Friday, 16 March 2012

8 hours of continuous running and 71.09 kilometres (44.17 miles) covered

The aim of today was to do my longest run so far, and then from now tomorrow on to start tapering towards the race.  The furthest I had run continuously before was 50 kilometres.  The furthest that I had run/ walked was around 70 kilometres and half of that was running and half was walking.

I decided a lap of the Zurichsee was the best route to take as I knew the distance already, so if my GPS ran out of battery it would have been easy enough to calculate the remaining distance.  One lap of the Zurichsee is approximately 65km and add to that the distance from the apartment to the lake and back and you have 71km in total.

I wanted to show myself that I could run 80km (50 miles) in around 10 hours or less i.e. averaging 8km/h.  That meant each 10km needed to take me an hour and a quarter or less in order to stay on track.  I soon realised after 20km that I had set myself a very realistic target.  I didn't stop except for pee stops, to grab some water from the water fountains and once to get a bottle of water out of my backpack.  Yes I forgot to mention that I had my backpack with me.  I looked up the format of the MDS and it seems the long stage is usually on day 4, so I took some food out of my rucksack to simulate being on the fourth day of the MDS and having eaten 3 days supply of food.

In terms of sustenance I used only energy gels to keep me going.  I ate 1 Gu Roctane sachet before leaving and then at 10km, 30km and 50km I ate a normal Gu sachet and at 20km, 40km and 60km I ate 2 sachets of gel (1 Gu Roctane and 1 normal Gu).  My Garmin watch seems to think I burnt over 6,000 calories, but the energy contained in all the gels I consumed is only 1,000 calories.  My body is probably therefore in a serious calorie deficit at the moment and I should eat very soon, as well as take a generous helping of whey protein powder.

I definitely felt the limiting factor for my speed today was my muscles and not my cardiovascular system.  If I had more muscular endurance I could have pushed my heart much harder.  That may be a good thing, as in the heat my heart will be working much harder than usual, so at least I know that I have the extra capacity to handle that.  I was holding myself back a bit too, as I didn't want to get any injuries this late in the game, and I don't want to race in training.  The only niggle was in my left knee and it wasn't anything more than that i.e. a niggle.  Oh yes and in the first 20km my left calf muscle felt very tight but that loosened up later on.

All in all I am very happy with how the run went, and although the long stage in the MDS is never going to be easy at least I know it should be possible.  I could have run further today had I needed to.

Last but not least, in the last 7 days I have covered a total of 147.09km (91.4 miles).

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