Life Wellbeing How David prepared for a 100km run
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How David prepared for a 100km run

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On Saturday morning while most of us are tucked up warm in our beds, David Pitt will run 100 kilometres across the Blue Mountains – a staggering 17-hour ordeal.

While it sounds like an impossible feat, David will have the spirit of his older brother Matthew with him every step of the way.

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The Melbourne father of two is competing in The North Face 100 ultramarathon to raise money for Beyond Blue in memory of Matthew who took his own life six years ago.

“It was difficult for me because I thought that I could have done a lot more for him,” Mr Pitt explains.

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Matthew (L) and David (R) as kids.

“There’s a lot of people out there who are still suffering in silence. I’m just trying to create somewhere about awareness about that.”

“If we had something like Beyond Blue back when my brother wasn’t that well, maybe that could have been an avenue for him.”

If running 100km sounds like a mammoth challenge to you, you’re not the only one.

Even a year ago, Mr Pitt says he wouldn’t have dreamed of running such an enormous distance.

How he’s preparing

While Mr Pitt has always been relatively fit, when he started training eight months ago long-distance running was a “pipe dream”.

“It’s mainly just training your legs to run and training your mind to run on sore legs,” he says, revealing he runs around 60 to 70 kilometres a week.

He says the key is to gradually build up your distance, get support, fuel your body properly and have the right gear.

“When I first started I was struggling to run 15 kilometres and pulling up fairly sore, but you just follow a plan and slowly increase the amount of kilometres each weekend.”

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Exercise scientists say you should allow 12 months to train. Photo: Shutterstock

As for the pain, Mr Pitt says he just focuses on the next five to 10 kilometres and tries to alter his running style.

“You just try and balance your body out as well as you can. Sometimes I might alter my running style. I’ve pretty much trained myself to run different ways.”

He says it’s important not to skimp on gear and admits to having been through three pairs of runners in the last few months.

Fuelling the body correctly is also extremely important, he says.

“I’ve got little bars that I take with me. Your humble old banana is also a great source of energy and potassium.”

“I’m also taking a lot of magnesium at the moment just to make sure I’m not cramping.”

Mr Pitt says getting the support of friends who’ve done marathons before is crucial.

“I’ve found that my running friend Paul has been a wealth of knowledge through my training plan but also what’s good to eat, the gear I need and how many kilometres I should run.”

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David says he runs 60 to 70kms a week in training.

How you can do it

It’s important to gradually build your way up to your goal distance to avoid injuries, La Trobe University exercise physiology lecturer Dr Brett Gordon says.

“The most prevalent injuries with ultramarathon running are in the muscle and bones; overuse and overloading injuries like stress fractures in your feet and shins,” Dr Gordon says.

To avoid injuries, you should allow a large period of time to train.

“For a 100-kilometre run, for the average person you’d be looking at a training period of 10 to 12 months,” he says.

The two most important things for runner are shoes that are properly fitted to your feet which you replace often, and hydration.

“That’s an important thing, just to make sure that you’re absorbing some of the load of the shocks to help prevent some of those overuse injuries.”

“After your training run, you need to choose some more carbohydrates and includes some fats in that as well.

“Protein is a really important thing for allowing muscles to grow and recover,” he says.

You can help David raise money for Beyond Blue here

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