In the coming weeks we will be uploading some event specific training tips and advice for those taking part in Ultra-Trail Australia. No matter where you are in the field, each event has it’s own unique challenges and requires a thorough plan with every element of preparation considered. However, the first phase is much the same no matter which race you’re choosing to tackle.
Once you’ve entered you should straight away jump online and find somewhere to stay during the event. It’s such a huge festival that a lot of places book out well in advance, particularly the good Air BnB types of joints that are near the event hub. When looking for somewhere, proximity to the start line is paramount. The second consideration is having a bathtub…you’ll want to soak away the soreness! If you’re looking at hotels, the Fairmont Resort is the one to go for. Apart from being super comfy and having great food, it’s also an aid station for the 100km. The prices are good too, so book early and avoid missing out.
Rally the troops
Tell your friends and family that you’re headed to the big dance. Get them involved and excited, that way not only will race day be more fun, but the prep will be too as they’ll feel as though they’re contributing to helping you achieve your goals. You will want a good support crew around you. Those doing the 100 will benefit from race day crewing, while no matter what distance you run, having a ‘family’ around you at the event makes life loads easier and more fun.
Find a coach or program to follow
Yeah, you can certainly complete any trail race without having a coach, but getting some expert guidance will not only make the process a lot more enjoyable, but will also help to get the most out of you. Many a runner signs up to an event, only to leave the prep to the last minute, or worse still, get injured through doing the wrong stuff. A quality coach or online program will reduce the chances of breaking yourself, plus will be good for motivating you to get out the door every day. There are loads of options out there, but my favourite is Run Crew (www.runcrew.com.au). I’m a tad biased, as that’s the squad I’m part of, but in all fairness there are few squads out there that achieve better results. No matter what level athlete you are, Run Crew will support you 100% to achieve a great result – Whether it’s finishing your first ultra, or competing for the podium.
Plan Time Off Work
This sounds obvious, but I’m not talking about just having a day or two off for the race, I’m suggesting you plan a few additional long weekends in the months prior. Use these blocks of time to do some course specific training, or mini training camps. To some, it might sound like overkill, but trust me I say that the better you prepare, the more you’ll get out of the event. You may also like to have a day or two off after the race to recover!
Start your research
The better informed you are, the fewer surprises you’ll encounter along the way. So by research I mean several things. Firstly, get to know where you’ll be running. Look at the course maps, read peoples race reports and check out photos from the event. Then start to think about mandatory gear. You’ll need a few bits and pieces and the sooner you start using the gear and training with a pack, the better. Get acquainted with nutrition, for both training and racing. Read blogs, join event-related Facebook groups and most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask people who have done the event before for some advice.