Team Lochland Runner – Itera Top Tips

Team Lochland Runner all got together for a training weekend recently. Included on the itinerary were sharing our top tips for expedition adventure racing and planning our strategy! Chloe is new to expedition events, but we have all been in different types of races and can always learn from each other.

I thought I’d share these in case you’re interested in the kinds of things we’re thinking about, or are looking for inspiration! Let us know if you have any questions or other top tips you would share 🙂

FOOD

This is one we talked about many times! I for one like to know where the next meal is coming from and don’t go anywhere without snacks. However, in an expedition race you have to think about what will keep well in your kit bag for a week and make sure there are savoury items on the menu. We may also need to take opportunities that present themselves on the way. We’re just concerned about how well-endowed the race route will be with handy cafes! Since finding hidden cafe gems is one of my special skills, I will have to make sure I don’t spend the pre-race weekend researching detours …

With me being vegetarian and Chloe vegan, it is an extra challenge to think of good ideas and this is still a work in progress. Knowing that hot water is usually available in transition, some of our savoury ideas so far are:

Instant noodles, instant mashed potato, cup a soup, couscous, rice cakes, oatcakes with peanut butter, meals from Tentmeals, Firepot and Summit to Eat (I can vouch for at least one of these being very edible…), German rye bread, flavoured cooked rice pouches…

Sweet things are easier as we can use gels and bars and energy drinks in moderation. Lochland Runner are also helping us out here with Born products. Variety will be key!

FEET

… or more specifically, blister prevention!! Everyone has their own theories on this. Our consensus seemed to be:

  • Get shoes and socks off feet quickly in transition to let them air
  • Have crocs or similar to wear in transition
  • Either talc them or moisturise them
  • Treat hotspots quickly en route with either Compeed or gaffer tape
  • Avoid woolly socks (I find tight fitting, quick drying compression socks work well)
  • Stay hydrated
  • Have a spare pair of running shoes to change pressure points
  • Take sterilised scalpel blades and wipes to burst any big blisters that do appear…

Jon gets his feet up and has a power nap – an essential adventure racing skill

CLOTHING AND KIT

Our discussion about this was more general, as we have to use what we are comfortable in and have tested well. Ideas we shared were:

  • Take shoes for paddling, especially if there is any portage or walking involved (which we now know there will be!)
  • Take two different pairs of shoes for running. If one pair are a bit bigger it can help with swollen feet later in the race
  • Expect to be cold … colder than you expect! The effects of tiredness, night time and low food intake will all affect how warm we feel. I am still surprised how many of the photos from the race in Wales feature trousers and waterproofs …
  • Have spare brake pads for your specific brakes
  • Have enough battery power for your lights
  • Pre-pack food into bags that will last about one stage so you can just take one out in transition
  • Have a heavy duty waterproof bag to shove your backpack in and strap down on paddling stages
  • Pre pack clothing into clear, labelled bags like short sleeves, long sleeves, shorts, trousers
  • Pack as much as you need in transition bag, but no more! The more you have to rummage through or choose between, the longer transitions will take
  • A tick remover per team is essential – they just love the damp Scottish heather and bracken. You need to keep checking and get them out within 24h to minimise risk of Lyme’s disease
  • Caffeine tablets of some kind might come in handy as you pull your fourth all-nighter in a row!
  • Take lip balm, you will not regret it

GENERAL STRATEGY

Well … I obviously can’t reveal too much here, it’s top secret 😀

However, my advice is to definitely discuss this and make sure everyone has the same idea about what you’re trying to achieve. You also need to be realistic about your collective abilities and what to expect from the course so that you can make smart decisions. Although you can’t predict what will happen, having a basic fall back plan and common goals will help make decision making easier.

I’d say things to think about include:

  • Any aims for finishing position in the field
  • Long course / short course
  • How much sleep to expect, when and where
  • Pacing and degree of ambition for different stages
  • Towing and kit distribution
  • Navigators (lead / back up and in different disciplines)
  • Transition process (what order to change, eat, sleep), including ‘checkout’
  • Team roles

Finally, always keep an eye on the details and don’t forget about your hairdo – no washing for a week with plenty of rain, sweat and river or sea water mixed in! I always go super short – I’d better go and get booked in for a cut 🙂

Posted on 04/07/2019, in Adventure Racing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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