We’re going to assume you have completed a single stage ultra for the purpose of this training regime, as you already know, you must have completed an ultra within the last 18 months to enter the LIU. The LIU has not been designed for the complete novice, we leave that to the other races out there. Prepare to #GetLost.
Time On Your Feet! You can already run and walk yes? Great, so what we’re talking about here is training the muscles, ligaments, tendons and (in my opinion) most importantly the central governor, that is your brain to be up on your feet for super extended periods of time. And to then do it all again the next day! For some the long stage of the Lost Island Ultra will be the longest distance they have ever, or will ever attempt. The long stage could mean being on your feet for upwards of 14 hours. That’s 14 hours, running, walking and crawling your way over some pretty in-hospitable terrain. The “Time on Your Feet” training method has been devised to help you in every possible way as you attempt this race. It will become your security blanket when times get tough, when all else fails you’ll know you can do it, and all because of this training regime. This training plan could be the difference between just plain gutting it out all the way to the end and a much more enjoyable and spiritual running experience, of course “enjoyable” when completing an ultra is a matter of opinion and perspective, there are always going to be those moments – but that’s why we do it yeah?
Before we get to the training plan, here are some points that will help along the way:
1) Be prepared, always use best practises for your safety.
Let someone know where you’re going, when you’re leaving and when you’re expecting to return.
Carry safety kit such as first aid, compass (conventional, not a smart app), waterproof layer, and if in exposed areas, a warm layer.
A fully charged mobile phone – in the event of an emergency you can piggy back of almost any network coverage to make the call.
Seriously, hills are great training partners, they’ll automatically slow you down to give you more time on your feet, they will push your CV to the next level and they’ll make your training more varied and fun in the process, if you haven’t already make hills a feature of your training during a few of your runs, but especially your long run.
3) Mix it up
Look up different areas to do your runs and long runs from time to time, the good trail mag’s usually print new and exciting places to stretch your legs and take in new surroundings. Remember point 1 and to take a high quality map of the area and a compass with you.
Cross-train. This can mean Yoga Classes, CrossFit, Climbing, anything that builds strength and flexibility. If you purely run for your training, you could be leaving yourself open to over-training injuries as well as short changing yourself in the strength and flexibility department.
Whether you’re tackling a 50km race or our 220km multiday adventure, The Lost Island Ultra, having the right kit is essential to the quality of your training and the race. You will need to look at every aspect of your gear to ensure it is suitable for an ultra distance event. Some great brands include Yeti, Montane, VIVOBAREFOOT, Salomon, North Face, OMM,, 2 X U, Ultra Aspire, Orange Mud, Under Amour & Skins. When choosing your kit you should pay special attention to the climate control features and fit before brand loyalty, one person’s heaven is the end of another person’s race – Test, Test & Test again! If you’re taking part in the Lost Island Ultra, you will need to check the kit required and make sure you have all the bases covered. It can be mind boggling but the same principles stand, select your kit on your needs alone and make sure you test everything again and again. Extended kit manufacturers include: Silva, Buff, Oakley, Hennessy Hammocks, Marmot & Camel Back.
Take a backpack on your long runs with enough of your favourite fuel and drink to last the whole distance/time you’re out on your feet. If you’re joining us in Fiji for the Lost Island Ultra, you should practice running with a small day pack. Take your desired day kit and train with it – leave no stone un-turned in your race prep. Our favourite packs are made my OMM, but as with the rest of your kit make sure you try a few out to see which fits best. Other pack manufacturers are Salomon, Raidlight and Osprey.
Add walking to your training schedule, try and work it in to your long runs especially – maybe 20 miles of running with 5/10 miles of walking depending on where you are in the plan. You’ll often hear seasoned ultra veterans say “walk the ups, run the downs”, this can be very important advice during a tough ultra, advice that could be the difference between finishing or pulling out.
Often the big ultra-footraces are set in weird and wonderful locations, often with extreme temperatures (hot and cold), tough terrain (sand, rock, mud) and other factors such as humidity or altitude. How on earth do you prepare for such a challenge in your training? This depends on a great deal, often arriving in your race location early can help, but this is seldom possible due to work and family commitments, so our advice is to concentrate first on the “Time on Your Feet” training plan and then to add in some of the conditions where possible. Training in cold weather gear during the summer replicating the extreme heat of a desert/jungle for example, running on the sand at the beach replicating the loose sand in desert dunes – in short get inventive.
Use your training runs to fine tune your nutrition for the race, never attempt an ultra without a great nutrition plan. Make sure you try out different fuel options during long training runs to see how your body reacts each time. Some great brands include Extreme Adventure Foods, Hammer Nutrition & Cliff, each providing a whole range of great fuelling options, both for your race and your training schedule.
The following plan uses a mixture of easy running days, fartlek (speed play), hill sessions mixed with a long run/walk session at the end of each week. You can alter the run walk time to suit your needs, when more tired walk more, when feeling ready you can add more running in to this session – this perfectly mimics the ultra footrace/marathon.
Remember the goal is time driven, not distance driven.
We’ve geared this training plan towards those that work during the week and have a little more free-time at the weekends, we of course know this is not the case for all. Please feel free to swap the days around to suit your schedule.
This training plan will work just as well for a Jungle Ultra style race through a rainforest, for an Ice Style Ultra over frozen landscapes as it does a multi-terrain style race, such as our Lost Island Ultra in Fiji.
• Time On Feet – this is your goal
• Cross Train
• Be flexible – exchange training days when busy
• Enjoy the journey!
Want a tailored training and nutrition plan? Contact us, we have partnered with some amazing people to bring out the best in your training.
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