Last year I crossed the finish line of the Ultra Trail Cape Town, elated to have reached my goal and as the first woman across the line. Below you will find some guidelines that could help you to reach your goal of finishing your first ultra trail!
- Go to bed early on Thursday night (Two nights before race day is your most important sleep). Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep.
- Make sure that you have tested all your gear that you plan to use on raceday before, and don’t be tempted to use new stuff, even when you start seeing different items at race registration/briefing.
- Breakfast is the most important part of your race! It fills your glycogen stores, and gives your body the jumpstart it needs to finish an ultra. Make sure that you eat at least 1h30 – 2hours before race start and eat what you are used to. Very important to take your breakfast with you if you are not staying at home the night before the race, or check beforehand what breakfast is available at the place where you are staying. (My favourite breakfast is Superfoods Oats – it has all the great endurance superfoods such as chia, raw cacoa, goji berries, hemp protein etc. in one. – http://www.superfoods.co.za)
- Hydrate well from the gun, don’t just use water. I use 500ml – 1 litre of fluid per hour, depending on how hot it is. I normally have Peptosport (http://www.atlife.co.za/content/products_peptosport_tub.html) in my one 500ml flask and electrolytes in the other.
- Eat approximately 200 calories per hour (equal to one Superbar (https://www.iamsuperbar.co.za) or one sachet of Buttanutt (https://www.buttanutt.co.za) per hour). Eat what you trained with and eat on the clock, a lot of people fall in the trap of running out of fuel in the latter part of the race.
- Prevent cramps by using products such as Crampnot (https://best4sports.com/2016/04/18/crampnot-its-the-st/).
- Don’t be shy with anti-chafe products. Use them all over your body, you will be surprised the places you can chafe.
- When the struggle becomes real (hopefully in the later stages of the race), remember why you run. Remember what a privilege it is, remember to take in the views, remember the incredible feeling when reaching a mountain top, the feeling of being alive, and remember that giving up is not an option. When your body wants to give up, then run with your heart!
Enjoy the journey, I wish you a great race and can’t wait to congratulate you on becoming an ultra runner!!