2015 T1 Workshop


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The second T1 Workshop was held on Saturday 14th March as the Swan in Streatley. We had approximately 30 attendees at the event which were designed to help runners prepare for T-Series events and also act as a good opportunity to meet other competitors.

Paul Ali and Shane Benzie introduced the day which was run in a workshop style format with plenty of questions and debate encouraged and it was great to see everyone getting involved asking questions, offering their experience and perspective and still being on speaking terms at the end of the day!

T184 finisher Nina Smith gave the first presentation on her race strategy, preparation and approach to undertaking the T184 race. A pdf version of Nina’s presentation can be found here.

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 Nina Smith presenting

It was clear from the presentation how much preparation Nina had put into the event, especially in the areas of kit testing and her previous military background ensured she took a disciplined approach to the race.

Paul Ali then presented a session which covered feedback from last year’s T184 competitors on the theme of “What you would/wouldn’t do if you were tackling the T184 again”. With only 25% of T184 starters finishing the race last year, it was clear that there were lots of lessons which could be learned from last years experience.

Kit and equipment selection were the dominant areas of feedback with 30% of responses followed by (nutrition, training and recce with 11% for each category). In terms of some specific feedback the following points were highlighted.

Kit Tips

  • Good Quality Backpack is essential (WAA bag recommended by the majority of people.. one respondent didn’t like it)
  • Good quality Bivvy & Sleeping Mat is essential
  • Minimise Weight where you can but don’t skimp on kit
  • Carry plenty Blister Plasters/Second Skin
  • Jetboil (or other cooking device) for hot food was recommended
  • Poles (some recommended/others didn’t use)
  • Warm Layers for the cold essential
  • Power Charger for Phone useful
  • Spare Socks
  • Avoid carrying items you haven’t practised with

Nutrition Tips

  • Carry good quality food to eat between CP’s
  • Eat earlier
  • Carry food you wish to eat not just based on calories/weight
  • Take salt tablets

Training Tips

  • Train by carrying the weight of your kit (very important)
  • Practice road running for tarmac paths
  • Practice having a power nap with your equipment

General Tips

  • Recce route & practice map reading
  • Sleep when tired not just at CP’s
  • Sleep during the day, could be more comfortable (mixed opinions on this one during the debate)
  • Buddy up if possible
  • Focus on the race (make it a ‘goal’ race)
  • Pre-tape feet, deal with hotspots immediately
  • Sleeping on concrete without a mat
  • Sleeping at later CP’s, push for the end!
  • Taper for the event (i.e. not run a race a few weeks before)
  • Don’t rely solely on GPS and the last section tricky when most tired
  • Address hotspots on feet immediately

Race Strategy

  • Don’t go off too quickly (important)
  • Wasting time at CP’s
  • Wasting time for photo opportunities
  • Settling for a walk too early (i.e. mid-section)

T184 finisher Dave Cox then provided some additional information on his kit selection based on his personal experience at the T184 and demonstrated a number of items of equipment he had used.

A general point which started to become apparent through the conversation was the view that those who completed the event didn’t skimp on kit and food and were less concerned about having the lightest pack but more concerned about having the right amount of food and equipment.

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Dave Cox presenting

A poll of the Facebook page days before the T184 race indicated that 40% of people’s kit weighed around 9-10kg (including water) followed by 20% (7-8kg) and 20% (11-12kg).

Both Nina and Dave confirmed their kit was probably more towards the heavier end of the scale but were both satisfied with their kit choices and selections and both finished the event. It would be interesting to see the correlation between kit weight and finishing % in future years!

Shane Benzie then presented an overview of hydration and nutrition which prompted discussion over nutritional choices. Feedback from the group suggested there was some merit in taking hot food with a strong comfort factor apparent and there was also some consensus over the need to balance good nutritional food with items that you would actually like to consume later into an event and also having some variety of choice.

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T-Series Shane Benzie

Over the lunchtime period, there was an opportunity for attendees to examine, review and test some of the equipment choices that had been recommended based on peoples personal experience and people found to useful to examine this first-hand.

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 Items of kit available to examine

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After lunch Paul Coker from Rocktape, a T-Series partner gave a brief overview of the concept and benefit of taping along with different taping techniques and his presentation can be found  here

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Paul Coker from Rocktape presenting

He then demonstrated some taping techniques and then got the audience actively involved in trying out taping techniques on each other and provided people with some first-hand experience and advice such as avoiding the desire to stretch the tape. We had a variety of people, colourfully taped in a variety of places at the end of the session!

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Thomas Garrod practices his taping technique

Ernie Jewson has an impressive CV of long distance races with the Grand Union Canal Race, Thames Ring, T184 and more recently The Spine finishes to his name.

Ernie gave a brief talk on a common sense approach to navigation on multi-day events and covered a number of subjects whilst sharing his experience on the use of maps, GPS devices and planning. Ernie drew upon his experience of races with anecdotes of his own and other competitors experience which led to a lively question and answer session.

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Paul Ali introduces Ernie Jewson

Corinna and Alistair from Kent University gave a presentation on the Research Studies being undertaken on the T60 and T184 events and provided an update on last years research and future plans including the T-Series partnership with Beyond the Ultimate for continued ultramarathon research.

The presentation led to another question and answer session and a thank you to those attendees who then agreed to get involved in the research projects for the T-Series races.

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Corinna and Alistair from Kent University

The final session was designed to be a general review session to provide attendees with the opportunity to ask any final questions.

There was some discussion over the GoTek 7 Tracking System which was particularly popular last year plus some follow up questions on topics addressed earlier.

Overall, the initial feedback from attendees was that the T1 Workshop had been a useful day to learn more about T-Series races and it would help their preparation for the races by having an opportunity to talk to other competitors, look at some suggested kit and equipment and share peoples collective race experience in particular for this years T184 event.