Juls has run 3 x Darth Mannions, 2 x Marathon De Gwyrs, multiple marathons and a load of other events.  Every Saturday she guides the Darth Coastal Runners around the hills and valleys of South Gower.  This morning she ran the Darth Mannion route.  Once she got her breath back, she wrote these four tips to make sure as many participants as possible get through.  Thanks Juls!

I ran the Darth route for Darth Mannion VIII this morning.  And I can confirm it is longer, harder and hillier than any I have run before.  The good news is that you still have time to tailor your preparation and with some dedicated training you’ll be supping that post-race can of Fosters with a self-congratulatory smile.  I’ve put together four tips that I think will help that happen!

Find some hills:  Now is the time to step up your hill training. Just once a week, find a hill and (once you have done your 5 minute warm-up) run up and walk back down to recover.  The more experienced you are the faster and harder you can push this.

Personally, I like to mix it up.  I pick at least a 1k hill and do variations each session.  For example last week I did 1 x slow run all the way to the top, 3 x faster runs 3/4 way up and 5 x all-out sprints 100m up.  You will get a feel for what you can do.  But the main thing is to get your legs and lungs used to that feeling of lactic acid build-up and breathlessness.  It’s completely different to running on the flat when you will rarely be out of breath! Once you have finished, make sure you cool down with a 10 min jog and stretch.

Mix up the terrain:  I would also encourage you to start increasing your distance on varied terrain.  Find some mud, sand, or uneven tracks and get on them.  Even if it means running laps, it’s much better to get used to multi terrain now than on the day. If you have a beach nearby use it.

Build those legs:  Try adding some squats and lunges into your weekly routine.  No need to get to the gym just do 3 or 4 sets of 10, 4 times a week and you’ll notice a difference.  Just make sure you are doing these with good form, if you are a member of a gym or know a trainer then ask them, they will be happy to help.

Save on hot water?  I’d also suggest introducing some cold water torture – I mean training! I’d recommend doing this with a friend or group, it’s good fun and good practice. Whether it’s wading in the sea, a river, a lake or an unheated outdoor pool or a bin full of iced water get used to that cold.  You may want to take a cold shower once a week (although I recommend that is done alone!).  If you can follow up cold water immersion with a run even better.  In the world of triathlon running, the bit after the bike is known as a brick run – think of this as an ice run. The sensation of running with freezing cold legs is a weird one but practice definitely helps come the big day.

This may seem a little full on but trust me, the route is pretty breath-taking and although tough, the camaraderie that our unique peloton system offers will get you through. But this tailored training will hopefully make it sweeter.

Happy training guys and see you on the day!!


Ps fell shoes and tight fitting clothes are an absolute must