I’m going to be running Race to the King in just under two weeks time. 53.5 miles over the South Downs (and 1.5 miles more than I originally signed up for), from Arundel to Winchester.
Without going into too much detail about my training for the race (or lack of it), here are my top 12 tips for running an ultra, before I’ve actually run one. Let’s see how these compare with the reality of Race to the King next week.
- It’s all about the pacing. At halfway, you should be feeling good. If you feel yourself starting to tire before this point you’ve started off too fast. Whoops.
- Be ready for the killer third half-marathon. That’s the bit just after halfway. Mentally this is going to be the hardest one to take I think. But I’m ready for it. Really…
- Relax. Start off super slow, keep your heart rate low and enjoy it.
- Eat regularly. Particularly in the early stages when your heart rate is lowest and so it’s easiest to digest. Even the best fat burning machine is going to need some carbs to get them through it. If there are regular aid stations then use them rather than carrying all your own fuel for 50+ miles. That’s my plan anyway.
- Drink regularly. I can get away without drinking much over marathon distance, but I don’t want to let myself get too dehydrated for this one. Carry a drink with you, potentially with electrolytes in it, fill up at aid stations, and drink to thirst.
- Train slow. Slower than you might normally. Teach your body to burn fat as fuel.
- Train fast and short. Keep some short, sharp speed in your legs so you don’t lose too much strength from training slow.
- Train on hills. Lydiard hills for form and strength. Regular hills at slow paces for endurance.
- Get a good night’s sleep the night before the night before. Because on the actual night before, you probably won’t (but try to).
- Fix any niggles early on and don’t run through them. Stop to stretch or sort out your shoes. That minute spent early on will be time well spent in the later stages
- Remember why you’re doing it.
- Keep moving forward.
I’ll let you know how I get on in two weeks time!