Lizzie Wraith dodging summit cairns on day three of the GL3D 2015 © Ian Corless
1) You ended 2014 on a high with a win at the UK Skyrunning 3x3 Ultra in the Lake District. Has training and preparation over the winter been successful?
My winter training and prep has been a bit mixed, my running has been ticking over and I've been doing as much as I can (lots of dark and wet 5am runs), but my work has been extremely busy lately with lots of long days and travelling, I've spent 6 weeks working out in Lillehammer over the winter, so my training has had to take a bit of a back seat if I'm honest. I love my job but its often not very compatible with my running ambitions! However this is going to change in the lead up to the DBR as my work have been amazing and have allowed me to take 3 months off between April and June to follow my dreams and focus on running in the lead up to the Trail Running World Championships and the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race™.
2) With great results at the UTMB, Lavaredo Ultra Trail and a Lakeland 100 win, how do you think these races will compare to the Berghaus Dragon's Back Race?
I think the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race™ is going to be harder than anything I've ever done before, I am definitely not underestimating just how tough it is going to be. If I can make it to the finish line in one piece, that will be a big success for me. I've never competed in a multi-day stage race before so the Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race™ is going to be a very different and new experience. I suspect the most successful athletes will be those who are able to pace themselves effectively over the week, not just on the first day. I'll focus strongly on recovery between stages, quality nutrition and getting as much sleep as possible. The navigation aspect of the race will also be different, and very challenging for me, as I still consider my navigation skills to be pretty basic! I have a few races over the next couple of months, which I hope will prepare me better. I'm doing a multi-day stage race in Nepal in April, so will be able to experience the impact of racing back to back days and refine my pacing and recovery strategies. I'm also taking part in the Great Lakeland 3 Day™ race in May, which is a great opportunity for me to practice my route planning and navigation skills.
3) I spotted on your race application form that you are currently doing your Mountain Leader training. Perhaps you could share what you have learnt from that and whether there is any transferable knowledge and skills for mountain runners?
Yes I completed a Mountain Leader Training Course just over a year ago. I do a lot of running in the mountains on my own and with others, so I wanted to build my confidence in the mountain environment and make sure I was safe and knew how to avoid dangerous situations and what to do in an emergency. Pretty much everything I learnt was transferable to mountain runners; navigation in the mountains, trip planning, weather conditions, kit, nutrition and so much more. It was the first time I had wild camped and the first time I had used a compass so the course literally opened up a whole new world to me. I feel confident now heading out into the mountains for a few days to explore with little except a tent, sleeping bag, map, compass and some trail running shoes.
4) You are a sports scientist at the English Institute for Sport. That must be fascinating and does this enable you to take a cutting edge scientific approach to personal training?
Yes I work as a Performance Pathway Scientist at the English Institute of Sport. My job involves working alongside Olympic Sports at a talent level to help them build sustainable pathways. I focus on specific projects, which support sports to identify and develop athletes in an optimal way, to ensure they have the best chance of success in the future. I wouldn't describe my training as cutting edge - I just try to do the basics well, as I see on a daily basis how important things like diet, recovery, injury prevention and commitment are to top level athletes. There are no short-cuts to putting in the hours, I'm not at a level to worry about marginal gains just yet!
5) If there was one luxury you think you'd like at the Berghaus Dragon's Back Race™, what would it be?
I'd like my family and friends out on the course to cheer me on, they never fail to keep me smiling and motivated when the going gets tough.