The 11th edition of The Coastal Challenge 2015 (#TCC2015) is just weeks away. For those in the know, the TCC is a gruelling multi-stage race that takes place along the tropical Pacific coastline of Costa Rica. The 230km route weaves in and out of the Talamancas (a coastal mountain range in the south west corner of the country) providing a true multi terrain experience.
A point-to-point race, the course starts in Quepos and finishes in the stunning Drakes Bay close to the border of Panama. Simple in concept, the TCC provides an extreme challenge that tests each individual runner. Participants will need to balance the distance, severity of the terrain and tropical climate to reach the finish line.
If you enjoy long distance running and adventure then The Coastal Challenge is for you and will prove to be a tremendously rewarding achievement. Jungle and rainforest trails, mountain trail and single track across ridge lines, highlands and coastal ranges; pristine beaches, rocky outcroppings and reefs, river valleys, river and estuary crossings. It’s an amazing course.
Following on from the incredible 10th edition line up (2014) that included Philipp Reiter, Nick Clark, Julia Boettger, Veronica Bravo and men and ladies victors; Michael Wardian and Jo Meek, race director, Rodrigo Carazo has once again provided a stunning line up for 2015.
Two of the male contenders for overall victory in the 2015 edition are Joe Grant and Speedgoat Karl Meltzer. I caught up with them to find out how training has gone in the final build up to the race.
Speedgoat Karl Melter – Hoka One One, Red Bull
Karl, you have your mojo back! Is the TCC directly attributable for that?
I definitely have my mojo back. I am looking at the TCC as a great week of running, with some harder runs, some good runners to run against, and to hopefully not get ‘chicked!’ Which I suspect I will. The race has motivated me to come to Zion Canyon and run some multi-long days in January which is great. I also look at it as an interesting test of my fitness. I’ve had 3 decent months so far, with the exception of a mildly aggravating neuroma, which will never go away, so I will just continue to run and manage it.
You are no stranger to running day after day having done the AT (Applachian Trail) and Red Bull Pony Express, have you done anything specific in training for TCC?
The AT and the Pony Express trail, being much longer days than the TCC really aren’t that comparable. The Pony was a cakewalk because it was not a race. The AT was just about surviving the distance daily. The TCC is much shorter and faster each day, The real key is recovery, so I suspect, I’ll be sleeping plenty and resting a great amount after each day to see how that pans out.
I’ve been toying with recovery the past month after long runs. I will likely take in some Ultragen and remain motionless for about 30 min. Eat more. Take a nap with legs elevated for about 2 hours. Then go for a walk about 1-2 miles to loosen the legs again… then eat again! At least that’s the plan for now. I”m sure it depends on what’s going on too, but the nap is important as well as the walk later in the day.
Any other tips for all those taking part?
Don’t drink as much beer as I will. 🙂 Enjoy more than anything and try and plan to be the “chaser”, not the “chasee” after day 3. I’m hoping to be the guy who gains momentum after day 3, rather then going out with the fast guys on day 1 and frying myself. It’s far more entertaining for me to run that way.
Joe Grant – Buff, Arc’teryx, inov-8
You have been back home training in the snow on skis and the ‘phat’ (fat) bike. Will that all work well for your run legs at TCC?
I find that both the ski and biking help develop a lot of power while minimizing the impact on the body you get from running. I can get a lot of vertical in, have a good long day of training where I feel tired, but not banged up. At this point in the year, I think it’s a very sustainable practice and will set me up nicely for spring/summer racing. TCC will definitely be a bit of a shock to the system, particularly the heat, but that’s partly why I’m interested in the race as it will be a great early season training boost.
Are you doing any specific preparation for the heat of TCC?
I did go down to Arizona to visit my uncle over the New Year. I was hoping to get a bit of heat training in down there in the desert, more of a mental thing really to break out of the winter cycle back home. The weather was surprisingly cold though and I only got one warm day of running in shorts. Heat is certainly my biggest concern for the race.
Multi day racing will place different demands on you in comparison to one long push (like in a 100-mile) do you have any thoughts or strategy for TCC?
I’m approaching the race like a demanding week of training with slightly longer mileage and more intensity. What I’ve found in multi-day races (in a single push) is that even a small amount of sleep and rest can do wonders for recovery. I’ll just need to remind myself during the race, that even if I’m feeling particularly bad on one day, good food and solid rest can really turn things around on the next. It’s a patience game and being able to spread your effort out evenly over the course of the 6 days.
Any tips for anyone taking part in a similar event?
I’d recommend really paying attention to all the little details that can improve your comfort and recovery during the week. It’s easy to be too tired to clean your shoes or tend blistered feet or chaffing after a strenuous stage, but taking care of those little things will pay off. It’s worth having clean, dry clothes to change into particularly at night to get good rest and feel ready to tackle the next day.
The 2015 #TCC2015 starts on January 31st and finishes on February 7th. Daily reports and images will be available on this website and you can follow Facebook and Twitter #TCC2015
The Coastal Challenge Facebook page is HERE and the race website is HERE
Route book and profiles available on PDF Here