0700 and meeting at the run track at Club La Santa was not, in the majority, most peoples idea of fun. However, the glow of head torches and an easy run of around 1-hours around the trails and lagoon of CLS, very much set everyone up for a perfect day in Lanzarote.
Breakfast was followed by two talks. Rich Carpenter discussed his first Marathon des Sables in 2016 and talked us through his whole preparation and race. He pointed out what worked and what didn’t and he also provided some invaluable personal ‘tips’ that many could take away to improve their own future multi-day experience.
Ian and Niandi then discussed the travel to Morocco, what everyone could expect and they provided invaluable hints-and-tips to make the bivouac experience more pleasurable until the race started.
Lunch and an afternoon break was followed by a run run to a volcano and a series of hill reps. I guess it was a session many feared… But, by unanimous feedback, the session has been the most exciting, the most welcomed and the most inspiring. Everyone loved it!
It was inspirational to see some runners push themselves to their physical limit, while others conquered a fear of climbing, exposed ridges and technical terrain. It was a real winning session and one that set everyone up perfectly for evening drinks in the bar and a relaxing and casual dinner.
Tomorrow, Sunday, is a big day with a long run out and back along the coast.
Clear skies. Yes, at 0800 the sky was clear and we all knew that it was going to be a great day!
Friday, was the first full day of the 2017 Multi-Day Training Camp and what a way to start! Participants were split into three groups and they would cover somewhere in the region of 32 – 38km. Elisabet Barnes lead the fast group, Niandi Carmont the medium group and Marie-Paule Pierson looked after the walkers. Ian Corless worked as ‘pick-up’ between the groups looking after runners who found the pace of their respective groups a little to ‘hot’ and needed to drop the the group below.
It was a stunning day. Hugging the coastline, all the groups headed out to Famara and beyond and then circumnavigated back via a different route with the climb of a dormant volcano.
One thing was clear – a warm day, terrain that replicated race scenarios and specific paced groups made for a happy bunch of runners.
Back at Club La Santa, it was time to refuel and hydrate before two talks in the early evening, one on foot care and the other on hydration.
The day ended with some good food and of course, the odd beer or glass of wine, it’s a holiday after all…
Interested in the 2018 Training Camp? If so, go HERE
A glorious morning was followed by a windy and chilly afternoon but Lanzarote put a smile on every clients face as they arrived in 15-degree temperatures after leaving a -5 London behind.
It was an admin day as everyone checked in, stocks up on supplies, relaxed and then at 1700-hours it was an introduction to the terrain and conditions they will encounter for the next 7-days.
It was a stunning end to the day as we ran for 60-minutes in three ability based groups. The sun accompanied us and as we returned back to La Santa we were provided with one of this magical sunsets that made everyone realise in an instant, why they are here.
Light stretching followed the run and then in the evening it was casual drinks and a group meal.
Day 4 starts at 0800 with a full-on run that will see most participants on the trail for 4 to 6 hours.
Heavy skies greeted us for day 2 of our 2017 multi-day training camp. It looked cold out there… the reality was very different. It was a hot day with no wind. Almost oppressive!
The early hours were dominated with admin and but then it was time to do a final recce of one of the coastal runs that we will run with camp attendees. In previous years’ we had attempted to hug the coastline and take a rough trail (with scrambling) to a coastal town, Tenesar, and then navigate around the trails to Montana Teneza and Montana Blanca.
We had failed!
Often losing the path to undertake an extreme version of sktyrunning that was far too risky for those attending a multi-day race.
The wonders of Google Earth and Movescount software afforded me the opportunity to look at the area in detail in advance of this years’ camp and yes, we nailed it! We had a wonderful 20km recce which provided some stunning views, challenging terrain and plenty of laughs.
Everything is place now. The clients arrive today, Thursday and it’s all systems go.
The camp will officially start this evening with a shake out coastal run to loosen the legs, make everyone feel relaxed and then we head straight to the bar for welcome drinks and a first night group meal.
The action starts Friday at 0800 with a long run that will vary in length based on the speed and ability of our three groups, the participants can expect anything from 24 – 36km.
The snow, the ice, the rain and the cold arrived in the UK. Temperatures plummeted. Lanzarote was the only place to be and thank goodness our multi-day training camp is now an annual fixture.
Elisabet Barnes, Niandi Carmont and myself arrived on this majestic Canary island of Lanzarote, two days ahead of our 2017 camp to put logistics in place and do a final check of some of the run routes we will use.
