Keswick to Barrow 2011 – This years lessons learnt

19 May

Scrib running Keswick to Barrow 2011

Someone said to me a while ago whilst I was explaining the things I’d learnt about running, that “don’t you just need to put your trainers on and run?”.

Of course they were correct and its advise I’ve given myself in this blog. However the advise I was giving was to folks who want to start running for the first time, not the people who have been doing it for a while.

When you get further along in your running you start to learn all sorts of things. Yes, you can still put your trainers on and just run, but you can improve and make things more efficient as your experience builds. A good example of this growing experience can be seen in may last three years on the Keswick to Barrow (K to B).

My first year in 2009 I literally put my trainers on and ran! I completed the event, got home and made a list of what to remember to take/do next year. The same happened on my second year and again this year. So what did I learn this year?

This year I thought I’d pretty much had my kit, fuel and hydration pretty much worked out! I did, to a point!

Stuff that worked

  1. Carbing up the week (four to five days) before the event. Lots of bread, pasta and rice meals. Felt bloated towards the end of the week though – reminded me of fat Scrib!
  2. A good breakfast of porridge and honey, with a bag of fruit and nuts to pick at, on the bus on way to the start line. There was a good 2+ hours between my breakfast and the start of the run so my breakfast had time to settle.
  3. Running belt: I used my Photon running belt both last year and this year. It allows me to carry a drink and has a pocket to carry a small amount ‘things’, such as my iPhone (for Runkeeper) + booster battery (Duracell Instant USB Charger with Lithium ion battery), all in a zip lock bag and my daughters ‘pink’ iPod nano. Why the iPod nano when I had an iPhone? Well, I wanted the iPhone to do Runkeeper and I didn’t want to risk draining the battery or getting it wet. Saying that the iPhone battery had over 40% of life left at the end of the run!
  4. Adding a small Velcro attached pocket to the front strap of the Photon to carry plasters and a small emergency mobile phone (again, I wanted to leave my iPhone safely in its dry zip lock bag doing its Runkeeper thing).
  5. Keeping my water bottle 3 quarters full was another good move. On the K to B there are refreshments fairly often so by not over filling to the top I can save a little  weight. Something that counts after six hours of running!
  6. The Photon doesn’t have much carrying capacity, but I did want to take fuel (energy gel & chocolate bars) with me. My solution was to take a small drawstring bag and tie it to the front of the Photons strap. This gave me a bit more carrying capacity.
  7. Putting an isotonic drink in my water bottle before I started. Once drank I switched to water (supplied on route), but the isotonic drink early on gave me a boost.
  8. Putting plasters on the back of my heals covered with zinc oxide tape and rubbing vaseline into my toes – brilliant no blisters at all !
  9. Rehydrating OFTEN! Not too much to make you feel bloated, but enough to stop the feeling of thirst coming on. When you feel thirsty your performance has already started to stuffer.
  10. Nipple plasters! Yes I said it! Walkers generally don’t suffer from ‘nipple rub’, but a runner can if they get wet – and it certainly rained on the K to B this year! Simply putting a plaster over each nipple and stop a very painful experience! Believe me I know!

Stuff that failed

  1. I took way, way too much energy products with me! At the end of the run I found that I had most of the products left in my drawstring bag and I had only consumed three of them (1 energy gel, 1 chocolate bar and an engery bar). The thing I forgot was the freshment stops along the route that had oranges, bannas, etc so I didn’t actually need to take so many bits with me.
  2. The worst idea was taking a plastic back with isotonic power in. The plan was to mix it with water, about two thirds into the run, to give me a isotonic drink – magic! Bad idea!  I put the bag of power in the small Velcro attached pocket on the front strap of my Photon. Because of the weight of the power bag it jumped about all over the place! About ten miles into the run the bag got forcibly ejected into the nearest bin!
  3. The only blister I did get was under my arm, where it had been rubbing on my running vest. Next year I’ll remember to put some vaseline in that area!

And that’s about it. The ‘Stuff that failed’ list has been getting shorter and short each year! Maybe I’ll have a perfect year next year?


One Response to “Keswick to Barrow 2011 – This years lessons learnt”


  1. BUPA Great North run 2011 – Run report. « ScribsBlog - September 25, 2011

    […] with some of the other runners in weaving through the slower competitors. A trick I leaned on the Keswick to Barrow was to find a runner who is ploughing through the crowd and stay on their heals. They’ll do […]

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