Gobi March Blogs 2023

View All Posts 2023 From : Richard Behringer

Richard Behringer

27 February 2023 10:20 pm (GMT-06:00) Central Time(US & Canada)

I got a coach! The recent RTP Zoom on “Top Tips on Stage Racing from Personal Trainers" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dGfWSsVvAEI) was very helpful. I decided I needed a professional to guide my training for the Gobi March. In the past, I have been able to use boiler plate training plans to complete marathons and Ironman triathlons but a multi-stage ultra is much more complex. My coach has completed the Gobi March so I know they are aware of the issues specific to this event. So far so good!

I was very happy to see Dr. Rob’s recent blog on Food to learn about details selecting nutrition for the race. I have been taste testing a lot of different brands and meals. Stowaway Gourmet (https://www.stowawaygourmet.com) and Pinnacle Foods (https://pinnaclefoods.co) have some particularly great tasting meals. I also stumbled across a “Power Chia Bomb” recipe (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Rk759fxiKM). You add room temperature water to the mix. The next morning it is ready to eat. I have tried this multiple times (either a full or half recipe), it tastes good and it sits well in my stomach. I have also been testing snacks for during the race. It has started to warm up in Houston and I learned that chocolate things melt into a mess. I have to think of alternatives.

I also learned about DripDrop from Michael Williams’ (4 Deserts Club) YouTube videos (@user-fv2dq2pu1b). It is an oral rehydration drink. It comes in small 10-gram packets that you mix with ~1 cup of water. I love this stuff. I have used it on long runs and bikes. It immediately refreshes me. I usually drink it in one shot but recently I have been sipping it during training sessions. The passion fruit flavor is very nice. Definitely a keeper to incorporate into the Gobi March. Not much of a source of carbs though.

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Richard Behringer
Nutrition Planning

06 February 2023 09:00 pm (GMT-06:00) Central Time(US & Canada)

Well, I’m 4 weeks into my training for the 2023 Gobi March. I’m using the RTP Intermediate Training Plan. So far so good but I'm concerned there isn't a progressive long run or back to back long runs. Sunday I hiked for 2.5 hrs with a 10 kg (22 lb) pack, after building up weekly from 4, 6, and 8 kg. 10 kg is really heavy, at least for me.

On my spreadsheet with the required equipment, my pack is currently below 6 kg, not including what I will wear. Yes, I have turned into a gram geek but I think it will be really helpful because I can run with a 6 kg pack but probably not with a 10 kg pack. I am very happy to share my spreadsheet. Contact me at [email protected]

One thing that can reduce the weight of your pack is to bring calorie dense food. There is a very helpful RTP video by Sam (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIe0_GuN_Ts) that is worth watching, multiple times.

Trish Hepworth (Canada) from the 2022 Atacama Crossing told me she doesn’t bring any food that isn’t at least 5 calories/gram. For the minimum RTP required 14,000 calories this is 2.8 kg or a little over 6 lbs. If it is 5.5 calories/gram it is only 2.5 kg or 5.5 lbs and so on. She also told me about a great resource, a spreadsheet with all of the info you would want on hiker food with grams, calories, carbs, fat, sodium etc. It has been very helpful for me planning my nutrition.

Here are the links:

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynCBp7CZaNQ

Google doc: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1DsLpp9lEXGZTKWVMyA3eNTeN4NHTSGGAwln1yoWI0Cw/edit#gid=2030650696

*Remember to remove the desiccant packet from your dehydrated food before you rehydrate your meal or it will taste horrible. Yes, I forgot to do this! :(

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Mary Gadams

Posted On: 10 Feb 2023 09:12 am

Richard, very good advice for the competitors...thank you. Mary
Richard Behringer

25 January 2023 09:14 pm (GMT-06:00) Central Time(US & Canada)

I first learned about RTP and the Atacama Crossing in the summer of 2019. I was captivated. However, I didn’t think I had enough time to train properly for the race so I ended up registering for the 2020 Namib Race. Then the pandemic shut things down. Last September, I was finally able to attempt Atacama. During the long lag time, I had gotten all of the required equipment, counted grams, made spreadsheets for food and calories, etc. Up to that point I had finished 8 Ironman triathlons, ran marathons, and did open water swim races. I trained diligently and suffered during the hot and humid Houston summer. I thought I was ready.

Unfortunately, I ended up withdrawing at Checkpoint #3 of Stage 2 just after coming down the giant sand dune. This was my first ever DNF and I was really puzzled. I greatly underestimated the realities of the Atacama Crossing. Houston in the summer is hot, humid, flat and at sea level. Atacama was very cold, bone dry, with many climbs on the course, and at high altitude. My pack was too heavy and wasn’t sitting properly, causing back issues. I completed Stage 1, barely, only because of the generosity and encouragement of the wonderful Minji Bak from South Korea. The stream crossings the next day early in Stage 2 were so much fun but the course between Checkpoint 2 and 3 got me. Although I did not finish, it was a great experience and I met so many wonderful people.

So now I will attempt the Gobi March this June. The course is lower in altitude and going to Mongolia was a big attraction. This will be a race for redemption. After Atacama, hopefully, I am wiser and numerous people have been very generous sharing great tips. I will share these tips and what I have learned in my blog.

Tip #1 comes from Karen Wei (Canada) who has completed an incredible 16 RTPs! She told me “I think even more important than physical training is the “I’M NOT GOING TO QUIT, NO MATTER WHAT!!” mentality. Everyone will be physically hurting at some point so it’s your head that’s going to take you to the finish line.” I will be shouting these words during the Gobi March!

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Richard Behringer

Posted On: 26 Jan 2023 02:41 pm

Thank you for the encouragement, Mary!

Mary Gadams

Posted On: 26 Jan 2023 07:16 am

Hi Richard, glad to see you back -- Mongolia will be spectacular. DNF's happen to all of us, me, even course directors for the Gobi March. Everyone who makes it to the start is a champion. Mary