Tri Talk HomepageTri Talk EventsTri Talk ForumsBlogsTri Talk TrainingTri TradeTriPlayerWikiTeam Tri Talk
2016 Results
23 Jan - 2 Alpes Night Trail
2:11:05 - 28/101, 4/16 AG
21 Feb - Anglian Duathlon
2:15:36 - 36/175, 3/22 AG
28 Feb - Brighton Half Marathon
1:26:15 - 233/8095, 66/1439 AG
03 Apr - Windsor Duathlon
2:16:57 - 100/519, 6/90 AG
04 Jun - Trail Challenge Marathon
5:10 (Brighton-Eastbourne)
12 Jun - Midsussex Sprint Tri
1:12:27 - 20/238, 4/40 AG
26 Jun - 1st Swim Crawley Tri
0:59:28 - 5/68, 2/20 AG
06 Aug - Phoenix Running Marathon
3:24 - 5/102
26 Aug - CCC Ultra Marathon
21:29 - 465/2200, 27/152 AG
19 Nov - F3 Duathlon
2:09:24 - 3/50, 1 AG
04 Dec - Downland Devil 9
1:05:52 - 11/250, 2/28 AG
2015 Events
22 Feb - Brighton Half Marathon
03 May - Steyning Standard
1:49:52 - 6/97, 1/19 AG
27 May - Arundel Standard
1:59:57 - 6/105, 1/19 AG
14 Jun - Midsussex Sprint Tri
1:09:55 - 9/272, 4/51 AG
12 Jul - ETU Euro Champs, Geneva
2:22:39 - 47/79 AG
26 Jul - Worthing Standard
2:25:09 - 109/398, 16/54 AG
08 Aug - Triathlon Castro, Spain
16 Aug - Noja Aquathlon, Spain
22:15 - 18/41, 1/7 AG
13 Sep - Virgin Active Brighton Tri
1:21:39 - 7/133, 2/21 AG
20 Sep - Brighton Marina Tri
1:44:24 - 11/115, 5/44 AG
11 Oct - Jog Shop 20
2:45 - 13/110, 4/22 AG
07 Nov - Hermes Thames Half Mara
1:28:07 - 5/362, 1/55 AG
28 Dec - Phoenix Marathon
3:14:05 - 4/96
2014 Events
01 Feb: Pilgrims Challenge Day 1
5:35 24/199
30 Mar: Springtime Sportive 54m
3:07 1/157
05 Apr: SDW 50 Ultra
9:06 107/314
21 Apr: Thames Turbo Tri
1:04 22/347, 1/31 AG
04 May: Steyning Oly
1:46 15/111, 3/22 AG
11 May: Beacon Rouleur Sportive
5:49 11/48
31 May: City to Summit Tri
15:27 25/123
22 Jun: Sussex Triathlon Oly
2:37 21/93, 2/13 AG
19 Jul: Race To The Stones 100k
13:09 103/703
24 Aug: Triathlon du Mont Blanc
1:17:03 34/310, 8/82 AG
07 Sep: Bala Oly
2:11 118/560, 20/118 AG
14 Sep: Brighton Virgin Active Tri
1:21 5/155
21 Sep: Brighton Marina Tri
1:48 7/109, 4/28 AG
16 Nov: Brooks 10k
39:09 205/3196, 53/548 AG
07 Dec: Downland Devil 9
1:07 28/283
Results Archive
2013 Results
2012 Results
2011 Results
2010 Results
2009 Results
2008 Results
2007 Results
2006 Results
2005 Results
The long haul up Alpe d'Huez
Last Blog Posts
Racing, Illness and a Long Walk
Half Marathon PB + Marathon GFA !!!
Marathon training...
I love duathlon!
CCC Race Report & Recovery
Tapering for the CCC
Trails, Duathlon and Injury
2013 Events Archive
Nailed it - new marathon PB
Taper Time
Marathon Training
A couple of AG wins and a DNS...

