Don’t look now, but it’s just 38 days until the start of the 2021 edition of the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee (GVRAT). I ran this race last year starting on May 1 and finished up the 1,023km 77 days later.
In the weeks leading up to the start of this years race, again on May 1, I’m going to provide some insights and advice on how to prepare and plan for the race.
Let’s be honest, running something like 1,022km in four months is a big ask for a lot of runners – it works out to 8km every day between May 1 and August 31. There’s strategy involved in how you approach the distance and that all depends on your experience, fitness level and also your commitment to the race.
Get Ready to Go
If you are not accustomed to running 250km a month, then you have some work to do starting today. You need to ramp yourself up to that mileage by May 1st, so you aren’t flipping a switch and ramping up your weekly mileage too fast. The result of doing that is most certainly some sort of injury and the end of your race before you even get started.
If you are already running 250km a month, then you have to ask yourself questions like “how fast can I finish?” or “do I want to attempt the 1000 miles or running Back Across Tennessee (the BAT)?” Those are questions best answered before the start since that could have a big impact on how you approach your race.
Being ready to go on May 1st is the primary goal right now, no matter whether your goal is to run fast, or to just get it done in the time allotted. Find out now what your body will tell you when you run 56km a week or more. You’ll have limited time to sort all that out now rather than during the race when the days tick by and the buzzard runs another 8km every 24 hours.
Personally I have been building up to run a 100km week or two sometime in early April, as my goal is to do the 1,000 miles and that means running 100kms week for the duration. I’ve already run into some shoe issues, and a blister has shown up (like last year) that required some intervention.
You can not afford to take the GVRAT anything other than seriously. You need a plan and you need to be 100% ready to rock on May 1. Best of luck in your race!