Blue skies and 20 degree temperatures greeted us. The bright blue sky, the warm rays immediately rejuvenating us from the cold and dark of the UK. No confirmation is needed but within seconds we know only too well why we do this camp at this time of year.
Today was all about settling in but it would be rude not to get out on the trails as the day came to a close. Using one of our training run routes, we ran, climbed and scrambled one of the many volcanoes that are located on this island. It was a magical way to end the day.
Wednesday, we will do a full long run route recce and then on Thursday, our clients will arrive from all over the world to start a full-on week learning how best to train, prepare and plan for a multi-day race. Lanzarote is the perfect environment for this.
Elisabet Barnes dominated the 2015 Marathon des Sables by winning every stage of the race against a high quality field of competitors. What followed was a series of races and victories – a win and course record at Trail Menorca and victory (and everyday stage wins) at Oman Desert Marathon.
2016 kicked off with a multi-day training camp (here) and in February, Elisabet placed 2nd at Costa Rica’s The Coastal Challenge.
I caught up with Elisabet just two days before she flies out to Morocco to discuss how she feels, how 2016 will be different to 2015 and how life gets in the way of ‘just’ training.
“It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur.”– Nelson Mandela
I just so love this quote by Mandela one of history’s truly great legendary and inspiring leaders. This guiding principle is what no doubt helped Mandela lead South Africa towards the democracy it is today, even from behind the secluded prison bars of Robbin Island.
Leading from behind is one of the most effective, rewarding and empowering leadership strategies. It goes against the traditional image we hold of great leaders, leading the troops from the front by setting the example.
As a coach during a 2016 training camp for multi-day racing and specifically the Marathon des Sables (here), I had the opportunity to put this into practice. Marathon des Sables or “MDS” as it is affectionately called by most aficionados is a gruelling self-sufficiency multi-stage running event which takes place every year in April in the Sahara. The event is celebrating its 31st year this year and will gather over 1300 international participants at the start line on 8 April. Participants are required to carry a minimum weight of 6.5kg with a minimum calorie allowance of 2000Kcal/day covering a total distance of 250km with temperatures exceeding 45C over dunes, jebels and scorched sun-dried salt lakes.
The pre-race training camp last week in Lanzarote provided participants with an opportunity to run long distances on consecutive days in the heat and on demanding terrain simulating that encountered in the Sahara. It also allowed them to test their equipment and exchange with coaches on nutritional and hydration strategies.
Attendees were divided into groups of differing ability depending on the objectives they had set themselves.
“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” — Sam Walton
Coaching one of the groups provided me with one of the most insightful weeks on leadership, mentoring and providing feedback. How do you support and develop each participant in the group giving them the self-confidence to learn and grow? This is where leading from behind comes in. At times I would be running ahead setting the pace. Then I would slow down and run in the group egging them on to the next landmark. Other times I would drop down to the back of the pack and let them set the pace. After all isn’t it all about a balance between pushing people outside their comfort zone because you know this is what will help them have the strength to face adversity in the challenge they have set themselves? Then again you also need to be there to monitor their progress and not push them beyond their limits or dampen their enthusiasm. A fine line!
A good leader is also a good listener. Managers are advised to listen 70% and speak 30% when providing feedback. It is surprising what you learn from coachees when you listen actively. I learnt a wealth of useful information listening to each participant in my run group. Listening gave me a better understanding of the difficulties of each and everyone: ranging from juggling personal and professional commitments to finding the time to train, fitting training around consecutive business trips, adopting a healthy nutritional strategy with a demanding work schedule and business dinners, dealing with sports injuries due to increased mileage, apprehension of the unknown, fear of failure, professional stress impacting on training performance…the list is endless. But listening helped me to be specific in my advice.
“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.”— Rosalynn Carter
A leader should also enhance competitiveness. Many in my group had set out with the objective of completing Marathon des Sables and getting that beautiful big shiny medal handed over to them by the race Director Patrick Bauer, ticking MDS off on their bucket-list of ultra-running achievements and adding it to their run CV. I know the runners in my group will cross that finish line but I also know that they can achieve much more. They showed that tenacity, grit and determination in training that will take them to the finish line at MDS.
