So, you have less than four weeks to prepare for your first three day ultra marathon…
Sharing preparation tips for Lijiang this year is Rachel Jacqueline, a regular Action Asia Events competitor and participant in the 2012 Lijiang 3 day100 kilometre ultra marathon and 2011 Nepal 3 days 60 kilometre ultra marathon.
It happened to you too, didn’t it? You stumbled across the advertisement for Action Asia’s awesome three day ultra marathon in Lijiang several months ago and felt inspired. In that moment (filled with super human qualities and feeling invincible, no doubt) you signed up. And a month out, you’re starting to sweat: just what have I got myself into and how can I best prepare?
The good news is you’re about to embark on some of the best three days of your life, packed full of adventure, good people and beautiful scenery; the reality is those hills are going to hurt, particularly if you haven’t been doing much anything.
Ideally – whether you’re doing the 60km or 100km version and whether you’re running or hiking – you should already have a fitness/endurance base to take you into the weekend. You should also have been doing at least one endurance session a week in preparation up until now on top of your regular exercise.
But the reality for most busy Hongkongers is you are never able to do enough. And if you haven’t, don’t despair. On my first 3 day 60km hike in Nepal I was fit but had definitely not done a enough any training. And the good news is, it’s always better to turn up undertrained than over trained.
Over the next few weeks leading up to Lijiang, I will share my tips on how best to train for your three day ultra with less than a month to go, prepare, pack and survive the weekend….
Training tips below:
Stairs, stairs, stairs
With elevation touching over 3,000 metres and hundreds of metres of ascent and descent each day, the best type of training you can do over the next month is STAIRS. Opt for the stair master at the gym over the treadmill and, even better, get out on the hilly trails. This will help to strengthen and build the muscles in your legs you will need for Lijiang.
Whether you’re walking or running, the experience is set to be a bumpy one. Even if you are running the course, you will find the ascents require you to power hike at times. So getting in some vertical t is a must. Aim for at least 2 stair sessions a week (on top of your running/hiking) for as long as you’re able to muster until the week before you go.
Running/hiking for three days back-to-back will be taxing simply because you won’t have the time to fully recover. The key to preparing for such a challenge is getting in back-to-back sessions and training on “tired” legs. This will help simulate the feeling you will get over the Lijiang weekend and help you to prepare.
Use your weekend to do a hike/run on Saturday and then getting up again and doing it on Sunday. Even better – get in a third session on Monday morning before work!
Build endurance and get the distance in your head
While you don’t want to exhaust yourself / over train leading up to the event, right NOW is the time to increase your mileage. If you’re doing the 60 km, you need to make sure that you can hike comfortably for 20 kilometres (your longest day in Ljiang is 26 kilometres, then you’ll wake up and do the same the next day and more the following day!)
Endurance is more a mind game than anything else. It’s important that you get some long distance under your belt so – more than anything – you know that mentally you can handle it. That way you’ll head to Lijiang knowing the experience is achievable for you and you can hit the trails with confidence.
Rachel also keeps a blog of all things adventure in Hong Kong. Check it out: www.hkadventurebaby.com