Planning for an 8 day ultra!

I think if I knew what it would take to plan a multi-stage race before I entered, I think I might have thought twice, but probably enter anyway.  I guess most of the challenges that I set myself, always start with a bit of naivety.

This 8 day venture from Fort William to Cape Wrath is quite some thing, never mind the distances, or the training, or the thought of running, it is the planning aspect that I am finding a bit tough.  Tough, not from not being able, but tough to find the time and energy and thought processes to actually get it done.

Look at this NASA photograph of Scotland, on a clear day.. I plotted the route roughly following the glens and passes you can see in the photo.


I have SO many questions:

How much food will I need each day? How much will that weigh? How will I deal with the chaffing? Do I need new kit? (obviously the answer is yes to that), what new kit should I buy?

I’m going to the n’th degree of planning as well. I even have a spreadsheet counting carbs per day and nutrition requirements.

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After a normal day ultra – if you can call ultra marathons normal – I usually am puggelled.  I need Andy to drive me home, make me food (or take me to takeaway to get me food), I am usually in a vegetive state for most of the evening.  On this 8 day adventure, where every day is an ultra, I need to get back to camp and have to function.

I will need to set up my bed – blow up the sleeping mat – that will be hard to get the puff required.  I will need to sort out my race pack for the next day’s food. See to my feet which will need taping and some necessary first aid (this I have ZERO experience over as I’ve never needed to). I will need to eat, and then wash up the plate and cutlery. I might even need to walk to a stream or loch to wash.  Then I will need to sleep. Which I don’t do very well after a day of exertion.

You see, I’m not actually that worried about running the 400kms, it is the night in camp and the process I will need to go through that I’m most worried about.


I’m also a worrier.  I worry about everything, not because I think it might go wrong, but I like to assess the possibilities, the risks, the issues.  It is what I do every day at work and is in my nature to do multiple assessments of the same thing, usually resorting to gut feel.  This I figure will be the same.  I will need to work it out, get a procedure down and just follow it.  I plan to get a check list laminated to tell me what to do each night! After all, I’m going to be in the highlands in the middle of nowhere and I will need everything I have, but then again, having said all that, all I need is the will to keep going and some food.

Update on training: Injury manageable and seems to come and go, and I did a back to back to back. Not enough distances but it was good to get them in to give some confidence I can run on tired legs.

3 responses to “Planning for an 8 day ultra!

  1. I can highly recommend Gurney Goo for chaffing 😄. Glad to see someone else spreadsheeting their life away. I did the same for the Alps2Ocean and was back updating my spreadsheet last night for the Grand to Grand. Be assured you’ll be happy you did.

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