Ben Abdelnoor, an inov-8 ambassador and extreme triathlete champion, shares some top tips for the run section of the Ben Nevis Braveheart Triathlon
What do I do without a mountain to train on?
“For most racers, the run will take between three and four hours so you should aim to get used to running for three hours. You don’t have to go fast, the more you get used to the time on your feet, the better. If there is any sort of an incline in the area where you live, however shallow a gradient, you can use this to train on, repeating multiple reps as necessary. You could also consider some strength work in a gym, for example squats, walking lunges, and single leg work.
What pace should I run at?
“Practice race pace on hilly terrain, a general rule of thumb is that a comfortable pace is one in which you can sustain a conversation. A race pace for me is one where I can give short answers and responses to questions and comments, with brief conversations. If I can’t do this then I’m probably pushing too hard, unless it’s a short, fast race. Obviously when racing on Ben Nevis you might reach this intensity when you’re walking. (see Race Day).
What are good sessions to do for Braveheart?
“Most folk tend to have too long a stride, believing that the longer stride results in covering the ground faster. I have been working on trying to increase my cadence and not take such long stride. You can do this by running downhill and doing strides in training, i.e. short 100M bursts where you increase your leg turnover.
“Run at a sustainable pace; so that means going slow to begin with – and then keeping going. Anyone who hits the hill going too fast will quickly blow up and suffer for the remainder of the climb. Try to keep fairly upright, allowing the lungs and airways to stay open, rather than doubling up and constricting the flow of your breathing. When the gradient gets too steep, it is time to power-walk (and possibly use poles).
But, remember when the gradient shallows out that you have to get running again! On the descent, try your best to relax and learn into the descent, rather than leaning back and wasting your energy by braking, which will tighten muscles.
“If you choose to use poles make sure you practice with them before race day. Most people can get the hang of using them on the climbs, but the real skill is being able to utilise them on the flats and the descents. I have a very light pair of Mountain King Trailblazers. They are awesome.
Read more stories by Ben and other ambassadors at inov-8.com