Gran Vuelta Valle Del Genal
130km through the mountains in Southern Spain just North West of Malaga. It started in the early hours of the morning with some tricky conditions atop the highest peak but otherwise good running weather. It was host to the Endurance Championships for Andalucia
Training volume in build-up:
Jamie averaged 10-12hrs/wk (110-120k with 3-5,000m of vert) of training in the 20wks leading into it. Training was a little erratic through August due to travel and illness.
(Hour 7 athlete Jamie Stephenson training in Chamonix. Photo: Geoff Lowe).
Training intensity distribution:
After speaking to his coach about six weeks out from the race Jamie concluded that his personal effort ratings were out compared to those on his schedule causing him to train at a too high intensity. Although the scheduled plan had been set up as 80% easy, 15% moderate and 5% hard Jamie was averaging 60% easy, 25% moderate and 15% hard.
50mile race four weeks out. This was a similar profile to the goal race and a chance to practise race effort, nutrition and kit
To start out conservatively and maintain the pace/reduce attrition. This came with the expectation that many people would go off the start line fast and fade allowing Jamie to reel them in.
Plan: Jamie had no crew so partially relied on the aid stations. His plan was to consume 80-100g of carbs an hour in the form of SIS beta fuel powder and gels/chews combined with Coca Cola/cake/biscuits/dates/bananas from the checkpoints.
Execution: This went well for the first 5hrs but then Jamie’s stomach started to turn and he struggled to consume much of anything. It didn’t stop him trying but with varying degrees of success!
Plan: To consume 500-750mL per hour of a mixture of SIS beta fuel/Coke Cola/isotonic drink.
Execution: Jamie was on track for the first 5-6hrs but again as his stomach turned bad it was a struggle to get fluids in.
Key items of kit:
Poles - having not raced with them a lot in the past he found they were invaluable during this event
- Reassess the effort levels in the training plan and ensure the goal of each session is achieved
- Identify why there were gastrointestinal issues. Possible causes include effort level too high from the start, dehydration, under-practised nutrition strategy, inexperience at this distance