The Lakeland 100 'Ultra Tour of the Lake District' is the most spectacular long distance trail race which has ever taken place within the UK. The 105-mile circular route encompasses the whole of the Lakeland fells, includes in the region of 6300m of ascent, and must be completed within 40 hours.
Sounds good doesn’t it? If you’re nuts!
I’ve had my eye on this for a long while, but I’ve mostly kept it to myself. I decided I wanted a challenge for next year that would top any other challenge. OK, so there’s the iconic UTMB of course and other iconic races around the world such as Western States, but you’ve got to start with the best we have to offer here at home and Lakeland 100 represents this to my mind.
Firstly, it’s a 100-mile + race. I know there are quite a few of those now, but this one is considered the toughest by a long way with a drop out rate this year of around 60%. That’s circa 60% of the people who lined up at the start, didn’t finish! Not many people make it round this course and that says something.
Secondly, it’s in The Lake District for Christ sake! It will be hills, hills, hills. But that’s what I do. I train in the hills on the edge of The Peak District where I live and my experience so far has been that I perform best and enjoy it most in either The Lakes or The Peaks where the terrain in rugged and the topography is constantly up and down.
I’m not ready for this race though. Not by a long way. 10 months of intense training will be required and this starts now. I’ve not ran this kind of distance before and everybody says this course is brutal, so I want to obtain as much experience of the actual route as possible over the next year.
One thing I’ve realised this year is how important non-physical training is. Anyone can run 50, 70 or 100 miles a week if you build up to it gradually over time, but that alone won’t get you through this race.
I’ve learnt a lot from watching how my partner prepared for her Ironman event earlier in the year and more recently reading the blog of and listening to an interview with Stuart Mills, this year’s Lakeland 100 winner, and how he prepared. Everyone who completes Lakeland 100 says its mostly mental strength not physical strength. It’s about preparing your body and your mind and getting all the little details right. You need to think of everything and be ready to deal with anything.
I’m going to do more regular blogs from now on, which will form part of my non-physical training. Hopefully they will provide a reference point for me and generate some discussion as I prepare myself for next July.
First up though is High Peak 40 in less than 3 weeks. I’ve done 40+ miles a couple of times before and know I can do this course as long as I stay healthy, so what should I be aiming to get out of it? I need to give that some thought over the next 3 weeks. I want to enjoy it, but at the same time what can I test that will help me in my journey to Lakeland 100?
Then I’m looking at Round Rotherham 50 in October. My first 50-miler!
Then November will be the first of 3 or the 4 Lakeland 100 Recce Weekends I’ve signed up for.
It’s gonna be one helluva ride!