I love using my Garmin watch to monitor my sleep. I’m finding it quite useful because sometimes I wake up thinking I’ve had a good night’s sleep, but actually I've not – and it’s accurate, as I’ll then feel tired later on! I also love the Ordnance Survey app on my phone, because it's a million times better than Google Maps. Once you learn how to map read, you can do a lot of exploring as you’ll find lots of interesting hidden footpaths.
I also recommend getting your salt loss and sweat rate tested. I went through a stage of feeling really dehydrated all the time even though I was drinking loads of water. So I went for a test and they gave me stats that said at 30ºC I was sweating a litre an hour, so if I’m pushing it harder than that any other day when it's not so hot, I probably need to drink at least 500-700ml an hour. Within that, I’d lose 3.4g of salt, so if I do a three-hour run, I now know I need nearly 10g of salt – which is really interesting, seeing as the UK recommended allowance is 6g. Now, I try to have some sea salt in a glass of water before the day starts. Sodium, potassium and magnesium are good for your brain function as well as your hydration, so it sets me up for the day nicely because you lose almost a pint of water overnight just by breathing.
Growing up in Zimbabwe and South Africa, my dad was massively into Land Rovers. Aged 10, I was into the Camel Trophy competition, which was this paid-for expedition you could do as a race in different parts of the world, such as the jungles of Peru, using Land Rover Defenders kitted up to the hilt in this sort-of-yellow colour. Back then, I saw my camera as my passport to travelling the world and I remember seeing these Defenders thinking, ‘Wow, if I just had a camera and one of those I could go anywhere and do anything.’ Fast-forward to my mid-30s, and I found a company up in North Yorkshire called Twisted, who built me a modern-day version of the Camel Defender that I can use daily – you wouldn't dare drive from London to Wales in one of the originals. Mine’s called Colonel Mustard and we’ve gone all over the place since 2016 – I’ll probably be buried in it. When I was 19, my mum gave me a Camel Trophy leather wallet. I still have it and I’ve used it for 24 years – and likewise, my Defender’s going to be with me for life.
The UK has so many good dedicated trails and footpaths. Some of the most accessible ones are the West Highland Way in Scotland, which is great for a four or five-day hike with mates, or you could do the Coast to Coast Walk, following Hadrian's Wall through the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales. The South West Coast Path is 600 miles, but you could do bits of it through Devon and Cornwall. I also rate Offa’s Dyke Trail, which is the length of Wales. It takes about a week and follows the wall the English made to keep the Welsh out. I also like the ‘Big Three’ Rounds which you can do in a few days, which takes in the Paddy Buckley Round in Wales, the Bob Graham Round in England and the Charlie Ramsay Round in Scotland. They’re meant to be run, but can be hiked too. Otherwise, just buy a map of where you live and you'll see just how many footpaths there are.
My Ironman 102 challenge begins in April – so watch this space. I’ll have a calendar day to complete each one, so there's no averaging and you can't do two on one day then rest the next day. I'm looking forward to it – if I can just stay injury free, job’s a good ’un.
Follow Sean’s adventures at @SeanConwayAdventure and buy Athletic Brewing’s non-alcoholic beers at AthleticBrewing.com.