Lanzarote Multi-Day Training Camp 2016 – Day 5


It was day 5 of the Lanzarote 2016 multi-day training camp and what a day…

Leaving the resort at 0830, three groups covered 4-hours to 5hours 30-minutes on the challenging trails of Lanzarote in three groups: walking, walk/ running and running.

It was a tough day, the clouds cleared, the sky came a deep blue and the heat started to slowly rise but all the time it was masked by the ever present winds coming from Morocco.


Starting at Club La Santa, the groups moved along the coastline, moved inland to Soo and then re-navigated back to the coast and the village of La Santa before heading out on new coastline. Lanzarote’s mixed terrain provides the perfect environment for a multi-day camp and today, camp attendees enjoyed a real mix os sandy access roads, volcano trails, climbing, coasteering, volcano climbing and then out-and-out technical dried lava.


Elisabet Barnes from MyRaceKit and sponsored Raidlight athlete guided the ‘fast’ group over 5-hours and 15-minutes and although it’s her first time on the Canarian island, she is taken back by its unique beauty and its specific trails.


“Lanzarote is just amazing. The climate and the trails are just perfect for Marathon des Sables training. La Santa and the surrounding area manages to throw everything at you that you will experience in a typical edition of the iconic Moroccan race, even down to the strong winds, variable heat and especially the mixed terrain. Soft sand, stoney ground, hard trails, tough climbs and beautiful views; what more could you ask for?”

Like any training camp, mixed abilities are catered for and Niandi Carmont has guided a run/ walk group and Marie-Paule Pierson (who recently competed Atacama) has guided and paced the walkers.


After a midday break, the afternoon had a foot care seminar hosted by Elisabet Barnes where she clearly explained the pros and cons of specific foot treatments and she also provided some very clear and highly informative ‘taping’ workshops.


Tomorrow is another long day with a 2-hour run at 0700, a seminar late morning and then in the afternoon a 2 to 3-hour run will be followed with an overnight bivouac.

If you would like to join our 2017 training camp, please go HERE.

Many thanks to Raidlight, OMM, inov-8, Scott Running, Berghaus, PHD and MyRaceKit of the support of this camp.

Lanzarote Multi-Day Training Camp 2016 – Day 4


It was an active recovery day at the 2016 Lanzarote multi-day training camp. It was kicked off with a guided 3-hour walk through some of the islands most stunning volcano sections close to the Timanfaya National Park.


Famous for it’s volcanic landscape, today everyone was able to appreciate up close how dramatic and tough these trails can be. Black lava sand, interspersed with jagged rocks but ultimately everyone was blown away with the dramatic and somewhat eerie vistas. In the early 1700’s, this area had six continuous years of volcanic eruptions that created this stunning landscape.


Elinor Evans, a yoga expert undertaking Marathon des Sables for the first time in 2016 commented after the walk:

“It’s been a really special day in this environment. We have walked with our packs, covered some miles and in the process had a wonderful learning experience. It has been magical.”

It was a sentiment echoed by everyone in the camp and with 5-hours of running waiting for everyone tomorrow, the opportunity to walk today was welcome.

The evening discussion was all about food and hydration for multi-day racing and we discussed the different nutritional needs for someone who may be looking to compete, the mid-packer and the walker. Of course, it’s all very personal, but many similarities from all three scenarios crossed over providing all the participants with plenty of key and essential information that they can now take away and formulate their own strategies for their chosen race.

Tomorrow, Sunday, kicks off with a 5-hour run along a new coastal section that will involve some climbing, scrambling and of course a plethora of mixed terrain.

If you are interested in a multi-day training camp, our 2017 dates are set and you can view HERE

Many thanks to:

Raidlight, OMM, inov-8, Berghaus, PHD, MyRaceKit and Scott Running for the support with this camp.

Lanzarote Multi-Day Training Camp 2016 – Day 3


The 2016 Lanzarote multi-day training camp really got underway today with a full day of activity. This morning was a 4-hour run or hike over some very specific terrain that provided every participant a full-on appreciation of what terrain they may encounter at a race such as Marathon des Sables.

