100 MILE TIPS
Mentally prepare and believe in yourself. If you have any doubts you will not succeed in finishing. You have established how to run long distances, that comes naturally. Training the mind, willpower strength to stay focused, alert all day and night is the hardest challenge.
Planning. The logistics behind an all day event sounds simple but in reality it is far from it. I am still learning. The start and finish locations are key for crew, family and friends who need to stay with you and support. Send out race info in advance. Decide how you will get to the start and who with. Plan your route in advance. Book accommodation early and try to use a flexible cancellation policy. We were unfortunate to book an easy saver rate at Premier Inn, only to discover that the route had changed last minute due to severe flooding. The accommodation was 70 miles from the finish, so in the early hours the practical approach was to just head on home.
Kit is by far the most important key to get correct. Make sure you have all the mandatory kit from the check list of the event as standard. Items like weather proof gear can be found on a budget, but will they last through an all day event? try to research quality products from other runners and read reviews before purchasing the cheaper option. I wanted to get a particular Salomon jacket but couldn't find my size. I went for a Helly Hanson Dubliner jacket instead. It worked perfectly. Was very comfortable, fully waterproof, wind proof with breathable materials and kept my body temperate regulated, protecting me from the harsh cold.
Shoes. Wearing comfortable but suitable footwear is key, like training and running for long periods. The conditions for my first 100 were very cold, heavy rain right up to the day, which can only mean MUD! and lots of it. I made sure I had two pairs of shoes I trained in that are good on trail. I started with my New Balance MT00 Trails, although I prefer these on road as the tread is not much of a great grip. After 48 miles my soles became sore and I no longer had the grip on the mud, so slipping and falling was becoming a problem. The 2nd leg I used LA Sportiva X-Country Trail which have deeper tread and brilliant grip in comparison.
Fuel. Correct fuelling and hydration, leading up to the race, during and even after is so important. Especially running such long distances as it causes such stress on the body. A week before the race I started to drink more water, reduce my coffee to one cup a day (to feel the caffeine benefit on race day) and eat plenty more water dense fruits and vegetables like plums, melon, oranges and spinach. I consumed more calories with extra bananas, complex carbohydrates and added fats to my diet.
Avocado is my all time favourite fat fruit that tastes great in many dishes. During the race, stay hydrated with water, sipping at your thirst. After a few hours, if hydrated properly you should start to drink more water as required, depending on how much you sweat. A good guage is if your urine is pale to light coloured then you are hydrated enough. Any darker then you need to consume more. After 5 hours running it is key to keep your salt levels up, especially if you are not eating as often.
Electrolyte tablets work the best in water bottles or your ruck sack. I like the Nuun tablets. After 50 miles I made sure to have one at every aid station until the finish. Energy gels are great for marathon distances and for many hours, but personally I ran much better without and just consumed real food throughout. Fruit bars, dates, raisans, real fruit, No-bake energy bars and Aduki choc brownies worked great until I needed more fuel. Wraps with banana, almond butter and added salt worked for my sweet tooth. Then wraps with salted avocado, spinach and olive oil worked for my savoury.
After 80 miles I was off my food but really had to force it down with the added salts. I found just fruits and salted crisps really worked for the last 4 hours running. Once the running has stopped, it is very important to keep hydrated for the next 48 hours after such a long distance event. You may not feel like eating straight away, but try to get something down. I found Maltodextrin with coconut water helped replace some calories before I had a breakfast once home.
Feet. Look after your feet as you spend so many hours on them. Keep nails short and smooth with no sharp edges. File any hard skin areas with a pumice stone before showering. Any problem areas it is worth having a pedicure or even a chiropodist look at your feet. I use a good moisture locking moisturiser each night. I tape up every toe nail with elastoplast tape, that is very flexible and waterproof. After my toes are taped up I use a silicone lubricant between all my toes and all over my feet before putting my socks on. You may want to use the lubricant in any other areas that cause some chaffing or friction. It is a long day running you need to be as comfortable as possible. I finished with no blood or bruised toenails.
Injinji. As I love to wear Vibram Five Fingers for shorter distances I have been wearing toe socks for some time now, but nothing beats the design and feel of Injinji Socks. I cannot recommend them highly enough. These are the Caviar of all running socks. I wore the Injinji Performance 2.0 Trail mini crew socks in my first 100. They are a mid weight high density padded sock that provide less slip than standard socks and are engineered for the movement of uneven terrain. The added feature of a double elastic cuff kept the dirt and debris out of my feet for the entire distance. Having comfortable feet is crucial to any race, just one slight piece of debris can cause so much discomfort even preventing reaching the finish line, in some cases .
The injinji Trail sock feels warm and snug on my feet and my toes had very good freedom of movement between them. The Trail sock uses coolmax fabric that is built to endure many miles . The superior fibre construction works to wick sweat away, keeping feet dry, even once wet. The five toe sleeves eliminate skin-on-skin friction, preventing blisters. With arch support, reinforced heel, seamless toe box and mesh top to provide maximum ventilation and breathability. The Injinji Performance 2.0 Trail socks are the Ultra elite for any long distance runner. I finished with not one blister or hot spot anywhere.