Tips & Tricks for Ultras such as Buffalo Stampede – Part 1
It’s peak preparation for many new and seasoned athletes as events gradually return in 2021. For some it’s been a while between start lines so we asked our HOKA athletes and experts for an event refresher in anticipation of race day.
HOW TO PREPARE – What are the key sessions for an event such as Buffalo Stampede?
Lucy Clark (LC) – Bright local, adventurer and ultra runner
“Regardless of what distance you are running at Buffalo, you will be going up so hill reps are super important! I do a mixture of running repeats which are shorter in length (ie. 2 or 3 mins repeats) plus hiking repeats which are longer (ie. 7 or 10 mins) because there will sections on course that are too steep to run. It is also key to get some practice in descending, particularly down technical trails.”
Ben Duffus – Australian trail and ultra runner, 6 Foot Track Marathon Winner 2021
“There are no magic sessions, and ultimately, it’s long-term consistency that’s most important. In the final weeks of preparation though, you want to be getting very specific in your training – so, for an event like the Buffalo Stampede that means ideally hitting the hills! If possible, your long runs should be getting a similar vert-per-km to the race (or as close as possible) – if you don’t live in the mountains though, this can mean a lot of reps of your steepest local hill.”
FEELING NAUSEOUS – Can I recover?
LC: “You can definitely turn it around. Make sure you have a variety of foods at your disposal so you can try something different. If you have had too many gels or sweet stuff, try having some plain chips or a sandwich. If you can’t even swallow food, sip on flat coke or tailwind. The important thing is to still eat because if you don’t, then you will run out of calories = gameover!”
BD: “Probably the most effective thing you can do when getting nauseous on the run is to slow down (and possibly just walk for a bit). Lowering the intensity will help your body shift some of its resources to digestion and hopefully alleviate the issue. If you’re under-hydrated and/or the contents of your gut are too concentrated, then simply sipping on some water, while you take it easy, may also help.”
MENTAL STRATEGIES – What to do when the going gets tough.
LC: “I break the course down into chunks. Focus on just getting to the next aid station, which feels much more manageable vs thinking how far I have until the finish. I also eat something, which can often gives a little boost of energy. Finally, I remind myself that most people are bound to have a bad patch or two during a race, and that it will pass.”
BD: “Recently, I’ve been employing positive mantras a lot in both my training and races. My go to phrases at the moment are, “I am strong”, “I am tough”, and “I am fast” – but, different mantras will work for different people.”
Mick’s Track – Fact or fiction? And how do you prepare for particularly tough sections?
Fact – Mick’s Track by the numbers. See it here.
Vertical meters: 231m
Average gradient: 36.5%
LC: “It is possible when you are lucky enough to live in Bright! A great way to train for Mick’s is to practice your hiking hill repeats but also practice running downhill. It is a skill and your confidence will build up the more you do it. But it is important to also take care on Mick’s on race day, especially on the descent. It is a steep and rocky trail. Taking an extra few minutes to be sure of your footing and avoiding a tumble is worth it.”
BD: “It’s possible to train for any section of trails! Of course, the best way to prepare for steep fire-trails like Mick’s Track is to train on similarly steep trails – but if such tracks aren’t available to you then there are other options. Building up the necessary strength and skills can be developed with strength work, stairs, and simply practicing on the steepest/most technical trails you have available.”
Enjoyed this blog? Read part II for more event tips by clicking here.