Want to run competitively with spectacular cultural backdrops?
Join our multi-stage races in Bhutan, Cambodia or Albania!
In this issue:
Race Report - GlobalLimits Bhutan - The Last Secret 6th edition
Interviews – GlobalLimits’ remarkable runners - Sarah Sawyer (UK) and Tommy Chen (Taiwan)
Old topic but they come and surprise us – blisters – introducing our new Medical Director Dr. Ryan and his words on blisters
Not only foot but also FOOD! – Stage Racing Nutrition - Training tips by Nathan Montague, our training advisor
Meet our latest GlobalLimits Heritage Site Runner Award winners - Mayra Johnson (Brazil) and Guillaume Degoulet (France)
Collect UTMB points from GlobalLimits races
Registration open for 2019 - GlobalLimits Bhutan - The Last Secret 7th edition
Race Report - GlobalLimits Bhutan - The Last Secret - 6th edition
How does it feel running competitively for 6 days, 200km through the mountains, monasteries, paddy fields, and muds across the country that measures its output by way of happiness?
Whether it is happiness or hardness, blisters or blessings, it is definitely a unique and amazing journey for the runners from 20 countries in the GlobalLimits Bhutan – The Last Secret – 6thedition.
The competition started right in the beginning when the course records for male and female runners were made in the first stage. Even until the last stage a new course record was set.
19 years old Jigme and 22 years old Karma Zamba, representing Bhutan and the first time, did not disappoint. Jigme fought and finished the race even with an injured knee while Zamba finished the race at 7thplace overall.
The award ceremony took place at the traditionally constructed Bhutanese Zhiwa Ling Hotel at the foot of the finish line. The former Chief Justice of Bhutan, His Excellency Mr. Sonam Tobgye, presented the trophies to the winners. We thank him sincerely for his support to our race and runners.
Eventually, Tommy Chen (middle) from Taiwan became the winner of the male group with Guillaume Degoulet (left) and Alan Zagury (right), both from France, taking the second and third places.
Our Icelandic team gave a wonderful performance with Elisabet Margeirsdottir (middle) becoming the female champion in a record time! Angela Zäh (left) from Germany took the second place and Sarah Sawyer (right) from the UK took the third place. Sarah had also given us an interview, to share her experience in Bhutan and you can read it from below.
We congratulate the monks in the Phajoding Monastery for winning the annual football match but our runners also had much fun with the Icelandic “Huh!” chant led by our Iceland coach Rebekka!
**Special thanks to our local team, volunteers, doctors, course markers and director for their excellent works and supports.
How do you know about GlobalLimits?
I’ve had friends who’ve previously run GlobalLimits races and spoke really highly of them, and I’ve wanted to visit Bhutan for what feels like forever, so as soon as entries opened for the 2018 edition, my husband and I entered. I liked the fact that whilst it is first and foremost a race, Stefan makes every effort to integrate runners into Bhutanese life, so it was going to be much more than a race….and it truly was.
How do you train for races?
I normally have about a 3 month training block for races, where my coach and I will make my training as specific as possible for the race. My training for Bhutan was a bit unconventional in that I’d spent the first few months training for a 24 hour track race, which meant my running was all on the flat – not ideal for running in the mountains in Bhutan! However, I have a strong endurance background, so I knew my endurance and running 200km over 6 days wouldn’t be a problem, so in the 4 weeks of specific training I had for Bhutan, I had a crash course in getting some hills back in my legs. I live on the south coast of England and we don’t have anything that resembles mountains, so I included a lot of long hill reps in my training, and also if I want to train on more mountainous terrain, my husband and I jump in our campervan and head to the Brecon Beacons in Wales for training.
What is your most interesting experience in GlobalLimits Bhutan?
