Karel Sabbe is a Belgian Ultra Trailer who is used to very long distance efforts. Over the past two years, he has established « FKT » (Fastest Known Time) on popular backcountry trails in the United States. The Pacific Crest Trail (4.240 km in 52 days 8h 25min) and the Appalachian trail (3.510km in 41 days 7h 39min).
A month ago, Karel rocked the Trail running planet by achieving the incredible feat of reaching loop 4 ,out of 5, of the legendary Barkley Marathon (+ -160km and 20,000m D+). Only fifteen runners have completed the five loops since 1986, less than 2% of the 800 ultra runners who tried it.
To do so, Karel participated to the Ohm Trail last year where he finished 3rd on the Ohm Trail XL. Very nicely, he shares some training tips and gives his impression on the race:
Hi Karel, how do you prepare for a trail as hard as the Ohm Trail?
the Ohm Trail was a perfect fit for my Appalachian Trail record-breaking training program: as much as you can get as much as you can on the shortest possible distance. My training at that time was a mixture of volume and short climbs. Near Ghent there is an embankment with a vertical drop of 31m. Sometimes walking up to 100 times from bottom to top, I was able to train on several meters in record time, ideal for the Ohm Trail.
My only disadvantage was that I could not do speed training at that time. My body had to get used to the slowness of long distances. As the Ohm Trail is a succession of climbs, I was able to take advantage to get on a podium. I was gaining a lot of time in the climbs and I lost some time on the parties some « rolling » parts.
Have you adapted your training?
To do better on the Ohm Trail, I should have worked more my speed. But my top priority was the record on the Appalachian Trail. Being a good climber is an important asset to the Ohm Trail. More than most other trails. It is certainly good to include a few sessions of fractional odds in his coaching for the Ohm Trail
What particularity of the course marked you?
The Chefna Valley and the Ninglingspo are two of my favorite places in the Ardennes. Running here during a competition is so special and unique. The beauty of the course really marked me!