You might have seen us making posts lately about our big goal race this September. We are literally eating, sleeping, breathing this race. It is going to be the single most challenging thing we have ever done, and we want to be as ready as possible for it.
It is actually Dayna’s number one bucket list item. After turning 40, we decided this was the year for all of us to go together and run. We are all in good places in our lives to take on something like this, and we figured we should before our lives change. It is pretty surreal that the three of us are doing this together, with actually a group of our best friends.
On September 4th, we are toeing the start line for the Transalpine Race... a 270km, 7 day stage race that will have us running from Germany, through Austria, and into Italy. Not only will we be averaging a marathon a day, for 7 days… we will also be climbing just shy of the height of Everest, from sea level… TWICE. Running through three countries, in the Alps, on beautiful single track, for an entire week sounds so incredible. We hope the awesome scenery will distract us from our sore muscles!
This race is very unique in many ways. The first is that the race must be done in partners. An interesting challenge for any race, especially one that is as long as this one. You can not be more than 2 minutes apart at any aid station and you must start and cross the finish line together, every single day. Racing with a partner comes natural to Dayna and Courtney as they ran the entire Coastal Challenge together, so naturally, they paired up for this race.
I, Hailey, will be racing along side my husband. While we have raced single day events together, we have never done something like this and it will be a fun and challenging way to spend a week together.
What else makes this race unique is where the course is. Of course, it is in the alps. We will be doing a glacier traverse. We will also be running at elevation on most days between 2000-3000m above sea level. Another added challenge as we all three live at sea level. Each night after we’ve finished our run for the day we will be sleeping in little B & Bs all over the alps in little alpine villages. We are beyond excited.
But we are also terrified. How the heck do you train for something like this? With one stage race behind us already we know our bodies can go multiple days back to back running. And we’ve all ran multiple ultras so we know we are strong enough mentally. But the terrain in Europe is complicated, and steep. And the number one reason why people quit Transalpine is from tendinitis in the legs from all the up and down. So knowing this, this is what we’ve been doing to train:
1. Climbing, climbing and more climbing: The more up we can get in a run, the better. We’ve been doing multiple grouse grinds in a day, hill repeats, hill sprints, power hiking. Our biggest objective with most of our training runs have been to get as much up as we can. When our quads are screaming near the end of a big run, we know we are doing something right! The hard work will pay off, our legs have never felt so strong.
2. Going down: What goes up, must come down. We’ve been adding a lot more down hill int our runs as well. We need to get our legs and toes ready for the pounding. We’ve been hitting technical decent trails, speed runs down hills and extended descents. Going up feels hard initially but it is the descents that rip your muscles and strain your joints and tendons. This is actually the number one reason why people drop out of Transalpine and we don’t want it to be ours!
3. Rest days: You can’t train train train and then not rest. We have been giving our bodies complete and total rest days, guilt free. The only way to properly heal and build muscles is by giving our selves time off of them.
4. Long weeks: High mileage weeks have been a trend with back to back long runs of course. We are averaging between 60-100km a week with 4000-6000m of climbing. Thank goodness we are doing this with our friends so that we don’t end up doing these crazy runs alone! This is truly a once in a life time opportunity and while it is going to hurt regardless of what we do, want to be prepared as possible!
5. Cross training: Running a lot isn’t the only way to train for running. We have been cycling, rock climbing, hitting the gym. It is really important to mix it up so your muscles and tendons don’t get over used. Injuries this close to the race would be horrible.
6. Nutrition: A healthy diet is key to training and recovery. Carbs, protein, lots of fruits and vegetables. We are giving our body everything it needs to train and recover well. We are eating well, eating lots and staying hydrated.
We are beyond excited for this adventure and we couldn’t be happier to be sharing it together. We hope you follow along as we continue our training and head to Europe at the end of the summer!! T minus 69 days.