TOP TEN TIPS TO...RUNNING AN ULTRA
An ultra marathon is a magnificent thing. It's a thorough test of mind, body, and soul. It's an opportunity to go out and see parts of the country, or parts of any country for that matter, that you may have never seen. And best of all, contrary to the opinions of those couch inclined folk, it's achievable. With a carefully planned preparation and a simple approach, YOU could do an ultra! Here are a few tips from one of the team here at High Beam. And remember, these tips can apply to endurance of all varieties.
- The decision - Shouldn't be taken lightly, but shouldn't be feared either. You may have done an Ironman, or a couple of half Ironmans, or a marathon perhaps. An ultra might be the next logical step for you. It demands the same ingredients to the aforementioned events, just a slightly different mix, that's all.
- The commitment - An ultra is a tough task, regardless of who you are, but you've got a life to live too so don't over train. I recommend an approach of sizeable weekends to build up your ability to run for a long time, but with nothing over an hour during the week to rest from and prepare for the next sizeable runs.
- Simulate - If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten. If you practice with gear, food, and attitude that works, it'll work on event day too.
- Food - Unless you've got a stomach of steel, you'll want the variety and taste of actual food. Many people like bread with peanut butter, muesli bars, and even lollies - all simple carbs and easily digestible.
- Gear selection - Clothing that wicks moisture, foot wear that keeps you upright and blister free, adequate fluid storage, and adequate gear storage.
- Chafing - Be VERRRRY wary of skin on skin or wet clothing on skin contact. Chafing can stop you in your tracks if it gets bad enough - so train/'race' prepared.
- Pace yourself - When you're feeling good it's easy to think you'll be feeling the same in 20km's time. Don't fool yourself. The human body has a habit of turning the tables quickly. So set a pace that feels too easy from the start and stick to it. Plenty of time to make up in the final 20k's if you're feeling good.
- Enjoy it - A happy head = happy legs. Don't just enjoy the event day though, enjoy the whole journey. Don't get caught up racing yourself around the same old training loop - mix it up! Try something different! Adventure!
- Recover - An ultra is a big commitment and you'll be tired afterwards. Make sure you rest up plenty before committing to another.
- You're crazy - And don't be offended. Running an ultra is something that few people can achieve, so consider yourself special. And remember, crazy people push boudaries and achieve things that others don't - certainly nothing wrong with that!