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Heartburn, chafe and all things great

Katie completed the Millstone 100 in 2021 and is here with her tips for enjoying a splendid day out in the Peak District this September... or should we say, a slightly less uncomfortable day out ;)

1. Nutrition & Hydration

Try different food that you like and tolerate on your long runs before race day. As recommended by experienced runners, I was eating every hour and drinking every thirty minutes, supplementing it with salt tablets every hour. A few mouthfuls of food and a few sips of water was ideal for me following the idea of "topping up" instead of eating & drinking to feel full. I chose to avoid isotonic tablets as they can cause heartburn when used over a long time. Some sports watches have the option to set an alarm for food and drinks. My advice is not to rely on your judgment of feeling thirsty or hungry as tiredness and adrenaline can mask your needs!

2. Socks & Shoes

Find the right shoes for you and test them during long runs. In the first part of race I carried spare insoles and socks to change when needed. Balega-blister resistant socks were my preference and I finished the race without any serious issues. I also used anti-chafing roll on on my feet and inside of the socks to reduce friction.

3. Chafing (and something called monkey-butt)

That brings me onto my next topic... chafe! Establish which areas of your body are prone to get sore. You might be okay for some time, but your skin eventually gets tired. Where possible, use something you've tested before and bear in mind that it must be thick, otherwise it'll wear off quickly. Again, my preference was Gurney Goo in a handy 10 ml tube. I found that applying cream on both sides - skin and underwear - gives me more protection.

"Check out what “monkey butt” means in running and spare yourself the suffering and huge discomfort!"

4. Sleep Deprivation

The good news is that your motivation and adrenaline along with proper nutrition and hydration will probably keep you awake for most of the race. However, I think that it is worth having caffeine tablets on you in as a last resort!

5. Making a Detailed Plan

My approach is to write down everything I can think of about race day on a piece of paper, such as;

  • What am I going to eat and drink?

  • When am I going to stop for a longer rest?

  • When are my family or friends going to meet me / cheer me on?

  • When am I going to change running gear?

  • Where will I carry mandatory kit / food / drink?

"Tiredness can make it really hard to think and having a list with decisions already made, will help to minimise the need for decision making on the fly."

6. Strength & Conditioning

Calf raises, single leg deadlifts, glute squats and ankle strengthening exercises helped me to stay injury free. Completing such exercises may help you to finish this epic challenge in one piece.

7. Avoiding Downfalls (not just Kinder!)

My head torch was one of the items of kit which let me down. I found out that my headlamp (Petzl Tikka-300 lumens) was not bright enough and the batteries were going down pretty quick causing unnecessary stress. There are also technically difficult ground sections of the race, it might be foggy as well so I recommend having an additional torch to support your night vision.

- Katie O'Donoghue, finisher of the Millstone 100, 2021.

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