Written with Jimmy in mind, I’m sure you’re well aware of most of these, but hopefully something will be useful.
- The rule of thumb is to reduce your weekly volume by 30% each week. This seems to work well. Really you want to be keeping things loose and making sure you do a lot of stretching (of warm muscles)
- Avoid any speed work, you don’t want to pull anything, or deplete your glycogen levels
- I’m not sure excessive eating is all that helpful, normal intake with reduced load should be enough, but it’s your first ultra! Eat what you want!
- Check, check and re-check the race kit list. Make sure you’ve got everything way ahead of time (save yourself anxiety dreams and next day delivery charges)
- If there is anything you don’t want to splash out for a one time use (eg blizzard bag), borrow it
- Only plan to wear stuff you’ve used before, no need to be faffing with unfamiliar straps or getting new chafage on the day (more of that later)
- Having spare socks (and shoes) can be heavenly to change into half way, but can take time, most likely worth it
- You will get cold, you will need a hat and gloves
- As soon as you finish you’re going to get cold very quickly, a down jacket in your final drop bag will help
- Don’t try anything new on the day, this includes the piles of lovely looking (but potentially stomach churning) goodies at the aid stations
- I’m not a fan of gels, proper food (sandwiches etc) might take more chewing but is less likely to send you on sugar high/crash cycles
- If you get cold, eating helps
- More and more research suggests that dehydration isn’t the evil fiend we’ve been led to believe, drink to thirst
- It’s good to have at least one bottle of plain water in your pack, sports mix can get pretty distasteful after a while
- If you’re using a bladder, beware the danger of it suddenly being empty, again a spare bottle comes in handy here, also easy to fill from streams
- As far as I can tell, anything that can rub itself raw, will
- Body glide, vaseline, use liberally. Under arms, between your arse cheeks. Nobody wants a sore behind for 12+ hours!
- A wicking, tight t-shirt or long sleeve shirt underneath other kit works well. Similarly for pants. Decathlon do a good cheap range
- I know you don’t like twin skin socks, but do consider them (hilly do some that aren’t too thick). Some people tape each individual toe and wear injinji toe socks
- Blisters are probably going to be the main reason you end up in the most pain, if you can possibly prevent them, it might save your race
DNF or die?
- This is obviously personal, but I think that if there is physically something very wrong, and by carrying on you’re going to make it a lot worse, then you owe it to your body to stop
- If you’re just a bit tired and sore, then chin up boyo and tough it out
- On any long race you’ll go through various high and low points, expect these and don’t be put off when things are a bit tough, it’ll get better. Think about how awesome it’ll feel crossing the finish line, how much you’ve trained for this, etc
- Obsessing about how long it’s going to take you to finish doesn’t help here, think small goals (next tree/hill/ checkpoint)
- Look around you, chat to other runners, it’s a fun day out, no computers/traffic/ chores
You’ll be fine, trust in your training and have a cracking day!