It’s so hard to pinpoint just one interesting experience – the whole week was just one incredible experience after incredible experience. I had the biggest smile on my face all week feeling that I was just so lucky to be running in such an amazing place. I’m stronger on more runnable terrain and weaker on the really technical terrain, however days 2 and 4, which were the more technical days, were my favourites, as climbing high up over a mountain pass on rocky mountainous terrain and then descending through dusty canyons, is exactly the reason you’ve come to run in Bhutan. I also loved running on dirt tracks as local children ran beside us asking what our names were and where we were from, and one of the most stunning views of the race was running through the umpteen prayer flags up to the Phajoding Monastery. And the finish line up at Tiger’s Nest is definitely going to take some beating as finish lines go!
It was also fantastic to run alongside some really strong inspiring runners, be reunited with some old running friends and make new ones – the fact that the race is capped at 50 runners every year, despite always being oversubscribed, makes for a really special atmosphere at the camps and on the course.
What is your race strategies for GlobalLimits Bhutan?
I love training and racing, so I obviously wanted to run well in Bhutan. However, I’ve sometimes been guilty in the past at multi-day races for having my head down and racing hard and not appreciating that I’m running in this amazing landscape. So this time, I was determined to look up, enjoy my surroundings and was even going to break my hardfast ‘rule’ of no taking photos when racing!
I’m delighted with how the race went, as the key thing with multi-day racing is being able to run consistently day after day, so I feel I pitched the effort level right each day and had plenty of running left for the following day.
Taiwan is a small country; but it has many high mountains – there are over 1,000 mountains that are above 3,000m high. The highest being the Yu Shan (Jade Mountain) at 3,952m.
Two months before the races, I was training at these mountains. I did 40-60km or 8 hours of trail running during weekends.
How do you plan for your recovery during the race?
I expected that I would become more fatigue as the race gone by. My strategy was to relax at the beginning and focus on Day 3,4 and 5. In addition, re-hydration is very important, I made sure that I drink at least 2l after the race per day; and ate as much as I could. I must say, the food provided by the organizer was great!
What is your impression about GlobalLimits’ race? Are we going to see you again in our races?
It is a pleasant, family-style race with an organizer who cared about runners.
The best is, we were able to learn about local cultures and there were many opportunities to interact with locals. I really like this part.
Of course, I will be back again!
GlobalLimits is delighted to announce Dr. Ryan Paterson, MD, as our Medical Director.
Ryan attended the University of Vermont School of Medicine and completed his Emergency Medicine residency and fellowship in Wilderness Medicine at Denver Health Medical Center/University of Colorado. He is the current United States delegate to the International Society of Mountain Medicine. He and his team will be taking care of GlobalLimits’ runners’ medical needs in our races.
On Blisters, Ryan says: "Experienced runners can have blisters as foot conditions change and when race conditions are not identical to training conditions. Feet swell during races due to multiple, consecutive days of running in all weather conditions. When compared with training, the skin of the feet can be exposed to different levels of moisture, different terrain, dirt/sand/grit, new socks, and sometimes new/different shoes. Even experienced runners, who's feet are used to running hills when training, may experience a stage with more sustained down-hill or a different slope leading to different friction or pressure that can induce blisters. As such, understanding proper foot care and blister prevention are imperative to a successful race." Click the link below for a blister care video prepared by his team to prepare for your next GlobalLimits' race!
Nathan Montague is GlobalLimits’ training advisor and he was a crucial member of our course marking team in Albania. Nathan is also our champion in GlobalLimits Sri Lanka – The Wild Elephant Trail 2016 and member of the United Kingdom National Team. If you'd like to contact Nathan for your personal training needs, you can reach him directly, firstname.lastname@example.org
TRAINING TIPS:Stage Racing Nutrition
by Nathan Montague
When we talk about race nutrition it is important to look at this nutrition in totality to include everything that passes you through your lips during, but also before and after, those exertions to include all liquids, gels, tablets and foods and analyse this as a complete plan. In addition, in single stage Ultras or marathons we may err on the risky side and fuel just to get us to the end. This is a risky strategy but for stage Ultras, where the importance of recovery, each day/night, is vital to allow you to carry on the next day and put the best ‘you’ out there.
