Conquer24 is a 24 hour relay race, you will have 24 hours to run as many laps of the stunning 5 mile circuit as you can, no matter if your running as a team of 8 or going it solo this applies to everyone taking part We recommend the following for your training.
Setting your distance goal
In a typical ultra where the distance is set, your intention is probably to make a new personal record (PR). You want to know how much faster you can complete 50 miles or 100 kilometers for example and therefore measure any improvements in performance. In a 24 hour event on the other hand, you want to establish a target distance.
It’s really up to you on how far you want to go. Is a hundred fifty miles doable? Do you want to join the 100 mile club or just try and run a marathon over the 24 hours? We recommend having a target.
Setting your pace
This aspect of your running is just as critical as in a set distance ultramarathon. In fact this is likely going to be your main pre-race planning preoccupation. Some decide to go out strong in the beginning and shift to lower gear as the day winds down while others use the opposite approach and attempt a strong finish. Then there are those who plan to maintain a steady pace all through the 24 hour event. Ultrarunners who move fast on the course usually spend longer rest periods off it. Those who go relatively slow and steady almost never leave the course except for short breaks.
Break It down
It can be helpful to break down the day into more digestible chunks and set your run/walk strategy accordingly. You can for example take it 30 minutes at a time and set a 25-minute run to 5-minute walk ratio. Others cut it up even smaller and run for only 5-minutes followed by a minute of walking.
24-hour races are more of an intervals game. This type of training run should at least have been part of your pre-race regimen if not one of the greater focus. A timer with alarms set according to your planned pacing is going to help a lot.
Preparing your provisions
Aside from a good watch and a head torch, you’re obviously going to need lots of fuel and extra gear. If you’ve already run a set-distance ultra then you know how important replenishing lost calories and fluids are to a successful performance. Plan for how many times you’re going to change shoes and socks and other necessary clothing such as a raincoat for when the weather turns inclement. Bring along first aid medication and tools and treat your blisters and chafing before they start becoming a problem. We will have a crew and aid stations which will be located at the starting point of the loop and another after 5k.
Take special note of how you plan to stay up and running when the sun sets. When it’s the graveyard shift, coffee is going to be your best friend.
Preparing your mind
Although we will have lots of motivation and inspiration on the course to keep you going a 24-hour race with its looping course is mentally challenging after 6 or 12 hours you’ve probably memorized every detail in the surrounding area.
This is one of the reasons why it’s often recommended to divide the day into smaller intervals. Thinking about how many hours or laps are left can just discourage you. Try to run in the moment and you can also break your runs down into more manageable size chunks this will help sanity-wise.
No need to over think it
Taking all of the above into account training for Conquer24 does not need to be too complicated we all work and our training has to fit around busy days. Our advice to anyone is to get used to running twice a day try to do a run in the morning and again in the afternoon or evening once or twice a week in the build up to the race. Feel what its like to run on tired legs.
Are you serious
For the serious and borderline insane runners amongst us we would recommend using the 10/3 training routine run 10k every 3 hours for 24 hours in preparation for the race. This will create a great simulation of the event as you will experience the continuous running on tired legs and the sleep deprivation and it also offers you an opportunity to look at fueling which will be massive part of your race if you aiming for the hundred mile club and beyond.
Top Tips From Great Britains Paul Maskell
Paul Maskell - 24 hour World Championships
Paul's top 5 tips for running a 24 hour race.
Fueling - apart from the actual running the 2nd most important part of a 24hr race. You are literally never going to finish a 24hr race unless you fuel well. Aim for approx 70-80g of carbs per hour
Only wear kit you have practiced in. Try and complete your long runs in the trainers, socks and kit etc you plan to wear on race day. Chaffing is a killer so you want to start a 24hr knowing the kit you have on is going to rub you from 5 miles in.
Training - 24 Hr races really hurt. It is better to go in to one slightly untrained than fatigued from over training. Try and be consistent (not like me) in the build up gradually increasing your mileage with an aim to peak at least 3-4 weeks before the race. Ignore tapering madness. Most runners go “a bit mad” whilst tapering. Trust your training and resist the urge to run too far.
Crew - if at all possible have a support crew. For me 24 hr races are almost a bit of team effort. I have found having a support crew can be a real morale boost - they can motivate you, help you through the dark hours. I find they are great at problem solving - when you are so tired and everything hurts tell them what’s going on and let them find a solution for your problems - when you can’t think straight this can be a lifesaver. Talk through your fluid/ fuel strategy with them so they can really help ensuring you stick to a plan.
Most importantly don’t try anything new on the day. Stick to everything you have practiced in training - that is all elements- pace, kit, food and fluid. Upset stomachs can mean the end of your race! * also in your first 24hr I would say to people set off slower than you think. It is so easy to go off way to quick with the excitement of an event and the crowds etc. this will comeback and bite you later.
That is Paul's top tips listen to his advice and you wont go wrong! Most importantly make sure you are in good shape mentally and physically we will have people on course motivating you and inspiring you.
Enjoy the training and go and smash Conquer24!