Mitch Keene, on the training camp with his wife, said post run:

“It was great to experience the sort of terrain that we are likely to come across when we get to the real event. To understand what it is like to run in some deep sand. It was also great camaraderie on the run. It’s good to know that there is going to be people around you who are in the same sort of position as you are and learning from them. And then there is just some basic stuff like understanding that wearing very short socks is a bad idea when running in the sand. So really simple stuff that you think you know when you set off but don’t. The whole learning experience is phenomenal out here and I really enjoyed it.”

The morning session took a relatively flat run out over very mixed terrain (sand, rock, lava, dunes) in three groups. Elisabet Barnes leading the runners who are able to hold a faster and more consistent pace. Niandi Carmont leading the runners who will run and occasionally walk and then Marie-Paule Pierson leading a small group who intend to walk the whole event. Ian Corless moved from one group to the next.


“It’s nice meeting people who actually want to talk to you while you are running. I have found it quite difficult taking up running again on my own and going to events on my own,” said Leon Clarance. “People are usually polite but today people were actually chatting about their own experiences and it was nice to meet some likeminded people.”


At the coastal resort of Famara, everyone turned 180-deg and the re-traced along the coastline but this time taking in the small mountains and hills that back on to the sea in this area. At times rocky and technical, everyone had a real insight into the complex terrain that one may encounter in a multi-day event. At the summit, one or two runners experimented with foot care and treatment; a key element of successful multi-day competition.


“It’s ben a real eye opener,” said Alan Guthrie. “I have been behind with my training and today I managed my longest session for some time in some very specific terrain that directly relates to my chosen event; Marathon des Sables. It’s been a tough session but I have loved every minute of it.”


Post run stretching relaxed tired muscles and 2-hour break was followed with a talk and discussion called, ‘What goes in the Multi-Day Pack?’

And just when the runners thought it was time to relax and chill-out an ‘optional’ 20-30min shake out run fired everyone up for one last effort, making the day a very successful and tiring one. Evening drinks, relaxing chat and good food was extremely welcome. Tomorrow we have a structured group walk in the Timanfaya National Park in a series of volcanoes followed with a talk on nutrition and hydration.

Many thanks to MyRaceKit, Raidlight, OMM, PHD, inov-8, Scott Running and Berghaus for the support.

If you would like to take part in a multi-day training camp like this, dates have been set for 2017 and it’s possible to book HERE

Click on an image to view today’s gallery

Lanzarote Multi-Day Training Camp 2016 – Day 2


The Lanzarote 2016 multi-day training camp got underway today with an easy 1-hour run along the coastal trails of La Santa to Famara.

In total, we have a group of 27 runners with a broad range of 2016 objectives such as Marathon des Sables (Morocco), The Coastal Challenge (Costa Rica), Big Red Run (Australia), Cape Wraith Ultra (UK) and the Everest Trail Race (Nepal).

It’s always great to see so many runners of mixed ability come together with one goal in mind; completion of a challenging multi-day race!

Tomorrow, 4-hours of classic desert terrain awaits the runners as they depart in three groups lead by Elisabet Barnes, Niandi Carmont and Marie-Paule Pierson. Ian Corless, camp co-ordinator and planner, will move through the groups, running out-and-back to ensure that everyone is on track and comfortable.

In the afternoon, a group talk and discussion followed with an easy 30-60 min run.

Lanzarote, situated off the coast of Morocco provides the perfect environment to simulate many of the conditions that runners will experience in a classic multi-day race; wind, sand, rocks, tough terrain, climbs and maybe even a little scrambling.

If you are interested in a multi-day training, dates for 2017 have been set and you can view HERE

Many thanks to the following brands for helping with this camp:

MyRaceKit, OMM, inov-8, Berghaus, PHD, Raidlight, Scott Running




Race vests are not new to ultra running, arguably, one could say that we may well be at saturation point with the selection of products available. Salomon, Ultimate Direction, inov-8, Compressport, UltraAspire, The North Face and so on, all have products on the market and they all offer a very unique and practical way to carry mandatory kit, hydration, food and other optional accessories while training or racing. We could argue all day about which pack is best and ultimately it all comes down to personal taste.