Multi-day Fuelling My Key Tips for Stage Racing Nutrition
Stage racing has its own nutritional demands, which need to be accounted for added with changing variables each day such as the distances and environment. Here are some of my key tips to guide you through fuelling for stage racing:
Recovery starts during the race. Each day your fuelling yourself not just for the steps of that day, but also to enhance your recovery. Try not to get in a negative energy balance. Think about what you put in, aiming for 4:1 Carbohydrates to Protein ratio. The protein enhancing recovery. However, you may need to switch to quicker energy releasing nutrition at points in a stage but try to leave this to the latter stages of a day or when you really hit a dip.
Fuel within 30 minutes finishing. Your body is much more receptive in the early minute’s post- race. Aim for a snack or recovery drink within 30 minutes of finishing and continue grazing till your main meal.
Remember electrolyte tablets. S-Caps, Salt sticks are two particular brands (not just salt but potassium and more). Often these stage races are held in balmy climes. However, even in chillier or wetter conditions your body is still using electrolytes in respiration at the muscles, enhanced breathing rate and more. Many of us do not use electrolyte drinks or gels with electrolytes in them. So where are you getting yours from? Read the packet recommendations but one an hour in normal temperate climates and two an hour in hotter/humid conditions, on top of your nutritional plan, can have a substantial impact in preventing cramps and helping you to absorb liquid and rehydrate.
Your ability to absorb your fuel will depend on conditions. Will the race have changeable weather? In hotter/humid conditions our blood redistribution is compromised as the blood has to go to the working muscles working and allow respiration, but also go to the skin to enhance sweating, enabling you to cool down. This causes issues with the blood available to the gut. More faster releasing energy products may be of benefit. When it is less warm this is less prevalent. However, we also need to take into account exertion. If you are working harder, more blood and at a faster rate, will need to go to the muscles. In the early stages slower energy releasing products and ‘natural’ based products, when effort and body temperature is less strained this is relevant. Then move onto the faster releasing energy products in the latter stages or when its hotter.
Have an A, B and C fuelling plan. Over the course of a week have changes in your fuelling plan both for within the race and post. These may only be tiny tweaks but it is significant that your taste and tolerance changes as a week progresses. Even a flavour of an energy drink you could have 3 options starting the week with one and moving onto another as the week progresses.
Use your fuel as motivation. Either when breaking down the days stage into fuelling segments or a treat at the end of the stage. But ensure it’s a balance between what your body wants and needs!
Is it semi-supported or unsupported? If it is the former, stuff that bag with all the delights you can, tiny things such as sachets of seasoning, cured meat, and salty snacks can liven up any food types and bring variety. If is unsupported, look at the nutritional content (not just calories) of the food. Make sure you have the right macronutrient balance but it is condensed as light as possible.
Temperature of fluid. Some people hate the tepid water given at aid stations and post-race. Anything that can encourage you to drink more is great. In hot environments, where cold drinks are not always available, the contrast of a hot tea, hot coffee, hot chocolate or even hot lemon tea is actually refreshing.
Full doesn’t necessarily mean fuelled. Psychologically, eating something substantial has a big impact on the psychology of your feeling recovered. However, being full doesn’t necessarily mean adequately fuelled. Take care of what you are putting in.
Alcohol. This is a personal choice and I imagine there is nothing more some runners crave after a long day out on the trails. A source of motivation to get to the line on a hard day. However, will this aid an already dehydrated and depleted body? This is the question you need to ask yourself. It is a diuretic and you have to balance the psychological and physical effect of that nectar at the end of a stage. For those where it is the ultimate treat and motivation, how great will that pint taste after a week of abstaining, at the finish line?
Nutrition in Ultra running is individual and multi-faceted but for some more tips and ‘food for thought’ please see my blog:
There are so many great sports nutritionists out there and if you feel you need more information in there booking in an appointment with a recommended nutritionist maybe just the tweak you need to fuel better for successful training and racing.