How To Run Your First Ultra Trail Or Ultra Marathon

How To Run Your First Ultra Trail Or Ultra Marathon

For several years it has prevailed in Slovakia as well as in other countries running alley. Every year, participation in runs such as Devín-Bratislava , Telecom night run or Košice Marathon increases . I’m not saying that Christopher McDougall’s book “Born to Run” started with usrunning boom, but it certainly helped him a lot. In direct proportion to the increasing participation in various media-presented running events, the number of ultra marathon runners and people who run 100km+ ultra trail.

Ultra trail running is a relatively new sport that has recently seen a rapid increase in interest. Trail running is a sport in which running and hiking in nature, usually in mountainous terrain following tourist signs. Ultra means a route that is longer than a marathon (42.2 km). Much of what is known about this sport comes from the hard-won experience gained on the track, which has been translated from runner to runner. What works for one for the first time it may not work a second time and no longer for other runners. Every runner is an “experiment of one,” as Kevin Setnes said .

Why run an ultra trail – ultra marathon?

Many people run for weight loss, fitness or fun. Others relax from running or it is a way for them to relieve stress. Recently 42.2km marathon is not a running peak and so to speak the equivalent of Everest. More and more people are motivated by the idea of ​​expanding their physical and mental boundaries. The Ulta trail is a way to get to know yourself in one day. It is an adventure into one’s own soul that many people will not experience.ultra trail running, cross countr

Ultra trail running is something you can’t do for no one else. People who love fame and love ubitchmore attentionothers will not stay with ultra running. This is because recognition and praise are far easier to gain in other ways. When you run a marathon, your whole family and friends – non-runners think you’re a superstar. They can wait for you at the finish line and talk about you with pride and tell you how amazing you are.

When you run ultra you are alone. You face your demons in unknown terrain. There is no external motivation to improve your mood. There are no fans,who chant your name. But at the same time, completing the ultra cannot be compared to a marathon. When you do ultra, you realize that you can do “anything.” The next day you go to work and you mention it to someone, but instead of acknowledging, people will look at you like crazy. Your acquaintances will not understand you. Run a marathon for recognition. If you are looking for an experience of personal strength and perseverance that will change your life, complete the ultra.

“If you want recognition, run a marathon. If you are looking for an experience of personal strength and perseverance that will change your life, complete the ultra. ”

The purpose of this article is to share the information gathered and provide some tips that can be useful for you when running across the country (cross country) and can help you run the first ultra trail. The information is gathered on the basis of our own running experience with ultra, read literature and traditional information obtained from other ultra runners.

A few practical tips about running ultra

Tread as much as possible on the toe , not on the heel. Running on tiptoe allows the articulated mechanism of the ankle, which acts as a lever, to dampen the impact. At the same time, after the impact, this lever mechanism also takes care of the dynamic reflection, plus this method significantly reduces the health risk. I wrote more about this in the previous article: ” How to run with the right form and technique?”

During long ultra marathons, our muscles become very weak. This should also be borne in mind when running over the tip. The calf muscle weakens after hours of constant use and cushioning, so it does not absorb shocks so effectively. Run in compression socks to keep your calf muscles as long as possible.

3 day ultra trail beh

How do I deal with calf fatigue when stepping on the toes? I alternate tread over the toe with tread over the heel. During most runs down the hill, especially steep runs, I bend my knees, step on my heel and catch my thighs (“punching my thighs”). For me, it is a very effective way of running down the hill, but I must point out that I have already experienced a few times how this runner left some runners’ thigh muscles. It has never happened to me personally, my thighs have survived, so this method suits me so far.

Run gently
Learn to run gently and you can wear anything slowly. Don’t do it and no shoe or training will help you. For gentle treading, you need to be especially careful at the beginning of long runs when you still have a lot of energy. After a good 12+ hours, you will do it automatically. But if you forget from the beginning and hit the ground too hard with your feet, it will take away a lot of the necessary energy and, most importantly, you will destroy your feet. If you have some ultra behind you, you know that at the end of a 100km ultra trail run, your muscles are not as important as your feet. In such an extreme effort, you must treat your feet very carefully. If your feet go away, completing the ultra trail will be very painful for you.

