This November Dave Weeds will take part in the Antarctic Ice Marathon as he aims to become a member of the prestigious 7 Continents Marathon Club. Here, we ask Dave a few questions on how you can prepare for a race in one of the most in inhospitable terrains on earth.
Is this your biggest challenge yet?
By a long shot! All of my six races to date have been the classic marathon distance (42.2km), but the conditions of this one make all the difference. My last marathon time (in Cape Town) was 3:43, but I’ve been told that average finish times in the Antarctic Ice Marathon are between 6-8 hours.
How have you tailored your training?
I’ve focused on three main areas:
- Endurance – the race is going to be long and slow. I know I can run for 4 hours non-stop, but 5, 6, 7 hours and beyond is unchartered territory for me.
- Cold weather – Nearer the time of the race in November I want to get some cold weather training, either going somewhere in northern Europe probably, or finding a big freezer to run in!
- Terrain – The surface we will run on is packed snow on top if ice. I’ll be wearing rough terrain trainers, but I want to get used to the feeling of running on an unsteady surface. So I plan to do some training runs on snow (if possible), or failing that on sand as a next best alternative.
What time are you expecting to finish in?
I’ll be happy with any time at all to be honest, just to cross that finish line, get that medal, know that I’ve realised my goal and in the process raised money and awareness for the charity I support: The National Deaf Children’s Society. Based upon what I know of the race (the fastest ever male finish time, by ironman Petr Vabrousek is (3:35), I’m expecting it to take me somewhere between 6-8 hours.
How have you managed to integrate your training into everyday life?
I’ve created a training plan that combines running, cycling and yoga. I try to fit the running into my day so that it’s not an extra task I need to complete when I get home from work tired. Instead I run to/from work, run in my lunch hour. Basically if I’m going somewhere and running is an option, I take it.
What intimidates you most about the race?
The unknown. I don’t know how my body will cope and react in -20C temperatures. I don’t know how my legs will hold up to running in snow for 6+ hours. The last hour or so of a regular marathon are usually pretty gruelling for me, so although I’m tremendously excited for the race, I am dreading those last hours when the going gets tough.
How do you keep motivated throughout training?
Motivation has never been a problem! I’m running these races to raise money and awareness for the charity I support: they do truly invaluable work to create a world without barriers for deaf children and young people living in the UK today. This is a charity close to my heart and therefore an endless source of motivation. My family and friends have been incredible over the past 5 years since I started this challenge. The support, the donations, the favours I’ve asked of them, I couldn’t have asked for more. Knowing I have everyone I love right behind me keeps me going during those tough miles.
Advice for anyone considering taking up their own challenge?
Pick a charity that means something to you and make it happen.