Coach Nathan Montague on running GlobalLimits Albania – The Hidden Treasure
Considering ‘The Hidden Treasure’ or already signed up? You will need bravery, strength and valour, of which this Sovereign state stands for, to complete this gem. From right on the course, take these little gifts to help you on your Journey.
Leave any preconceptions behind. Albania gives you is surprise after surprise. The people, the infrastructure, the mountains, to the weather. Be open-minded and resourceful.
Weather. Alongside its Balkan neighbours Albania has maritime borders of Croatia, Italy and Greece. Expect temperatures of 25 degrees+. The course is exposed in many places, meaning no shelter from the sun. Be prepared with heat training and factor in electrolyte replacement. You are climbing mountains of 2000m + where the weather quickly changes, so being adaptable and resilient is imperative.
Equipment. Buff, gloves, sunglasses, a breathable waterproof. The trails are rocky, rugged and spikey, often dry and hard. Make sure your shoes are grippy and have good support. Your ankles and feet will take a battering as you climb up rocky inclines and descend stoney trails. The fauna and flora, while beautiful, can offer some nasty spikes so ensure your shoes are robust.
Fuel. Have A, B,C fuelling plans. What you take on in the early days, in race and after, may not be palatable after long days in the sun. Running plays havoc with the digestive tract. Some of your rest-time nutrition could be turned into race nutrition if planned well. Plan variety.
Terrain. Mountainous and rocky. There are steep ascents and descents; hard packed trails; river beds; open woodland vegetation. You will streams, great for cooling off. Plunge your head in or dip your feet. These short moments could change the outlook of a stage. With some local knowledge there are even some fresh water pipes!
Strategy. Don’t go off too hard or save it all for the long stage. Take each day as a separate entity. Some of the stages have some sweeping descents for some great running. While other short stages have KM after KM of rocky, stoney ascent and descent. Plan, prepare and manage each stage individually.
Culture. Albania is unique. Throw yourself into the culture, locals, food. As its guest, revel in the warmth of this amazing country.
Finish. You will literally be taken back in time as you enter a theatre of history at the finish on the island of Butrint.