So, we’re 2 and ½ weeks out from Gaelforce West 2011…..
The wait is finally over. Three to four more hard training sessions and it will be time to rest up and get the gear and bike in order for the adventure race of the year.
So, let’s look at what training you should do between now and race day.
I’ll break it down nice and simple – 2 long runs (Preferably with some hills) around the 90-120 minute mark and 2 long cycles (35km on the bike you will use). No harm also doing some short speed work of, say, two 30 minute tempo runs.
That’s my plan!!! I’ll try get a long run in this weekend and next, along with the long cycle midweek, and finishing off on Wednesday week with a long cycle. The key after the hard work is done is rest and recovery. Eat right and stay hydrated. A sports massage will help the legs recover and the experts are PhysioFusion (www.physiofusion.ie). Audrey and the girls are great at getting the legs fully recovered so you’re in top condition for the event.
So what bike to use?
I’m going to go with my road bike this year. Last year I used my mountain bike (MTB)/Hybrid. There are parts of the course that are off road and a mountain bike does come in handy. However there is only one part on the course that I feel you will definitely need a mountain bike, and that is after Croagh Patrick. It is only a short section where you will have to walk if you don’t have a mountain bike. Now, ideally the bike to have is a cyclocross bike. A few things to bear in mind when choosing a bike – firstly if you are going to use a racer, can you change a puncture, as there is a high chance you will get a puncture? Any doubts here and I would opt for the MTB. Secondly are you looking for agood time? If you’re not, then I would choose the MTB. You’re less likely to have problems on a MTB. Whichever option you decide on it’s important to get the bike serviced. I’ll be popping my racer into Cycleways for a quick service before the race.
Nutrition for the day
I’ll be using a mixture of gels and drinks for the day. The important thing to note here is that Gaelforce is a long distance event and nutrition is an important part of the event. On average you will be burning above 500 calories per hour, your body can only absorb 500 calories per hour so you need to get the calories in. So how do we achieve this? Put in simple terms, it means an energy gel every 30 minutes or so. The average gel will carry around 250 calories. You add energy drink to the mix and you will have your 500 calories per hour needed to keep going to the finish. Remember to carb load the evening before (Pasta, pasta, pasta!!!!).
Check the weather before you set off and always pack for the worst. I’ll be wearing my tri running shorts as they are quick drying and have padding for the bike. On top I’ll be wearing my under armour with a cycling top over it. I’ll have packed a rain jacket as is mandatory (Make sure you have your mandatory gear before leaving for the West) that I’ll have in my running back pack. Trail runners are a must in my opinion, you’re running off road for 80% of the course. Don’t wear any new gear on race day, unless it’s a race belt! Make sure you wear gear that you are comfortable running in. If you need any new gear, now is the time to get it and wear it before race day.
Some key points
- Give yourself plenty of time on the Friday to register, drop the bike off and settle into where you are staying. (It is a long drive to registration and then onto Westport, I got caught last year and it knocked me back as I didn’t get a decent sleep etc.)
- Don’t get carried away at the start on the run. Break it down, if you feel good coming into Westport on the bike then you go for it! Remember it’s about finishing it. All the effort that you’ve put in will mean nothing if you don’t get around the course. Time is irrelevant unless you have a realistic chance of winning Gaelforce.
- Don’t be worrying about the Kayak section. It’s 1km and will be over soon enough!
- Enjoy the day. You’ve put a lot of effort into getting to the start line so go out and enjoy the day with your friends and family.
I’ll be competing with over 100 others in this years Gaelforce West on behalf of the Tania McCabe Foundation. This is the inaugarul event for the foundation and if you would like to sponsor the foundation please click on the attached link – http://www.mycharity.ie/event/gareth_preschs_event2011/ . The foundation has been established to mark the memory of Tania McCabe who passed away in March 2007 following the birth of twin boys. One of those boys, Zach, also passed away. The surviving twin Adam, was cared for in the Special Care Baby Unit at Our Lady of Lourdes, Drogheda and Unit 8, Holles Street Hospital, Dublin. The care provided by these Hospitals has assisted Adam in growing up healthy and well. All money raised will go to these special care units.
I want to wish you all the very best in this years Gaelforce West and I’ll see you at the finish!!! J
And remember to sense the adventure and enjoy the day,