The Endurance Mindset - Chris Murphy
15 October 2021
PREPD had a chat about “the endurance mindset” and tips about training, fuelling and hydration for long-distance running with one of our customers, Chris Murphy.
Chris is an avid endurance athlete who, according to him, “runs to stay sane” and has done UTA100, Clint Eastwood Last Man Standing, and Big Dogs Backyard Ultra, among other long-distance running.
With Ultra Trail Australia coming up this weekend in the Blue Mountains, Chris had to say about his training.
The UTA100 is a testing course with approx 4500m of elevation gain; how did you train for this?
It was a reasonably steady build-up over the last few months, gently increasing the volume. I also had to focus on hills after most of my races in 2020 were almost flat. Trying to make the training match the terrain of the race as much as I could.
Running for 100kms and going up 4500m will be as physical as mental. Having done the UTA100 twice previously, what tips do you have for other participants on occupying the mind and ensuring the mental battle doesn’t get in the way of the physical battle?
The best thing I have found is to break the race down into manageable chunks. 10 x 10km runs sounds easier than running 100km in one go. I use the aid stations to break it up and try to only concentrate on getting to the next one and think about what I need to do when I get there.
But if/when you get into a dark place, feel overwhelmed, and have your little put party, understand that it will eventually pass. You’ll be having fun again soon.
Throughout your training, how did you practice consuming enough fuel to ensure you don’t hit the wall and what was your longest training run?
I use the same fuel in day-to-day training as during the race, so I know the stomach handles it well. And over the last 12-18 months, I’ve dialled what works for me. I aim to take in about 300 calories an hour. During the longer runs, I’ll practice the plan of having a gel every 30 minutes, and a litre of water with some electrolytes powder every hour. I also have PREPD when I am training for my longer runs and some of my more challenging efforts during the warmer months.
In the lead-up to UTA, my longest run was 6hrs, which was just over 51km. I followed up the next day with another 4hrs and 30kms.
Trail running is certainly different from road running, what is it that you love most about being out and about on the trails?
I love that it’s not just about picking a pace and sticking to it. There is so much variety in how you run, from cruising through nice flat open fields to twisting through tight single track, hiking up steep climbs and flying downhill. No two trails are the same. Plus you get to see some wonderful places along the way
In terms of hydration, how will you manage this over the 100km?
Hydration will start in the days leading up, ensuring that I turn up to the race adequately hydrated. The night before the race I’ll be drinking the PREPD Prime as always. During the race, I usually aim for roughly 1 litre of water per hour and 2x scoops of electrolytes powder. By having this planned out for the whole race in detail, I can keep track of how I’m going and adjust as necessary throughout the day based on how I’m feeling. Especially since Katoomba will be so much more relaxed than the Whitsundays, this will most likely need some adjustment on the run.
After the race will be the PREPD Recover, and plenty more fluids over the next few days.