We asked endurance junkie and current (2016) Addo 100 Mile Womens Champion Linda Doke for her tips on what to be looking at to get you prepped and ready to take on 100 miles in the Eastern Cape wilderness.
IMPORTANT NOTE: While the article is primarily aimed the 100 Mile runners, most of the advice is also pertinent to those of you that are tackling the 44km and 76km ultra trail runs as well.
In Parts 1 & 2 of these articles, we looked at training specific tips to get your body ready to tackle Addo.
The Addo Elephant Trail Run 100 Miler is now just one week away.
Excitement is building and the nerves are no doubt kicking in.
One of the entrants, Johan Britz, put it perfectly in a post on the race’s Facebook page:
"Attekwas, one of the hardest single day mountain bike events in SA. Total elevation gain: 2900m over 121km, and you can coast on the downhills.
Addo 100 Miler... total elevation gain: 5640m over 161km. NO coasting."
Well yes, that about sums it up. 100 miles is not for sissies.
This race will be tough, of that there’s no doubt.
Whether you’re front of the pack or a back fielder, you’ll experience more of LIFE during the time you take to cover that distance than any non-runner will in that same 18-37 hours – there’ll be elation, struggle, self-trust, self-doubt, hunger, thirst, heat, cold, incredible views, possible wild animal sightings, humour, tears, joy… and, knowing the mood changeability that one experiences during an ultra, this all could be in the space of a mere five minutes!
So, there’s lots to be excited about. And don’t worry about the nerves – a healthy dose of nerves is good to have before a race, as long as they behave themselves.
Your training is done, now it’s taper time.
Wind down and allow your body to consolidate the work you’ve put it through, and rest up so you’re as fresh-legged on the start line as you can possibly be.
Don’t get to the start feeling exhausted. Make sure you pack in as many solid nights of sleep as you can leading up to race day.
Remember that by the time the race starts at 2pm on Friday, you’re likely to have already been awake for at least 8 hours.
You’ll be aiming to not sleep at all during the race, or at most to catch a 20 min cat nap somewhere along the course, so you’ll need your body-clock batteries fully charged to see you through to the finish.
Tapering is not an excuse to hit the couch with a tub of ice cream. Keep your legs from feeling sluggish by being active – enjoy an easy 5km jog or a light spin on the bike, walk the dog, go for a swim.
Use this time to fuel your tank. Eat well, eat wisely.
Now is not the time to cut the carbs (apologies to any banters out there) – you’re about to take on an ultra-endurance event, and there’re a gazillion studies that prove our muscles need carbohydrates as fuel, particularly if the exercise we’re doing takes longer than 90 minutes.
Make sure you start the race with your glycogen stores maximised.
Don’t overdo it though – there’s no sense in gorging on massive bowls of pasta, thick chunks of white bread, and maxi-sized pizzas…
Rather than be excessive, be sure to eat good, balanced meals containing all the food groups.
Use today to go through your kit yet again (no doubt you’ve done this often already), checking all the finer details – charge your devices, put new batteries into your headlamp and tuck the spare set into your pack, check you have everything on the mandatory kit list.
Go through your lists a second and third time to make sure you have everything – the Addo National Park is not near any decent sized pharmacy or supermarket for you to buy anything specialised that you may have forgotten!
And by drink, I mean the right stuff!
Beer may be a carbohydrate, but it doesn’t count as an effective fuel, nor a good way to hydrate
Drinking lots of water (2L is fine) the day before an ultra is the best way to ensure you’re going into the race well hydrated.
Don’t leave consuming that amount to the evening before, but rather take it in regularly during the course of the day.
In Addo’s case, with a 2pm start time, continue your hydrating through the morning, spreading the 2L over the previous 24 hours.
And the rest, folks, will be left to you!
Run safely, monitor your fuelling, your hydration and your cooling constantly, and most importantly, enjoy the beauty around you.
Take only memories, leave only footprints.
And remember, you’re privileged to have the ability and the circumstance to be running 100 miles in one of South Africa’s beautiful national parks, so take it all in – you’ll be the richer for it.
See you on race day!