Mistakes in multi-day runs

By David

I enjoy multi-day outdoor adventures a lot, but this year things weren’t going my way, so I set off for my first long run only in August. At the beginning of this week, I started my three-day self-supported run, about 125 kilometers long. It was nothing special; last year I covered even higher volumes in just one run. But this time, after three days, I returned home dead tired, so I was naturally thinking about the mistakes I did.

I made the first mistake even before the start of the run. I sweat a lot, and during a long run, the sweat-drenched t-shirt unpleasantly chafes my back. Last year I learned that I could easily avoid this by taping my back close to the spine. This year I somehow forgot. Fortunately, I only ran for three days; my back was burning, but I realized it just in those moments when I suddenly got wetter. Perhaps next time, I will pay more attention.

The first day I started after 4 pm because I went to the starting point by train. I wanted to cover as much as possible by the evening, and so I ran too fast, this was the second mistake. At 10 pm, when I arrived at the shelter under which I was about to sleep, I was quite fatigued. If I have to manage running several days in a row, I have to watch the running intensity and keep my heart rate frequency below 65% of HRmax, which in my case corresponds to 120 beats per minute. The next day the run was already more relaxed.

I know from the last year, that if I want to run more days in a row, the volume of the daily workload shouldn’t exceed nine hours in total. Even though I didn’t break this rule, the essential parts of multi-day running are the breaks as well. I learned that after three hours of a run, an hour-long break should follow. I usually get along well; I start after eight in the morning, and at about half-past eleven, I have an hour-long break for lunch. Before 4 pm there comes another hour-long break, and then I run up to eight or half-past nine in the evening. But this time, I didn’t manage to distribute the breaks very well, and I prolonged the time of the load — third mistake.

The fourth mistake was when I didn’t dry my shoes on the last day in the morning, didn’t change my socks, and didn’t lubricate my feet with something greasy. It had been raining all night, and it was wet everywhere in the morning. Of course, I felt my damp feet, but I kept telling myself, that I could withstand it until the lunch break when the grass dries. But then during the lunch, I completely forgot about it, and later when I started to feel the pain of my soles, it was already too late. So, the last few hours of running I treaded badly because of blistering.

It’s clear to me that in the next run I will make a bunch of other stupid things again. But, by mistakes, one learns. And it’s far less painful to learn from others’ mistakes than from one’s own. That’s why I share my experience with you here, even though I might not look very wise to you. But I want to assure you, despite these difficulties I still enjoyed this run incredibly. I realized that I could handle almost any situation, and this experience made me a bit stronger again. And besides, what could be better than spending three days in the wild?