Solo 24 Hour Running Advice

 

Taking on a 24 hour solo run challenge

 

At some point in any long-distance runner or ultrarunners’ life, the idea of taking on a 24 hour solo run will cross your mind.

 

For many people that’s as far as it will get, but for those thinking about making the leap we asked Profeet Run Lab Manager, Richard Felton, and Profeet ambassador, Robbie Britton, for their advice on making the step up to 24-hour solo racing.

 

richard felton

 

 

Richard Felton – Run Manager at Profeet

 

I took part in Challenge Hub – a small race in Kent – in 2011.

 

It’s a small race with just 50 competitors and had a one man support team – my dad!

 

The support team is still very important though, even if it is just one person. To know when you’re coming round on a lap that back at the start area there’s going to be someone there really helps mentally and practically.

 

It helps take the stress away. You look forward to finishing that loop and when you have, you get to share that with someone.

 

The hardest period is after the first hour or two of darkness. At first it’s a novelty, but after a couple of laps that novelty wears off.

 

Getting to sunrise gives you an energy boost: just getting there gives you a lift as soon as that sun comes up and holding onto that thought is important.

 

I quite enjoying night running, but it’s important to practice it, because it’s a different skill. Once you’ve had a couple of practices, whether early in the morning or late at night, it’s helps soothe the nerves on the day.

 

As far as kit goes, make sure you replace the bulb if you have an old torch and take a spare battery and a spare bulb anyway.

 

robbie Britton team GB

 

 

 

Robbie Britton – Profeet Ambassador

 

Making the step up

 

Stepping up from point-to-point 100 milers to 24 hour events wasn’t something I thought about until I was offered an England vest to do so, but I’m really glad I made the jump.

 

The mentality is completely different as instead of ‘the further you run, the closer the finish is’, it’s moving for a set amount of time and it doesn’t matter if you are sprinting at full pelt or curled up on the floor, the finish line is always in the same place.

 

If you can mentally grasp that then it makes point-to-point suffering seem a little easier.

 

robbie britton

 

 

Dealing with sleep monsters

 

The short laps of 24hr races can be the undoing of some runners but you really need to look at the positives, as you do in any ultra-running situation.

 

On a 5km loop you’re never more than 2.5k from food, a toilet, safety and your crew. It’s also a darn sight harder to get lost (although I’m seen some runners in such a state where they could probably get lost on a 400m track!)

 

The micro-management of your race, such as nutrition, hydration and pacing is also a lot easier on a loop, something that I see as a real positive for 24hr races.

 

As for sleep monsters, just expect them and be ready to keep making good ground when you’re feeling tired. The sunlight will eventually come and it will be a wonderful moment.

 

If you travel well in the night, when many are suffering, then you will shoot up that leader board.

 

highlandfling robbie

 

 

The Support team

 

Until supporting my chum James out at a 24hr race in Athens I didn’t really appreciate how hard the support guys work within a 24hr event and the difference they can make.

 

My mate Mick does all my 24hr crewing and he was instrumental in my performance at the World 24hr Championships last year.

 

The Bronze medal was partly down to Mick and the Team Gold even more so, because he was crewing for Paddy Robbins and I who were the team’s two top scorers. Without Mick I would not have got that medal.

 

The more experienced a crew member becomes the more they know when to push food/water or shout about pacing and Mick has been at all but one of my 24hr races.

 

When you race and forget to do simple things like eating/drinking regularly or taking an electrolyte S-cap every hour, a good support crew can make the difference. If you can get someone to crew then do it, the race is hard enough as it is.

 

sparta robbie

 

 

Any Nutrition advice?

 

Nutrition is a key element of 24hr racing and I’m wary of giving away too many of my secrets…!

 

It is vital to make sure you can take energy on board for the full 24hrs and whatever way you find of doing this is fine.

 

It is difficult to find out how your body will cope with the last 8 hours of running without actually running the first 16 hours. This is why experience counts a lot: over time you will have tried plenty of things that didn’t work to find what does.

 

Eat everything on the move, other second of moving forward counts for your total, so even if you have to slow to a walk to do so, keep going. I could probably eat a full three course dinner whilst running I reckon.

 

day5robbie





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