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Wednesday, 17 October 2012 13:47 TWEET COMMENTS 7

Beyond 26.2 on Dirt - Page 2

2. Expect the unexpected.

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Anything can happen in an ultra.” While this is undoubtedly true with the 100-mile distance, the same holds true for a 50K. A myriad of issues may affect your race, including weather, terrain, competition, stomach issues and cramps, to name a few.

According to 2011 The North Face Endurance Challenge Championship winner, Mike Wolfe, of Missoula, Montana, “Don’t over-analyze before going into a race. Many first timers go in over-prepared with splits memorized, food strategized by the minute, etcetera. You cannot plan out what will happen in an ultra. When your plan inevitably crumbles, and it will at some point during a race even if only for a few minutes, some people lose it mentally."

He continues, “Go into your first ultra with a more relaxed approach: have a plan, but know it will likely need to change. Be flexible mentally and expect the unexpected. Your body will adapt.”

3. Listen to your body.

Above all, though, listen to your body’s signals. According to elite ultrarunnner Nikki Kimball, of Bozeman, Montana, glean information from experienced ultrarunners , but, she warns, “Remember, there is much individual difference between athletes. What assists one runner may not be tolerated by another.”

For example, just because your friend Jerry eats bacon sandwiches and avocados while he runs 100s and claims that they are the best ultraunning fuel, it doesn’t mean that your stomach will be able to tolerate such a high-fat food. Try it on a training run first. Use trial and error to find your ideal race-day food.

4. Keep pouring fuel in the tank.

To reach the finish line, you'll need to fuel up during the race. This means eating (whether that’s gels, liquid calories or actual whole foods), hydrating and replenishing electrolytes. Says 2012 Leadville 100-Mile women’s winner, Tina Lewis, “Eat and drink as much as you can through the entire race as soon as the gun goes off.”

Jen Burn recommends setting an alarm every 25 to 30 minutes to remind you to take a gel. While “on demand” eating isn’t necessarily right for everyone, practice eating and drinking during training to find the method that best helps you get calories throughout the race.


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