Some helpful pointers from the pros
The North Face team packing checklist
- Comfortable bag, no bigger than 20-litre capacity. Blair will use The North Face Enduro Belt at Trailwalker.
- Breathable shoes (a second pair with your support team is ideal). The North Face Hyper-Track Guide is Kiangchaipaipana's favourite.
- Lightweight hiking poles, such as the Black Diamond Ultra Distance Trekking Pole.
- Head light or torch, such as the Black Diamond Storm head light, with backup batteries.
- Lightweight jacket.
- Tow rope (available from Asia Pacific Adventure e-Shop, asiapacificadventure.com for HK$200).
- Other handy items include anti-chafe cream and spare socks.
Training: "It's very important to go for at least one long run per week," says Tsang. He also suggests including hill workouts: "Long uphill runs or interval hill work will strengthen your legs." Finally, a tempo run - three to 10 kilometres at 80 to 90 per cent of your maximum speed - will increase your pace, he says. Kaburaki believes it's most important to develop stamina: "You should run and walk for eight hours at the pace of, or a little slower than, race pace."
Teamwork: "Before the day, communicate clearly your race strategy, goals and pacing plan to all members of your team," says Blair. On the day, it's important to put aside any ego and ask for help from teammates when in need. "Everyone needs some help out there at some stage," he says.
Preparation: Kaburaki says it's most important to have a race plan for the day. "All members of the team, including the support team, should understand what kind of support and aid they will give at each station and for each section ahead of the race," he says. Blair suggests carrying a small laminated paper sheet with target split times for each checkpoint. "During the race, communicate frequently with your teammates to monitor this plan and how you are all feeling and adjust as needed," he says. Finally, in the days leading up to the race, Kiangchaipaipana encourages a proper diet, with enough rest and hydration.