Sunday, 23 March 2014

The Arch to Arc (1)

I've been prattling on to myself for a few weeks now without launching my Justgiving page or publicising this blog about what I am doing, so I think it is now time for me to at least give my take on the Arch to Arc and what it entails.

The Arch to Arc is probably the world's hardest triathlon and must be up there with the toughest organised endurance events in the world.  The challenger begins at Marble Arch and runs 87 miles down to Dover.  Within 48 hours of the beginning of the run, the challenger must then swim the English Channel, a distance of 22 miles.  On landing at Calais it is then the simple matter of a 180 mile cycle ride to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.  Writing it down like that and having done a few big endurance events, it sounds manageable.  When I first heard about it my interest was captured by the big distances and the linking of capital cities.  An 87 mile run sounded a huge challenge, and 180 miles on the bike is nothing to be sniffed at.  We are talking double/triple Ironman distances and that is always something for the testosterone fuelled to get in a lather about.  Actually, the real challenge lies in the middle, in the dead ground; the real challenge is the Channel.  It is in the Channel where everyone fails...

The Arch to Arc has a very high failure rate because too many people look at it the way I did and sign up to do the event : they are blinded by distances and big numbers.  Being predominately triathletes the sport has a great deal of emphasis on running and cycling, with the swim section an irritating add precursor to the main event.  With the Arch to Arc this is all turned on its head.  Forget fancy numbers - the 22 miles of the Channel is what will stop me.

Having said that, the run is vitally important.  Running 87 miles is no mean feat and can seriously deplete an athlete.  Therefore, it's important to put enough training into the run to ensure that you are not so depleted by the distance that your Channel swim is derailed by fatigue/cramp/ general misery.

If you follow my training I am putting everything into swimming, but I am having the occasional long run.  As I get closer to the event I will need to create a balance between maintaining the importance of the swim, with ensuring that I have enough psychological mileage to not live in fear of the road to Dover.

As a footnote I had intended to put virtually no cycle training into my programme.  That all changed when I smashed up the car and found myself cycling the thirty miles into and back from work each day.  That worked out at 150 miles a week.  Now the wet, wet winter is receding it seems a no-brainer to bin the car and use my commute as part of my training.  Tomorrow I'm going to be running it, although doing that every day is a bit much.

If you want to find out more about the event itself click on the link below for all the information you might ever need about long distance stupidity:

No comments:

Post a Comment