|Peak Skyline 6th August 2017. 1st lady, 5hrs 11 mins|
I've been on the start line three times for Peak Sky Race, now called Peak Skyline. The first two times, I DNF'd. Those occasions, I was over trained, under recovered and struggling to get the training and recovery in the right enough balance to perform. I have learnt that recovery is imperative to quality training and now place more importance on recovery than I have ever contemplated in the past. The sense of it means that I can tap into my potential in terms of performance That said, I'm still learning and still not getting it completely right all of the time.
In terms of the Peak Skyline race, wow, what a beautiful course. The Peak District is my local training ground and so I was happy to be running on familiar ground. It's knarly, it's challenging and it's beautiful. The course is 29.7 miles, (48km) is based around and takes in The Five Trigs of Axe Edge, The Roaches, Shutlingsloe, Shining Tor and Burbage Edge and is approximately 2000m of elevation. The route is fully marked and has regular CP's which are stocked with fluid and fuel so you can travel light.
Some of the factors that helped me to have a good race:
1. Knowing the route:
Knowing the route makes it stress free, and you can run with confidence, pace yourself wisely and rely on yourself and not others to get you round. There is no dithering on cross roads, taking wrong turns and losing valuable mins through going left when you should have taken a right.
How many times have you said 'i'll start slowly/ conservatively........ ' however not managed to employ that control? Speeding up, slowing down, efforts in, racing hard, speeding ahead, bounding up the climbs, then slowing down all within the first 5 minutes. Seriously, if you use this strategy for a couple of hours, you are going to burn out.
From the off. Really? Yes really! Start getting the fuel in within the first half an hour and drip feed yourself throughout the race. Understand and know what works for you so that you can optimise your performance. It's too late two hours into the race to start putting the fuel in. Importantly, neither is it of any use grabbing anything sweet you could find in the treat cupboard or the Co-Op on the way to the race and thinking 'that'll work'. Ultra running is not just about doing the running on race day, nutrition is as if not more important than how fast you can bang the miles out.
4. Getting the Kit right:
Familiarise yourself with your kit. Knowing where everything is and making it easily accessible when running will half the faffing time. Find a backpack that works (for you) and place the same kit into the same pockets of the pack every time you run/use it. It's like driving a car, you will eventually reach into pockets and zips automatically, because it's become a well oiled routine, and find the right bit of kit you need.
Not getting caught up in what others are doing. It's a difficult one at times, not getting drawn in to other peoples race. Having the confidence to stick to your own race/plan/pace etc and not get distracted.
Raidlight Marathon top
Raidlight Trail shorts
Shoes: Xtalons, Inov8
Raidlight soft flask
Main Fuel: Mountain fuel:Tropical fruit