Tuesday 16th July at 7 am sees the start of the 2011 Trailer Walker competition. The 100 km (63 mile) race across the South Downs in aid of Oxfam is the equivilent to 2.5 marathons and is set to test the physical and mental limits of the competitors.
One of the teams entering this competition includes Health, Exercise and Sport Science’s Exercise Physiologist Scott Burnet. Scott brought his team into the Exercise Physiology Laboratory at Southampton Solent University to be put through their paces in preparation for the endurance race that must be completed within 30 hours.
|One of the competitors before being put through their paces.|
In addition to Scott, the team is made up of Glen Moores, Mark Marande and Brett Burnet. As part of the laboratory session all participants performed a variety of tests to help identify their current fitness levels and to enable the formulation of tailor-made training programmes . Participants were screened for basic cardiovascular health indicators such as resting blood pressure and heart rate, along with a full 12 lead ECG trace. Furthermore, additional indicators such as aerobic capacity (the maximum amount of oxygen consumed) and lactic acid accumulation were determined throughout a progressive treadmill test (i.e. in response to increased running speeds). Treadmill speeds topped 18 km/h (11 mi /h) as the team pushed themselves to the point of complete fatigue.
To ensure the team are sufficiently prepared for the competition a variety of short walks are completed throughout the week with an extended walk (up to 32 km / 20 miles) at the weekends. When speaking to Scott, he commented that “the training was essential to ensure the team hit their target”, but stressed “...the team are only as strong as the slowest person and it is therefore essential to operate as a single unit.” The team are set to return to the physiology laboratory in May where the tests will be performed again to evaluate the change in physical conditioning.