Adventure athlete Bruce Duncan is our champion for the Glencoe Marathon and was the first to time trial the route in early 2012. Bruce gives the heads – up for training and preparation below.
Training for Marathon Trail Running
Choosing the correct shoes is vital. Of all the items of kit you buy, your shoes are the most important. If incorrectly fitted they are the most likely to cause injury and prevent you training or competing. Fell or trail shoes are best, and make sure you wear them in to prevent blisters on the race day.
This marathon is a real test, you need to begin your preparation early to maximise your enjoyment of the race itself. You should train like you would for a standard road marathon, but make sure that you get at least two sessions a week off road, to build up your ankle strength, and getting used to running with an often uneven pace. You need to build in plenty of hilly runs, take the time to make trips to Wales, the Lake District or Scotland to train on terrain you will be racing over.
Join a local hill running club if you are able, this will give you motivation to train, and also people to train with, which always makes it much easier.
One point people often don’t think about is the downhill sections, train to run downhill quickly and in control, this will not only save you lots of time, but also reduce the shock on your legs, allowing you to take advantage of gravity assisted running.
Always stretch after your training. Stretching will reduce your likelihood of injury and muscle/ tendon strains. Do not stretch cold muscles. Doing something everyday like the Sun Salutation yoga workout is a great base to work from too.
- Rubbing. Wear whatever you feel comfortable in, and train in that clothing, ensure you make sure you won’t have any rubbing during race day by using vaseline or similar.
- Stretching. Stretch after running. (Remember to stretch down after the event too, don’t just collapse in a heap!)
- Hydration. Drink regularly. Use a Camelback/ Platypus water container. Mix energy drinks with water. Use an electrolyte drink to make sure you have enough good salts in your body to prevent cramps during the marathon.
- Nutrition. Eat little and often, something that you have trained with, don’t try anything new on race day. Mix your foods up, some banana, energy bars, savoury food, experiment in your training.
- Dehydration Systems. Beware of the symptoms: thirst, not going to the loo, dark coloured urine and minor headaches.
- Hyponatremia. A potentially fatal condition, resulting primarily from drinking too much fluid and not replacing the sodium (salt) lost by sweat. Symptoms are very similar to those of dehydration but your urination becomes frequent and your urine is clear-coloured. Monitor your fluid intake and remember that you must eat to keep up your salt and mineral levels. Drink isotonic drinks containing electrolytes as well as water.
- Blisters. If you feel a potential blister forming, stop and deal with it there and then. Puncture the blister with a pinprick, drain and apply compeed or similar dressing.
- Temperature. Maintain a constant body temperature and prevent your body from overheating by continuously adjusting your clothing. Zip tops make this easier. If you are running with a backpack on race day, again make sure you have trained with it, or your shoulders will be killing by the end.
- Checkpoints/Waterstops. Keep stops to a minimum or your muscles will begin to seize-up.