By John Dutton, Team Brooks Athlete
I will be competing in the upcoming World 50km Championships in Doha, Qatar on December 4th.
This is the 1st edition of the World 50km, so it is very exciting to have qualified. In Canberra in April, I was able to win the National 50km Championships on debut in the 6th fastest time ever run by an Australian. My time of 2:59:19 also ranks me 20th in the World this year.
How you prepare? Mentally & physically.
The best way I find to prepare mentally is through completing as much of the designed training as I can. Whilst preparing for my debut 50km, I completed long runs in training up to 46km, which as a marathoner; I had never done. That gave me what I believed to be the mental edge on race day. I plan to do the same again for Doha. I also try and break the distance down into 10km chunks as even for an experienced runner, 50km can be daunting at times. To be prepared for race day in Doha physically, there is plenty of hard work to be done. Even though December will be classed as a winter month, the expected temperature will be mid to high 20s, but with hopefully low humidity. To counter the warm conditions I will be trying to build up my tolerance to the heat.
What training are you doing?
Generally I try to cover about 150 – 175km per week when training for a marathon, and with the extra training needed for the 50km, I will be aiming for between 175 – 200km per week. Added to this training schedule will be a weekly personal training session where I focus on muscle balance and muscle strengthening exercises essential for long distance running. I will also be doing 2 gym sessions per week with a focus on core strength and stability and further work on running related exercises. And as mentioned above; to counter the potentially hot conditions in Doha, I will be doing a weekly training run in a heat chamber on a treadmill for 60 minutes per session. Hopefully my willingness to try and cover all bases will mean success on race day.
After my result at Canberra, and becoming the 6th fastest in Australian History over 50km; my expectations at the World Championships are very high. If all goes well in training then I will head to Doha with the aim of a top 10 finish. If that can happen, I will be over the moon and will return home very happy. On what is a fast looking course, I will be racing to try and improve my personal best time also. If I can achieve these two goals, then I’ll be giving Australia the best chance of winning a team medal. That will be the best feeling!
How you manage nerves
What I have found through my years of running is that if I have successfully completed the majority of my training then the nerves will be less. In that sense, managing nerves is made a little easier. I get more nervous when training hasn’t gone as well as planned. I also like to have a bit of a joke on the start line; it might mean nothing, but I like to think it makes everyone more nervous because I look so calm. Once the gun goes and the race starts, all the nerves wash away anyway; so it’s pointless in the end. Nerves can wear you out before you even make the start line, so find something that works for you and stick to it.
What products are you using in the lead up? And what will you race in? Why you’ve selected them
Needing a little bit of support in my training shoes, for the majority of my training runs I wear the Brooks Ravenna. From the first time I wore them, I have felt comfortable in them. For my faster training I wear the Brooks Racer ST, which is both a lightweight training shoe but also more than suitable as a distance race day shoe. I will occasional also use this shoe for my really long Sunday runs if I am looking for a faster pace over hills. During my long runs, depending on where I am running, I will try and drink about half a bottle (300ml) of Gatorade sports drink and take on an Endura energy Gel. My favourite flavour is Citrus; it is sweet, but I don’t mind the taste. I don’t drink as much as one may think as I’m trying to not rely of the fluids to race well; so on race day, if I do happen to miss one of my drinks, I won’t panic as I have trained for such a thing to happen. I also try and match my sports drink to my energy Gel, so tend to go with a lemon or Orange flavour. On race day, I will be decked out in my Australian team Singlet, my Brooks Infiniti shorts and my fluorescent yellow Brooks T7 Racers. I love these shoes for race day as they are both extremely lightweight but also have the cushioning you would usually expect from a heavy mileage training shoe.
To be able to help cover both my training and my travel expenses for the World Championships, I have set up a fundraising campaign. For those interested in helping me achieve my goals on the World stage, I have provided the link below: