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Yukon Arctic Ultra 2020 strategy - how I plan to get to the finish line

Planning participation in Yukon Arctic Ultra calls for thoughtful thinking and consideration. I believe preparation for the event is highly rewarding:
  • it makes the event longer :-), meaning that you live with that not only being in Canada, but months before while planning
  • it makes your odds for finishing much higher, assuming that your planning is proper and really gives you advantage at the starting line
To make it easier for me I finally concluded that I should develop a strategy for this event, or even 3 strategies relevant for 3 parts of this challange. These are the parts to be considered:

  1. gear
  2. training
  3. racing

Gear strategy

Winter exploring is always about gear. The humans are too vulnerable to survive in the severe condition and racing makes it only harder. So proper list of the equipment is mandatory.
My strategy for this issue is
HAVE EVERYTHING WHAT IS NECESSARY, and skip SUPER STUFF

Nicely said, but what it means in particular?
Saying NECESSARY I mean 

  • not to compromise on my safety
  • increase the chances for successful participation (finishing)
The good example of implementing this rule is how I chose my shoes for YAU. Shoes, for obvious reason is a very important part of your gear. So I started from research on YAU facebook group to get to know what merchandise was preferred by participants in the past. It brought me to the 3 potential offer. All of them I ordered at some e-commerce stores and finally tried at my home. Trying was about scrutinising the shoes itself, plus sizing evaluation. That is how I finally landed with Hoka Speedgoat Mid Waterproof

Saying "skip super stuff" I think mainly about setting the limits for your budget, which gets under quite a pressure from YAU total participating costs (I will soon reveal figures to let you see the investment). Any expedition like this could trigger you to acquire "the best money can buy product". You are supposed to risk your health, so money doesn't matter - right? Well, I believe we could arrange pretty safe, light and durable set of products, not spending tons of money.
The good example is 1st layer clothing. The best choice from my experience would be merino based long johns, pants, and top base layer. Check Icebreaker if you are not into merino yet.
For YAU you need a few sets of this, because the very first rule on the track is to change your clothes the moment you get wet. And you get wet frequently, because you sweat to much.
Collecting a few set of merino 1st layer set is unfortunately extremely expensive. Therefore I decided that I will stick to the base layers I already have, although they are mainly synthetic (ok, I have very limited number of merino already, but it is not the volume to cover the requirements of 500km and potentially 8 days of hiking).

Training strategy

I gave training for YAU a lot of my thoughts. I am quite experienced trail runner and running training belongs to my true interests. But YAU is different. YAU is about very long marching for the 6, 7 or 8 consecutive days. It is surely not about speed. The game is about being able to march long day after day. So the goal of the training is to prepare for continous, slow movement. How to do it? Well, my training is focused on total time spent on workouts. So the strategy I have here is
LONG AND LONG, NOT MATTER HOW.

Saying "not matter how" I mean that I decided to include into my training other than running sports. Mainly cycling. I had to. I simply can not have 10hours + week training schedule based only on running. I know from my years of running, that I am not able to recover having such a runload.
Cycling has one more advantage - I can make it while commuting. My distance from home to work office is 22k which makes nice 1h ride. So I can very easily have 2h just commuting on working days.

Racing strategy

Begining at the startline of YAU I should decide about my race strategy. And the very first question is: am I going to compete and fight for the best time and position available OR am I going to finish this event within the time limits?
Competing is the nature of my running and racing. I may not be the frontpack runner, but still I almost always striving against others or time while racing. But this time and for the YAU I decided differently. And my strategy is to
FINISH YUKON ARCTIC ULTRA.

Why so? A few good reason:
  • finishing YAU is much, much different from finishing any other trail or road race. It is because YAU is the category for itself and is hardly comparable to any other event on the globe.
  • no Polish ever finished YAU, so being the first sounds vvvveeerrrryyy inspiring for me.
  • and finally - I have no relevant experience to YAU so the realistic goal for the first attempt is to finish rather than competing.

Summing up

I like having the strategy in business and I like having the strategy in sport. It is permanent reminder which keeps your thoughts and acts on the way which leads to the goal.
Will come back with the next post soon!





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