/ So , how fit is fit ?

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SethChili - on 17 Aug 2013
I am attempting the welsh 3000ers two weeks on Tuesday, aiming at travelling reasonably quickly ( but not fell running it ) carrying minimal weight .
So , I've studied the maps , planned the nutrition , obtained a large supply of energy gells and jelly babies and now I am slightly worried that I won't be fit enough .
Everywhere I have looked so far has told me I need to be 'very fit '' ''have a high level of fitness' or be an 'ultra fit mountaineer'' .
I've walked 26 mile days before in the Brecon Beacons and Northumberland ,and I run (19 minute 5k pb) , cycle and do core exercises 5 days a week . Does this make me fit ?
Run_Ross_Run - on 17 Aug 2013
In reply to SethChili:
How many 26 mile days have you done and what sort of ascent was in those days?
SethChili - on 17 Aug 2013
In reply to SethChili: In the brecons me and a friend went from Talgarth to Abergavenny taking in Waun Fach and the other tops on the ridge going south to Pen Cerrig Calch . . Not sure of the ascent but at least 3000ft if not more by the end of the day . It took us 8 hours .
I emphasise that I am not 'running' ( but I though the running forum would have the most expertise on doing things fast)the 3000ers just moving fast and probably running some of the downhill sections and jogging on flat-ish areas .
ice.solo - on 17 Aug 2013
In reply to SethChili:

how fast can you run up stairs to the 25th floor?
Run_Ross_Run - on 17 Aug 2013
In reply to SethChili: So you've only done 1 big mountain day then?
SethChili - on 17 Aug 2013
In reply to SethChili: I've also done an extended edale horseshoe which was 22 miles , and a 25 miler on easy paths in northumberland . Most of my day walks in the peak district and snowdonia are around 16 miles .

llechwedd - on 17 Aug 2013
In reply to SethChili:

Aim at travelling reasonably quickly and you'll find out. Surely that's why you've set yourself the challenge. What's the worst that can happen if you go slower than intended?

Lose the focus on 'energy gells'.
It's a day's walk at most. Just ensure you've enough to drink.
IainRUK - on 17 Aug 2013
In reply to SethChili: You'll be fine. Just eat regularly.
MikeYouCanClimb - on 17 Aug 2013
In reply to SethChili:
From what you have said you have a sufficient level of fitness. Just go to enjoy it, even if you have not got the necessary experience or fitness etc, then you will gain it quickly, just by attempting it.

I would suggest the most important factor is not your fitness or energy level, but how well you are motivated.

To help with motivation, things to consider are preparation, setting targets, fitness level, doing it with friends, rivalry, nutrition, drinks, weather, your general heath, conditions, navigation, clothing, footwear, safety etc. Understanding all of these factors can help.

Remember though, too much attention to detail can also be the very same things that can hinder you. If it goes pear shaped, you can always learn and use them as an excuse, either for a repeat or for the next project
Simon Caldwell - on 17 Aug 2013
In reply to SethChili:
I've not done it, but you sound far fitter than I was when I did the Lakes 3000ers (which I think is a bit further). As Iain says, you'll be fine.
SethChili - on 17 Aug 2013
In reply to SethChili: Thanks everyone .
I was just looking for the reassurance that even though I am not some kind of superhuman athlete , with a bit of hill experience and physical capability , I will be able to plod on and do it .
Run_Ross_Run - on 17 Aug 2013
In reply to SethChili:

Judging by what you've said i don't think you'll have any problems physically as long as you stay on top of food and drink. It'll probably be the mental part that will challenge you more.

Good luck. Well jealous.
(need someone to carry your bag)??????
altirando - on 17 Aug 2013
In reply to SethChili: Just relax, don't go rushing off at the start, take each peak as it comes. I just set out to enjoy the day rather than to achieve some specific time, had two sitdown meals, and still completed under twelve hours. The only possible caveat is that you don't seem to have much experience of moving quickly on awkward ground. Do hope you have the route sorted though.
andymac - on 17 Aug 2013
In reply to SethChili:

Don't think you'll have any problems.