For one day and single stage races 3-5ltr packs are very popular and for longer events, UTMB a classic example, 12ltr (or similar) packs are required due to the increased mandatory kit, additional requirement for liquid and also the option for flexibility.

If you are on a budget and looking for a ‘one pack does all’ scenario, then I always recommend purchasing a larger pack. You can always carry less but it’s very difficult to add more to a pack that is bulging at the seams.

Bottles have in many cases replaced the use of a bladder as the ‘go-to’ system for hydration as they are easier to use, easier to refill, easier to monitor how much or how little one drinks and also through pack design and the development of new bottles (soft flasks for example) the ease in which to carry them has increased.

With all the above considered, SCOTT SPORTS have now joined the party with a new vest  for 2016 called – SCOTT TRAIL PRO TR’ 6.0 PACK


Main features include:

  • Two 250ml Hydrapack soft flasks with straw.
  • Adjustable fitting.
  • Hook and Loop side adjustment system.
  • Stretch mesh chest pockets x2.
  • Stretchable front and side pockets x2.
  • Hydration bladder compatible.
  • Reflective logo prints.
  • Pole bungee.
  • Keyholder.
  • Rear light clip.
  • Safety Whistle.

Sporting an all black stealth look with yellow logos, the SCOTT Vest is a good looking pack that immediately catches ones eye.


Let’s be clear here, it’s a running vest, so on first impressions it looks like many other vests on the market. However, on close inspection you soon become aware that SCOTT have re-worked the classic vest design and offered a couple of new changes.


Firstly the bottles, like many other packs, sit on the shoulder straps in two adjustable pockets that can be tightened and loosened with a ‘quick-release’ cord that works exceptionally well even when wearing gloves.


The soft flasks (provided) are 250ml in size and have straws to facilitate ‘on-the-go’ drinking without having to move the flasks.

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The addition of two plastic clips that sit on the upper section of the shoulder straps (left and right) clip and hold the straws to stop them flapping and hitting your face when running; it’s a nice touch!


A safety whistle is also available.



Sitting below the bottle holders are two zipper pockets on the left and the right lower shoulder straps that can be used to hold anything from food to valuable items such as a small camera, phone, gps or similar.

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Sitting above the bottle holders are two small stretch pockets with a plastic puller that are ideal for gels, energy bars or similar.



On the left and right side (under the arms) are two smaller stretch pockets with a velcro fastening that allows quick access to a bar, gel or other similar item.


It’s also possible to squeeze gloves or a hat into the pockets providing they are not too large. However, it’s an either/ or situation, the pockets won’t accommodate both food and accessories.


Fastening the pack is done via two ‘hook and loop’ systems that can be moved up or down to ensure a good fit. The straps can be tightened or loosened via a common and widely used adjustable system. The hook and loop system is minimalist but a little fiddly, especially if wearing gloves. However, once fastened it’s secure.


It’s on the rear of the pack where some new technology is displayed. On either side (left and right) are two velcro straps that can be loosened or tightened to allow the pack to adjust for larger or smaller body shapes.


It’s a practical solution to a common problem that arises from different sized runners. A plus side of this system is that it will also allow pack adjustment should you wear more or less clothes or should you carry more or less items in the pack. In the lower back, it’s also possible to adjust the pack making it smaller or larger via hidden velcro attachments.


The rear of the pack has three pockets, the first pocket sits closest to ones back and has an attachment strap to hold a bladder in place. It would happily take most standard 1.5 or 2ltr bladders.


This bladder pocket is a great addition for when races require mandatory liquid allowances of 2ltr plus. It also provides great flexibility for races in hot climates when more liquid would be required or when racing with minimal or no aid station options. If you don’t wish to use a bladder, no problem, you have an additional pocket to carry apparel.


