Training for Badwater 135

Burning up the miles for the CF Warriors

Badwater – 135 miles of running in 118 degrees across 3 mountain ranges with an overall climb of 14,865 feet!

This has been 10 years in the making, what started as a wild dream is due to become a reality this coming Monday and I thought it may be interesting to share the level of work and detail that has gone into training for the toughest footrace on the planet.

Starting back in February, it took me completely by surprise that my name was announced in the 2019 roster for Badwater 135. Seeing and hearing Chris Kostman (Badwater RD) read out my name and sing the praises of the Welsh was a true highlight in my life and it brought me and my wife to tears of joy and disbelief.

What started as an ultra high, soon become a shock to the system and the messages were sent out to my crew members – Scott Jenkins, John Ortiz, Lawrence Cronk and Stuart Clarke. Thankfully they all accepted!

Next up was the training schedule and this came from my close friend and trusted coach, Lawrence Cronk of Enduraprep. The whole training plan has been built off the results off a couple of VO2 Max Test’s. What results you may ask? Well the level of heart rate my body can run at and the required calorie intake needed to sustain certain zones (a lot more data than this but I’m not the coach, Lawrence is).

To say it has been an epic journey so far is an understatement. The heart rate training approach was alien to me and now I couldn’t imagine a training schedule without it. It wasn’t easy to begin with, it was frustrating learning to run at a lower heart rate (slower pace) but after a few weeks things levelled out and the training blocks came thick and fast. Averaging 9 runs a week with 1 rest day doesn’t sound too gruelling but when those runs are tailor made for what lies in wait at Badwater, trust me it has been a tough few months. I’ve been using a number techniques to help with the recovery, magnesium baths, magnesium capsules and weekly sports massages from a good friend and excellent masseuse Stuart Clarke of SC Sport Centre.

Some memorable sessions include hours and hours on Caerphilly Mountain, trips up and down the Bwlch but one of the craziest training runs I’ve ever done was the GUCR 145. A 145 mile run from Birmingham to London, it was an organised race by the team at CANALRACE CIC and I placed in the top 20 but for the Badwater journey, this was my long training run. It was the perfect opportunity to see if the legs had the miles in them, to see if my gear was intact, to see if my nutrition and hydration was on point and to finally implement a structured plan with the help of my amazing wife, Cerys.

After the GUCR, it was all eyes and focus on heat and hills, heat and hills, heat and hills. Living in Wales gives me unrivalled access to some gnarly hills and this country has delivered with vert. What it hasn’t delivered is the heatwave from last year, meaning the sauna has been my new best friend over the last few months. I’ve peeked the time in the sauna to over an hour whilst training the body to cope with processing the huge amounts of water and electrolytes it will need to me moving through the hottest place on earth. To make things a little more uncomfortable layers were introduced and the odd snack chowed down (to get used to eating in the heat). To help with the acclimation and radiation I’ve been taking iodine, lots of coconut water and watermelon.

Throughout all of this I’ve had the drive and determination to know that I’m running Badwater 135 for the CF Warriors. A charity which I’m lucky to be an ambassador of and actually fundraising for. So if you’d like to help the great wok Josh Llewellyn-Jones and the CF Warriors are doing then donations are being ‘warmly’ welcomed >>> HERE

I know this is only a brief snapshot of the work that has gone in to date and I will be sharing more of the journey as and when but for time being I shall see you on the other side of Badwater 135.

Happy running!