Country to Capital 2013

So I started running in April of this year. A couple of weeks ago i ran my first 10 mile in 64 minutes at the GSR which I wasn't unhappy with (I wanted sub 60). I have trained hard, but am currently running about 30-35 mile weeks, these are quality mile done at probably to quick a pace mostly sub 7 minute/mile pace.

So my questions, am I stupid in attempting this race( be gentle, I have already signed up), and secondly with the correct training i.e. more miles with emphasis on two long runs at the weekend is a time somewhere close to 6 hours possible? I appreciate that I will have to train incredibly hard - and as an ex rower am very used to this. Thanks in advance for any help. 



  • So you ran your first ten miler last week and you want to know if it's a good idea that you're planning on running a 45 miler in 8 weeks in under six hours?

    I think it's an awesome idea, let us know how you get on.
  • Ok, I appreciate my initial question perhaps may make it look like I am a naive but ambitious idiot. I also forgot to mention that I did the Redbull steeplechase a few weeks backs and got to the third steeple - 18 miles. So I have done some longer runs (the occassional 17 mile training run and some training halves also), I enjoy road running but I would much rather be out on the trails - and ultras seem like a great idea too me.

    But whilst I hear about the great comradery and atmosphere of ultras which has encouraged me to do them, I am a very competitive person and so  I like to set ambitious goals. I'd much rather fail with a high goal than "suceed" in a mediocre one. This is also not something I have done on a whim - I know that I am behind on training plans advocated for ultras but I was also apparently way behind on the training for my 10 mile. 

    If anyone has attempted to in some way train for an ultra in such a short time period then any advice would be awesome.

    Thanks again for the help.


  • Matthew..    you're obviously not an idiot and have some running skills..  the approach may be different to most but I'm a firm believer in being unconventional!   Give it a go and see how you get on.   It is flat and thus not a tough route...  go and do your thing and let us know what happens....     good luck  image


  • Just be careful with it. If you injure yourself and are out for 6 months you'll feel like a complete tit. Much better to slow it down and build strength where you need it.

    Your 10m time is excellent but 10m really isn't far. Just training for a marathon when you reach the new long run distances of 18, 20, 22 etc you feel your body breaking down because it just isn't used to what you're asking of it. You've obviously got a good base from the rowing but there will weaknesses and these will be found out well before you get to 45 miles, especially if you plan to keep the pace up.

    If you are going for it then my advice would be to do a SLOW run. Forget distance, concentrate on time on your feet, build towards 5-6 hours with an average no quicker than 10 min/mile. It may feel ridiculously slow but fitness clearly isn't an issue and this should be good for strength.

  • Matthew I'm always an advocate of always telling people that only they can truly know their own limits, no one else knows what you're capable of and so no one can say what is possible for you.

    However. 8 weeks is not enough time to build up the endurance needed to complete this at the pace you run now without serious risk of injury. If you do you will have a horrible day. As Shawk says slow down and get out for longet runs, get used to time on your feet
  • What they said.....    plus...  remember to eat and drink...   

    You know what you're like...  we are all different...   give it a go and then you'll find out one way or the other...


  • I think that finishing the race is very doable for you, but you need to be content to set your objective at finishing it.  Anything that you do beyond that should be seen as a bonus. 

     The one thing that is sure to see you destroyed in this race is setting off too fast in the early section.  Aiming for a six hour finishing time would be an effective formula for achieving that. 

  • Cheers for the replies guys, I'm sure it is too ambitious a goal, and as you say setting out at this pace may result it me not completing the course. I'll try to ramp the mileage up significantly in the next few weeks (but obviously not to the point of injury). Any other advice is much welcomed.



  • Matthew another consideration is if you set out at sub seven pace you WILL be leading the race and as such will be responsible for your own nav, the C2C course isn't marked as such so be careful you aren't going off track, sub 7 pace has its drawbacks when you're going in the wrong direction image
  • Thanks for the heads up, was planning a recce of the course at some point before hand. Just to clarify I'm not intending to run it at sub 7 pace - i think my ideal if unrealistic target of 6 hours would be roughly 7:30 to 8 minute pace. Looking at previous years the front runners seem to be quite a bit up on this. But I will take the nav seriously as I know it is likely I will be on my own for significant parts of the race (even if at the back having prematurely burnt out lol). 


