Author: Jonathan Wyatt
Specific tips to complete (and enjoy!) a multi stage race
1. It's a multi day, multi stage event. You have to pace it! You should finish the first 4 stages on Transalpine feeling like you have just finished a long training run. That gets you past the half way point and if you feel still strong it will motivate yourself for the second half. As a bonus you will also start surging past people that have given too much on the first stages!
2. Don't let adrenalin from all of the excitement (e.g. loud racy ACDC music) make you start too fast. My best tip to stop this over adrenalin hype is to imagine that the first 1km is a normal training run. On the start line, close your eyes for 15 seconds before the gun and focus on your breathing (slow and deep) to stop too much of this unwanted adrenalin. It's great to have hype and adrenalin before a 100 metre race but not before a Transalpine stage!!
3. Pacing is something you have to learn but to give yourself an idea start using a heart rate monitor. Get to know by yourself the levels where you are working easily and the levels where you are fatiguing and not recovering easily. This helps you get to know the correct pacing for the distance. Later, when you become more advanced with using HRM (Heart rate monitoring) then you can start to read and learn about your aerobic and anaerobic thresholds to become more precise with your training and race pacing.
4. It is a team race, not an individual race. So take care of your running partner. You will both have different strengths e.g. if one of you is a stronger uphill runner then take some of the drinks of your partner to help them go lighter on the climbs. Helping and sharing the experiences will make it more fun.
5. The event is a unique race, so don't always run with your head down concentrating only on the trail. Take an extra few seconds to run slowly and see the beautiful alpine views, flowers and animals! Doing this helps you relax, brings you motivation and will actually make you run faster because you are running happy with the energy that nature brings you.
6. Use a race bag that is comfortable and that you can easily get access to your drinks and food. If you have to stop and take out a bottle and your food then it will be much too easy to forget about eating and drinking at the correct regular intervals. Practice doing this in your training, running and taking out your food and drinking from a front mounted holder.
7. Take a sun hat. A strange tip you might think maybe? But you are out for many hours and they are long days and so you need to protect yourself. High altitude will make the sun stronger, and so you burn more easily and get dehydrated with it. In my experience most people are pretty good about taking good equipment for the cold weather in the mountains with jackets and warm clothes but they forget about what the sun can do on a hot day. Headaches and dehydration will make your recovery much more difficult after a stage. Sun cream for exposed areas that doesn’t inhibit sweat release and stays working while sweating is a very good idea too.
8. Your body will have to train for the extra weight of your equipment on your body and this makes a difference in both up and downhill. Your pace and speed during the Transalpine stages will change because of this weight so you have to try it in training or else on race day you will run too fast at the start because your mind hasn't taken into account the extra carried weight. If you can in training then try taking an extra 1kg more in your training runs so that on race day stages you feel lighter and you know that your body is well trained for all of your equipment.
Mountain running legend Jonathan Wyatt, from New Zealand, has made history with a his undisputed success: as well as succeeding in numerous local and international competitions, he has taken the Australian title twice and the New Zealand title 14 times. He has also won more than 8 mountain running world championships and competed twice in the Olympics.