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Casey Morgan's preparation for Ultra Torres del Paine

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Saturday 30th September 2017
By Casey Morgan

The summer of 2017 has been frustrating for me for 2 reasons, a stress fracture in the lead up to Cami de Cavalls and contracting giardia just before Ultra Sierra Nevada. Both caused me to miss a considerable amount of training and meant that I haven't raced as much as I would've liked. It also meant that I had to withdraw from UTMB which had been my main focus for the season. It's always disappointing to miss out on a race that you've built your season around but the great thing with trail running is there are always other opportunities. This time, the other opportunity was too good to miss, a trip to Patagonía for the Ultra Torres del Paine, an 80km race across the Torres del Paine national park in Chile.
I really like races in the 80km range, they're long enough to present a challenge but short enough so as to not require any great increase in training volume and the recovery afterwards is pretty quick. Usually after an 80km race, depending on the severity of the race profile, I'll be back easy running within 2 or 3 days and back to full training within 10 days to 2 weeks. That'll be pretty easy to stick to after Patagonía since it takes 2 days to get home!

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Casey acclimatises to Patagonia (©Mayayo/CarrerasdeMontana.com)

My preparation for Ultra Torres del Paine followed a simple weekly structure of 2 longer hill runs each week, usually on a Wednesday and Sunday, 2 faster sessions each week, usually Tuesday and Saturday and everything else is just easy paced running. My weekly volume is anywhere from 150km- 180km.  Within this range I feel reasonably fresh and still able to complete and recover from harder workouts. My longest training run in the build up was 45km with 2000m+. I ran the last 10km at a good pace to get used to the suffering that inevitably comes in the later stages of an 80km race. All in all I've been really happy with the past 6 or 7 weeks of training and feel in the best shape I've been in for quite some time. I have a few races coming up once I return to Europe so hopefully I can build on that form.
As I write this we are 2 days out from race day, the training is done other than an easy jog tomorrow morning in Puerto Natales before we head down to the national park. The travel to get here was pretty brutal, I left home at 4.30pm on Monday and arrived in Puerto Natales at 11am on Wednesday. I wouldn't want to do that trip too often! That's one of the big challenges of racing in far flung destinations, staying in good condition when you travel. Trying to find good food along the way can often be a problem so it's always worth planning in advance and taking your own supplies to last until you reach your destination. I always like to take some vitamins with me and take simple steps to avoid picking up germs on the flight. Sleeping as much as you can and taking the opportunity to move around and stretch whenever possible also helps. Ok, enough travel tips!

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Casey seems to approve of the epic scenery in Patagonia! (©Mayayo/CarrerasdeMontana.com)

First impressions of Patagonía have been really good, the landscape is incredible as you would imagine, snow covered jagged mountains rise straight out of the sea. The temperature is a little cold but not as cold as I thought it would be and the people are warm and friendly. I'm really looking forward to travelling to the national park and getting closer to the high mountains of the Andes. When you begin to suffer in a race it's always nice to be able look up and see something incredible to take your mind off the pain. There can't be many places on earth more incredible than Patagonia so hopefully that'll keep my mind occupied  and carry me to a good result. See you at the finish!

Read about how Casey got in in the race over at Trailrunningspain.com

Thanks to our friends at Carrerasdemontana.com for their help with this article.

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