Running the Lavaredo Cortina Trail’s 48km race in 2018 was a beautiful experience. I’ll call it that because it wasn’t just about the race. It was the entire roadtrip with friends, seeing new trails of the Dolomites, and going through the highs and lows of the competition.
Also, about rediscovering a place I’d fallen in love with a year before, on the road cycling trip.
However, thinking about the competition itself, I didn’t have the best feeling ever. At least not from km 35 to km 48, when I bonked and suffered.
Looking back, I know some of the mistakes I made. I made a list with the biggest 5 things I did wrong, so that you don’t repeat them in your race in Lavaredo or any other race.
I can promise you they’re totally stupid mistakes and I have no excuse 🙂 But they happen.
1. Plan in advance
First and foremost, planning your race will save you lots of trouble. I didn’t plan my race well enough and that costed me a lot.
During the race I was constantly checking the profile on the bib number and wondering where the next aid station is, how many climbs I have left and so on. I should have known all this stuff and you should, too.
So take a close look at the profile at least a few days in advance, learn it, learn where the tough parts are, where the aid stations are, and try to estimate how long it will take you to get from one to the next.
Plus, there was the food issue. My muesli bowl before every race is sacred. I had something totally different in the morning before Cortina Trail and I ate quite little because I was in a hurry. I assume that I didn’t get enough energy in.
So if you don’t know whether you’ll find your favourite foods or supplements in Cortina, better bring them from home.
2. Eat and drink on time
I didn’t eat when I should have and then, later in the race, I couldn’t eat. The bright sun and exhaustion killed my appetite and I could barely down a gel at km 35.
My advice is to stick to your nutrition and hydration plan as well as you can. Have just a bite of a bar when it’s time to eat, even if you don’t feel like chewing anything. Also, if it’s hot, don’t forget to add some salt to your water.
3. Don’t do anything stupid
Like drinking any kind of water you see on the ground. I was so thirsty and tired that my brain must have not been working anymore.
So I had some water that I think was coming from the previous winter’s melted snow. This made my stomach hurt later.
4. Don’t start too fast
Last year I only went back to running in May, after a few months’ injury break.
Considering that Cortina Trail was going to be the longest distance I’d run up to that point, I was definitely not prepared nor able to anticipate what this distance means.
I started too fast, like a hero, and got tired too soon.
5. Don’t exhaust yourself before the race
We arrived in Cortina a few days before the race, and of course we decided to explore a bit. So we went hiking, but one of the hikes was long and exhausting, and left me with sore muscles. Not something you want before a race, but it was a risk I was willing to take at that point, because I wasn’t competing for the first position 🙂
Anyway, having a few extra days in Cortina is a great plan because you get to see more than the competition route, you can ride your bike, climb to Tre Cime, do some geocaching or some via ferrata. So if you want to make sure you’re still able to run on race day, better plan the heavy stuff after the race.
I think this is pretty much it. Like I said, they’re things that anyone who has done a few races before knows, but knowing and doing are two different things.
I hope you’ll be better prepared than I was and that you’ll enjoy the race and the experience to the maximum!