Like Iain says ,take plenty fluids with you.couple of bananas and some biscuits.

I would seriously think about your footwear.

I used to do my 16-20 mile marches in boots ,and used to get blistered to fu#k.

I would wear approach shoes ,or trainers.

I wear approach shoes now ,and don't even get sore feet.
SethChili - on 17 Aug 2013
In reply to SethChili: I'm using addidas Kanadia Trail 5 shoes with ino8 debris gaiters . If it forecast to be really wet I may switch back to my battered old leather boots , which tend to feel very heavy towards the end of a long day .
jonathandavey - on 17 Aug 2013
In reply to SethChili: Sounds like you'll be totally fine.

I've done the Welsh 3000s 4 times with a uni walking club, and this year helped out with the driving/support instead.

The vast majority finish it in around 15-20 hours, these are often people who go on weekly walks in the Lakes/Wales/Dales but don't do any other exercise. I'd say to just pace yourself, be careful picking a quick route down from Crib Goch and save some energy for a blast along the flat bits of the Carnedds at the end.

Oh, and enjoy!
mbh - on 17 Aug 2013
In reply to SethChili:

I did it in May with my wife at her walking pace. It took us 16 hours, and my wife does not run many miles, though we had tried it together the year before and she had done some long walking days.

We both did it in big boots and took spare socks to cope with the bogginess. No blisters.

You can definitely do it.

What helps is getting the logistics and the head right.

When we did it, we thought it best to make the day itself as easy as possible, so no faffing on that day. We did it N-S and and had a room prebooked at Pen y Pass YHA for when we finished. ON the way up we left food there, to greet us when we arrived, and a bike. Then we drove to Aber car park and walked up to the lake below Drum. We stayed there the night in a tent. We got up at 3, left at 4 and were on the Foel Fras at 5. We got to Snowdon at 9 pm. The hardest part, if you go our way, is not giving up when you get to the Llanberis valley. It is v tempting to stop there. Following IainR's advice on another thread, we went up to Crib Goch at the BLwych (? the right hand end), then along to the highest point then back. On ascending to the Glyders, we struck off right fromthe horrible scree onto easy scrambling which seemed faster.

The day after, I cycled round to Aber, which all seemed to be downhill, then got the tent and drove back to the hostel where my wife was, via Ogwen valley where we had dropped some water bottles. We did drink a lot on the way.
IainRUK - on 17 Aug 2013
In reply to mbh: That scree gully is horrible.. it was once supposedly lovely runnable scree like you get in the lakes... its now bloody dangerous... I went down it at midnight covered in snow in a winter paddy attempt.. shitting myself.. awful terrain.
haydn on 18 Aug 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

Don't say that - I was planning on going down there next weekend! :(
IainRUK - on 18 Aug 2013
In reply to haydn: Its OK.. you just have to pick your line and space out.. I tend to stay down the right hand side then left lower down.
Irk the Purist - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to SethChili:

Anyone can be fit. It's being hard that counts.

ablackett - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to Eric the Red:
> (In reply to SethChili)
>
> Anyone can be fit. It's being hard that counts.

"It's not being fit that's hard, it's being hard that's hard." Quote from feet in the clouds I think, can't remember who from.
IainRUK - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to ablackett: I don't know.. being fit makes it much easier..

I'm always amazed at how many people put themselves through hell to complete some events.

Being fit just makes it so much easier and enjoyable.

If you are hill fit the 3000ers is not a big day out. Any suffering or hardnes is just no required.
Simon Caldwell - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to IainRUK:
> I'm always amazed at how many people put themselves through hell to complete some events.

In my case it's because however fit I am, I tend to enter events that require slightly more fitness than whatever I have at the time :-)
IainRUK - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to Toreador: Its mainly road marathoners.. I don't get it.. surely once you've ran one slowly.. you know its just a suffer fest so for the sake of miles they could run much quicker.. much less pain..

mbh - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

eh? What do you mean?
Mr Fuller on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to SethChili: Get your food and drink right and you should be fine. Don't do the whole thing on sugar - eat some proper food on the way round. Pasties, pizza, sandwiches, pork pies will make a huge difference.