The second pocket is a zipper pocket for apparel such as jacket, gloves, hat, over trousers and so on. It will hold standard mandatory kit.

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The third pocket is open ended and stretch fabric for immediate and essential items such as windproof, gloves and hat. This pocket can be accessed without removing the pack, please note, you will need to practice this.


On the upper left shoulder and on the lower right hand side are two adjustable, quick release bungee cords that will hold poles in place when not in use. It’s a practical system, however, many of the new folding poles may well be too short to fit between the two cords; you may want to check this?

©iancorless.com_ScottVest-01207 ©iancorless.com_ScottVest-01208



The vest fits exceptionally well, is well padded and comfortable with little to no bounce, even when fully loaded. The option to adjust the pack via the velcro straps was especially welcome when my partner, Niandi, used the pack for her own runs and testing.

“The vest has been designed in such a way that it works well for the female form, I had no issue with the pack chaffing or compressing my chest. However, ladies with a larger chest may wish to try the pack to ensure that this also applies for them,” commented Niandi. “The 250ml soft flasks are ideal as they are not too large or too heavy on the chest straps. The straws work brilliantly but the addition of the plastic clips that hold the straws when not is use is a revelation. Such a simple idea.”

The downside of the chest pockets and the 250ml flasks is that for many runners, a max 500ml capacity may be too little? We did try larger flasks and 500ml hard bottles in the pockets, they will fit and the adjustable cord does hold them in place, but it’s less comfortable that the two 250ml flasks provided.


There are ways around the hydration issue and of course the bladder pocket on the rear is the most obvious solution for anything from 1ltr, 1.5ltr and 2ltrs. Another possibility is adding an additional one or two soft flasks to one of the rear pockets. There is definitely room to do this and on several occasions both Niandi and myself did this on longer runs. It may not be the most time efficient method but the pack comes on and off quickly and it’s easy to swap or refill the front chest soft flasks.


The vest is well made and durable, this increases the overall weight of the pack and although not heavy, it’s notably more substantial than say a Salomon S-Lab vest. The SCOTT vest is reassuringly well built and although it’s way too early to tell, the vest feels as though it would provide long service.



Access to liquid ‘on-the-go’ is excellent via the straws. The two front zipper pockets provide easy access to essential items that maybe need more security and the two upper stretch pockets are ideal for quick access to gels/ bars. The two smaller side pockets with velcro fastening provide quick access to small bars, gels or other items but they can be a little fiddly.


The rear three pockets are easy accessed (not when running) and they hold a great deal. The zipper pocket is a nice addition as it provides security to any valuable items that you may be carrying. The open ended stretch pocket is great for quick access to windproof, hat and gloves without removing the pack.  A rear light clip is also welcome as many races now require a rear led light.

The pole bungees work exceptionally well if your poles are long enough? Unfortunately, the issue is common on many vests now. The increased use of poles for trail running has resulted in many manufacturers re-designing poles in an effort to make them smaller and lighter. This is a real bonus from a running perspective, however, it’s less of a bonus when trying to store poles when not in use. Many new poles (when folded) are now too short to fit between the pole attachments. My Black Diamond Z-Poles did not fit on the SCOTT vest. This is a problem I am used to and I now usually add two bungee cords to the front of my vests to hold the poles. It’s a system I have developed over the years that works quickly, efficiently and in all honesty, for me it is preferable to all other options available.


The SCOTT vest is a very welcome addition and alternative to the many vest options that are currently available on the market from various brands. The adjustment system, soft flask holding system and overall capacity will make this pack ideal for any race distance; marathon to long distance ultra. When not fully loaded, the pack can be adjusted to fit snugly against the torso with no bounce. Fully loaded, the velcro straps can be released and therefore allow for greater movement and the option to hold mandatory kit. It’s a versatile vest (with a reassurance from Niandi) that works well for male and female torsos. We always say here that you need to ensure that a pack works for you and your body shape. A big guy may well say the vest is too small for him, equally, a lady with large chest may well find that the pack lacks the comfort, security and anti-chaffing that Niandi loved about this pack.