Positive mood
– probably the most important of all. At 100+ km ultra marathons you will find a lot of unpleasant things, for example: 3 footprints; torn string; hardened muscles on the stone; abraded groin; thirst, abdominal cramps and various stomach problems; slip / fall – at least once it happens to you, it just belongs to the ultra trail; diarrhea; stabbing in the side, multiple muscles; too cold, due to insufficient clothes for the night; get lost – another mandatory part of every ultra marathon; torn camelbag; discharged headlamp flashlights, wet socks, micro-temples, or “wall” (aka the wall ) and absolute exhaustion.

ultra marathon running gently

The key to successfully completing the ultra marathon is to remain positive. Negative thoughts need to be replaced with positive ones. An ultra marathon, or any cross countrymainly about the mind. As the saying goes: “Ultra is 90% about the mind and the remaining 10% is in the head.” The mind gets you to your destination, your feet are just a means of transportation. Therefore, train your mind.

Ultra is 90% about the mind and the remaining 10% is in the head.

Good sleep
It is perfectly normal to feel nervous a few days before your ultra marathon. Beginners and experienced runners share these feelings as well. The longer the distance, the greater the nervousness. In addition, last-minute preparations such as packing, accommodation, meals and travel will not add to your room, which can negatively affect the quality of your sleep. A good idea is to indulge in more sleep four, three and most importantly twonights in a row before the ultra marathon. This is especially true for 100km and longer runs.

Don’t leave the whole preparation to the last minute. Good preparation can break a lot of nervousness. Make a list of necessary things and get them on an ongoing basis. Start looking for your running equipment (clothes, shoes, food, spare flashlights / headlamps, electronics, map) as soon as possible. It has happened to me several times that a few days before the race I was nervous, even my colleagues at work saw it. But as soon as I was completely packed (running backpack, shoes, food), map and GPS ready, the week-long nervousness completely subsided and only a pleasant expectation followed.

An ultra marathon, or any cross country ultra ismainly about the mind. The body of untrained athletes, by which I mean ordinary mortals who run once / twice a week, cannot withstand extremely long distances without any harm to their health. The body regenerates after ultra marathons 4-6 weeks of torn muscle fibers, inflammation and pain, disruption and increase of stress hormone, weakened immune system, connective tissue wear, fatigue, irritability, loss of appetite, weight loss, fever, headache, increased heart rate, loss of sleep and sexual desires and heavy legs.

Running ultra trail, cross country, run gently

After 16 + hours on your feet, everything will hurt. The thighs will not want to move, the ankles will hurt as if you have been bruised from so many bumps, your knees will go away, every single step will be hard to rub and all the theory you have studied will mean nothing in those moments. After the second night on the track, you will be glad that you can perceive what is in front of you at all, and even with difficulty. Every second there will be a hard fight with sleep, which will creep in and out with micro-sleep. Sometimes I feel that in those extreme situations I approach my subconscious and primitive part of my personality, when the shell of decency, upbringing and society cracks and the simple instinctual interior takes control – an adventure into my own soul.

What makes me move on?
When a person is at the bottom, he can only go in one direction = up. In extreme situations, I get to know myself and find out who I really am. In each ultra marathon, I will learn something about myself and expand the physical and mental horizons of what I am capable of. I know how I react when I’m at the bottom and especially how I overcome myself when everything tries to convince me that I have had enough today. Ultra is about falls and overcoming crises when you confess the meaning of it all / yourself.

From my own practice I can confirm that running ultra trails in a group has greater advantages than running alone. Most of the best ultra runners run in groups of 2 to four. It is absolutely ideal if you go ultra with someone you know. If you don’t have anyone, don’t be discouraged at all. At ultra, there is always someone who will go at your pace and with whom you can get together. Even if you run alone during the day, be sure to join a group at night. The more heads and eyes, the less likely you are to get lost. The group will keep you sane when you want to sleep on your feet after 20 hours. And I’m not talking about the second night, when you switch to automatic and you will just register some light from the headlight in front of you and you will not be able to perceive what brand you are going after.

A few little things at the end.
100s are completely other animals what you are used to, which not only deserveyour respect but also your determination to become a student before you become a master. Realize that running is no science. It’s that simple: left, rightand repeat. Stop reading cross-country porn: what shoes will fit you best, what food the pros eat (it doesn’t matter at all, others will suit you), stop planning time for individual inspections. At the ultra, people ask, “Did you catch up?”Almost no one cares in how long. If this is your first ultra, then drop your watch and run just for the beauty of running. By improving time, you may be interested when you already master a few ultras. Don’t think you’ll run a full 100km +; this is not real. On your first ultra trail, try walking up the hill, running down the hill and running the planes you rule.

I’m not running to win races or get anywhere. I run to escape this world, I run to find peace in myself. I run to feel free, I run to feel strong.

Ultra marathon – any sporting event whose length is more than a traditional marathon (42.195km)
Ultra trail – running ultra distances (more than 42 km) and hiking on hiking trails, often in mountainous terrain, where there is a large ascent and descent
Cross country – a running discipline that is rarely longer than 12 km.

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