If you’re planning on running an ultra-marathon, it goes without saying you need to factor in lots of time for preparation. As the saying goes, fail to prepare, prepare to fail, so knowing the right tips and techniques can help enormously. If you struggle on your first training run, it’s understandable that the possibility of you running an ultra may feel next to impossible, therefore, here are five tips for the first-time ultra-marathon runner.
Depending on where the ultra-marathon takes place, there will be a range of conditions that you need to prepare for. If you’re going for a hard mountain race, you should run upstairs as often as possible, which can be incredibly useful for elevation gain. As an ultra-marathon is longer than your traditional one, getting in as much training and practice as you can beforehand is key. Make sure to check out the elevation profile of the marathon and try to mimic it as much as you can in your training regime. It’s only natural that you will want to run for as long as possible. VitaMonk curated the research on what sort of factors you need to consider helping you run longer without getting tired. Read their blog for some useful information.
Stick to What You Know
Once the race day arrives, you’re bound to experience all sorts of emotions. From the moment the race starts, it’s likely you’ll get a rush of adrenaline, which you may not even realize. It can be all too easy to push yourself too hard at the first hurdle, making the rest of the race a struggle to get through. You should have a think about all the training you’ve done to get to this point and avoid trying out anything different which may hinder your performance. Conserving your energy is crucial, so running at a pace that suits you is important.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Many ultra-marathons take place in remote places, meaning that you may have to camp the night before. If you haven’t got the right equipment with you, trying to get to sleep can be a nightmare. To avoid waking up feeling sluggish and rundown, invest in a good pillow and a NeoAir mattress. As this is your first ultra, you may want to pay that little bit more for a hotel room or cabin. Getting pre-race sleep and waking up feeling refreshed and well prepared for your race is important.
No matter what type of physical exercise you do, you need to drink plenty of water throughout, however, the water that you drink just before your race won’t help so much. It’s important to get a good balance a few days before the race, so your body is well adjusted and stays hydrated. Also, avoid eating too much sodium and it’s best to not drink any alcohol. You will want your body to be functioning at its best on race day, so taking time to identify and make changes to your diet can ensure you’re filled with all the right vitamins and nutrients you need for the big race.
Stay in the Present
Throughout the race, it’s best to put the finish line to the back of your mind. If it’s constantly on your mind, you may find it much harder to get through the ultra. If you’re listening to music while running, make sure to create a killer playlist before the race.
To ensure you feel confident and ready to tackle an ultra-marathon, you should allow yourself plenty of time to do regular training, helping to build your endurance levels. It’s important that you’re ready to put in the hard work in order to see results, so keep running as much as you can. Also, make sure you get a good night’s sleep, stay hydrated before, during, and after the marathon, as well as scoping out the starting line so you can be fully prepared, and lastly, good luck!