No matter if you’re running your first ultra or a grizzled vet going after a big vert 100 miler. Every runner is looking for tips to better help them out on the trail. Making the wrong choice can be the difference between a DNF and finishing. Every great piece of advice helps. And on this topic I present one of the greatest ultra running tips every runner needs to hear.
- Prioritize Energy Conservation: Focusing on saving energy at the beginning of an ultra race can prevent burnout and lead to a stronger finish.
- Avoid the Pitfalls of Time Banking: Time banking, or going too fast at the start, can often lead to race-ruining blow-ups later on; a well-managed pace is essential.
- Control Calorie Intake: Maintaining a slower pace allows for better control over your calorie intake, crucial for the long, grueling miles of an ultra race.
- Ultra Running is a Race of Attrition: Success in ultras often hinges on outlasting the competition, and starting with energy in the bank gives you an advantage.
- Enjoy the Finish Line Rush: Saving energy early on means you’ll have the strength to finish strong, relishing the sense of accomplishment that comes with conquering a challenging ultra race.
- Win the Mental Battle: A well-managed energy strategy also helps you maintain mental resilience, making it easier to overcome tough moments during the race.
- Impress Your Supporters: Running strong at the finish not only makes the race feel easier for you but also leaves a lasting impression on those cheering you on at the end.
- Long-Term Race Success: This energy-saving approach can be a key to consistent success in ultra running and preserving your body for future challenges.
Ultra Running Tips – “Bank Energy, Not Time”
When most people tackle their first long race, they set a goal time to finish. And based on this goal finish time they set a pace they look to keep while tackling the course. And for many this leads to the goal of banking time.
For those unfamiliar, banking time is the idea of going faster at the beginning of the race so you can go slower at the end. And while in theory this sounds like a great idea. The truth is that for most, this is a recipe for disaster. Leading to major blow ups on the course.
Instead, I am a big fan of banking energy. Starting at a slower pace than I would typically go in an effort to not only conserve energy, but to also conserve the impact the race has on my body in the beginning of the event. All those miles add up. And the more you can control that beating and energy expenditure, the faster you will be able to go in the end.
This slower pace will also allow you to control your calorie intake much more closely. Ultras are a race of attrition. And staying properly fueled is always hard when the body is expending maximum effort.
Now that you have stayed properly fueled and avoided burning out in the opening miles you are ready to get after it at the end of the race. This is where the miles become slow and just being able to maintain a quality shuffle will go a long way to a solid finish.
Conclusion – Running into the Finish
Saving that energy early will never make more sense than when you are able to run into the finish. That feeling of overcoming an incredible challenge and finishing strong will always make a tough race feel a little easier. or at least look that way to the people waiting for you at the finish!