This year, I completed an ultra-running event in aid of the mental health charity "Livin" where I ran from the Northern most point of Victoria to the Southernmost point of Victoria over 7 consecutive days. In my efforts to prepare for this I have learned plenty of lessons about how to prepare yourself for distance running and here are my top 10 tips!
1. Eat a high carbohydrate dinner 2 days before-the usual school of thought is to have this the night before an event or long run but having the heavier denser meal two days before allows your body to digest the food and expel anything not needed-so you don't have any gastric issues on the run day!
2. Increase water intake to at least 3 + litres in the week leading into the event and on the day of a long run or event. This helps to maintain healthy hydration levels.
3. Instead of the heavier denser meal have a light and fresh meal the night before. Something like salmon, sweet potato and broccoli is perfect as it gives you a balance of carbs, protein and fat without being heavy in your gut.
4. Wake up 90mins (at least) before the race to give yourself plenty of time to go to the toilet!
5. Tape toes, nipples and anywhere on your feet that is prone to blistering.
6. Eat a high carb breakfast 60-90mins prior to the race or long run (I have 3 crumpets with honey and peanut butter). But watch how dense and fibrous it is, something lighter will help with gastric issues.
7. Have a banana 30mins prior to starting or a gel 15mins prior and sip on water during this time-this helps top up your glycogen stores and keeps you hydrated while you wait to begin!
8. Rub specialised chafing cream or balm or Vaseline in areas prone to chafing (armpits, nipples, inner thigh, crotch and bottom)
9. Don't skip any water stations through the race and alternate between water and sports drink. Slowing down to take a drink won't affect your overall finish time but being dehydrated or cramping will.
10. Have first gel at approx. the 15km and 1 every 7-8km after that. However, you need to find what works for you and by testing this during your long training runs you will know!
If you are just starting out in endurance exercise, these points could seem a little daunting but maybe just pick one or two to focus on for your next event or training run and build from there! Also, these are the things that have worked for me but through trial and error feel free to tweak them and find what suits you!
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.