I walked it a few years ago in 15 hours with no training apart from normal hill days. We had a support team, which helped. I was completely ruined afterwards having suffered heat stroke and severe dehydration (hallucinations, ridiculous cramping: the full works).

I ran it last year in conditions that couldn't have been more different: torrential rain all day and 50 mph winds. I'd trained a little bit (running about 20 miles a week) and knew the terrain pretty well. I run 5 k in about 20 minutes and was used to big (12+ hour) hill days. Finished in 9 hours 45 min, and with mild hypothermia. In better weather and without a nav error, 8 hours wouldn't have been impossible. I'm not very fit but am fairly hardy.

You'll definitely finish if you get the fuelling and nav right, and should break 15 hours easily.
IainRUK - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to mbh: Just why people enter events like a marathon untrained.

I understand the first 1 or 2 times.. to complete..

But once you've done it pure repititions just seem strange. But then we have the 100 marathon club..

I suppose I'd expect most people to want to go from 'completer' to 'competer'... I understand constantly finding bigger challenges but just to keep suffering at the same one seems strange. We're all different I know. It just seems alien to not want to progress for me.

I'm still on a (just) improving curve.. maybe once I have reached my peak then it'll be interesting to see how my motivations change. I think I'll then do more trail ultras.


IainRUK - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to Mr Fuller: Yeah I did it with a mate in 8 hrs or so.. he was probably more of a runner than you.. solid marathon runner, 3:10 ish.. and that was from FF as there was snow on Snowdon early on.
Irk the Purist - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

I think perhaps you've missed the point. For example, I can assure I was fit when I started the Lakeland100 but yet, that fitness counted for very little in the last 30 miles and I relied on my stubborness. Of course long endurance events are very different to competitive racing like road marathons, although I'd suggest the 3000ers is more like the former than the latter.

For any event where you want to do well, getting fit is the easy bit. Being 'hard' and carrying on when perhaps your body is suggesting otherwise is the difficult bit.

That's what I meant.

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Irk the Purist - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to Eric the Red: I should say, that's why I (mis)quoted what I did. I didn't say it, it's too clever by half.
IainRUK - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to Eric the Red: Maybe.. I think getting fit isn't easy. I think you underestimated how fit you were.

But I think hard training develops that hardness. You get used to pushing when shattered.
Irk the Purist - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to IainRUK:
I have seen a lot of very fit people who fold very easily, so they constantly underperform. I think I bat above my fitness level because I'm prepared to suffer a lot more than most. That's what I think being hard is and it's all mental.

(I realise I sound like a smug git now so I submit as evidence the fact that I did the Lakeland100 on a freshly twisted ankle. I had it taped with no underlay for the race so when it came off my whole foot went red with blood as 1000s of tiny blisters all popped)



ablackett - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to IainRUK:
> (In reply to ablackett) I don't know.. being fit makes it much easier..
>

Agreed. The quote is about the Bob Graham, and in my view is saying anyone can be fit enough to do the BG. Not everyone can be hard enough to do the BG. Gaining that fitness could take a year or so, but gaining that hardness could be impossible.

I think it's the same with the 3000's the OP is obviously fit enough to do it. But is he hard enough to do it - probably, yes. But if he isn't nowt much he can do about it.

IainRUK - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to Eric the Red: I think some runners lack big game mentality.. people from ball sports generally are used to saying 'right, this Sunday, have to perform'..

Pure runners I think can sometimes lack that. I think its deffo a factor for female runners. My ex just could not turn it on. It was random when the good days happened. In training she could maul me, but come any big race day it was 50-50 what happened.

