Trail and Ultra WingTips:
- Train well! Find a good training plan that fits your life and your goals. There are a bajillion different plans by as many different runners, including, but not limited to – speed work/cross training/hills/repeats/fartleks/long runs/short runs/”no long runs”. Document it all in a calendar/planner/spreadsheet/whatever; project your mileage and stick to it. Do not forget to plan for a good taper!
- Consistency is King. Regardless of training plan – Every runner follows one key tenet – be consistent. However you choose to move; keep moving….unless its a planned taper or rest day.
- Embrace the Power Hike. Walk the hills. Everyone does it.
- Get Mental. Ultrarunning involves a great deal of physical exertion. It is also a very mental sport. Runners can be physically prepared for 100 miles and still drop out by mile 10. Pushing yourself to the brink involves a mental fortitude that a lot of other sports do not require in the same way. Get your head right, and you can make the distance.
- Google your race. Blogs (like this one), Reddit, and YouTube are awesome – you can get a fantastic narative from someone who went where you will be. Videos are especially neat because you can get a visual “run through” of the event “real-time” advice s they go along.
- Gear Up. From hydration equipment, to sunglasses, to personal lubricants; a lot goes in to getting over those miles. Will you need a flashlight? Sunscreen? Will you be crewed? Do you need drop bags? Where will they be and what will you put into those drop bags for the miles ahead? Medical supplies? Be prepared.
- Fuel your body properly. Practice your nutrition strategy before race day. Many runners do not try “new” things on race day, so go with what you know works. Keep a proper hydration/electrolyte balance and caloric intake for the distance, the temperature, conditions, and the day.
- Expect Disaster. Something always goes wrong when you decide to run a great distance, on foot, in one stretch. Learning to adapt and overcome is the key.
- Be Polite. Aid Station Volunteers, and crew are out there supporting YOU. Be thankful, be respectful, and be kind. Race Directors don’t usually make it into Forbes Magazine either – If they are fussing at you, chances are you are doing something you shouldn’t.
- Take it easy! Focus on finishing; unless you have been training to blow away the course record, just run, have fun, and learn! My first few races have always left me with some slightly profound insight into myself an my technique…..
Good luck! Stay hydrated, electrolyte’d, calorie’d….and above all – moving forward!
– The Winged Ling