There are very few downsides to this vest, however, the most obvious issue may well be that the soft-flasks on the chest are 250ml and not 500ml. Only you can decide if this is a make or break issue? Certainly the addition of the bladder pocket on the rear mitigates this problem.

There is no easy access dump pocket that can hold items such as gloves, hat and/ or buff. They can be added to the zipper pockets that sit below the soft flasks but the system isn’t as quick or as easy as some of the alternatives. It’s a small issue but it may well be a big issue for you?

Ultimately, we recommend the pack. It’s been a pleasure to wear and use and  it’s been our standard run pack for the last few months.

Close-up gallery

Lanzarote Multi-Day Training Camp 2016 – Day 1


Day 1 in Lanzarote for the 2016 multi-day training camp. It’s all about scouting courses, checking out terrain and looking for some specific routes that will put our 26 clients through their paces that will help simulate classic multi-day races like Marathon des Sables, Atacama, The Coastal Challenge and more…

MDS 2015 champion, Elisabet Barnes is here and just recently she has secured a three year sponsorship deal with Raidlight. Lanzarote is not only an opportunity to test new Raidlight apparel and packs but also to train and pass on Elisabet’s experience to those who may well be undertaking a multi-day race for the first time.

Our other coaches, Niandi Carmont and Marie-Paule Pierson will also be passing on their own wisdom from their own multi-day experiences. Niandi in particular has been racing ultras for approximately 20-years, anything from 50k, 100k, 100-miles and of course multi-day races such as Marathon des Sables and The Coastal Challenge,

Our clients arrive tomorrow, Thursday. It will be a settle in day with an easy run late afternoon and then all the action starts on Friday with a coastal run that includes mixed terrain, soft sand, some scrambling and of course great weather and great views.

Thanks to OMM, inov-8, Scott Running, Raidlight, Berghaus and PHD of the support on this camp.

Episode 104 – Candice Burt, Lucy Bartholomew, Zach Bitter


This is Episode 104 of Talk Ultra and I am pleased to say Speedgoat is back. On this show we talk with rising Australian star, Lucy Bartholomew. We speak to fast man, Zach Bitter about running 100-miles super quick and Candice Burt talks Hurt 100 and the appeal of 200-mile races.

Our show has always been and always will be free for you, the listener. If you like what we do, please consider a donation.



00:01:30 Show Start

00:14:17 NEWS

HURT 100

1 – Jeff Browning 21:22

2 – Gary Robbins 21:55

3 – Yassine Diboun 22:39

1 – Denise Bourassa 30:24

2 – Candice Burt 31:28

3 – Junk Suzuki 32:29

00:25:36 INTERVIEW with CANDICE BURT on her 2nd place and her running history as a racer and RD.

BANDERA 100k *Golden Ticket Race

1 – Jim Walmsley 7:46 (fast!)

2 – Chris DeNucci 8:06

3 – Paul Terranova 8:38

1 – Cassie Scallon 9:19 (fast!)

2 – Vanessa Taylor 9:40

3 – Michele Yates 9:45

ZOLKAN 4 DAY in Chile

Won by Veronica Bravo and Moises Jimenez

THE SPINE 268 miles

Eoin Keith smashed the old course record  to finish in 95:17:18 (approx 15 hours quicker.) Last years winner, Pavel Paloncy finished 2nd in 100:34:58 and Pete Wilkie 3rd in 117:15:15.

Only 2 ladies finished, Zoe Thornborough 11:40:12 and Anna Buckingham 167:17:05.

In the Challenger 108 miles (shorter race) last years Spine winner, Beth Pascall smashed the CR to finish in 30:32:10, Sarah Davies 2nd 44:35:50 and Sharon Sullivan 3rd 52:24:45.

Tom Hollins was 1st man 29:37:25, Matt Bennett 30:25:33 and Scott Morley 38:26:37.

01:26:46 INTERVIEW with LUCY BARTHOLOMEW who smashed the ladies record at Bogong to Hotham is Australia

02:10:56 INTERVIEW fast man ZACH BITTER talks training for, racing and looking for that elusive super fast time for 100-miles.



