At the end of last year I decided to focus my goals on hills and mountains and not just chasing PBs. I ran the Brecon Beacons Ultra and really enjoyed it, and then entered the TDS (Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie). I was checking the UTMB website from 9am to check the results of the lottery draw, and when I finally managed to get the search page to work, I saw the good news that my application was confirmed. TDS is one of the five Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc races. The race is about 74 miles long with 24,000 ft of elevation gain over technically difficult terrain. I knew it would be tough when I entered, but now my place is confirmed, I’m starting to plan my training.
I’m not too concerned about the distance, but nothing I have run so far compares to the elevation profile for this race. My training log shows last year I averaged 9,700 ft of elevation gain per month, with a highest figure of 16,900 ft in June (11,400 of which was the South Downs Way). TDS is more than twice that with 24,000ft of climbing.
If I am to stand a chance of coping with that amount of climbing (and an equal amount of quad trashing descents), I need to be running up and down a lot more hills. I’ve no idea where I will find them, or what sort of hill sessions I’ll run yet. That may wait for another blog.
However I know I can run 100 miles in a day, but I’ve never run a hundred miles a week in training. In fact I tend to peak at about 200 – 220 miles per month. So my best guess is that in order to ascend 24,000 ft in a day I need to aim to peak in my training at 48-50k ft a month.
I think if I can achieve this I will be strong enough to cope, and more importantly, I will have the confidence to believe I can finish.
There is still plenty of time to work out a plan to peak in August, but for now I’ll try to remember to take the hilly option when I head out of the door. So no more flat runs along St John’s Road, Mt Ephraim and Langton Road to the Hare and back.