Training for the 100 - Centurions World Wide Community-current

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Training for the 100

Training and racing advice and tips
... by Centurions for Centurions (and any ultra walker.....)

Al over the world, athletes now find themselves without races, training facilities and we can't go out walking or training in groups....

So, the Centurions Worldwide Community are gathering tips and advice which are fast appearing on the internet, social media and from our sports governing bodies, clubs and other athletes...

We are putting a page together to highlight some of these (hopefully) helpful tips. See the Stay at Home Club page... things to do whilst stuck indoors

Centurions can offer a lot of advice to anyone embarking on their training for a 100 mile or 24 hour race.
A 100 mile race has a 24 hour time limit, but there are also 24 hour races - ie how far can you go in 24 hours. Subtle difference - a difference which perhaps only your feet, legs and the rest of you can determine!

For Centurions - just walking 100 miles within the 24 hour limit is the goal!

In the UK, many Centurions "cut their teeth" on Long Distance Walkers Association (LDWA) as well as other challenge walks and they still participate in these events which are highly enjoyable. Whilst it is not always possible to maintain a "proper" race walking technique as they are on footpaths and country trails often following a route description or map, they do range from around 20 to 100 miles in distance. This means you can build up your distance (and stamina) in stages.
Dutch walking clubs RWV and OLAT organises races and social walks over many distances. And there are more organisations around the world  which hold walks "challenge" walks - usually 2 or 3 day walks of to 42 km and with very scenic routes.  They are very good training walks with a difference.... read more on our Challenge Events page.
Many of these walks are listed in the Fixtures Calendar.

Walkers may also build up to a 100 miles by competing at 20km, 50km and 100km races. Whilst there aren't many of these "in between" distances on offer in the UK, an alternative is to look to Europe... France, Holland, Belgium, etc, and Australia for races to try.

So HOW do you train for a "100 or 24 hours  and what to  do on race day....
Do follow the good advice below and read the advice on racing, training, health and nutrition for the ultradistance athlete - written by experienced ultra distance athletes and coaches. Check out the fixture list and go walking!

Q. How do I train for the 100?
  • Read articles by the experts! or at least by seasoned Centurions...
  • Join a race walking club and enjoy the benefits of camaraderie - advice - someone to train and race with - and so much more.
  • A point to remember is that, time out on your feet is always good endurance training  - no matter the speed you are walking.

Whether training or racing, here are a few tips....

Q. What do I wear?
  • Anything that is comfortable and as with any distance, make sure that nothing chafes - seams, labels, fasteners, etc. Whilst you have 24 hours, you really don't want to squander that time changing clothes. Wear lightweight man-made fibres as they dry out quicker than cotton and wool.
  • You will need a variety of clothing - no matter where the race is. Weather is always unpredictable!
  • If it is a "summer" event: vest/Tshirt, shorts plus long leggings for the night (this is usually permissible under race walking rules);  thermal or lightweight fleece top or sweatshirt; waterproof top and leggings; hat, sunglasses, sunscreen (well you never know!);  spare socks/thin gloves. Err on overkill and take at least 2 of everything - right down to underwear.
  • For a spring/autumn event -  as above but even warmer clothes eg woolly hat, warmer gloves, windproof/rainproof jacket, etc.
  • If you are not sure about your trainers - take a spare (larger) pair, as your feet will swell. Some brands do wide fitting trainers which may help.
  • Make sure that you are comfortable with your race kit. Try it out first when out training or in a shorter race and try not to wear brand new trainers!

Q. What should I eat and drink? And, how often should I eat and drink during a race?
 Some walkers eat shed loads, others don't!  Much of it depends on personal preferences. Everyone has their own ideas of what (and, what not) to eat and drink before, during and after a long distance event. What suits one individual may not suit another, but below are a few tips:
  • Every stomach reacts differently and you need to find out in training what suits you.
  • Drinking enough before the event will get the system into gear.
  • Protein as well as carbohydrate intake is needed in ultra events along with appropriate fats such as fish oils and vitamin and mineral supplements
  • Only drink fizzy drinks to clear wind as they make you feel full; do not have too much tea or coffee as they are diuretic.
Food: When out training you should experiment of what you can eat and tolerate.  Not all race organisors provide a vast array of food - they expect athletes to bring their own and/or have a support crew to mange your provisions. Many 24 hours races in France do provide electric power points for support crews to plug in a kettle and microwave. But generally, you will always get a hot drink, soup etc, during the night from the feeding station.
But...just in case the feeding station is empty ... take  bananas, Tuc biscuits, bread, cheese, jam...some form of carbohydrate is a must to keep you going for 24 hours, whether it's rice pudding, potato (mashed or whole), pasta... these all slip down easily. A bit of protein eg cheese, also goes a long way.
Whatever your preferences, you should begin to think about re-fuelling around 2 hours into the race.
Read more on "Nutrition for athletes"

  • water, coke, lemonade...are all popular choices, as are commercial products such as isotonic drinks. Test these drinks out first on a long training session.
    A hot cup of something during a wet or cold night can work wonders - soup, hot chocolate, tea, coffee..
  • Make sure you are well hydrated starting the day before race day.  This may, of course, depend on the length of the lap and the positioning of drinks stations.  If it's a short lap, drink ever 30 minutes or so ...but don't over hydrate.  The general rule, is that if you start to feel thirsty - it's too late.
  • Also make sure that during very hot days, the drink is not ice cold - this can have an adverse affect on your stomach. Lemonade or peppermint is very good when suffering from stomach upsets. Coke (coca cola) is sometimes more effective watered down or flat.

First Aid:
Many races do provide excellent paramedics who know what they are doing - especially when treating blisters.
But do make sure you take your own blister kit, vaseline, taping plaster, etc.

If you do tend to get annoying "hot spots" on your feet - use something like Compeed from the off. And, if you tend to blister in the same place on every race, try taping up toes, heels, etc, before you start. But do try it all out in a training session first!
Kinesio tape is also good for those problem muscular issues.

TIP: Kit List
Keep a "kit list" (eg spreadsheet) for your races and amend as necessary after each race eg "didn't need this" or  "could have done with that" etc. Especially if you are going to make a habit of doing these 100s!

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