Many people take on tough fitness and endurance events to prove to themselves they can do it. But at BODYTEC we’re all about ensuring that science backs up your efforts, which is why we challenged our Head of the BODYTEC Training Academy, Gerry Gerhardt, to see if strength beats cardio fitness in long distance running.
“The initial thought for me to participate in the Three Peaks Challenge was to prove a point: that muscular strength endurance and the related movement economy can outweigh, or at least significantly interplay, with cardiovascular fitness in long-distance running,” explains Gerry. So how would Gerry do (having never run more than 25 kilometres in a race) in a 50km race in off-road and trail profile terrain, carrying equipment such as food and drink?
While Gerry is a BODYTEC devotee, he had never run an ultra-marathon or a marathon before in his life. In preparation for the Three Peaks Challenge he only did the following training:
- Ten training runs (of which only three were between 20 and 25km) in a period of three months.
- Martial arts training sessions (four to five times per week for 90-120 minutes).
- His weekly BODYTEC training of 20 minutes.
“Taking into account my training, my sporting history and the general recommendation for ultra-marathon preparation, I should not have been ready for the race. Especially looking into the profile of the Three Peaks Challenge. It is a rather tough ultra-distance trail run and not a best fit for beginners in these distances,” explains Gerry. Just to make things even that bit more challenging, Gerry chose to race with his adorable mini pinscher, Daisy. “While she ran most uphill sections on the mountain herself, I carried her in my backpack as extra weight for the whole race.”
There was another challenge that Gerry had to overcome, however. One week before the race he injured his ankle. “The injury bothered me throughout the race, but I managed to balance the injury with the surrounding stabilising muscles to assist the ankle – something I strongly attach to being made possible because my BODYTEC training,” he says.
Gerry tracked his race from start to finish using Strava, coming in at 8h32, in position 51 out of 140 runners. “In terms of my race experience, I am very confident and happy to have proved my point and stand strongly in my notion that my strength- and strength endurance-based training (martial arts and BODYTEC) rather than cardio-focused running, cycling, swimming or rowing has helped me to successfully tackle the race,” he says.
To follow Gerry’s race on Strava click here