soft has no harsh contact points and provides a secure firm grip irrespective of when running on the flat, descending or going uphill. I had no movement at all.

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As one would expect, Scott carry over many features that we have seen on other shoes in the range. The eRIDE is a ‘rocker’ platform that is designed to guarantee a more efficient foot strike. If you already strike mid to forefoot, this may be less noticeable. However, if you are heel striking, the rocker really does roll you forward on to your toes.

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The most noticeable aspect of the shoe is the GRIP! I can’t write about the GRIP without putting it in capital letters. Boy do they GRIP…

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Think JCB meets running shoe. The outsole is extreme and made from a superior wet traction rubber compound that works really well on a multitude of surfaces. I am really impressed with just three to four runs*.

Conclusion

If you are looking for an out-and-out trail beast with great cushioning, 8mm drop and a comfort rating that will least all day, the Kinabalu Supertrac is going to be a serious contender. It has very quickly become my ‘go to’ when heading out on my local muddy trails.

Expect to see Marco De Gasperi, Elisa Desco and Joe Gray using this on the trails and mountains of Europe and the USA.

Pros:

  • GRIP
  • Cushioned
  • Spacious toe box with protection
  • True to size fit

Cons:

  • Not the lightest shoe

Details:

RRP £105

Available SS2015

Technology:

  • Lace bungee
  • Wet traction rubber
  • eRIDE Platform
  • AerFoam+
  • Self cleaning lugs
  • Upper: Mesh/ synthetic overlay
  • Lower: EVA/ Runner
  • Drop: 8mm
  • Weight: 340g (UK8)
  • Sizes: US7-14

#noshortcuts

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*I will provide an updated review after 1-month and plenty of nice muddy shots to show the shoe’s durability in the upper and outsole

Don’t worry, we will give you a credit!

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I am lucky, very lucky! I have a life and business that allows me to travel to amazing places documenting a sport that I love. It’s a dream job and one that I throw myself into 100% each minute, of each hour of everyday.

It’s a job that not many can do. It requires long hours, an ability to handle stress and you need to be fit. Well, you need to be fit if you do the job in the way that I do it!

I have built a business out of hard graft and my commitment has been rewarded. For example, in 2014 I travelled and worked on over thirty races. In 2015, I will work on a similar quantity.

I do have a ‘USP.’ I am not only a photographer. I offer a one stop package for a race with writing, podcast and a website that generates thousands of hits on a daily basis.

But don’t be mislead. If I was doing any other job, I would arguably be wealthy. But working in a niche sport does limit what is available in regards to re-numeration. I accept that!

However, I don’t like having the piss taken!

Let me give you a scenario:

Imagine you work for a magazine. You go to the office on Monday and you start work at 0900. You take a lunch break at 1300, return to work at 1400 and then work to 1800. You do this day after day… At the end of the week, the magazine you have toiled on is ready. You have dedicated forty hours minimum to its success. Your boss comes in, congratulates you on an awesome job and says how great your work is! You feel proud. You feel happy and you pat yourself on the back.

“We have decided not to pay you for your work this week. We have no budget! But don’t worry, we will give you a credit in the magazine. It’s a real plus for you, your name will be associated to the incredible body of work you have created. What more could you want?”

I am well aware that belts are being tightened in the world of running magazines. Lets face it, It’s no surprise… magazines print old news that will have appeared on websites like mine weeks and more than likely months before. However, it’s always nice to have something in print both from a consumer perspective and a contributor’s perspective. But lets not be fooled, somebody somewhere is making money.

Let’s just look at a potential scenario:

  • A magazine sells at £4.99 per issue.
  • They sell 28,000 copies.
  • That is £130,000+ of sales.

“It will be great advertising for your work and getting published by us will help you professionally.”

****

So does this argument have any merit?

Who doesn’t like seeing their work in a magazine? It’s a great showcase and of course as a photographer, it’s a confirmation of my ability.

However, readers of magazines are not the people who are going to commission future work from me, so, other than an ego boost; little gains come from a ‘credit.’

But, I do get a tear sheet and I can add it to my website HERE to show that I am credible and trustworthy! My photography is so credible that the magazine editor didn’t respect me, or my work enough to pay me for my time, skills and professionalism?

“Yes, but other magazine professionals and people in the industry will see how good you are, phone you up and commission something from you.”

No! Potential clients think, aaagh, you worked for ‘X’ magazine, they have a reputation for not paying, so you probably did the work for free.

Without wishing to blow my own trumpet. I am well established in the trail, mountain, sky and ultra world. My work is known and I get the job done. That is a USP and it is a bonus for any commissioning editor or client.

I can overcome obstacles and always come up with the goods. These things all mean far more than if I have been published. As a photographer, the best way to help me (and those like me) is to do what professionals do — treat us with respect and pay us for the work we do!

