Tuesday, 10 March 2015

First Time Ultra?

Ainslie blogs are like buses, nothing for ages and then 2 in quick succession.

Admittedly this one has been prompted by the raft of questions on the D33 Facebook page, many  from first time Ultra runners and rather than sitting at home growling at them like the grumpy old man I am apparently turning into. I thought I’d share the benefit of my past experience of running the D33 and other Ultra’s. Please note other blogs and advice are available..........

  • Don’t stress too much… you put one foot in front of the other, you get to the end… it’s only a hobby……..nobody dies…………..hopefully 
  • Don’t try anything new on the day If you've not already used it in training. Don’t wake up on Saturday morning thinking “what a splendid day to try out my new gold spandex budgie smugglers” 
  • Adopt a Goldilocks dressing strategy, don’t wear too little, and don’t wear too much. You will be cold at the start (nerves don’t help) but you should warm up when you start moving............... my “go to” bit of kit are running gloves, buy some now!
  • There will be weather, have the right kit available
  • Don’t ask other people what type of shoes to wear, you will get 100 different suggestions, shoe choice is highly personal, what works for me, will probably not work for you 
  • Don’t go off too quickly, 33 miles is a long way. One old stager said to me “if you think you’re running too slowly in an Ultra, slow down more!” 
  • You almost certainly won’t run a negative split in an ultra 
  • Chafing is an acceptable topic of conversation
  • Learn to love outdoor toilet stops (just not in Duthie Park)
  • Read the race website, the answers to most of the questions that have been asked on FB are already on the race website 
  • Make sure your drop bag is clearly labelled with your number (available on the D33 website) and is waterproof and legible, it’s no good having a hissy fit if the volunteers cannot find your bag as its postage stamp sized label has fallen off 
  • Be unreservedly nice to stewards and helpers, they are giving up their free time to allow you to run. If you are rude to a Marshal the running God’s will smite you!
  • Remember to eat and drink, you can possibly tough out a marathon, you’re unlikely to tough out an Ultra unless you give your body fuel, two jelly babies do not count as sufficient fuel 
  • Enjoy the experience, chat to people. Ultra running is a very sociable hobby, make new friends and enjoy the day 
  • Don’t be scared about running an Ultra, the overwhelming majority of the people running on Saturday are ordinary people too, not elite athletes 
  • Look after your feet, cut your toenails, your feet will probably swell and tight fitting trainers plus long nails equals black nails then no nails. I always put a good layer of Vaseline around my toes before any long run to help keep blisters at bay 
  • Your legs WILL be sore, this is entirely natural, running 33 miles is big thing, it won’t feel easy
  • If you are chasing a time, minimise the time you spend at water stops, or more bluntly don't fanny around
  • You will have highs and lows throughout the race, don’t dwell on the lows, you chose to be here, no-one is making you do this.......keep smiling
  • Your brain will give up before your body , when your brain is telling you to stop running and start walking, you can almost certainly ignore it for a while.
  • The last 3 miles are downhill, it won't feel like it but they are
And finally and probably most controversially, in the run up to the race people will share “inspirational” pictures and posts along the lines of

“Running an Ultra is all in your head”

“When you can’t run with your legs, run with your heart”

“Long distance races are 90% mental; 10% fitness”

This is in fact bollocks!

If you've done the training and preparation, there will inevitably be a point where it does become mental, ignoring sore legs or keeping running when you want to walk, but.........................

If you've not done the training, sorry to burst your bubble it’s not “all in the head” you are in for a long and painful day

The best inspirational sign I've ever seen, was about 20 miles into the Lakeland 50 Ultra just before an near 1800 foot climb and with the temperature nudging 30C

"I bet you thought this was a good idea when you signed up last November"

See you all in Duthie Park on Saturday morning


1 comment:

  1. Wise words! (Shuffles away to ditch new gold spandex running kit....)