I like to think I perform on the bigger days, I target races which mean something, but also I just think its years of having to play well in team sports, whether you felt ready or not, you didn't let team mates down.
baron - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to Mr Fuller:
May I suggest that if you can run 3 miles in 20 mins you have a more than average level of fitness!:)

Pmc
mbh - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to ablackett:

Having just failed on a (sort of) attempt of the BG, and just done a 32 miles ultra, I kind of see where this "hard" idea comes from. But I think it's mistaken. When I stopped on the BG it was after doing my sums, feeling the sharp (not just tiredness) pain in my shin and realising that this wasn't going to work. When I carried on to the end in the ultra, despite constant tiredness and desire to give in, I kept telling myself about all the training I had done, that I was able to be here because of it and able to finish because of it. And I was right. My training log told me I could do it, so it wasn't "hard" that I finished, just the result of being fit enough for the task and knowing it. Which, by the way, I haven't found at all easy. It is a long old slog just to get to where I am. To get to where Iain is requires a mental toughness beyond almost everybody, I think.
Irk the Purist - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to mbh:

Being hard means you can do things you aren't fit enough for. What you did is you got fitter, which is different. But combine that with getting harder for the best results.
IainRUK - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to mbh: I think its important to know when a DNF is the right option.. and also learning from those decisions..

I hate the phrase 'ultra runners never quit'.. they do and they should do, just not easily and not often.

Many believe it at first but we all find a point where the damage or potential risks just can't be justified.
Mr Fuller on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to baron: I'm fitter than your average hill-walker or climber, but I'm nothing on a lot of fell runners (particularly some of the others in this thread). I entered a couple of those 'muddy run' events and with no training did pretty well, but those events are for gym-goers with no running fitness. "How fit is fit?" is a very good question, and depends entirely on what sort of fitness we're talking! People running sub 2.30 marathons who can bench-press 1.5x their bodyweight are thin on the ground...
baron - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to Mr Fuller: totally agree - I wasn't having a dig at you just trying to point out that some of us ten minute milers would consider you to be very fit. The fell runners don't count as they are a different species - that's sort of a joke but then again when you see some of the times they post maybe they aren't human:)

Pmc
Irk the Purist - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

Death before dnf. Right?
IainRUK - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to Eric the Red: I really do despise all that stuff..

I'm just the grumpy Brit when it comes to these yelling and yollering American ultra's.. I especially like it when none-runners tell you 'pain is just weakness leaving the body'.. 'the body is weak the mind is strong'.. and my personal favourite 'you can always run for another 10 miles'...

Those guys can think it's all mental.. I'll stick with the training.. :-)
IainRUK - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to Eric the Red: However I do think confidence is a factor and being mentally in the right shape is very important in ultra's.. not as much as Stu Mills in his ultra-stu blog posts.. but I did use a similar thing before the world champs as he did for his 2011 world champs, looked at pb's, who I'd beaten where, how my training was and went into the race actually thinking I deserved it.. as when I first got the letter I just thought WTF..
mbh - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to Eric the Red:

No! Prepare and you'll stand a better chance of doing something. Don't prepare, and it is probably best to back off and live for another day, or you'll likely end up as a wreck. Be an Amundsen, not a Scott.

The mental bit is easier when you think, rationally, that your preparation makes an attempt at a challenge less than silly. If you did the L100 then fair play to you, you must be quite tough. But Mo Farah, for example, isn't "harder" then me, unless by that you mean he's had the circumstances, surroundings and capacity to force himself through the incredible amount of training that makes him able so thrillingly to fight off those young east Africans who snap at his his heels from the back straight. He is, simply, way fitter becuase of his training. It is not magic. Training works, nothing else is a substitute. Scott was hard, but Amundsen beat him and survived because he better understood what he was getting into.
ablackett - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to mbh: A lot of good thoughts here, but I think people are talking about different events.

I posted the quote "it's being hard that's hard" just to point out that if the OP's head is in the right place and he is willing to suffer he will probably get round the 3000's.

The quote was about the Bob Graham and I believe it is true for that route. You don't have to be fit to go at 2.5mph all day in the Lakes, but you have to have incredible mental strength to train the long hours through winter, and to keep going after 18 or 20 hours on your feet. All that stuff is encapsulated in the word "hard".

Mo Farah is driven, I would say that rather than "hard" but perhaps the 2 words are interchangable in this context.

