So, how do you train for a 24 hour race? Well, if you are doing it on your own, very hard! But if you are doing it in a team of 8 like us, its not too bad.
Basically you divide the 24 hours by how many laps you might do, so, for us, that equates to 24 laps of the 5 mile circuit. This is an approximate number, I know some of us will do the lap in less time than that but some of us will take longer, especially at night when it is dark and you are tired.
So, you have your 24 laps, and you have 8 runners, that’s roughly 3 laps each. So, that is a good place to start. You may have some people in your team who want to do more, some less, that is down to the individual. Some people may get injured or just be too tired to go out for the 3rd or 4th lap, that is an unforeseen circumstance that you will just have to deal with on the day.
So, you train for an average of 3 laps of 5 miles in 24 hours. In order to do that you need to first be comfortable running 5 miles. You need to train on the terrain you are going to be racing on, so do your homework. Most of these races are set in woodland trail areas so if that is the case, get used to running off road.
You also need to train to run multiple times, so do a 5 mile run in the morning and another in the evening. See how that feels. If you can fit 3 in, in a day, great! You could also run once in the morning, once in the evening and once the following morning. Whatever you can manage.
These runs need to be done a month or so before the event because you can taper for it just like a marathon. After all, you will be running 15 or 20 miles over the 24 hours. Although, it will be nowhere near as tough as a marathon.
You also need to get used to eating lightly between the runs. You need a little bit of protein and a little bit of carbs, but nothing to heavy you may be running again within 5 or 6 hours.
The other thing you need to practice is running at night. Get a good quality head torch, at least 80 or 90 lumins, the more lumins the better but you don’t want to be landing planes or blinding the other runners! These runs are best done in a group, preferably the group you will be running with on the day. If you run with others you will have a laugh and be safe. You need to get used to running while looking at the floor for tree routes, and looking ahead for branches!
The next thing to plan for is kit. Personally the more you can take the better. There is nothing worse than putting wet kit on at 2:00AM to go a run a cold dark 5 miles! So, at least 3 sets of shorts and T shirts and 2 pairs of trainers. Plus coat, gloves hats etc. It gets very cold at night especially if the weather turns.
Food wise, you need to plan your light meals as to how you can store them and cook them. If you are in a tent with no cool box and no stove you may struggle. A cooler bag should keep food cool for a couple of days and a camping stove can knock up a nice pasta.
These events usually have on site catering if you need it as well as toilets and showers. So take all your cleaning essentials but I would just keep dry between runs rather than shower after every one.
All in all these events are a good laugh. They have a nice relaxed atmosphere and everyone is a runner so there is a good common ground! You need to have a sense of humor and leave your stresses at home or work and just run and enjoy it.