I work on races all the time. I provide a service and I get paid for that service. So, when an  editor of a magazine emailed recently asking me to use my photos of a particular race I asked, “what budget is available” and I was clear. “I can be flexible.”

“We don’t have a budget for photography,” the editor said in a way that was almost saying; “how dare you request a fee.”

I replied and I used my scenario of going to the office, working all week and then getting a ‘credit’ instead of getting paid.

“Ah, but that is different,” they said, “You were paid by the race to cover the event and therefore you should provide images for free to help promote the race, that is normal!”

Errr no! Some races ‘may’ well have a photographer that ‘may’ be contacted in who ‘may’ have signed a deal where all images are available post race and then the images ‘may’ be used in multiple media outlets? In theory, the photographer will have been paid ‘extra’ to allow this.

I don’t do this!

For one, it devalues my work.

I provide a quality service and any fee I receive covers my time and not the images I take. My images are mine and they are unique to me. They have my style, my fingerprint and that is the value. They are a piece of art with intrinsic value and they are protected under copyright.

Of course, I also provide considerably more! My website can get over 40,000 hits per day when I post images from a race. I also write race reports and I promote a race through my reach… social media has a huge benefit and you will see ‘branded’ low resolution images of my work everywhere. It’s a package that I provide and one that works.

It is time to stand firm

Photographers please stand firm. Don’t let publications walk all over us.

I, just like you am a professional. I have done five years at university; I have been in the business for twenty-five plus years and I have served my apprenticeship.

My work is unique, valuable and worth a fee.

If we are not getting paid, how are we different from the millions of budding photographers who do this as a hobby while still making money in another profession? How do we pay the rent, how do we put food on the table if we don’t charge for our services?

It is time to stick to our guns and not give away our work and make the magazines (or other businesses) pay us our due rewards for the work that we provide.

What other profession would be expected to work for free?

Clients have the money, they just play the game and far too many times, they win through pressure. If we have photos that are good enough to be published, they are good enough to be paid for!

Magazines will always continue to get ‘free’ content from enthusiasts but in time, the quality will soon drop and with it, the life of the magazine.

****

Note: This post has been generated through a frustration from those in the industry who continue to use bullying tactics in a hope that I will succumb to providing content for magazines and other similar publications without payment.

This post is not a reflection on races, race directors and brands who I work with on a professional basis, day-in and day-out and who I have an excellent working relationship with. To all those, I thank you for your continued loyalty.

Please look at my photography website HERE

Image sales available HERE

Fat Burning Efficiency by Marc Laithwaite

Image ©getphysical.co.uk

Image ©getphysical.co.uk

Last week we talked about the possible benefits of high fat coffee (Bullet Proof Coffee) prior to an endurance workout. Greater levels of circulating fats in the blood stream, may promote the use of fat as a fuel source and thereby saving precious carbohydrate stores. It created quite a stir… as we expected!

As a recap, when you run long distances, you use a combination of both fat and carbohydrate to provide energy. Your objective is simply to get the most energy as possible from fat and less from carbohydrate, as your carbohydrate stores are relatively limited and can run out quickly.

For example: If when running at an endurance pace (say long ultra) you currently use 600kcal per hour with 30% coming from fat and 70% coming from carbohydrate, that’s 420kcal of carbohydrate per hour. If you reverse this figure so only 30% of your energy comes from carbohydrate, then you will only use 180kcal of carbohydrate per hour. That is a saving of 240kcal of carbohydrate per hour (60g per hour), which is actually the recommended intake during most endurance events!

So if the recommended guidelines are to ingest 60g of carbohydrate per hour during endurance events (that’s approximately 1-2 bars or 2-3 gels) and you switch your fat usage from 30% to 70%, then technically you don’t need to take any fuel right??

Not quite… even if you optimise your diet and training to enhance your fat usage, you’re always going to be using carbohydrate to some extent, so you still need to take it on board. There are a couple of key things you need to take into account:

  1. If you’re rested, tapered and fuelled, then you should be starting on a full tank of carbohydrate, so eat a good source of carbohydrate in the days prior to racing.
  2. We are obsessed with carbohydrate portions, thinking that more is better and a bigger portion equates to more glycogen (stored carbohydrate). Your glycogen stores are relatively small, so you don’t need to eat a lot. If anything, eat a little less in the final days to stop yourself feeling bloated and heavy. This is difficult to do, as we generally believe that ‘carbo loading’ is required so eat excessively in the final few days. The same rule applies for breakfast, a huge meal is of no benefit as your stores are probably already full.
  3. If your fat usage is enhanced, you don’t need to eat as much during the race or training. In Ironman many people ‘panic eat’ on the bike with a fear that we won’t have enough fuel on board. There is a real trend for people to be obsessed with how much they can eat during the cycle section. Athletes often have a set plan of several bars and gels, plus energy drinks at regular intervals. Stomach problems are very common due to high amount of carbohydrate, which gather in the stomach, leading to bloating.
  4. The most common reason given for people failing to hit their target times in endurance events is ‘I got my nutrition wrong in the race’. The truth of the matter is that you got your training wrong.

