Race Report - Mont Blanc Marathon 42km - June 2015 - Toby Chapman
Starting at 1000m above sea level in the town of Chamonix within the Mont Blanc valley, the race included two major climbs the first being 2200m before a decent and the final long climb up to the finish above the town at 2000m.
With the demands of the event being a sustained effort in excess of 4 hours and an early start at 7:00am, dinner the evening before consisted of a large bowl of chicken pasta. Having a large meal the night before the race meant that I could minimise the time I needed to be awake in the morning, and had just some fruit and a cereal bar for breakfast. I did this with the sole intention of it being relatively simple and easy to digest, reducing the risk of gastrointestinal stress during the race. Going with what you know prior to a race can reduce the risks of this, play around at home with what suits you and then you can be resourceful when abroad.
Packed up with 2x 500ml water bottles and 5 gels. I set off with the intention of little and often, and using the aid stations as I felt necessary due to the hot dry conditions. Having bought gels when arriving in the Alps, I had not tried them in training and then struggled to digest and keep them down while racing. This resulted in adapting during the race, taking on more flat coke with water when available to maintain energy and hydration.
Finishing 93rd overall in a time of 5 hour 15 mins I was 2nd in the under 22's which translated literally into 'hope', making me 2nd hope. Although race nutrition on the day did not go to plan key learning was adapting to the conditions and using nutrition a) to complete the race, b) for motivation to different points of the race.
- Prepare! - Fail to prepare, prepare to fail: Plan around race time, and travel with nutrition you are use to using.
- Adapt! - Trial different nutrition techniques in training and training races, learn how your body responds to different resources on your person during the race or at aid stations.
- Regular! - If you think you have left it too long to take on nutrition you probably have. Take on board food or gels at regular intervals, say every 40 minutes but if you know there will be a place where you will be working hard then take them before or after to make it as easy as possible.