Ross Edgley reveals his battle plan for the Worlds Strongest Marathon
Earlier this week I announced on Friday 22 January 2016, I will step foot onto Silverstone’s iconic circuit in an attempt to run 26.2 miles pulling a 1,400kg MINI Countryman. Why? For charity (is the short answer) and I wrote a blog post specifically about the brilliant charities I will be hoping to raise money for here.
But no sooner had I announced the news than my social media blew up with questions from inquisitive strongmen and confused marathon runners all wanting to know, “How exactly do I plan to prepare for something like this?” Which is why I decided to sit down — with a pen in one hand and a whey protein shake in the other — to write a second blog post detailing the “battle plan” for the day.
Which all begins in the kitchen…
This is other because the best fitness advice I got for this entire event was from famed strongman and friend Geoff Capes. For those not familiar with Geoff, he is widely considered to be the strongest athlete in history! Standing 6-ft-5, weighing 23 stone he was crowned the World’s Strongest Man in 1983 and 1985, was an Olympian, Highland Games Champion and could run the 200m in 23.7 seconds.
So what did he tell me? Bulk up!
It’s simply a matter of physics but weighing 89kg was not an ideal weight to then try and pull a 1,400kg car. But my nutritional problems didn’t stop there. Even once I’d managed to pack on 5kg of muscle the second problem was fuelling 16 hours of training a day (in the cold which didn’t help). Since all endurance-based elite athletes must have a grasp of bio-energetics (the study of the transformation of energy in living organisms).
Of course most traditional nutritionists would argue that carbohydrates are the body’s primary fuel source. And for most traditional sports this would be true too. But research published in the Current Sports Medicine Reports would beg to differ.
Sports scientists state that, “The number of gruelling events that challenge the limits of human endurance is increasing. Such events are also challenging the limits of current dietary recommendations.” The authors then added that traditionally high carbohydrate diets have been favoured but, “There are some situations for which alternative dietary options are beneficial”.
I’m not sure of the exact criteria but running a marathon pulling a car maybe qualifies as one of those “situations”.
Which is why my diet currently consists of 6,100 calories per day. 650 grams of carbohydrates, 300 grams of fat and 200 grams of protein.
(Again) why? Because scientists from the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Oxford stated that the energy needed to sustain exercise for a long period of time needs to come from two fuels —carbohydrates and fats. Interestingly they found fats (avocados, nuts and coconut oil) were a more sustainable fuel source and provide the, “Largest energy reserve in the body” that can provide enough energy to last about 5 days. In comparison carbohydrates can only provide enough energy to fuel 100 minutes of intensive training.
In short, all of the above is theory.
The longest distance I’ve pulled the car so far was 16 miles and my legs were in pieces. Therefore I’m not saying there’s a right or wrong answer or that I will reach a strength-stamina epiphany midway around Stowe Circuit. But as I plan to explore uncharted strength and conditioning territory — in my own small way — it’s my hope the above training and nutrition principles will enable me to write a second blog post. Sore but successful having completed the 26.2 miles pulling a MINI Countryman.