As with Ironman races, I'm thinking the safest, easiest thing is to start near home in case of cancellation, needing to bail out early etc. and keeping the costs down a little. Handily there's a nice National Trail that ends near to home enough for it to be easily viable. And I've already walked half of it a while ago (when I was 34kg heavier and not fit in the slightest).
I've chosen the Thames Path - it's well marked, has relatively easy stop off points to stay overnight and shouldn't be too hard logistics-wise.
My first error was to choose half term week - I thought the B&Bs wouldn't be too booked up but it turns out that's wrong. So, I'm shifting it back a week and starting on the day of Rowbotham's Round Rotherham (ah well, another year!). The loose daily plan so far is this:-
Day 1: Source to Lechlade; 23.42 miles
Day 2: Lechlade to Oxford; 30.48 miles
Day 3: Oxford to Streatley; 29.5 miles
Day 4: Streatley to Cookham; 33 miles
Day 5: Cookham to Teddington; 35.34 milesDay 6: Teddington to the barrier; 30.85 miles
This feels achievable at the moment, having walked a good chunk of it in the past when really unfit and overweight. Yes, I had aching hip joints in the mornings, but that's fine and I'm in a very different place now. It'll get refined as I investigate the B&B situation in more detail, but I'm mostly OK with how it looks so far with a gentler day to start off and the longer days towards the end. I'll be running for no more than 8 hours in any day (35 miles at 14 min/mile worst case) and I don't plan to take a lunch break due to it being hard to start up again if you sit down. So if I start around 8am, I'll be done in the afternoon and have lots of recovery time (and likely cold baths wherever I can).
I also have an evolving kit list which, thanks to the wonders of merino (warm and/or cool, and wearable for days in a row even when running), is lighter and shorter than it could be! I have to carry it all with me, so I need to pack minimally as is practial.
- 1x pair multi-terrain running shoes
- 2x pairs wool/merino socks
- 1x buff (heavy or mid)
- 1x merino bra
- 1x pair merino shorts
- 1x pair merino leggings
- 1x merino long sleeved
- 1x technical t-shirt
- 1x waterproof jacket
- 1x body warmer
- 1x waterproof trousers
- debit card
- salt tablets
- 2x 750ml water bottles
- (Clif bars maybe)/cheese/nuts/sausage
- 1st aid kit; blister treatment specific
- Foil blanket
- Extra battery, cable & plug
- Garmin watch and/or 800 & charger
This will likely evolved and change as things spring to mind and there's always the weather considerations as it gets closer. But a plan is starting to come together, and the running training is too.