Oxfam Trailwalker Teamwork Tips
I love racing Team events like Oxfam Trailwalker Brisbane. I guess it is the only way an ultra trail runner can have that commradery that is experienced whilst representing a club or team. Racing Oxfam Trailwalker Brisbane can be tricky. Oxfams are about getting ALL 4 Team members over the line together and still friends after the event. If your Oxfam Trailwalker team works together you will forge life long friendships. You will always have that 100km that your team shared together.
Here are my Top Tips in Keeping Everyone Happy for 100km
Make everyone feel important and that they have a crucial role to play in the Team. Remember you are 4 different people with different skills so make use of everyones natural abilities. Everyone is equal in a team and EVERYONE has to work together as a whole to get the best result. Give everyone a job and something to focus on this will help with their mental toughness and help them stay in the moment.
This is how I would split up the roles within the Team
- Hydration and Electrolyte Balance
- Timekeeping-Goal Setting
One reason why Trail running is fun because we have to use our brains to navigate. I like most people hate getting lost, it can really ruin your morale when racing. Getting lost can lead to decrease in drive and motivation. Oxfam Trailwalker events are usually well marked but any kid or teenager or unhappy local can move or change a sign and this can lead your team in the wrong direction and cause havoc to team morale. This can all be avoided if your team stays in check of their position constantly through out the event.
Assign the role of Navigation to a stronger runner in the team who is able to run with a map in their hand, constantly check and advise on positioning and amount of kilometers there is to the next landmark, check point, or tricky section. This person MUST be a good map reader and be totally capable of maintaining a clear mind for the 100km to ensure the team stays on the right track.
Wear a Garmin or a Sunnto and load up the events GPS Route into their Watch to safe guard against getting lost.
The navigator is also in contestant communication with their team members and the Timekeeper making sure the team in on track to make their target goal.
- Run with a map in your hand
- Constanly Check your position on the map and use landmarks to confirm your position
- Communicate your location with your team mates to encourage them and let them know how well they are going
- If you feel like you are lost always back track to your last known position
- Warn your Team of when a Check Point is coming up so your team can prepare for a fast change over of supplies
Oxfam TW Brisbane is thankfully run in June at the start of winter however this is a Ultra Trail event so chance of dehydration is high and the body can only absorb a certain amount of fluid per hour. Really we are just managing the signs of dehydration for the entire 100km.
The best way to figure out how much one needs to drink per hour is to do a sweat test. If you just want a general guide of what to consume I usually recammend my clients drink 400-600ml of fluid every hour and measure the consumption and measure the signs of hydration. Usually 500ml is a good guide to start with. If you or your team mates are showing the following signs of dehydration their fluid consumption must be checked.
- Yellow-Brown Urine
- Odour in the Urine
- Over Heating
- Throbbing Head-Heart beat in the ears
- Muscle Fatigue
In your team your Hydration Manager will be in charge of prompting your team to drink every 5-15 min. Just small sips of a water bottle or hydration pack is enough to stay hydrated.
Your Hydration Manager is also in charge of your electrolyte balance. I personally use Endurolyte by Hammer. I have found that taking 1 cap every 30 minutes keeps me from cramping and experiencing muscle soreness. Look for a complete electrolyte mix with potassium, magnesium, calcium and sodium.
If someone in your team is cramping, electrolyte consumption should be checked. The best way to stop cramping is by prevention. 2 weeks before an event I’d recommend taking on electrolytes with every training session that you complete. Follow your teams hydration plan for the event, pre-post event also.
It is important not to over consume water. Always consume water with a fully prepared hydration plan to avoid the risk of hyponatremia or low level of sodium in your blood. This can potentially be deadly. Correct Hydration is key to keeping your team safe and running without muscle soreness and muscular fatigue.
Oxfam Trailwalkers Courses are tough. They go up, they go down, they always have the biggest climbs in the region featured in them so they play havoc on your anaerobic systems. Ultra Trail running events suck up glucose to fuel your anaerobic needs. Even if you are taking it easy and feel like you are running slow, the hills will naturally tax your muscles.
There is always a fine line between over consuming and under consuming fuel in an event. Over consuming can lead to gastric up-set, runners gut and vomiting.
This is just a general guide that I tell my clients that consuming between 200-260 Cals per hour is a good guide to maintaining adequate energy needs to your muscles as well as your brain. This can look like
- Liquid-1 Gel every 45min- 1 hour minutes 100Cal
- Protein- Protein/carbohydrate drink like Hammer Perpetuem or Endura Optimiser 60cal
- Solid-1/3 Bar ,1/2 Potato, 1/3 Banana 100 Cal
Above total adding up to around 260Cals
Your fuelling monitor is in constant communication with everyone in the team and is checking with the Timekeeper when your Gel, Protein or Bar should be consumed.
What I Consume Every Hour for a Race Like The North Face 100 or Oxfam Trailwalker
- Hammer Gel every 30-40 minutes in a 50% Water 50% Gel in a Gel Flask
- Perpetuem 500ml of water with 1 scoop of Perpetuem/ Hour.
- Sip Perpetuem every 5 minutes or flat series in the trail.
At Check Points I like to take on Solid Food These are My Choices Below
- 1/3 Choc Chip Hammer Bar (I will also eat a Choc Chip Hammer Bar if I feel hungry at any point in the event).
