Vicky's Advice

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by Vicky Skelton

Vicky's Advice

Vicky Skelton, the ladies record holder, gives details of her training.

I've wanted to do this race for a couple of years, but been afraid of it. So, when I decided to enter I started my build up 6 months in advance. I worked on a 4 week cycle of 2 steady weeks (75miles) 1 hard week (100+miles) and 1 easy week (40miles) In my hard weeks I did 2 long runs on consecutive days, at race pace - 25 min run at 9min/mile, 5 min walk.

Feb = 20 & 40miles, March= 20 & 50miles, April= 30 & 45miles

My hardest week looked like this
Mon am 6m easy pm 7m steady
Tue am 6m easy pm 7m inc. 5k race
Wed am 6m easy pm 5m easy
Thurs am 6m easy pm 5m tempo
Fri 30m
Sat 45m
Sun rest
Total 123m

This did the job the job for me.

The Race

  • On the whole the race was enjoyable and it was a great experience. The scenery was lovely and the camaraderie second to none.
  • This race is really hard and lots of people don't make it. They have to come back and keep trying until they get to the end. You don't want that, so if it is humanly possible, finish.
  • I underestimated how rugged it was underfoot. My feet fell to pieces, but I knew this was likely to be a problem as I get blisters easily. I just kept taping them up and hobbling on. When I got towards the end, I thought it was best not to look any more.
  • Several people told me to beware of the cold at dawn. This was excellent advice. I was shivering constantly on day 2 and I had more clothes on than I wear when it is snowing. I'm not sure if it was the temperature or my body going into shock, but I was glad that I'd taken several long-sleeved fleeces.
  • I just took my husband as support crew. We did fine, just the pair of us, but there's no doubt that a bigger support crew would have made life easier.
  • Make sure your instructions are in something waterproof, reading papier-mâché at 3am is not easy.
  • In the middle of the night, your brain doesn't function very well and its easy to get lost. I know you only have to follow the canal, but its difficult working out what bridge you are at. Only the old bridges are numbered.
  • Decide on your run/walk plan and stick to it from the start. You are tryin g to delay fatigue for as long as possible.
  • I found it hard to eat the food I had been using in training and was lucky that I had packed plenty of spare bananas, jelly and rice pudding. This was all I could manage in the second half.
  • Have a mantra. Mine was 'my mind and spirit are powerful' This came from something I read on the web saying that pain is an uncomfortable companion, but it will go away with a couple of days rest. The body is driven by the mind. The mind and spirit are powerful and will rise to the occasion if you allow them. I found thinking about that very helpful when it got tough.
  • Don't fall in the canal.
  • Feel proud of yourself.