/ fell running route suggestion - training for mini MM

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Scarab9 - on 01 Oct 2012
signed up this weekend for the mini Rab Mountain Marathon in the lakes in mid november. a four hour race.

I've done some fell running but the longest I've been out is a couple of hours which was on my own and on a route I had in my head before I started. I don't know how typical that effort was so still not really sure what to expect on the day. My fellow team mate has a lot of road running experience but I don't think she's done any off-road stuff.

I'm planning on joining the Todmorden harriers crew for their weekly runs from this Wednesday (moved up there in Sept when they meet a different time and I couldn't make it) so am hoping to get a bit more experience before the date (any members here who are out wednesday?)

also we're planning a training day later in the month and hoping someone here can suggest a route either in the Peak or nearish to Tod which will give us more of an idea of what to expect. Currently I don't really know the distances involved or just how rough to expect the terrain so not sure what to look for!

any advice or suggestions would be great.

Irk the Purist - on 01 Oct 2012
In reply to Scarab9:

Go orienteering.

The New NickB - on 01 Oct 2012
In reply to Scarab9:

Do sections of the Calderdale Way, Mary Towneley or maybe the Hebden route.

I particularly like doing the Mary Towneley from Fearns to Calis Bridge, 21 miles and about 3,000'

Have a look at I do a lot of running with the guy who puts it together, should be loads of ideas for you.
Nutkey on 01 Oct 2012
In reply to Scarab9:
a) Best advice I can offer for training is to get hold of the map AND checkpoint descriptions for a previous event, then navigate round. If you find where the checkpoint should be when there's no one there, you should be fine when it actually is there (bearing in mind that sometimes they do occasionally mess up and put the checkpoint in the wrong place!). If you can't get hold of a previous event map, then just go for a run somewhere you don't know, with a map, and practice making sure you know exactly where you are at any point (as in, not just "I'm on this footpath", but "I'm on this footpath, a third of the way across the field between these two fences). Then run for a bit without looking at the map, and practice relocating.


I've got maps and checkpoint descriptions for Edale and Hayfield 2010-11, Hathersage, Calver, and Alstonefield 2011-12. Let me know if you would like to borrow any of them,

b) A reentrant is the opposite of a spur. i.e. a gully.

c) You will need to worry about nutrition for four hours in a way you don't for two - if for no other reason than that you need your brain to keep working properly. I frequently mess up in the last hour because my blood sugar is too low....
Banned User 77 - on 01 Oct 2012
In reply to Scarab9: Try and get hold one of the MMM maps... or past maps for the Rab... OMM type thing.. then try to get as many points in 3-4 hrs or so..
Scarab9 - on 01 Oct 2012
In reply to Eric the Red:
> (In reply to Scarab9)
> Go orienteering.

We can navigate fine.
Scarab9 - on 01 Oct 2012
In reply to The New NickB:

cool cheers I'll have a look on there.
Scarab9 - on 01 Oct 2012
In reply to Nutkey:

ooh that's great, thanks for the link!

yeah things like nutrition and testing our endurance levels is the big thing on the training weekend. Should be fine (we've done other types of endurance tests, just not this type) but defintely want a trial run rather than failing on the day because of an oversight.
tony on 01 Oct 2012
In reply to Scarab9:
> (In reply to Eric the Red)
> [...]
> We can navigate fine.

Orienteering will get you doing a lot more than navigating. It'll get you moving over rough ground and making decisions on the go. For MMs, you need to be confident in both those things. You'll also be making decisions about preferred routes for running, rather than walking.
Irk the Purist - on 01 Oct 2012
In reply to Scarab9:

Sorry, was posting in a hurry earlier. "We can navigate fine" - famous last words.

Mountain marathons are more orienteering events than fell races really. Navigating is not orienteering. Orienteering is about macro route choices from control to control as well as micro navigating and taking into account attack points etc. All whilst moving quickly. Score events add tactics, bravery and knowing your abilities to the mix. Doing a set route won't help with any of this.

In my opinion, the best way to train for a mountain marathon for someone who is already reasonably fit, is to go orienteering. If you run faster than you think you'll make mistakes. You'll be surprised how slowly you can go and still do well if your nav is spot on. In the short time you have available you will make huge gains from doing a few regional (B) level orienteering events or even C/D ones if you need to.

