Jez Bragg – member of The North Face Global Athlete Team gave MF his essential tips for running an Ultra
1. Plan an interesting route
If you’re going to run a long way – make it enjoyable. Plan a route taking in a long distance trail, some local landmarks, or at least make it a journey with a purpose.
2. Look after your feet
If you look after your feet, they will look after you, for miles on end. Your feet will adjust and toughen up to the rigours of long distance running over time, but whilst that happens tape or protect them to prevent blisters. Treat any hot spots that develop early.
3. Keep well fuelled
Feed the machine, it’s as simple as that. It doesn’t matter too much what it is, as long as it appeals and you can stomach it. Even high fat food will get burned off over many miles. But little and often is the key, for both food and drink.
4. Listen to your body
The most important thing of all is to keep yourself healthy and injury free. It’s all very well following a training plan to the letter, but if it starts to run you down and you’re pushing too hard, it may well end in illness or injury which won’t help any long term ambitions.
5. Mix it up – get on the trails
In the UK we are fortunate to have one of the best networks of public footpaths and bridleways in the world. Don’t think that running has to mean pounding the pavement close to home. Try some off road routes – use the opportunity to explore new places and enjoy the countryside.
6. Stay safe
If you’re running long distances off road, tell someone your plans and your expected return time. Take your mobile phone, and make sure you have suitable clothing and equipment for the weather and environment you’re running in.
7. Ditch the GPS watch
With the latest GPS watches it is easy to get obsessed with distance based goals or average pace, particularly if you’re coming from a road running background. When you’re starting out in the ultra world it’s often better to ignore all that, and just enjoy your route, and being in the moment.
8. Make it sustainable
Consistency is the key to progression, so ensure your training is sustainable i.e. you can realistically maintain it in the long term. Increases in training volume should be gradual to ensure your body has the time to adapt and really benefit. Think about the ways to integrate your training into your daily routine such as building it in to your commute to work.
9. Manage the mind
It is easy to get overawed by the distance ahead of you, so break it down into smaller sections, and focus on one at a time. Perhaps plan in one or two stop offs along the way, maybe a café or shop to refuel!
10. Run with a rucksack
Running with a …read more