Antarctic Ice 100k | 100 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website

White Continent 50K | 50 kilometers | January 25, 2016 | website



Beerwah at Night – 50 km | 51 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website

Beerwah at Night – 50 km | 51 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website


128 km | 128 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website

64 km | 64 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website



Yukon Arctic 100M | 100 miles | February 04, 2016 | website

Yukon Arctic 300M | 300 miles | February 04, 2016 | website

Yukon Arctic 430M | 430 miles | February 04, 2016 | website


Half TREG | 90 kilometers | January 24, 2016 | website

TREG | 180 kilometers | January 24, 2016 | website



Raid 28 | 80 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website

Semiraid 28 | 50 kilometers | January 24, 2016 | website


47 km | 50 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website


Ultra Raid 28 | 120 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website


La Ronde Givrée | 62 kilometers | January 31, 2016 | website



Chiemsee-Ultramarathon Januar | 108 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website


HallenMarathon 50km Ultra-Lauf | 50 kilometers | January 24, 2016 | website


Rodgau 50km Ultramarathon | 50 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website


Green Power Hike 50K | 50 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website

Vibram® Hong Kong 100 Ultra Trail® Race | 100 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website


Kimbia Kenya 100 km | 100 kilometers | January 29, 2016 | website

Kimbia Kenya 50 km | 50 kilometers | January 29, 2016 | website


North Holland

Dutch Coast Ultra by Night 100 km | 50 kilometers | January 22, 2016 | website

Dutch Coast Ultra by Night 50 km | 50 kilometers | January 22, 2016 | website

Dutch Coast Ultra by Night 75 km | 75 kilometers | January 22, 2016 | website

New Zealand

Ian Priest Memorial Ultra Marathon | 60 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website

The James Mountain Stampede Ultra | 50 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website


Survival Run: Nicaragua | 70 kilometers | February 03, 2016 | website


Wadi Bih Run | 72 kilometers | February 05, 2016 | website


Transvolcano | 52 kilometers | January 24, 2016 | website


Canary Islands

Marathón ‘Isla del Meridiano’ – 86 km | 86 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website


The North Face 100® – Thailand | 100 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website

The North Face 100® – Thailand – 50 km Solo | 50 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website

United Kingdom


Arc of Attrition | 100 miles | February 05, 2016 | website


Marmot Dark Mountains™ – Elite Course | 53 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website

Milton Keynes

Quadzilla | 164 kilometers | February 04, 2016 | website



Mountain Mist 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website


100 Mile Trail Run | 100 miles | January 23, 2016 | website

52K | 52 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website

52 Mile | 52 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website


Bandit Ultra Trail Run 50K | 50 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website

Crystal Springs 50 Km Trail Run | 50 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website

Crystal Springs 50 Km Trail Run | 50 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website

Folsom South Side Trail 38 Mile Run | 38 miles | January 30, 2016 | website

Folsom South Side Trail 50K Run | 50 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website

Fort Ord Trail Run 50K | 50 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website

Ordnance 100K | 100 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website


Frozen Dead Guy 50km | 50 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website


55K Ultra Individual Marathon (34.2 miles) | 55 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website

55K Ultra Relay (each leg is 3.1 miles x 11 legs = 34.2 miles) | 55 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website

Ragnar Relay Florida Keys | 199 miles | February 05, 2016 | website


Arrowhead 135 mile Winter Ultramarathon | 135 miles | January 25, 2016 | website

New York

100 Miler | 100 miles | January 23, 2016 | website

50 Miler | 50 miles | January 23, 2016 | website

North Carolina

50K | 50 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website

50 Mile Relay | 50 miles | January 30, 2016 | website

Maysville to Macon 50 Mile Run | 50 miles | January 30, 2016 | website

North Carolina Fat Ass 50k | 50 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website


Run for Regis 50K | 50 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website

Winter Buckeye Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | January 24, 2016 | website


Horseshoe Trail Run 50k | 50 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website


Snowshoe Festival 50K | 50 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website


Lake Youngs NUTS 50K Run | 50 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website

Virgin Islands (USA)

St. Croix Scenic 50 km | 50 kilometers | January 24, 2016 | website

St. Croix Scenic 50 Mile | 50 miles | January 24, 2016 | website

03:05:25 CLOSE




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The Long Run – How long should it be?