  • 45 miles at 8 minute pace will bring you in bang on 6 hours, factor in checkpoints, toilet stops and navigation you'll probably need to be down nearer a consistent 7.30-7.40 pace to make it
  • Lirish wrote (see)
    Matthew another consideration is if you set out at sub seven pace you WILL be leading the race and as such will be responsible for your own nav, the C2C course isn't marked as such so be careful you aren't going off track, sub 7 pace has its drawbacks when you're going in the wrong direction image

    sorry.that did make me laugh...

    be acreful with ramping up your pace it is so easy to get an injury.........

    I presume you are young so you might get less chance of injury than us oldies......I would try and do some back to back runs........abd you will have to learn to slow your training pace down or you will be so tired from the training you will be knackered before the race.

     good luck

    Ben Davies 15 wrote

     The one thing that is sure to see you destroyed in this race is setting off too fast in the early section. 

    Matt heed this advice or you will fail.

    Surely all that matters is finishing? Start slow and break the race down into smaller chunks, reassess your condition every 10 miles or so and forget pushing the pace unless you are feeling great with 10 mile to go then try your 8 min miles.

    See you at the start line. I'll be the one starting slowimage

  • Hi Matthew, a recce of the course would be a good idea. Last weekend I ran from the start at the shoulder of Mutton to check point 2 (the Pub at Horn Hill). I then ran back to the railway station at Chorleywood for my train back to Wendover. I must of covered about 25 miles in total which includes a couple of places where I got lost and had to backtrack. I can tell you that although I am an average marathon runner (PB 3hr 02min) I am not used to running boggy tracks,and rough terrain (and map read!) all of which made the 25 miles I had done seem harder. Most of my running is done on roads and firm tracks (with smiling marshalls) where I can keep to a fairly even pace. I knew when I reached the Pub at Horn Hill that I had been working! so the thought of another 27 miles to go to the finish on race day was considered over a couple of pints of Courage Best before the jog to the station (The Dumb Bell serves very nice beer by the way). Like you I have never done this race before and only decided to enter 3 weeks ago. To be honest I think that this is (for me) going to be a challange, but a good one, but I do need to focus on putting in a few extra miles training while at the same time trying to avoid injury. I think I will next try running CP2 to CP4 (then train home) and then CP4 to finish and again train home. I am also contemplating running from the Start to CP4 (31miles) 3 weeks before the race at an easy pace to confirm the route in my head (don't want to get lost on the day!) and give me confidence that I can complete the course. I don't know about the 'old dogs' out there who have done this race before but I feel running in road shoes might be the best option. I was running in Brooks Glycerin 10 and they were fine for even the boggy single tracks and rough terrain across fields. I guess the Canal path will require road shoes and that is a big chunk of the course. If anyone out there has tips for a 'new guy' then I would be grateful to hear them. My goal is to finish in 6:59 or better but I know from what I have experienced so far I need to put in the training!

  • Steve Payne 7 wrote (see)

    I can tell you that although I am an average marathon runner (PB 3hr 02min) 

    You sound a pretty good marathon runner to meimage Appreciate the heads up on footwear  - at that time of the year, a frosty start will lead to hard ground I find.

  • PadamsPadams ✭✭✭

    Interesting thread - I'm running this and have never done it before. I did do the Lakeland 50 this year, but that was part of a team with a large proportion of walking, whereas I will be aiming to run all of this (other than briefly stopping at the checkpoints), which is a very different prospect.

    Matthew - to me it sounds like you're obviously a decent runner, and with a few extra months you could probably do very well, but you're running out of time now to build your endurance. Allowing for a taper we've only got about 6 weeks of training left, which is enough time to make some improvements, but not ideal.

    To be honest I'm in a slightly similar boat as I haven't got around to doing as many long runs as I'd wanted (only done one over 20M in the last few months - too many XC races!), but I do have a bit more of an endurance background having done a couple of ironmans and about 15 marathons.

    Dill - I'm guessing Matthew is fairly young and has competed at a decent standard in other sports. I know a few people like this and they would never do a race with the mentality of "just wanting to finish". Each to their own though of course.

  • I did this last year and really enjoyed it - it's a nice race and I'm entered again this year  What I learned last year:

     - the navigation isn't hard in theory but when you are running along it's very easy to go wrong.  I'd recced the first half of the course and still made a couple of small mistakes.  It seemed almost everyone went wrong at some point or another.  If you just follow the person in front then at some point you'll go wrong

     - shoe choice is important.  Last year was very cold so the first half was probably runnable in road shoes, just about.  If it's warmer and muddier I think trail shoes are a must.  For the second half road shoes are preferable.  So you need to choose which to go for or carry a change of shoes or get someone to meet you at CP3 with a with a change of shoes.

