Ultras aren’t easy. Keep these points in mind while training for any long-distance running or your first ultra-marathon.
Not enough training and a change in lifestyle will leave you prone to major injuries during any long-distance running event. Injuries can prove to be the worst situation while training as they will push you back in your training and in a worst case scenario, bed-ridden for weeks. Learn these ten tips to train and apply them in your training.
- Train on the same terrain as the race
Training on the same terrain as the race will help the various muscles in the body get used to the pain and become stronger before the race day. You wouldn’t want to give your body a shock on a new terrain.
- Balanced diet
Providing the body with a balanced and nutritious diet is as important as training hard. Give your body the right amount of carbohydrates, proteins and fat. Don’t fall for fads.
- Keep yourself well hydrated
The body loses essential salts through sweat and you need to replenish it by taking it in from outside while on the run. Don’t load yourself at once or see yourself throwing up soon. Experiment with your energy supplements and water intake during your training sessions. Do not try anything you’re not familiar with on the race day.
Choosing the right kind of shoes is very important. Take the ones for the race you have been training in for long. Watch your foot movement – whether it’s pronated or supinated. Training barefoot will keep away all the running injuries as advocated by Christopher McDougall in his classic book, Born to Run. (Ed: Running barefoot isn’t for everyone. Check with your doctor and work your way up to it.)
- Strength training to reduce fatigue
Running ultras just doesn’t mean to train yourself by running all the time. Some amount of strength is also important as it will help keep fatigue at bay during the ultra. Train various body parts prone to injuries like Achilles’ tendons, lower back (correct your running gait for various terrains), iliotibial band, plantar fascia (flat band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes), calves (gastrocnemius and soleus), etc.
- Spend more time on feet
Spend more time on your feet and get active a month before into the race. Do not tire yourself so much that you don’t recover from the previous workout. The point is to walk where you’d have cycled like to your office, market, etc.
- Volume and Intensity
Include the volume in your training sessions coupled with intensive runs. Ultras are about distances so volume training is also important.
- Rest and recover well
Give your body enough time to recover. It should feel fresh from the previous workout and ready to go. Do not avoid any severe pain as it might lead to an injury.
- Embrace the suck
Pain is inevitable. Ultras are painful and full of sufferings. Learn to enjoy the beauty of pain in an ultra and you’ll finish it with a changed you.
“Make friends with pain, and you will never be alone.” said Ken Chlouber, Colorado miner and creator of the Leadville Trail 100 mile race.
- Visualize the race
“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” – Napolean Hill.
Do the research on the race, its terrain, distance and train on the same route at least once if you can. It will give an idea of what you will get yourself into and will help in the better training.
There is no thumb rule for training for an ultra. Remember the famous saying, “When your legs are tired, run with your heart.”
Feature image: Garhwal Runs