Working Out The Details

Only eleven days to go to the Surfcoast Century. The training is what it is, nothing I can do to change the past. The focus is now on making the most of what I have. That involves a few things, but for the most part it comes to sorting out the logistics.

I've been looking at the race maps, looking at how people went last year, how I race last year and comparing it to what I see as my current strengths and weaknesses. I've crunched a lot of numbers, paces, distances, heart rates etc. and looked at things in a scientific, objective way then added a few layers of art over the top. That's led me to settle on some time goals for this year. I'm not as optimistic as I was a few months ago, reality has crept in. Still, I am looking to running faster than last year's 12:26.

The biggest influence on goal setting is the 1 litre beer stein. To get the full size, I need to run under 12 hours (not 13 as per last year). Essentially my race plans are geared to achieving this.

Looking into the terrain and how the course is laid out, I've come up with a basic, generalised rule that the first differential between the first half (49km) and second half (51km) is as follows:

  • Near perfect: 1 hour longer for the second half
  • Well paced, solid race:  1.5 hours
  • Just holding it together:  1hr40 to 1hr50
  • Falling apart:  2 hours plus
Personally for me, I won't be looking for a faster first half over last year. The big time gains are to be made in the final 51km. Over last year, there is a lot I can to take off minutes that don't really involve fitness gains. For race day, I'll have a small cheat sheet with time guidelines for each section. They won't be strict, but really more of a tool to easily see how I am tracking without using a lot of brain power. On this sheet will be a course profile with guidelines how I should tackle the main sections, such as aiming to run or walk certain climbs, whether or not I should push certain flat or downhill sections, or save myself for later. Of course everything may change on race day, but I am planning on being successful.

To keep everything simple, my drop bags will be prepared and will be set up for an easy swap 'n' go, plus each bag will have a small backup bit of gear in case anything is going wrong. If nothing is going wrong, then the extra gear stays in the bag. I've practiced my nutrition in training and believe I now have a simple, straight forward routine that should work well for me. It involves some gels (BSc and Endura), Vitargo S2 drink, Saltstik and plain water. I have my parameters sorted out, know the warning signs when my gut isn't doing what it's supposed to, and have some strategies to sort that out. Later in the race there will be one or two extra items added to mix if needed from the aid stations.

My gear will be light and minimal for me. Weather conditions will play a role, but I won't have a pack full of unnecessary just in case items. Things will remain at the mandatory items, gloves if required, water (I'll ensure I have for leg 3 this year) and nutrition. That's it.


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