Martin Lukes was the first person home last year in a time of just over 25hrs. He is a 3x Kepler Champion, 6x 2nd place, 7x New Zealand rep at the World 100k Championships, 2nd fastest ever Kiwi at 100k with 6:48. 2:25 marathoner, adventurer and generally a bloody good bloke. Here are his top ten tips for surviving the Northburn100.
Top 10 Tips for the Northburn 100 Miles
1. Start very slow
You should aim to finish at the same pace or effort that you started. This means that you will definitely finish the 100 miles and not suffer more than you need in its latter stages. Your estimated finish time can be calculated and from an early stage in the race you can gauge how much slower you need to be. This event is a hare and the tortoise event as your goal is to finish and finish well. This will be best achieved if you save your energies for the latter stages especially the night section. Any race or event never gets going until the last 25 % of the distance. So for the Northburn see the first 120 km as a decent “warm up” and your mental strategies should keep that in mind.
2. Think of the journey not the distance
Relish the landscapes, time away from the city, normal routine of life and being surrounded by motivated likeminded adventure types. This will take your mind away from the mission ahead. Thinking about time and distance will only add stress to the challenge. This is a wonderful adventure to be relished so savour the whole experience.
3. Walk the hills
The reason for this is explained under 1. Start very slow. Your goal is to preserve muscle strength and endurance; running the steep hills will only break down your muscle fibres. My advice is to power walk the hills, jog the flats, shuffle the downs. If you have more zip in the last lap then you could apply more pressure but don’t force your hand too early.
.4. Eat and drink routinely
This is hard to do past the 15 hour mark where the body goes into fat burning overdrive. Up to that point keep the nutrition going in. Utilise fresh food like fruit and whole foods like cold meats and sandwiches. Energy gels are fine to provide a quick lift but your system may need more substantial fuel. Protein drinks are so easy to consume and provide an energy rich hit.
- Take anti chaffing cream
Do not underestimate how debilitating chaffing can be; keep it handy just in case.
- Ensure your lights are fantastic with battery back up
Great lights make a big difference from a physical and mental perspective. Remember a spare back up too and batteries.
- Take storm gear
Err on the side of caution. A mid length jacket with tough material more suitable for tramping may be the best option if things turn pear shaped at night on the tops. Two leggings to stop windchill may again be wise if a cold night. Great hat and gloves will provide reassurance.
- See every uphill as a cool challenge: there are no problems
When faced with the climbs see them as positive opportunities. This ball game is as much a mental challenge as physical. Sleep deprivation may start impacting as it starts to get light so just go with the flow.
- Keep going slow.
Slow and steady…save the sprints for the last 100 metres.
- Post race plan
Make sure you sleep, eat and give time to rest immediately after the event. The first 10 minutes to 2 hours are critical for a speedy recovery. You may take months to fully recover as the body is not a machine so take care during April and May. The Northburn event of 2013 is less than 12 months away!