My goal for Ultra Trail Australia 2017 is to shave hours off my 2014 time. I was ill in the two weeks before that run, and wasn’t 100% recovered for the run (someone actually offered me an inhaler I sounded so bad), but that wasn’t necessarily of major importance to my performance (looking at the race stats, my speed was pretty reasonable a lot of the time, particularly early on in the race).
My main focus of improvement has been on the ability to endure long distances with big elevation gains (and losses!). If I can run the 10km downhill from 78km without needing walking breaks, then that’ll be a result in itself.
I’ve trained much bigger than 2014 - this time my training plan started in December and has been solid since then. I’ve also been training more to conditions - I have done fewer step repeats, but when I have done them, they’ve been 200m vertical repeats, but I’ve done much much more elevation.
I think I’m slower on the flat than in 2014, but am much better trained for hiking! I feel that I’ve prepared well for the course - now it’s a matter of conditions on the day and a little bit of luck.
My nutrition plan and checkpoints plan is much simpler (take enough concentrated tailwind that I can top up on the go from water points and bladder).
I’ve done some frantic kit buying - my Forerunner 910 is very much on its last legs after four or five years, and in the end I decided that the Salomon S-Lab 12 race vest is a better backpack for UTA mandatory kit than the Ultimate Direction PB 16 - the bladder seems to be better protected against being squashed by mandatory kit in the S-Lab 12 so I can get up more than 1L water on top of everything else for the few sections where I might need that much.
Taper has now fully kicked in, although I’m still doing a fair few kms - next week is very easy though until the race itself.