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Fri 7th Oct 2022
Tackling The Ben (part two)
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Saturday 30th July 2016

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Ask the Experts: We talk to Martin Cox, an international mountain runner and leading coach from VO2 Max Coaching, about the best approach to training for, and racing the 13.1 mile run on Ben Nevis - part of the Ben Nevis Braveheart Triathlon (

What do I do without a mountain to train on?

"Get some quality running on the hills, the best way to do this is to find a few hilly road races over the summer – they're a great replacement for uphill threshold runs, which aren't always possible if don't have 20 miles of off road hills nearby."

"Cycling a high volume of hilly roads is great preparation for hill running, too, as you're using similar muscles."

What pace should I train at?

"Building up your aerobic endurance is crucial for a long event, so a progressively long, hilly, off-road weekly run at a comfortably hard effort is the most essential training. Build up over the next six weeks so that you can run at this moderate pace for 2.5 hours, but only increase by 10 to 15 per cent, per week. This is also the best way to prepare the legs for running up and down hill. But note, whatever happens, you're going to have very sore legs after the race as running 4400ft is not something you can condition your legs for. However, the more run training you do on hilly terrain (roads or trails) the stronger you'll be on the run section of the Ben Nevis Braveheart Triathlon."

What are good sessions to do for Braveheart?

"To be fully prepared it makes sense to do longer brick sessions, for example a long hilly bike ride of say, 2.5 hours followed by a one-hour hilly run. If possible it's pretty crucial to recce the bike and mountain run sections at least once."

Race Day

"Eat heaps during the bike ride, you don't want to hit the run section depleted, that's possibly the most crucial thing to get right, and it's something you have to practice in training. Other essentials for the run are the right shoes. I choose Adidas Boston Boost as they're very good on wet/slippery rocks."

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