As Shannon The Dude prepares to embark on an unimaginable endurance quest, KSR recruited the University of Kentucky’s cross country coach to help Shannon cross the finish line.
Hakon DeVries has served as an assistant on UK’s track and field staff, specializing in distance running, since 2012-13. During his tenure DeVries has coached a dozen All-Americans and won seven SEC Titles. This task is unlike anything he or his players have ever accomplished. What’s the most difficult part?
“Truthfully, it’s being in Kentucky,” DeVries’ told KSR. “It’s going to be 90 degrees and humid. We’re not doing this in March or something like that. It could be a brutal day out. He’s going to have to have a hat on. He’s going to need sunglasses. He’s going need a bandana for his neck.”
He also is going to need plenty of fuel during and before the event.
“Forty-eight hours before (the walk) you can start fueling your body pretty well. You’re going to tap on those glycogen stores and all of that kind of stuff. Going for that long, he’s going to have to replace them all while he’s walking,” he said. “You and I eat while we’re sitting down, not doing anything. When you’re out exercising for that 20 hours, the amount you’ve gotta put in is going to easily double. He’s just gotta figure out what he can eat while he’s walking, what his stomach is going to be able to handle and all of that kind of stuff.”
Of course, there’s a balance. As Michael Scott taught us, you cannot down a plate of fettuccine alfredo immediately before the race. That balance must also be applied when finding the right pace, especially early in the process. DeVries believes Shannon should try to buy some time by racking up the miles early in the walk.
“There’s definitely a point to try to get a little ahead of schedule. You think about exactly what that pacing must be — probably going a mile every 24 minutes or something like that — trying to get in three or 3.5 miles per hour early on to put a little time in the bank just in case, frankly he’s gotta stop for 30 minutes and just take a break. If you’re trying to follow such a regimented pace, you can never fall behind, but if you build a little bit of buffer early on… There’s definitely the other side of that where you do way too much too early and then you’re really struggling on hour 12 or 14.”
A primary concern for Shannon is the shape of his feet. One small blister could completely derail his quest. Luckily, PowerStep is providing STD with gear, gear that DeVries says needs to be broken into before the walk begins.
“Prevention is the best thing you can do,” he said. “The No. 1 rule is never run in a new pair of shoes. The same thing goes for socks. You’re not taking something out of the package and putting something new on your feet. If your body’s used to it and you haven’t blistered before, that’s your best shot there.”
In this test of endurance there are multiple factors that could stop Shannon The Dude short. Ultimately, this will serve as a test of Shannon The Dude’s willpower and cross country coach Hakon DeVries believes he can do it.
“It’s going to be a challenge for him but if he can put his mind to that pacing early on, I think he can put some miles in the bank and he’s going to be able to do it. It’s definitely going to be a pretty serious challenge. Just the duration of time on your feet is a lot.”