The Journey #10: How to train for an ultra distance race
How can you start trail running or running ultra running distances? Well, actually, is not that different from training to a road running race. Most important thing? Start!
This post takes ~ 4min to read
How are you all doing?
On my side, things are going well. Last week I spent 5 days in the mountains to train for my big challenge this year: a self-guided adventure of 100km, from my hometown, Coimbra, to the highest point of continental Portugal at Serra da Estrela (1993 meters high). I will keep you updated on this.
At The Journey Endurance Club, we have the mission to bring change to the world through the power of running, with a bigger focus on trail running. We want to promote the real benefits of trail running in people who go out to the mountains. The real benefits go much beyond performance. So, to allow more people to get the benefits of this great sport, we decided to share during the next weeks very simple and useful tips for those who, in the future, will join us to, together, achieve this mission. We hope you enjoy this edition.
Disclaimer: get ready because, if you are used to road running, running on trails is way more fun. But, we will leave it to you to experience in the first person.
🤔 WHERE SHALL I START?
A few weeks ago, we mentioned already that trail running is more than just...running forward. There are a few other elements to take into account. But, for today, just like how is it to start running on trails, let's keep it simple by "giving" four steps.
🙌 STEP 1 - YOU CAN DO IT! (Seriously…)
Please, don't worry if you think that you are not fit enough to run off-road. If you
want to try, go for it.
A few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to talk with the great Hillary Allen, who shared with us a super simple tip on how to get started.
👟 STEP 2 - GEAR: WHAT DO YOU NEED
A pair of trail running shoes with grip underneath (that's it).
Personally, since you are starting, we really don't believe that you need to spend money on any other gear like a vest or backpack, a fancy navigation watch, or hiking poles.
Mostly for safety reasons you can get a handheld bottle to bring some water with you and also keep your phone.
NOTE: in the summer, since the terrain is not that muddy, you can even use your road running shoes depending on where you go out to run.
🟢 STEP 3 - WHERE DO I START?
There are trails everywhere. But, again, the important thing here is not to complicate. You don't need to start on more complicated trails right away.
Any park trail, forest roads, or hiking trails work.
🤏 STEP 4 - START "SMALL" AND IGNORE THE PACE
Just like our community member Guillermo said: "Be patient, results don’t come as a magic trick. In the meantime enjoy the ride."
Believe us when we say, trail running is fun. But with all the enthusiasm, YES! you can "lose yourself" in nature. So, during the first weeks of training, control the distance and, more importantly, control your pace. Small steps ;)
In terms of basic running techniques, you don't need any real training or complicated techniques. To make it easier, two tips are enough:
1- quicken your strides and, literally, give small steps by shortening strides. This will allow you to have a better reaction when you have obstacles in your way;
2- Focus your gaze about 10 to 15 feet (3 to 4 meters) ahead of you on the trail. By doing this you will be prepared for what's coming ahead of you.
If we had to find the best advice for you to start, we would use the suggestion from our member, Mandy Camara:
Take preventative measures in terms of nutrition and physical health. Other than that: START. Put your shoes on! Go! Don’t just dream about what you’d like to do! DO what you love to do!”
Here are the first 4 steps that will lead you to an amazing experience on the trails. However, there is always time to go one step further. The one that makes us feel the so-called Runners High. With this feeling in mind, here is an “extra step” for you. On our last community hangout, we invited Mandy Camara and her coach Chad Noelle to talk about the experience of training for Leadville 50 and we also talked about:
| How you can train for a trail running race or ultra running distances;
| How can you prepare mentally;
| What is important to be aware of;
In short: put your shoes on, decide where you're going to run and...go, calmly and patiently, but do yourself a favor, go. We got your back.
TELL US: For you who are just starting, is there any training-related question that you would like to be clarified? Or, what suggestion would you give to someone just starting out?
📖 Growth Station
🧠 Mindset Secrets: once again, Rich Roll made it! For his penultimate podcast episode, he invited the one and only Courtney Dauwalter to talk about training, mindset, and pain. You can watch the episode here.
👊 We got your back!
If you feel like that you want to raise your hand ✋ and shout: I want to be part of this! Come, join this community of like-minded runners!
Here's a sneak peek of what you can expect by joining our community:
Accountability: when you get back home from work or practice, you will have a community of runners that holds each other accountable to keep momentum;
Grow and learn from the best: every month we will have the opportunity to meet professional trail runners and learn more about their journey, their training, and best practices;
Share Stories and Learnings: You will have access to our digital safe space where we will share stories and learnings, victories and losses, help others to achieve their goals by just saying: "Count on me!;
Support and Training: Being a global community, with our "The Journey Experiences", we will organize digital and physical events all year round, for you to connect with the others members.
If you like the newsletter and/or think that others can benefit from it, help us by sharing and subscribing. Share the word! Let’s build this together.