Ultramarathons can be daunting and intimidating, especially if your have never done one. But here's our Top 10 Tips to help you get ready for your first ultra, or maybe your first ultra in a while:
Run/Walk - The great thing with ultras is that there is no expectation to run the whole way, or even any of the way. Run, walk, run/walk - whatever you want or can. Just keep on moving forwards, one step at a time and enjoy the ride!
Don't worry about time - the beauty of an ultra is that they're not comparable. Don't worry about your pace or time. PB's don't matter, it's the finishing that counts.
Run the Downs and flats, walk the hills. This was the first piece of advice I ever received regarding ultras. Pick when you run, make it easy on yourself and use any walking time to get that crucial drink or bite to eat (whilst moving forwards)
Eat. Eat. Eat - your body is fuelled by food and liquid. If you're on your feet for 16 hours, you'll need to replenish your fuel regularly and often. Savoury and sweet, little and often, plenty of water. Eat, eat, eat and drink, drink, drink!
Dry run - your ultra training is not just about distance, it's also about testing your kit, testing your food and working out what is helpful and what is not. For example, on a dry run you may discover that you are craving savoury, but you have just the one peanut butter sandwich. Or you may find out that one food you really like doesn't keep well and you have to test other foods. Or your pack simply isn't big enough for all the food you want to carry - experience is EVERYTHING. Test out your kit and food well before race day
ENJOY! Remember this is meant to be fun. Challenging, yes. Hard at times, yes. But remember to look around you, take in the stunning views, chat to your fellow participants and enjoy the experience of your first ultramarathon - Everyone only has ONE first ultra!
Support - if you can recruit a support crew, as they can help massively with giving you a boost when you need it, extra food or supplies etc. Share your live location, so they know where you are at any point
Plan you feedstation strategy - will you stop at every one? Will you skip the first one, as it is likely to be really busy and you may not need to stop so early on?
JUST KEEP GOING! - the famous ultra quote by Dean Karnazes is just so true - "Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must, just never give up!"
You are now ready for your first ultra. We look forward to seeing you at the most welcoming ultra in the UK - Queen of the Suburbs Ultra.