“The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men, the conviction and the will to carry on.” – Walter Lippman
And so my final message to my coachees after a week of learning from them about leadership, mentoring and providing feedback is:
“I won’t be there with you at the start-line although I’d love to be but I will be be tracking your progress live on-line and living every minute of the MDS experience with you.” – Niandi
If you would like to join our 2017 Multi-Day Training Camp, please go HERE
This is Episode 105 of Talk Ultra. Niandi and Ian are back from a multi-day training camp in Lanzarote, The Spine winner, Eoin Keith tells us all about his race and we speak with Rocky Raccoon and Fling Race winner, Mat thew Laye.
00:01:05 Show Start
Lanzarote multidaycamp – Images story and here is some feedback from the participants:
1 – Jim Reed and Scott Hoberg finished together in 37:20
1 – Carla Goulart 52:51
Emelie Forsberg is injured and out of the SkiMo season:
“My cruciate ligament is broken. An accident in the first downhill and my season is over. It’s pretty shitty right now. I donno what to say more.”
Honk Kong 100
Francois d’Haene is back with superb win in freaky weather Hong Kong, he ran 9:32 for as new CR ahead of team mate Yan Long Fei 9:37and Gediminas Grinius 9:53 3rd.
Dong Li won the ladies race I’m 12:05 ahead of Liza Borzoi and Silvia Trigueros, 12:30 and 12:34 respectively.
Susie Chan ran a new ‘Guiness’ 12-hour record of 68.5 miles on a treadmill.
As this show comes out Tararwera is going on in New Zealand, it’s Rocky Racoon 100 this weekend, Ian Sharman is running and he said the trails are in good condition, I wonder, can he get close to his 12:44 of 2011? On Thursday Niandi and I head out to Costa Rica with 2015 MDS champion, Elisabet Barnes for The Coastal Challenge.
The season is starting to hot up!
00:21:30 INTERVIEWwith EOIN KEITH
01:06:21 INTERVIEW Rocky Raccoon and Highland Fling winner MATHEW LAYE talks running and PED’s.
Day 8 of the 2016 Lanzarote multi-day camp was a cracker. The hottest day of the week with little or no wind, a stunning coastal route with mixed terrain, volcano climbing and descending and of course, stunning views and amazing people.
As on all previous days, we had three run/ walk groups. Everyone managed to cover somewhere between 20 and 35km and it was interesting to see how during the week, people progressed, not only in fitness but in regard to equipment, planning and preparation.
We also pushed everyone out of their own comfort zones with some tough climbing, very technical terrain and challenging descents. It’s all about taking things up a notch so that when race day comes around, the runners are prepared.
“Brilliant MdS training camp in Lanzarote with organiser, coach and photographer Ian Corless and MdS 2015 champion Elisabet Barnes. 100-miles run in the week with some excellent advice and support plus great people!” – Paul Allum
Paul’s thoughts were echoed by so many of the camp attendees. Elinor Evans in particular found the whole experience enlightening and invaluable. During the weekly runs, the overnight bivouac, the volcano walk and the daily talks, Elinor realised that she had the wrong pack for her, the wrong sleeping bag, a need to address her nutrition and look at her MdS admin. Invaluable!
“The Training Camp in my opinion was exceptional and far exceeded my expectations. The whole program start to finish pushed everyone to achieve their potential while taking into account the wide variety of abilities. All of the coaches were supportive and challenging and while clearly experts in their field never made novices like me feel stupid. The information we got was priceless and the blend of commercialism and a genuine desire to want to help people achieve their goal of competing or completing MDS was incredibly well done. I wouldn’t just recommend this to future MDS competitors I’d suggest you add it to your Compulsory Kit list! Simply brilliant!” – Simon Dunn
“Fantastic week in magical terrain with lovely people – thank you Ian, Elisabet, Niandi and Marie-Paule – Sahara countdown is ON.” – Elinor Evans
The morning run of 3-5 hours was followed with a relaxing lunch and then an afternoon Q&A which addressed many of the issues raised during the week and allowed everyone to clarify and appease their minds ahead of their next multi-day race.
The day finished with 20-30min cool down run and then an evening group meal and drinks. It has been an incredible week and one that has provided inspiration for all concerned. Roll on 2017.
‘How was your holiday?’ ask the lads at work.
‘Amazing’ I say. ‘Look at these pictures’. ‘That’s how to round tape to ensure you minimize the risk of blisters’. Blank looks.
‘See her? She’s the 2015 MdS champion putting the needle into my foot’.
