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Got the ultra itch?

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Got the ultra itch?

By Sophie on 4th November 2022 Advice

Got the ultra itch?

Rob, taking on, and getting beaten by, the Ring of Fire in 2018.

What’s next on the running bucket list? An ultra maybe? Yeow, go you! You’ve stumbled to the right place for a bit of guidance to get you to the finish line. It will take some commitment and some time on feet, but we reckon you’ve got this. Our job right now is to be very real with you, hopefully not to scare you, and to give some food for thought when embarking on an ultra journey. Oh yes, it’s one helluva journey and 100% worth it. 

Committing to the journey

What does life look like right now? Young kids, demanding work? It all needs to be factored in so that you’re more likely to make it to the start line. So not only do you need to plan your training runs, you need to plan your other commitments in and around those runs.

The great news is that you can totally make the long weekend runs work without sacrificing family time, just make your run end up wherever the family are going that day. Or make it an early doors mission and be home in time for brunch. Use our trail directory to plan a run near a family-friendly activity, and everyone wins.

Get your partner, friends, and family on board. If they’re invested, your life will be made a whole lot easier. Make them feel a part of the journey because nothing will beat those finish line feels with your nearest and dearest right there with you. After all, teamwork makes the dream work.

Get your gear comfy as!

It’s all very well heading out for a 20km run and thinking ‘yeh everything feels good’, but how will it hold up after 50, 60, 90km? Your gear needs to be functional and comfortable. We’re talking about your running pack, bottles, bladder, headwear, undies, clothes, socks, and shoes. All it takes is for a wrong seam to be in the wrong place and your day will go from yay to nay. If you’re in need of some gear options, we have you covered in our trail running shop.

This also goes for nutrition too, it’s all very well being comfy on the outside but the inside is just as important, if not more important. A wise man once said "An ultra is an eating competition with some running thrown in."

Runners gut, it’s something that can and will stop you getting to the finish line, so your job is to do everything in your power to avoid it (but believe us, it can still get you). 

You know what you like, you know how your body reacts to certain foods so start with some simple, easy to access nutrition, and just try everything. And don’t look past eating your usual every day food; peanut butter sandwich, nuts, fruit, banana bread. Sometimes sticking to what your gut knows and likes is often the best way. 

Buying exercise-specific nutrition can be a little heavy on the wallet, especially when having to buy so much during training, so to make it a little easier have a look at the nutrition options we offer and use your VIP discount. 

Mix it up

For some people, training is their favourite part of the journey. They get to plan adventures, explore new trails and create epic memories with friends and family. We get that you won’t be traveling every weekend to new places but you’ve gotta tick off a few epic runs as part of your training, it’d be rude not to. 

Mixing up your training routes is a must, and we highly recommend your training doesn’t consist of just running. Strength training and cross training are other ways to ensure getting to the start line. 

If the budget allows, a coach can be worth their weight in gold. Having a human (who knows what they’re talking about) to tell you what, where, why, when is a game changer. We have some coaches in the know about this stuff, offering our VIPs some epic discounts.

Join the groups, take on some challenges

Although running is an “individual” sport, it’s not really. We’re so lucky with the huge community of runners we have in NZ. You’ve got a bucket load of Facebook groups of runners in your area and usually a group of others who are doing the same event as you.

Sometimes motivation will be low and the need for accountability will be high. If you find yourself at this point, get involved with our Wild Things Challenges to give yourself another reason to get yourself out the door. 

Rest and recovery

Do not underestimate the amount of rest your body needs when you’re deep in training mode. If you’re one of these ‘active relaxers’ and struggle with ‘rest days’ then walking, yoga, and pilates are extremely productive rest day activities. 

Those legs will be getting a pounding, so take good care of them. Regular massage will help hugely and if it’s unrealistic for you to see a massage therapist then there’s always at home help with this massage gun from Hydragun (with a handy discount if you're a VIP).

Eating the right stuff off the trail plays a big part in your recovery so instead of reaching for a pie after every long run (yuuum, pie) just bear in mind that for better recovery there are better options. Here’s some more info from a dietician on this.

If you’re still on the fence about hitting that ‘enter here’ button then take a read of this wonderful race report from Chrissy who’s a farmer who took on the Tarawera Ultra, it’s a great read and will have you smiling from ear to ear. Or, check out Rob's recent Taupo Ultra race.

Remember, with the good come the bad and then the ugly feet. We wish you the very best of luck with your journey of getting to the finish line. And before you go, please join our Wild Things Facebook group where you’ll find a herd of experienced runners happy to answer questions and lend a hand along the way.

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