The MDS often gets swept away in obsessing over kit choices/weight and in my opinion it is more important to spend the time training as it’s your body that will get you through the race not having 150g less in your pack.
When I first got confirmation of my entry in March 2015 I set about getting the main items of kit bought so I could test them in the summer and enter the winter knowing all the big choices were made and I was happy with them. These were the Rucksack, clothing I would race in, sleeping system, footwear/socks and food I could eat. Sounds simple but in my head this made sense as after that it was all bits and pieces of which I had a fare bit already.
This can become an expensive shopping experience and one of my sponsors RJS Plumbing stepped in and wrote me a cheque which allowed a big shopping spree getting the majority of these big items. I was never going to be a front runner and buying a £450 sleeping bag was in my head pointless, I opted for the less expensive items but got items with good reviews, as light as possible in that price bracket and kit I knew I could re-use again.
I entered the summer with a lot of stress removed and set about planning my training schedule that would allow me to have a life and get the necessary training in that was needed.
Advice I would offer is this.
1. Plan your training and make it visual, I put up a wall chart in the spare room with every session on it. I then crossed out every day as I completed it.
2. Plan to have a social life and work the training around it.
3. Keep a kit list with weights beside it, update it as you buy stuff.
4. Do not listen too much to the Facebook groups. Too many people with opinions.
5. Do not overtrain and get injured.
6. Train progressively and peak for the race in April.
7. Practice eating the food when out training.
8. Obsess about your body not your kit, prepare your feet and they will do the job.
9. Keep your body weight where you are happy with, I went 10 stone 4lb which is normal for me and I had body weight I knew I could loose without causing problems. I came home about 6/7lb lighter. This I expected.
10. Focus on the end result – crossing the finish line.
|Food for the race|
My training I planned myself. I seeked out advice, took it and stuck to it meticulously missing only a few sessions. My actual MDS training didn’t start until December, I had a hard summer in the mountains and had 3 long races in the Autumn. The advice I received was exactly this, start too soon and face burnout.
My training was Four blocks of three weeks on one week recovery. I added weight from mid January adding 1kg or so every block and I started off with 3kg. This allowed for my body to adapt and I only ran with weight on my long runs. My Interval and tempo sessions were all without weight. I had a three week taper before I left and I had 3/4 sessions a week. I am happy with how this all went and would not change this. I individualised it to me as I work crazy hours I knew I had to not over do it.
Here is my kit list with weights. I didn’t become completely obsessed with it instead throwing my energy to preparing my body. I went as basic as I could with only my 24hr cream as a luxury.
Food was important and I went with what I knew I liked. Porridge/nut breakfast, nuts/sweets/jellys for snacking when running, recovery powder, expedition dinner with a pot noodle as spare.
MDS KIT LIST
Decathlon sports pants
|We started with 7 and finished with 5. A super bunch of peeps.|