Ultra distance running events are for a certain, special kind of person! The dedicated few who take on the challenge commit to months of early mornings, late nights, blood, sweat and tears to get ready for race day. However, all that hard work can come undone on the day if you don’t take care of yourself and plan effectively.
Here are my top Ultra Marathon race day tips.
Come race week all the hard work has been done, so rest up, fuel up and enjoy a few days of quiet before the big dance on the weekend. There is no point trying to cram in last minute hard sessions, any running you do should be easy.
The day before the event and morning of make sure you get enough carbohydrate to help replace and load the glycogen stores in your muscles and liver ready to race. If you struggle to eat carbohydrates then a good carbohydrate & protein drink can be a good option.
Start out easy
Come race morning it is hard to resist the excitement and control the adrenaline, but if you go too hard at the start you’ll use up too much energy, hit the wall sooner and struggle to run consistently towards the end of the race. Consistency in pace is the key.
Eat early and often
With ultra marathon finishing times ranging from 3 to 24+ hours, it’s important to start your nutrition plan and fueling routine early. To ensure you maintain a consistent energy level no matter how long you are out there, set an interval timer on your watch to remind you to take your nutrition (be it gels, bars or hydration drinks) on a regular basis. That way you won’t forget even when you’re tired or working hard!
Beware of the checkpoint!
Checkpoints are like an oasis in the desert during ultra marathon races. You will be dreaming about them and waiting constantly for the next to arrive. However, don’t hang around in them – get in grab what you need and get out. Lingering in checkpoints not only wastes time, but can also cause you to second guess your drive to continue. A good strategy is to grab your supplies in hand and walk out of the checkpoint as you put them in your pack and organize your gear, this way you are still moving forward on the course and wasting as little time as possible.
Run if you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must!
It’s going to be hard, if it wasn’t you probably wouldn’t be doing it, so expect that there is going to be some very tough times. Everyone, elites and amateurs alike, will have low patches during the race, however you need to back yourself, trust your training and keep moving forward. You can lower the intensity a little, but keep on moving and you’ll find your way to the finish in no time.
Visit my running blog at: https://runningontheedge.wordpress.com/