Last week, we suggested that Bullet Proof Coffee or training in a fasted state works best when training for 1-3 hours, depending upon your sports and ability. But what if you’re going further? What if you’re running for 3-5 hours or cycling 5 hours or more? For many athletes, riding for 5 hours in a fasted state would create a very high level of fatigue, which may take several days to recover from and impact upon your normal weekly training. If you are riding or running longer distances, breakfast and food throughout the session is needed and you should follow these guidelines:

  1. Eat food which will maximise fat usage to save carbohydrate.
  2. Maintain a constant blood sugar level and avoid spikes and dips.
  3. Based on point 2, eat foods which provide a slow ‘drip feed’ of energy rather than those which give you an instant hit.

Here are examples:

Breakfast is 1 mug full of muesli with no sugar. To increase fat content, buy mixed seeds/nuts breakfast cereal topper and add quarter of a mug. To further increase fat content sprinkle on desiccated coconut. Add dried or chopped fruit (anything low GI) and eat with full fat milk or natural yogurt. Don’t add any sugar, honey or syrup. It should be a small to medium bowl, don’t overeat and try to stock up with extra toast and jam for carbohydrates.

During exercise eat nothing for the first hour then take something every 30 minutes. You need to avoid things, which give you an instant hit, so avoid all high sugar products and don’t use energy gels. Energy bars take longer to digest so half a bar every 30 minutes would be suitable. Opt to have half every 30, not a full bar every hour, as this is easier for your stomach and intestines to deal with. You can choose something different to sports bars, such as flapjack, dried fruit or bananas. If you make your own flapjack, butter, fruit, coconut and oats are good, avoid sugar and syrups. The key is small quantities frequently (every 30 minutes from 60 onwards), coupled with water, squash or electrolyte solution, but no energy in drink.

The great gel quandary

Gels were invented for a specific purpose. When you felt low on energy and you were about to ‘bonk’ or ‘hit the wall’, you took a gel and it gave you instant energy. They gave you a rapid sugar spike at times when a rapid sugar spike was required. Then at some point the rules changed, gels were no longer a rapid source of energy for low periods, they are now to be taken every 20 minutes to provide a constant flow of energy. Simultaneously we are advised that we need a constant drip feed of carbohydrate and to avoid sugar spikes. Maintaining a steady blood sugar level is key to efficient metabolism. I’m not sure if I’m the only one confused, but I’m not sure how taking a product designed to spike your sugar levels every 20 minutes can be described as ‘drip feeding carbohydrate’ and maintaining a steady supply. In fact, gels sold based on their ‘fast acting’ properties, would surely be the worst things to take? That of course depends upon how you’re using it, if you’re taking it every 20 minutes to top up energy through a long race, the statement is correct. If you’ve bonked and you need an instant hit, then a gel is perfect, as that’s what they were designed for. It’s interesting how the purpose of a product can change, but I guess if you only took gels when you ‘bonked’ compared to buying 18 of them for a 6 hours ride, the gel economy would take a hit. Just saying.

What next?

As a start point, go out and ride or run and try the strategy. Don’t panic eat or over-eat either before or during. Choose low sugar foods in small quantities at frequent intervals and don’t be afraid of ‘bonking’ during this process. It may take your body a while to become accustomed to utilising fat so give it some time.

Pacing is key

Pacing is the missing jigsaw piece for this strategy. Riding or running at the correct intensity is critical during training sessions if you wish to maintain glycogen stores for the full duration of the workout. We’ll discuss pacing in next week’s blog and how intensity impacts upon fuel usage during endurance training and racing.

- Marc Laithwaite

About Marc:

Sports Science lecturer for 10 years at St Helens HE College.

2004 established The Endurance Coach LTD sports science and coaching business. Worked with British Cycling as physiology support 2008-2008. Previous Triathlon England Regional Academy Head Coach, North West.

In 2006 established Epic Events Management LTD. Now one of the largest event companies in the NW, organising a range of triathlon, swimming and cycling events. EPIC EVENTS also encompasses Montane Trail 26 and Petzl Night Runner events.

In 2010 established Montane Lakeland 50 & 100 LTD. This has now become the UKs leading ultra distance trail running event.

In 2010 established The Endurance Store triathlon, trail running and open water swimming store. Based in Appley Bridge, Wigan, we are the North West’s community store, organising and supporting local athletes and local events.

Check out the endurance store HERE

Endurance Store Logo