Total topics: 388
Total posts: 1284
Thu Apr 10, 2014 8:52 pm iainm
  Reply with quote  
View user's profile
The short story:
The South Downs Way 50 last Saturday was a fantastic experience, helped by good weather and a performance that exceeded expectations. I finished in 9:02 - 107 out of 314 starters - off the back of only one 50+ mile training week. Very happy.

The longer story:
I entered this race to get the 2 UTMB points, so I can enter the ballot for the 2015 CCC. Taking part in the CCC back in 2011 is one of my favourite sporting experiences and Id love to do it again. However, my main event this year has always been the City To Summit triathlon, so its a mark of how my life has changed that a 50 mile ultra marathon is no longer an A race. And that has meant that rather than focusing just on running, Ive had to do my ultra training while keeping on top of my swimming and cycling as well.

Some numbers
This was only my 4th ultra. Although I have run eight standalone marathons and one in an Ironman, I dont have a huge amount of longer distance experience. If there is a lesson from this race, its another vote for quality, not quantity. In the 13 weeks prior to the race, I ran 50 times so 3.84 times pw. Previously, when Ive been training for a marathon Ive run 5 times a week. These weekly runs have tended to be:

1 x long run 3-3.5 hours, on the Downs
1 x intervals session 6-7 x 800m at ~4 min/km
1 x Z2 run 80-90mins, with 60-70mins at Z2
1 x brick run steady pace for 30mins

So around 6 to 6.5 hours a week running, covering an average of 35 miles per week. My biggest week was 57 miles and that was the only week I logged more than 50 miles. However, Ive also managed to maintain 3 swims (av 7km pw) and 3 rides (av 85km/pw) each week. By long distance triathlon standards, thats very low bike volume, but Im banking on the running to cover the aerobic training that this usually covers. My result suggests that aerobically this training has transferred well to running.

The Race
So I came into the race undercooked by most ultra standards. The goal was to finish, ideally under 9:30. My pacing was based on my test runs on the course up to Southease, and then using this pace calculator from the final two aid stations.

The start in Worthing was very relaxed and social. I saw a couple of volunteers I know from the ultra running community (thanks to Richard Felton from Profeet and Gary Dalton for giving up their day), and also had a quick chat with Paul Navesey from the Centurion Running team, who went on to win in a vastly impressive 6:11. A few minutes before the start, I realised that despite all my preparations, Id actually forgotten to fill up my Camelback, making me probably the only person ever to start an ultra with no water! And then we were off. The route was pretty crowded with two lines and then single file running/walking for the first 20 minutes or so. If you are going for a time in this race Id suggest getting to the front of the field from the start and running slightly ahead of your pace.

This first section takes you up from Worthing to the South Downs Way. Id run it at 6:48 min/km on my test run, so Id budgeted 7:00 for the race. The slow start actually worked well for me and I hit the SDW just a couple of minutes later than planned.

I knew the next section past Chanctonbury Ring along and down into the Adur Valley was pretty straightforward, so picked up the pace to 5:35 and enjoyed what was turning out to be a warm and sunny day. I was sweating but while I didnt have any water I did have isotonic High 5 gels. The original plan was to start them 75 mins in, but I didnt want to start off the day dehydrated, so I sped that up and had three in the first two hours.

The first aid station was at Botolphs, just after you cross the Adur and I filled up with water. I was two minutes behind my plan (1:59), slightly more by the time Id finished fannying around with my backpack. I knew the next section to Saddlescombe Farm was hillier and slower, so I just took it easy walking and jogging slowly. In my test run Id averaged 7:28 min/km for this section, so I was targeting 7:45.

By now the sun had gone and there was a cold mist blowing across the top of the Downs. At Devils Dyke I considered putting my jacket on, but once I was off the peak it was much better. At the Saddlescombe Farm aid station I grabbed a couple of gels (bringing my stock levels back up to where they should have been) and continued down through Pyecombe and up past the golf course on an uneven, chalky trail.

