Photo credit: Hamish Frost Photography (www.hamishfrost.com)

 

 

So you’ve signed up for an endurance event. Perhaps you want to test yourself, see how far you can go? Perhaps you’ve lost a bet? Or maybe you just fancy losing a few toenails? Whatever your reason, congrats for even considering it! You’re over halfway there.
Endurance events are incredible. The battle between mind and body is intriguing and you are certain to learn a thing or two about yourself. There are a few things that I’ve learned (usually the hard way) over the years that can really make a difference on the day and will hopefully make even the tough bits (and there will be tough bits) far more enjoyable.
So here are some of my top tips. We’re all different, though, so make sure you do what works best for you.

OK, so…before you start:

Keep it old skool. Your trainers, that is. Make sure you’ve broken them in before the day or you may get some nasty (and painful) surprises.
Tape it up. If you know you often get blisters in the same spot, it can be worth pre-taping your feet with sports tape. This reduces friction with your skin and should prevent most blisters. Prevention is always better than cure.
Get organised. If possible, stash your snacks & water to be easily accessible without having to stop or take your bag off. Having them to hand keeps momentum up and means you’re more likely to eat and drink properly and have sustained energy (which you’ll need!).
Variety is key. When it comes down to snacks, don’t underestimate how much you might need when you’re moving for many hours. It’s best to pack mainly carbs as your body needs the fuel, but I find that after a few hours I really crave salty things, so always pack crisps or salted roasted beans or nuts for later. Whatever you want to eat, a variety is good. It’s also worth bringing a special treat for when things get really tough.
Layers layer layers. Scotland is beautiful but its weather is unpredictable. You can also get pretty warm when moving quickly and then cool down when your body is tired. So it’s best to pack lots of thin layers that you can flex depending on your needs, rather than thicker layers. Oh, and a decent waterproof is a must!
 

During the event

Stop, drop and…er, sort! Stop and sort any hot spots or potential blisters straight away. It’s all too easy to ignore and just keep going, but blisters can get bad very quickly and are often the main cause for people dropping out of endurance events. So a 5 minute stop to get them sorted is better than having to pull out.
Break it down. I find it helpful to break up the distance or time into smaller targets and mentally tick them off. Just watch that the targets aren’t too small or you’ll be checking your watch every 2 minutes!
Remember the why. Remember clearly why you’re doing it and keep focussed on that end goal when things get tough (which they will!). Imagine it a bit like a rollercoaster – you’ll be moving forward the whole time and towards the finish (and cold beer!) but there will be both ups and downs along the way. 
Keep moving. Stop if you need to of course, but don’t stop for too long as it can get harder and harder to start again.

 

Snack attack. I would recommend to eat and drink regularly to keep energy levels up and have something to look forward to (so make sure you have tasty snacks!). I usually eat a bite of something every 20-30 mins and try to take a drink more frequently than that.

 

And most importantly…

Enjoy! Savour every moment, even when it gets really hard and everything aches. Know that during the really tough bits you’ll get through it, just keep going, you can do it! And if all else fails, just keep thinking about that cold beer…

 

Hazel is an adventurer, endurance athlete and 2050 Climate Group Operational Member.
Follow her on Twitter, Instagram and her website.
Check out her upcoming adventure Due North: Alaska www.duenorthalaska.com, where her and Luke Robertson are aiming to be the first people to travel the full length of Alaska by human power. Starting 11th May 2017

My love for the outdoors is a long founded one. Growing up in the Scottish countryside, I always enjoyed exploring mysurroundings and learning why the landscape looks the way it does, lumps, bumps and dips included. This played a big part in my decision to study Geography at university where I gained a different understanding of our landscape; learning the wonders it contains and also the very real and very big threats it faces.

 

This got me thinking. There must be a way to combine my love of the environment and my desire to take sustainable action into something that made a real difference to our world. The potential was there but how to make people care about sustainability in a fun way that also got them outside?

This is where MAD Challenges Co-Founder, Dave Bell, and DoNation came in.

Fast forward to August last year and I found myself saying yes to taking part my friend Dave’s mad idea of walking up anddown Arthur’s Seat repeatedly for 12 hours. Instead of collecting financial sponsorship for my efforts, everyone participating in the event used DoNation – an online platform that enables people to be sponsored in sustainable behaviour change rather than money. You can read more about how DoNation works in Dave’s recent blog (link).

As I walked up Arthur’s Seat for the 18th time in a row (yes that’s right), was it mad? Yes. Was it insanely hard and did I feel my legs would fall off? Yes. But did it give me a chance to talk about sustainability with my friends and result in them making a huge number of positive behaviour changes from cycling to work to eating less dairy? Yes!

After the legs had recovered, Dave and I got down to business. We thought, why not expand this idea and create multiple events where participants have to do something novel, unusual and a little bit mad whilst also doing something good for the planet? A big dream indeed.

Taking this public, Dave and I were given the opportunity to speak at Scotland’s 2nd Youth Climate Summit last November where we shared our idea with literally hundreds of people. Our experience at the summit was a hugely positive one and we soon assembled a team of committee members. It’s fair to say Dave and I were bowled over at the enthusiasm, creativity and passion people had for our idea!

Over the course of many weekends and cups of tea, we discussed how we could build a recognisable brand that ran a host of endurance adventure events and the concept of MAD Challenges was born. Standing for Move Act Do, the name encapsulated exactly what we were trying to achieve: challenge people physically, encourage sustainable actions and do something to make a difference. We started to formulate our action plan for the year and set ourselves some ambitious goals, the first of these to create a new adventure event.

The result of this was the creation of MAD Clyde – a weighted 35 mile endurance trek along the River Clyde. There are two shorter time and distances that participants can select but the concept remains the same, to challenge yourself wherever your abilities may lie and to collect as many DoNation pledges as possible. MAD Clyde is designed to suit all abilities of adventurer and we’re really excited to see it unfold!