The Long Run

Recently I have produced several articles (links below) on planning your training, walking for ultra running, base training, speed work and now I ask the question, how long should the long run be?

Short distance runners often run over distance in training. Think about it, a 10km runner may run a long slow half marathon to build endurance. A half marathon runner may run a long and slow steady 16-miles in preparation for a fast race.

This all falls apart when we go to the marathon and beyond. How often have you heard in marathon training that the long run should be 21/22 miles or 3 hours and 30 minutes in preparation for a race.

Long runs and adapting for an endurance run such as an ultra comes from not one run but a combination of all runs. It’s about your accumulative run history. They all add up to make you an endurance machine.

First and foremost, consistency is key and long runs should be progressive and based on ability and experience. A long run should test you but not break you.


Make sure you catch up on other resources that will help you plan your 2016 season:

Planning a Running and Racing Year HERE

To Base Train or not To Base Train? HERE

Base Training HERE

We also have a series of articles on walking and climbing:

Training to Walk for Ultra, Trail and mountain Races HERE

Walking, Running and Climbing with Trekking Poles HERE

Running and Walking Efficiency when Climbing HERE

Compressport Ultrun 140G Pack – Race Vest


Just when you thought a running hydration vest couldn’t progress any further in terms of design and fit, Compressport tip the apple cart over and come up with the ULTRUN 140G PACK which is available in a male and female versions. On test, we have the male version, you can view the female version HERE.

On first impressions, this pack is considerably light, good looking (red and black always works) and most definitely makes you look twice due to some very unique design features. The pack comes in one size and although Compressport say the pack will expand to many different sized people, I do wonder how big? I tried the vest on over a jacket and then a down/ padded jacket and it still fit with comfort. Ultimately, I think if you have a big chest, it may well be a good idea to try on in store before purchasing.

In total, the pack has 10 pockets that vary in size which are all made from expandable and stretchy mesh, The benefits of this are easy to see, if you are being minimalist, the pack remains small, lightweight and you have no excess material flapping around. If you need to carry anything from i jacket to a whole list of mandatory kit, the pack can expand and stretch to your needs. It can actually expand considerably. The other plus side is that mesh holds everything tight and therefore reduces bounce. The down side? Well, you just need to plan carefully on how you fill the mesh pockets. Just make sure essential items go in last so that they are near the top.

Weight of the pack on test is 169g which of course is considerably light. It’s closest rival/ competition would be the Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra 3 which weighs 129g, review HERE.

Compressport say it has taken 3-years to develop the pack and it boasts the ability to hold 3.6L of liquid in addition to the usual mandatory kit for an ultra-trail race. The liquid capacity is calculated as follows:

  • 2 x 500ml or 2 x 750ml bottles on the chest pockets.
  • 1x 600ml soft flask sitting in the lower back.
  • 1 x 1.5ml bladder in one of the compartments in the upper section on the back of the pack.

Unfortunately the pack comes with no bottles or soft-flasks. A major flaw in my opinion. I would at least expect 2 x soft-flasks for the front of the pack and due to the unique design of the pack, I would like to have seen a 1.5l bladder for the rear. I’m not a fan of bladders but I wonder how easy it is to purchase a bladder, off-the-shelf that will fit in the Ultrun 140G?


I must note here, the option to sit a hard bottle or soft flask in the lower back is an inspired idea. It sits in it’s own sleeve which can opened on the right or left. As mentioned, I am not a fan of bladders so to have 2 x 5-750ml bottles on my chest and a spare bottle in my lower back is ideal. To clarify, you wouldn’t want to keep adding or removing the bottle from your lower back. You can access it without taking the pack on and off but it would be a little messy while trying to run. The idea here is to carry a spare and then change it with an empty bottle on the chest. A soft flask does sit more comfortably here but is harder to add and remove. Don’t need an additional bottle? This pocket can be used for a windproof, gloves, buff, hat etc.