- 1/3 of a Banana
- 1/2 Potato Boiled and Dipped in Salt
We like to put a small amount of solid food in at check points. Your heart rate has usually dropped and you will be under less stress so it will be more ready to accept food. Have it ready for yourself in a zip lock bag so it can be eaten on the go.
Signs of Low Glucose Levels-Glucose is the only fuel for the Brain
- Teary and Emotional
- Grumpy and or Negative
- Loss of Focus
- Head Spins and Dizziness, this can be dangerous and could lead to injury.
It is recommended that you consume no more than 1mg of Caffeine for every kilo that you weigh per hour of exercise. I weigh about 50 kilos so in can have 50mg of Caffeine/hour. Studies have shown that Caffeine can increase your muscular endurance by up to 28%. Too much Caffeine will lead to stomach up-sets, dehydration and overheating
If you have a sensitive gut you may want to limit the caffeine in the first 30-50km and introduce caffeine after 5-6 Hours of running.
It is important to work out your Fuelling Plan Before Oxfam Trailwalker Events and have it trailed and practiced. Your Team should have a meeting before the event so everyone know what everyone is using as their fuel for the entire 100km. Oxfam Trailwalker is a team event so it is important that everyone is supporting each others nutrition choice so on the day your team knows exactly what to do if someone is not performing as they have in training.
Prompt your team members to eat a small amount every 15 min.
I like breaking it up on a clock to make it simple;
- Bite of a Hammer Bar/Spud/Potato on the Hour
- Drink Perpetuem on the 15min and 45min
- Consume a Gel on the 30 Min
Timekeeping and Goal Setting
This role is crucial to ensuring everyone is eating and drinking enough throughout the event, keeping to desired target time and indicating to your support crew when you will be arriving into the check point.
I like turning on “Track My iPhone” on my phone and my support crew can see when I am arriving into the check point. GPS coverage may not be available at all check points so in the last 1km before the check point phoning ahead to your support crew will ensure they are prepared for your arrival.
The team must set achievable target times for each check point to ensure the team has the correct amount of fluid and fuelling for the check point and to guarantee that the team achieves the target goal for the team. Remember the team can only go as fast as the slowest person throughout that section.
Small manageable goals can also be set within the Check Points to boost moral and make up some lost time or to take advantage of a fast section on the course.
Setting goals for landmarks or checkpoints can work to keep the team focused as a group.
It can be the difference between making it to the check point on target and in a positive frame of mind and getting complacent and dropping back hours behind schedule.
Staying in the moment mentally though out the event is crucial to staying happy and positive for the 100km.
Oxfam Trailwalker is a Mental, Physical, Fuelling, Teamwork Challenge.
Oxfam Trailwalker or other Ultra Trail events can be broken down into the following;
- 30% Mental
- 30% Physical
- 30% Hydration and Fuelling
Within an Oxfam Trailwalker it is then 100% Teamwork. The team can only move as fast as the slowest team member over that section. Sticking together and always staying in line of sight of each other, looking after your team-mates and making sure they are eating right, fully hydrated, staying on the correct track on on schedule in and out of the check points will lead to a successful Oxfam Trailwalker Event for the team as a whole.
Self Belief and Team Belief is the key to a successful Oxfam Trailwalker Result.
You have to believe in your own training and the training of your teammates within the team and trust in each other. Believe that your teammates will pull though as a team and make it to the end of the Oxfam Trailwalker Brisbane with your team feeling strong and you will be rewarded 10 fold over for your efforts. There is nothing quite like the mate-ship that is formed on an Oxfam Trailwalker Event.
No one person will be the strongest for the entire 100km. Everyone in your team will feel crap at some time. In a cohesive Oxfam Trailwalker Team the members will bind together and pull the weaker runner at their rut and bring out the best in their team mate.
In a team there are natural leaders, followers, carers or nurturers and motivators. There will also be a difference in fitness and skill levels within the team. It is important to rotate the team while on the track to give everyone’s brain a break or to check on a team mate who is struggling in a section.
If a team mate is falling behind, let them set the pace and lead up the climb at their anaerobic capabilities.
The hardest position in the team is actually the person at the back of the team looking after the team as a whole not dissimilar to a shepherd herding sheep. The team will need to take turns rotating the stronger runners to the back or front look after the slower ones. Trying to keep your struggling team mate positive can be mentally draining so this role must be rotated.
Your Team Formation may look like this
Slowest Team Mate at the Front-They will push harder knowing their team mates are behind them supporting them
Rotate your team mates between every check point or climb. To keep the conversation fresh between teammates and allow for team bonding throughout the 100km.
Sticking together and switching between teammates in a line will ensure that everyone is aware of everyones emotional, physical and mental state for the 100km and should safe guard the team from any preventable issues that can arise in an event like Oxfam Trailwalker Brisbane.
Week Before the Event Team Meeting
A week before Oxfam Trailwalker Brisbane organise a team meeting to check that every team member is in agreement of the team goal.
- Realistic Goals are to be set
- Nutrition and Hydration Plans Organised
- Check Point Strategies are in place
- Race Kit Organised-Comfortable with running in the dark with their Head torches.
- All runners are in good health and are not carrying an injury that will be damaged by running Oxfam Trailwalker Brisbane.
Oxfam Trailwalker Brisbane will be a rewarding experience. Friendships will be formed, money will be raised for an awesome cause and you will achieve what most people only dream of doing.