So similar to my review of Race to the King, I need to review this race to improve next year. Again, I participated in this race back in 2018, so its a bit late, but I need to get into the habit of reviewing key races to find out what worked and didn’t. It’s the only way to improve. While I could review the races in my head, writing it down is a better method for me.
What is Endure 24 Leeds?
Endure 24 is exactly what it says – a 24-hour running race. There are two events per year, one in Reading (which is bigger and more established) and one in Leeds. I entered the Leeds event.
Some members of my running club had entered the previous year as a team, so I had some idea about the concept.
Before I started, I wanted to hit the magic 100-mile mark and was pleased that my training had gone well.
Let’s start with the positives. I ran 55 miles within the 24 hour period. This was (and still is) a personal best in terms of distance. I ran 45 miles in one go, went to sleep woke up ran another lap, chilled out with some of my running club then completed one more lap.
What to change?
So while I got two records, longest unbroken run (45 miles) and then longest run 55 miles, I didn’t quite hit my target. I was miles away from hitting it.
So training had gone well, I had found a 100-mile training plan and pretty much stuck to it. I discovered a new strategy for doing my long runs, I had become tired of running the same routes, so now I just run to the end of the road and decide left or right. When I have hit my distance, I ring my wife to pick me up. Its been great for finding new routes and not hitting the same streets every Sunday.
But what got me during the race, was night time running. While the course is flattish, I had learnt to walk up the hill, and as I hadn’t run at night before, this was new on me.
Another thing that I realised is the amount of time spent on my feet. I work in digital marketing and spend most of my time sitting in a chair, so my body wasn’t used to standing for long periods.
Action: This time I won’t be doing Sunday long runs, but instead, I will run on Saturday evenings – setting off around 10 pm and running till 1 -2 in the morning. This should get my body used to night time running when tired.
I have also invested in a standing desk converter, so a few hours in the morning and afternoon I can spend standing.
I also will be doing some longer walks, in the region of 20 – 24 hours. While it won’t take as much recovery time as a run, it will give me time on my feet as well as running/walking through the night.
I had a much better strategy this time, run the flats and downhill, then walk through the uphills. In terms of time, I will run for 50 minutes and then, in theory, have a 10-minute recovery.
Theory and practise never really work out though, so I was running 10-minute miles and not having the 10-minute recovery on some laps, but then on other laps have 20-minute breaks.
Because I hadn’t done an honest review of the Race to the King, I continued to make the same mistakes.
Plus in my mind, I had it down as a 100-mile race, so when it got to about 1 am and I knew the distance was out of reach, I gave up too easily.
Action: Short breaks, ideally limited to two-three minutes to change clothes. Eat while moving. I will also be thinking of this, not as a 100-mile race, but a 24 hour run to see how far I can go. If I had this strategy last time, I might have got to 70 or 80 miles as I would have carried on.
As I was camping I did have a spare kit with me, but I should have had more under shorts, shoes and socks. The other big issue was no support crew which meant I was spending energy and time getting fresh kit out.
Action: Make sure I have a few more pairs of trainers to switch into, but also that my kit is laid out nicely if I don’t have any support crew.
I made a huge mistake! I went into the race thinking, I am going to burn 40,000 calories so I can eat what I want. Whilst it’s true that if I hit the 100 miles, I would have burnt that many calories, I still needed to think more strategically about what I consumed.
Also, the weather was roasting at 31/32 degrees with very little shade. There was a drink station at the start/finish line and about 3 miles in. I couldn’t drink fluid fast enough (or so I thought) but I might have overdone it in places. Luckily, some of my kind running buddies from the running club filled my drinks up for me.
Action: I have since changed my approach to running and do HR running, for long-distance. I was progressing well in training in Jan and Feb but then COVID 19 hit and I’ve been unable to do it during a race. However, I have kept it up on shorter runs and feel a lot more comfortable doing it. Endure 24 2021 will be a real test of the theory and strategy.
In this article, I have discussed how when I run when overweight, it causes me more issues. While it was true I lost some weight in the build-up, I was carrying excess fat which made it more difficult.
Action: Get sub 200 pounds and stay there, making it easier. Swimming will reopen next week and I plan on getting quite a few sessions in, so as well as being a good cardio exercise without putting extra strain on my knees, it should help me to lose weight.
Ok, let me be clear since the race I have put this down as the main reason I failed to hit 100 miles. It was a factor, but to say it was the only reason is complete bullshit. I was taking an easy route and not being honest. Plus if it’s hot again next summer, I still want to run for the full 24 hours so will just have to deal with it. It wasn’t just warm on the day, it was dry for weeks in the build-up and the ‘grass’ course was solid, there was no give.
Action: Make sure I have a few more caps to change, but also to stop thinking about the heat, keep cool where I can and just run. It’s very unlikely to have the same conditions, this is England and we don’t normally get good long summers.
So while I have covered a lot of negatives, I am still proud I managed to run 45 miles before stopping and then completed another 10 miles when I got up. Its currently my PB distance and if I use the above, I will beat it next year.