My next goal is a desert stage race in February 2014. While I will be continuing with the same structured training approach, my coach has asked that we include some additional races along the way to work on my ability to race and to adapt to race conditions. These races will be training races so I won't be tapering into them or taking significant time afterwards to recover. This means my results won't be as good as they would be if the races were priorities, but that I'll face the stimulus of race conditions that we're looking for. My expectation is that these added races make me a better runner and racer.
My calendar for the next few months will include the following races.
Volcano Ultra Trail 30km - 7 December
This is a new race that will be held near Puerto Varas and is being sponsored by my sponsor, Lafuma. It takes place on a beautiful and challenging course and it's going to be in a region of Chile that I love. The main event is a 60km race, but I will be taking on the 30km distance as I won't be ready for the ultra after KAEM and the time I need to recover fully from that. The Lafuma team will all be getting together to take part in the various distances over the race weekend and it should be an excellent team environment.
Licanray to Villarica 70km - 5 January
I ran this race in 2012 and enjoyed the fast route. It is another race in the Lake District of Chile, near Pucon, so Vanessa and I will be traveling to the race together and taking some time to relax and enjoy the area as it will be during the summer holidays. I'd like to run a consistent effort during this race and my expectation is to test my race nutrition and hydration plan under race conditions. It will also be interesting to compare my performance here to how I did in the same race in 2012 which was during my build-up to my first stage race.
The Sahara Race - 16 February
This is my first goal race of 2014. It is a desert stage race to be held in Jordan and following a similar format to the Atacama Crossing (they're both organized by RacingThePlanet). I have been improving at stage racing and I'm looking to take a step up in this race to run faster and also to challenge myself against some very good competition (this will be the most impressive field I have faced yet). I'll be posting updates regularly about my preparations for the Sahara Race along the way so there will be a lot more detail on this in the future.