Then you can experience first hand running flat out between two controls and navigating 'perfectly' only to see the 75 year old man who you last saw walking away from the last control dib the next one 5 seconds before you. It happens. So does getting to the end of day 1 of the OMM wet, muddy, exhausted and having run 30 miles in 7 hours to find yourself 10 points behind the vets pair next to you who have sauntered around 15 miles, got in 2 hours early and are only doing it because it's Fred's 60th birthday and they wanted to relive old times.


Scarab9 - on 01 Oct 2012
In reply to Eric the Red:

haha, those old buggers and their cleverness! <grumble>

sorry thought it was a fob off for obviously underskilled rookies

yeah I appreciate the orienteering side. Obviously could always be better but I'm pretty good at that side so while I'm sure I'll make some sort of mistake on the day it shouldn't be too major.

I will take your advice to hobble any old folk I see sauntering along. That's what you were suggesting right? ;-)
Irk the Purist - on 01 Oct 2012
In reply to Scarab9:

You'll have to catch them first.
djwilse - on 01 Oct 2012
In reply to Scarab9:
A good resource is the OMM past routes:
If you have time you can cross reference the splits from the various categories to see who went for which controls (plus also who got big penalties for being over ambitious etc). The comparable one to the Rab Mini MM is the short score - 5hrs Day 1 and 4hrs Day 2.

I did the recent Rab in the Howgills, great fun, my main strategy was to avoid too many ups and downs!! Also worth considering with navigation is using different scale maps (the Howgills used 1:25,000 but often 1:40,000 is used which makes quite a bit of difference if you are not used to it.

If you have done long fell runs the actual distance and speed should not be an issue - I pretty much walked all of the recent Rab.

Hope you enjoy the event.
Simon Caldwell - on 02 Oct 2012
In reply to djwilse:
> If you have done long fell runs the actual distance and speed should not be an issue

Agreed. The main difficulty with these events is knowing how far you can get in the time allowed - you'll do better if you take it steady and get back with a few seconds to spare, than if you get carried away and are half an hour late. The only way to know this is to do a few events and see (so be prepared for a dismal failure sooner or later!).

If possible, take all your risks early on, and save a handful of controls not far from the finish so you can visit some, none, or all of them depending on time left.

Allow for getting tired - you'll go farther in the first two hours than in the second two.

Make a vague plan at the beginning. A piece of string can be useful to check your overall planned route length - once you've done a few you'll probably be able to estimate this by eye. But once you've made your plan, keep revising it depending on how fast you're going, what the terrain's like, etc. I like to make estimates of when I'll get to certain points, if I'm up on them then I'll add extra controls, more often I'm behind so miss them out.

Don't follow other people! Even on the RAB events when you know that everyone has the same control list, you could end up following someone who's lost, or who's looking for a control you've already visited, or who's super fit and disappears rapidly into the mist.
MJH - on 08 Oct 2012
In reply to Eric the Red: I don't disagree with any of your points, but equally some walkers/climbers can already navigate very well. We don't typically struggle with the nav in MMs and neither of us have done much orienteering, generally just fitness (or my lack thereof!). You are definitely right that nav is very important and can go a long way to making up for other deficiencies!

I think one of the key things on score events is making sure you have options that suit you and how you are going. If you find heathery tussocks (awful things!) hard going then look for alternatives that help you avoid them.

Be realistic, but challenging about how far you can go in the time span. Be prepared to change route to suit things.

One tip I would add after this weekend's Rab MM is don't do what we did by overshooting because you are too busy chatting to your partner rather than paying attention about where you are supposed to be going!
Mike H - on 08 Oct 2012
In reply to Scarab9: I occasionally run with a few from Tod and Calder Valley as well.

Calder Valley Round is well worth a look as a good local training run which packs in quite a bit of ascent.
nniff - on 08 Oct 2012
In reply to Scarab9:

My tips for what they're worth.

Get an altimeter.

Know how many paces you take per 200m running and walking and practice until you can gauge the distance covered over terrain when you're neither walking nor running.

Get a calibrated piece of string.

Thread some spring toggles onto elastic - 4 or 5 on one side and two on the other. I prefer 5 because although you only need 4 it stops my tired brain getting confised! At 200m each that keeps tally of your paces up to 1km on one side and 2 full km on the other.

Work out what your true average speed is, including stops for navigation, bios etc and use that to plan your initial route. If you're doing well against your norm, think about adding in additional check points.

Work out how long it takes you to cover a km. I'm rubbish at this, but if your join pacing and timing and altimeter togetheryou might get to where you need to be.

Study contour lines with intense care.

Set both compasses independently and check before you head off. Don't rely on one. Gross errors in 90 degree increments are common.

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