Throughout the day I was conservative on the downhillls, mindful that trashed quads can make those last miles very hard work. I was overtaken on pretty much every descent during the day, but I was able to jog uphill when others were struggling, and on the flat I made sure my pace was good.

Ive run the section to Ditchling Beacon along and then down to Housedean several times, so I knew what was coming and could go on auto-pilot and enjoy it. A super encouraging extra bonus came when Pip and the kids appeared through the mist at the Beacon. I wasnt expecting them, so it was super-motivating and a real boost.

As I left them I reminded Pip that I was running about 10 minutes behind schedule already, so might not meet my 6.30pm target finish time. I continued to run conservatively, but from the Beacon onwards (4 hours in) I started to overtake people on a regular basis. I quickly popped in to the aid station at Housedean Farm, grabbed some more water and gels and then settled into a zen-like rhythm. I just counted my steps again and again: 1,2.3,4. 1,2,3,4. 1,2,3,4, 5,6,7,8. Just keep moving forwards. You lose yourself sometimes in these type of events. It could have been 30 minutes of counting, it could have been two hours. What I do know is that I arrived at Southease on pace and about 15 minutes behind my race plan.

I didnt hang around and despite the longest ascent of the race, I kept overtaking and felt not just fine, but great. Before I knew it, I was through the aid station at Alfriston and at Jevington with only 4 miles to go.

Even better, Id gone ahead of my race plan. Id not run the latter stages of the route before, so Id guessed my pace from the pacing website. As another runner pointed out, these calculations were based on last years data when the weather was terrible and I didnt have to go through what they did. But Id paced myself really well, felt strong and by the time we reached the outskirts of Eastbourne I was running at 5:30 min/km the fastest Id hit all day.

I eventually crossed the line in 9:02 (Garmin data here), loving the lap of the track, which felt so springy after that last run in on pavements. I dont know if was a combination of caffeine and adrenaline, but I felt absolutely great at the finish. I feel the same now.

Everything about the race was great the temperature was perfect at 12C and the sun even came out as we neared Eastbourne. It started raining about 20 minutes after Id finished, by which time Pip and the kids had arrived. They missed my finish, but it didnt matter I was totally rapt. Fingers now crossed for the CCC ballot in January whether I get in or not, I might come back for another go at the SDW50 in 2015. I would 100% recommend this race to anyone. Beautiful views, well organised, excellent aid stations, good trails and a fantastic chile-con-carne with buttered bread and a cup of tea at the finish. Well done Centurion Running!

Tri blog | Follow my snowsports blog at Skipedia | Supported by Profeet Custom

Fri Apr 11, 2014 7:10 am Carlito
  Reply with quote  
View user's profile
Great pacing Iain and great smile at the finish. Hopefully we'll both be in Chamonix in 2015.
Coaching - Blog - Twitter - FB

Fri Apr 11, 2014 6:53 pm KP nut
  Reply with quote  
View user's profile
Wow perfect pacing. What a great race!!
"It always seems impossible, until it's done" (Nelson Mandela)

My Outlaw Race Report:

Sat Apr 12, 2014 10:54 am The Iain
  Reply with quote  
View user's profile
Great work Iain, that's a brilliant result, and perfectly paced. Certainly a good base for C2S.

Wed Apr 16, 2014 1:05 pm repoman
  Reply with quote  
View user's profile
Great effort Iain. Great pacing and good to see it come together.
Walk like The Clash, sing like The Supremes...

About Iain
I'm a 50 year old triathlete and runner, competing since 1992. I have competed in 119 triathlons and 20 marathons (including 6 ultras). I am supported by Profeet - sports footwear and orthotics specialists.
- GFA time at VLM
- Qualify for World Triathlon Champs
- AG podium local tris
- Stay under 76kg

Home | About TT | Privacy Policy | Terms and Conditions | Advertising | Contact TT
Copyright ©2003-2015 TriTalk® All rights reserved.