     - provision of food and drink at checkpoints is great.  No need to bring anything of your own apart from a few gels maybe

    - I did it in 7 hrs 40 mins on the back of what was effectively a regular marathon training programme of about 35 miles per week with some extra back to backs thrown in December to make 3 or 4 weeks at 45 miles.  It worked fine for me - I was knackered at the end and plodding along at 11 min miles but didn't feel under prepared

  • Your probably right Padams but me being an slightly older, slightly overweight kinda person finishing is everything. Not your typical racing snake you see. I run these type of events because i love trails and being out there not to break PBs.

    I just think that if Matt does decide to shoot off at  marathon pace it is probably going to hurt bad come 30 mile ish and may ruin his experience. Should he decide to set off at a more conservative pace he has the option to pick it up later on and may enjoy it more than blowing out early and having an old git like me overtake him.image

  • I am unfortunately one of those young people with too much of a competive nature. I know that I am probably going to go off too hard, but I'd much rather burn out than get to the end and feel that I could have gone. faster. 

    Have seriously increased my mileage - done about 64 miles over the past training week and feel good for it. Have been surprised that I have been able to cope with the increase but have found a decent strech and warm down has been really useful.

    Thanks for all of the advice, it would be interesting to know how anyone else has been training. One question I have is, is there a place for a tempo run or intervals whilst training for an ultra, obviously not at the exepense of more time on my feet but just to try and keep my pace there for shorter races.

  • Matt - Yes. Do not drop off your tempo runs and faster sessions too much. A lot of people just go out and run miles and miles, which no doubt is a good way to get fit and capable of completing and ultra. I beleive if you want to properly run one you need to be including faster sessions into your training.

  • PadamsPadams ✭✭✭

    Andy - good info, thanks. Are you allowed to meet someone at CP3 and swap shoes, or would that be classed as "outside assistance"? I know you can't do that sort of thing in most triathlons, but no idea about ultras.

    Dill - agreed, he will suffer badly if he goes off too fast and it will be a lot less fun! But if he is very competitive in nature he'll want to race it as fast as possible, which means starting at a relatively decent pace. And even if he does go off too fast, he'll probably be able to walk the last 10-15M and finish well within the cut-off. (Famous last words - I'll probably start too fast now and DNF!)

  • Padams - I'm not aware of any such rules in this event.  The Fellsman has that rule I think but most ultras don't - happy to be corrected if anyone knows different.

  • Hows everyone doin? Ready and raring to go.

    I'll be fine as soon as i shift the cold i've had since the Portsmouth mara. Had 3 days off gunna try and run tomorrow.

  • Kind of! It's a build up to Rocky Raccoon so just a steady run out for me. Should be fun though.
  • Bet your looking forward to RR now WiB. Not jealous much.

    Slow and steady for me too. Hang on i'm always slow and steady.image

     Nav looks easy so defo one to enjoy.


  • I am mate. Been nursing a knee injury but running ok now so hoping to get my first buckle image will try to spot you at C2C and say hello.
  • All

    I am still debating whether to enter this as part of my MDS training - whether I do or not, I think I should note for anyone not doing a recce of the course that the area between CP1 and well after CP2 is incredibly wet and muddy right now

    I live a mile or so from CP2 and am doing lots of running on the trails and offroad round here and it is very very slippy, even in my Inov8 roclites which are usually perfect offroad.....was out for over three hours in it this morning and although great fun, is very hard work

    The road up to the Dumb Bell pub (think it's called Shire Lane) has also been waterlogged for over a week (ankle deep all the way across the road) - the only way to avoid getting soaking wet feet is to climb the bank into the adjoining field (which is pretty bad as well).....if it stops flipping raining sometime soon, this might clear up before race day  but not holding my breath

    hope this helps

  • Thanks Clive - very helpful. 

    I suspect is a very similar story for much of the early part of the course as well.  I ran the Pednor 10 today which shares a mile of road with C2C around mile 6 or so.  That was fine but the surrounding fields and paths look very wet - much the same as the rest of the Chilterns. 

    I think we need to hope for a really cold spell so the ground freezes like it did last year.  If it stays like it is now it will be very hard work indeed and I think times will be significantly slower than last year.

  • Hi everyone, that's the beauty (read randomness) of ultras! I am really nervous about how I'll manage but I promise I'll be smiling even if I struggle. Though soaking wet feet may remove my sense of humour.

    I'm running alone after arriving back in the country around midnight, would love to say hello to anyone off here. I'll be on the c2c express from London an wearing blue inov8 shoes, or wellingtons, tbc.
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