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Runners Blog - PREPARATION: The Jurassic Coast Challenge 2016 – by Andrew Olden

Runners Blog - PREPARATION: The Jurassic Coast Challenge 2016 – by Andrew Olden

Getting ready for my first multi-day event

Event: The Jurassic Coast Challenge 2016

The Dorset Jurassic Coastline is well known for its spectacular views and challenging hills. VO2 events have created a stunning route with a challenging marathon-a-day for three days.

Each day's route takes in a variety of terrain from coastal foot path to beaches and tracks. Starting from just outside Charmouth, the course runs from west to east finishing on Day 3 at the National Trust Shell Bay car park, Studland.

Date: 18th - 20th March 2016

Day One - Charmouth - Portland Ferry Road (HQ)
Day Two - Portland Ferry Road - Lulworth Cove
Day Three - Lulworth Cove - Shell Bay


I wanted to do this race a few years ago but never got round to entering it, to be honest I wasn't sure if I could manage to recover quickly enough to do three marathons in three days. At the end of last year, after running five marathons and a 37 mile ultra in 2015, I decided if I didn't get a place in the London Marathon that I would bite the bullet and have a go.

The aim is to complete 'The Jurassic Coast Challenge' (JCC) starting from Charmouth, heading along the south west Jurassic coastal path to Shell Bay near Studland, not forgetting a loop round Portland.



My training started off well, running over parts of the course in solo training runs to prepare myself for the course and learn some of the route whilst improving my technique of running off road. But then, I pulled my hamstring..... I decided to take a couple of days off to let it recover which unfortunately didn't work, forcing me to take a longer break (6 days from running). This break combined with a massage seemed to ease the pain, and I was able to resume training. The tightness is still present but it's much better and as long as I don't push it too much I feel I should be OK. I believe the cause of the injury stemmed from upping my millage too quickly and not including enough rest into my training plan. We learn from our mistakes! 

So with the leg improving and feeling I still had time to train and be ready to do the race I entered the Portland Coastal Marathon. I had a number of objectives for the run;

  1. Check how the hamstring had recovered and would take being back on the coastal paths.
  2. See how I felt physically after a longer run carrying the JCC compulsory kit.
  3. Testing out my fueling and nutrition plan, using the same gels as I would on the JCC.

I am pleased to report that, not in the best weather conditions, I managed to get round the Portland Coastal Marathon in about five hours, which I was pleased with. I also tried to mimic the back-to-back running format of the JCC by running back-to-back sessions on the next two days to see how I recovered. I managed two 10 mile runs, followed by a 7 mile run and learning from previous experience and not wanting to overdo it I had a good two days rest.

I will race twice more before the JCC, first on the 18th March at the Winchester 10k, to get a bit of speed into those legs! ;-)  and then the inaugural Wimborne 20, which is local event hosted by my club Wimborne AC, which should be a good testing road course over a hilly three lap route.

By Andrew Olden

My next blog - Will be my The Jurassic Coast Challenge 2016 race report
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