‘Lads, this is the same you fat bastards going to Weston Karting centre at the weekend and Jensen Button turning up to do the safety briefing’.
They still don’t get it.
‘Did you learn much in Lanzarote darling?’.
‘I certainly did. The WAA bag is a goner. It would be like taking a knife to gun fight. Ok, it would be like taking a clutch bag to an all day shopping trip. You know, when only a tote will do’.
A nod of understanding, but really boredom turning to neutrality at best.
‘Was it fun running Daddy?’ ‘It was. Midpack daddy is certainly going to need more fat than carbs to keep him going in the dunes girls’.
‘Did you bring us back any sweets?’.
‘Can we watch TV?’
‘How was the volcano mate?’. ‘Wonderful. It was cold, but the stars were out and we all had an amazing time’.
‘Get much sleep?’
‘Yes. In fact I’ve found it hard to sleep since without the sound of Elaine gently rustling inside her tent next to me’.
These people don’t understand me anymore…. I miss #Lanzarote
– Rich Carps
If you would like to take part in the 2017 Multi-Day Training Camp, please go HERE
Many thanks for the support of MyRacekit, OMM, Raidlight, PHD. Scott Running, inov-8 and Berghaus.
“Really great few days, some invaluable experience and some valuable miles in the legs. Kit choice, food, packing the bag now all things I’m ready for. Thank you to the organisers and thank you to the fellow participants for making it such a nurturing environment in which to prepare for the MdS.” – Leon Clarance
For the participants of the 2016 Lanzarote multi-day training camp, it all got ‘real’ on day 6 and 7 of the camp.
It all started of with blue skies, sun and a 2 hour run without packs so that everyone had an opportunity to work on a little faster running. In most cases it was a great tempo 10-12 miles in the bag.
Following this we had a 2-hour talk, demo and an opportunity to test packs from WAA, OMM, Raidlight and Aarn with a very informative and enlightening discussion on bag packing from Elisabet Barnes. It really raised the question; what is and is not an essential item?
Ultimately the day (and night) was all about a medium length run of 2-3 hours and an overnight bivouac.
Heading out along the course, the runners departed in three groups: walking, run/ walking and ‘mostly’ running to a pre-arranged rendezvous on the coast.
Ian Corless moved ahead and set up camp inside an incredible and dormant volcano. Rendezvous time was 1900 and right on cue, the three groups all arrived from different directions within 15-minutes of each other.
Running with packs, the runners carried all essentials less the additional days food. Food requirements were snack for the run on both days, evening meal and snacks plus breakfast.
At the overnight bivouac we operated self-sufficiency, water was provided but rationed. The only treat came from 24 beers (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) transported in as a special treat.
A clear starry sky, camp fire and the illumination of head torches within the stunning setting of an amphitheatre of rock made everyone suddenly realise that it was one of the special moments.
It wasn’t all plain sailing though. One or two runners realised on the run that their chosen pack just wasn’t the one for them. This is the whole reason behind providing a real scenario such as this on a training camp. It’s invaluable to find out these issues before your chosen must-day race.
It was lights out, well, head torches out around 9pm and as the warm night drifted past midnight, the temperatures dropped. Unlike races such as Marathon des Sables, the night was damp lowering temperatures even more. One common thread with 0700 wake up call, a cockerel crow by Niandi, was, ‘My sleeping bag is not warm enough!’
Yes, it had been a rough night for some.
Elinor Evans said, “This experience has been incredibly invaluable. I have learnt my packs not right for, my sleeping bag is not warm enough and I need a warmer jacket. Last night was beautiful but also a little harrowing as I got so cold. Better here though than at my race!”
It was a sentiment echoed by Leon Clarance, “I was just cold last night. Despite additional layers, my sleeping bag was not warm enough. I also made the mistake of removing my socks. I woke up with feet of ice.”
In general though, freeze dried food and peoples selections seemed to hit the spot, apple pieces with custard proving to be a hit with those lucky enough to be carrying it.
The bivouac provided everyone with a very real and practical scenario and valuable lessons were learnt. A bivouac debrief back at Club La Santa will allow everyone to discuss this.
Leaving camp, the sun was getting higher in the sky, a new day and more valuable experiences to follow. But before that debrief, there was another 2-3 hours of running.
It’s been a great two days and night.
If you would like to join our 2017 camp, please go HERE
Many thanks to Raidlight, OMM, PHD, inov-8, Berghaus, Scott Running and MyRaceKit for the support