Welcome to the Heat pt1
Welcome to the land of sand, rocks, volcanoes and amazing trails to run on!
A few months ago I signed up for the legendary Marathon Des Sables (MDS) for April 2020. This is a 6 day ultra marathon in the Sahara Desert. Over the 6 days I will be running roughly 150miles whilst carrying all my own sleeping stuff, safety equipment, food and mandatory kit (weighing around 6-9kg).
One of the big preparations for MDS is making sure you are as adjusted to the heat as you can be and due to training in a Jersey winter… the timing isn’t the best. Also, due to working in an audit firm I don’t get the chance for a hot holiday in the months leading up to the event and so this week was planned to see how I dealt with running in the heat!
The plan was to get away with my dad who was going to mountain bike as I ran and also to do a bit of cross training on the bike myself. As the marathon was less than 2 weeks before, the runs weren’t too intense or long (for ultra training) but were perfect for how I was feeling.
My weeks running plan from Sarah (best coach):
Day 1: 10KM (6miles)
Day 2: 25KM (16miles) with backpack
Day 3: rest
Day 4: 8KM (6miles)
Day 5: 22KM (14miles) with backpack
Day 6: rest
Day 7: 10KM (6.5miles) volcano run/hills
Day 1 Sunday
The first run was on Sunday morning, a nice and easy 6miles along the amazing never ending trail to the east. The morning started with rain (Lanzorotes first rain in months) but quickly passed and the 24degree heat returned from 9am and pretty much stayed around until we left Saturday evening!
The first run in the heat is always the hardest but I felt good after the Saturday rest day whilst travelling. This run was all about shaking out the legs and just acclimatising to the heat.
Later that morning, my dad and I decided to stroll over to Club La Santa (CLS) to check it out after having booked a remote Airbnb about a mile away due to CLS being fully booked or too expensive (room depending). On the off chance, there was one last room free until the Wednesday for half the price online, we took it right away!
The holiday from here took an unintentional turn into Beth's boot camp due to the facilities, swimming pools and classes being too good to miss! Starting with my first swim in a 50 metre pool and a session on the running track on the Sunday. We slept well that night just in time for the big run Monday morning.
Day 2 Monday
Monday started with a 16 mile loop at mid day with weight in the new rucksack as practice. We collected my dads mountain bike so he could ride along side for support for the 2 hour run then off we went.
The first 2 miles were fresh and fast, around the Club La Santa island before a big gradual hill up the trail to the top of a small volcano. Snacking on a tropical trail mix and drinking lots of water, the bag and shoes both felt comfy as I was trying to see if they’d work for MDS. As we made the top of the hill at around 5 miles, it was a nice downhill through the country trail, at one point passing a shepherd and the biggest herd of sheep. I fell in love with the trail and the heat of Lanzarote immediately and got very excited for the adventures to come.
After passing through another ghost town (called Soo), we had a long stretch down a road where I could pick up some speed again before turning down and back the opposite way of the route from Sunday (which quickly turned to our favourite route to run/bike). We quickly realised with 4 miles left that we didn’t bring enough water and made a mental note for the next run, always bring more than you think! (At MDS you get 2 litres at every checkpoint.)
The run was a success but the day had just gotten started with a 20 min lengths swim, abs class, kettlebell class and Pilates to finish off in the afternoon!
Day 3 Tuesday
The Tuesday was a running rest day to recover from the long one Monday. However, I quickly found out this holiday that I have far too much energy to sit around a pool for more than 10 minutes. I started off with a crossfit class which included deadlifts, sit ups and various gymnastics moves. I then tried aqua up involving various moves on a paddleboard in the pool… testing the balance but was hilarious!
My dad and I then tried a class called Body Bike Smart. This quickly became one of my favourite classes ever. It was an advanced version of spinning where your phone is connected to the bike through the Body Smart App which sets your individual workout targets for the session based on your age, fitness, exercise per week etc. The workout is colour coded and connected to the TVs on the wall with music synchronised to the drops - great fun! We finished this off with a 20min swim again to cool off… the swimming was already getting better!
I made some homemade pasta in our room with some ice cream and a film to end the evening. Ready for the rest of the weeks activities.
Book of the week: Running with the Kenyans by Adharanand Finn.
A great read especially with all the marathon success recently for both males and females.
Pt2 coming soon!