All the stuff about "pain is weakness leaving the body" is just peoples way of motivating themselves, pushing themselves to achieve the best whatever their level of training.

Yes, train hard if you want to do well, but also push yourself to do well if you want to do well. The 2 go hand in hand, if you want to be the best you have to be fit and hard/driven/motivated. If you just want to get it done, either train hard so it is easy or sit on your ass then suffer round the event, whatever that is.
SethChili - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to SethChili: As the OP , these comments have been both helpful and interesting .
I think that you have to be physically ready in the first place before you can introduce the 'mind games '. For example , possibly one of my worst hill days ever was Fan Brecheiniog last February . Me and my walking partner that day had been ploughing through knee deep snow and near zero visibility from the word go , although we made the summit on the way down we made navigational errors which ended up me sitting in a snow hollow at 2000 feet , knackered , basically wanting to give up . I felt unable take another step . But I consciously decided to get up get out of there . And we did .
Had I not been physically fit (ish ), then I would not have been able to find that bit extra when I needed it .
Wainers44 - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to IainRUK:
> (In reply to Eric the Red) I really do despise all that stuff..
>
> > Those guys can think it's all mental.. I'll stick with the training.. :-)

So as a matter of interest, how do you "stick with the training"? I totally get the motivation of event...competition...pb's etc, but on solo training run No4 of the week (week after week after week), how do you "stick" with it?

No way am I a competition runner, but I manage to get out about 4-5 times a week now and enjoy doing so. However every now and again about 4 miles in I just lose the will, feels a bit like the engine turning off! Can be a bit uncomfortable if its 4 miles into the moor...does this just happen to me?
Moley on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to SethChili:
I was helping support a mates Paddy B a couple of years ago, there was another runner with him (with 2 other big rounds already under his belt), the other guy had not done enough training that year - but got round in his sub 24.
The expression I heard used was "He did it on grunt". I think that rather nicely sums up being not quite fit enough - but being hard and experienced enough to succeed!
IainRUK - on 19 Aug 2013
In reply to Wainers44: I train with others... I train with better runners than me... I have 3-5 big goal races a year to fully aim at... I keep it varied in my goals.

Too many have either too many goals or none.. I know some who will say 'right I'm now fully focussed on Snowdon Marathon'.. its 3 weeks away.. so at most you have 10 runs to make a difference.. you need to think 3-4 months away and plan in from there.

It is tough though, tonight I was sat in work almost at 7 pm just putting off a long midweek run.. in the end I did 15 miles.. the plan was 16 but I'd also not vassed and had bloody nipples..

After 8-9 miles I finally started to enjoy it and got some pace on.
mountainbagger - on 20 Aug 2013
In reply to IainRUK: For me that's what "hard" is. Not the race, but putting the training in. The mental strength to go out when you don't want to for whatever reason.

I find it helps to remind myself how much worse it feels to lose fitness/sharpness and how hard/depressing it is until you get it back (or start getting it back). All you need to do is miss the odd run here and there through working late, busy with the kids, tiredness etc., and then suddenly the consistency in training has gone and bye-bye fitness.

I was genuinely shocked at how a lack of consistency and focus in my training dramatically effected speed and endurance. I thought I was at least maintaining fitness during that time (I've two young children and have been struggling to re-organise the training regime as I can't run at the same times/have the same rest days etc. as before).

Running became almost unenjoyable as I kept trying to go as fast as I used to but couldn't. Consequently, I overtrained, was always heavy-legged and lost motivation, thinking maybe it was my age or I'd reached my limits somehow. Now I think I've (almost) accepted my current state and can build up again more sensibly and just be patient for the results, which are starting to come (slowly).

For me that was the "hard" part. Harder than actually running a marathonm or any event - which is only really hard if you haven't trained properly and, even then, is over in minutes (or a few hours) whereas training/motivation issues can last much longer.