In regard to capacity, the pack is spacious and it’s ideal if you want to carry essential items such as:
  • Gloves
  • Hat
  • Windproof
  • Lightweight trousers
  • Buff
But I am not sure how much more it could take? For example, I don’t see how it would be possible to add mandatory kit for a race such as UTMB where waterproof jacket and trousers are required in addition to other base layers. This is not a criticism, I am just clarifying that the Ultrun 140G has a limit.
Sitting high on the torso, the Ultrun 140G fits comfortably with little or no bounce and the design allows for plenty of breathability. Compressport call this Ventilation 360º.
 Fastening at the front is quite ingenious using a knotted lace pulled through holes on the left and right. It’s so simplistic it’s brilliant and it is fool proofing even when wearing gloves.
The lower fastening method uses a classic male/ female buckle that again is large enough to be opened and closed whilst wearing gloves.
As you would expect the pack has a whistle which sits on the upper right hand shoulder strap. It’s possible to remove this and place elsewhere should you wish.
The bottle pocket will accommodate  a 500 to 750ml bottle or soft flask and it has a draw cord to ensure that either system is held in place. A smaller bottle or flask fits more snuggly and has less bounce.
©iancorless.com_Compressport-00196 ©iancorless.com_Compressport-00194
On the outside of the bottle pockets its a small elastic pocket that would hold a gel/ gels and/ or hydration tablets etc.
On the hips on either side are two mesh pockets with a tab and velcro fastening. They are designed for on-the-go access to food and or other essential items. You can squeeze cloves or a hat in them too should you wish, but not at the same time as food!
Sitting just under these pockets and 2 elastic cords with a toggle. They are used for attaching poles and finally the system works with many of the new shorter poles such as the Black Diamond Z pole. The poles are intended to attach to the side but I also got them to sit in my lower back underneath where the bottle would sit.
The ergonomic design has been created to allow for complete comfort and I can confirm, it feels great. It’s refreshing to have a pack that has had a refreshing rework in design over what is currently available from other brands. At the end of the day, it’s a race vest and many products are available to choose from. If you are looking for a vest, I would recommend giving this a look.
It’s still early days for our testing and so we will come back with an update in a few months.
What’s wrong with the pack?
Well, not a great deal. It fits, it’s comfortable, it holds essentials and provides plenty of options to carry liquid.
However, on-the-go access is limited to just the 2 small side pockets, which for many runners will hold food. So, should you need your jacket, gloves, hat or any other item, you will need to remove the pack. To be fair, this applies to most other packs, the exception coming with the larger packs offered by inov-8, Salomon and other similar brands.
Click on the images to view larger:

Compressport can be found HERE


BASE TRAINING for Ultra Running

Base Training

Recently I have been writing a series of posts about training and starting a new year of running on the right foot, no pun intended. A recent post called, ‘Planning a Running and Racing Year’ HERE.

Base training is something that all endurance athletes are familiar with, it’s about laying a strong aerobic foundation for the coming years racing. But if you are an experienced ultra runner I question if you need to base train. For me, flipping things on the head now would be a good idea. Drop the distance and time on feet and go short and fast, get some speed back in those one- paced legs and become a fast ultra runner later in the year. Read a post, ‘To Base Train Or To Not Base Train’ HERE that discusses these points.

But if you are new to running, new to ultra running or are coming from shorter and faster running, say 5k, 10k and half marathon, base training is for you.

Ultimately at this time of the year (and all times) we should ask:

  • What we’re doing and why?
  • What are the real reasons for doing any training?
  • What are the actual objectives we are trying to achieve?

Without understanding your objectives, you will never be able to understand how to structure your training and maybe more importantly, you won’t know when you have achieved your goal so that you can then move to the next phase.

So why is ‘base training’ important?

Read the full article on RUNULTRA HERE