There might be a reasonable amount of grit and determination required to finish some races if training and/or pacing in the race itself was not ideal for the conditions and I guess the amount of digging in you are prepared to do could be considered as hardness, but I've only ever experienced physical issues except perhaps in my first marathon where I battled for 6 miles with the urge to stop and walk! Now I undertand this feeling more, and am better trained, it's not an issue.

On 10Ks I tend to feel like my insides are going to explode out of me or I will collapse as my legs turn to jelly, but I consider that to be more of a physical battle of pushing on just under that threshold! Whether somebody else could push harder or not and still get away with it I've no idea - so hardness in that sense is relative and I'd never know what discomfort somebody else was experiencing or what my physical limit really was (until I surpassed it for myself and actually had an "accident" or fell over). Perhaps top athletes understand their bodies much better and know where the limits are (and of course have also done loads of training).
mountainbagger - on 20 Aug 2013
In reply to mountainbagger: sorry I didn't realise how long that post was until I clicked submit!
IainRUK - on 20 Aug 2013
In reply to mountainbagger:
> (In reply to IainRUK) For me that's what "hard" is. Not the race, but putting the training in. The mental strength to go out when you don't want to for whatever reason.
>
> I find it helps to remind myself how much worse it feels to lose fitness/sharpness and how hard/depressing it is until you get it back (or start getting it back). All you need to do is miss the odd run here and there through working late, busy with the kids, tiredness etc., and then suddenly the consistency in training has gone and bye-bye fitness.
>
> I was genuinely shocked at how a lack of consistency and focus in my training dramatically effected speed and endurance. I thought I was at least maintaining fitness during that time (I've two young children and have been struggling to re-organise the training regime as I can't run at the same times/have the same rest days etc. as before).
>
> Running became almost unenjoyable as I kept trying to go as fast as I used to but couldn't. Consequently, I overtrained, was always heavy-legged and lost motivation, thinking maybe it was my age or I'd reached my limits somehow. Now I think I've (almost) accepted my current state and can build up again more sensibly and just be patient for the results, which are starting to come (slowly).
>
> For me that was the "hard" part. Harder than actually running a marathonm or any event - which is only really hard if you haven't trained properly and, even then, is over in minutes (or a few hours) whereas training/motivation issues can last much longer.
>
> There might be a reasonable amount of grit and determination required to finish some races if training and/or pacing in the race itself was not ideal for the conditions and I guess the amount of digging in you are prepared to do could be considered as hardness, but I've only ever experienced physical issues except perhaps in my first marathon where I battled for 6 miles with the urge to stop and walk! Now I undertand this feeling more, and am better trained, it's not an issue.
>
> On 10Ks I tend to feel like my insides are going to explode out of me or I will collapse as my legs turn to jelly, but I consider that to be more of a physical battle of pushing on just under that threshold! Whether somebody else could push harder or not and still get away with it I've no idea - so hardness in that sense is relative and I'd never know what discomfort somebody else was experiencing or what my physical limit really was (until I surpassed it for myself and actually had an "accident" or fell over). Perhaps top athletes understand their bodies much better and know where the limits are (and of course have also done loads of training).


I also think top athletes do that bit more.. perfect balanced diets.. the core work.. the stretching.. rolling.. loads of sleep.. no beer..

I think for me my gains will be made on that side rather than running. the guy I train with is full time.. so I work all day..we meet and do 20-30k's.. I'm tired from the off.. he's fresh and will spend the next day sleeping until our next run.. when again I've worked..

No job just makes a massive difference. But also I have such a simple life. Not much social life, no family, so work, run, sleep. Its why I find guys like Andi Jones so impressive.. you read his training diary and he does loads of early morning/late night runs.. managing his job, kids, wife commitments..
mountainbagger - on 20 Aug 2013
In reply to IainRUK: Good point. Come to think of it I used to have time for a lot more stretching and rolling! Must try harder to do all the things I need to including eating properly. I'll use Andi as inspiration if I'm ever feeling lazy!
Michael Hood - on 22 Aug 2013
In reply to SethChili:Back to the original point - you'll be ok as long as you're not planning on doing much the next day.

Doing things like that several days in a row does require fitness.

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