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How to run for over 24 hours at a time.


Recently I had a curly question from one of our amazing athletes at Running Hot who was doing a very different type of Ultra.

Below is his question and my answer. 

This will help people doing any sort of long distance but in particular, 12, 24 hour races or circuit races where its about consistency over a long period of time and pacing and energy management. 

I am doing a backyard ultra in two weeks.. a last person standing event.. never ran farther than an 85k ultra.. this is a 6.7k loop you have to complete within the hour.. next loop starts on the hour.. till there‚Äôs only one person left.. could go on for a day or two.. two things: 

1) how to prepare for the mental game.. going on the hour, every hour

2) with 10 minutes between laps, how to deal with tight muscles?

Done 6 and 9 training laps with breaks.. gets tougher to start again the more laps you do. Any advice
So here my answer:

Not much you can physically prepare for it when its two weeks out don't try and catch up anything, it's too late focus on recovery and mental preparation and tapering down. 

This will be tough race as as time goes on you will  likely be walking a portion of it and I actually recommend this or at least changing up your pace.  After 15 to 20 hours you won't have much break time as you will get slower with your circuits and only have time for a short break probably before having to hit out again. 
Pacing yourself from the start and focusing on hydration and nutrition and electrolytes as even a  one time  crash, say hitting the wall or dropping the sugar levels and you are done you won't have the chance to recover which you might do in a non stop type of event where you can if required take say 20 to 30 minutes to recover your sugar levels and blood pressure and settle your tummy and get back out there. In this type of event you won't have that chance so preventing a crash is crucial.You wont make the time cut offs otherwise.

Regarding tight -muscles you need to change up your stride so mix walking and running constantly changing that up, the earlier you start walking (or slower jogging) and getting into the habit of that the longer before the central governor in your brain starts to stop you recruiting muscles for survival sakes (the brain starts to freak out on a subconcious level and thinks you are going to kill yourself so tries to stop you recruiting muscles in an effort to stop you moving, this is just a survival instinct you have to override. This is why you get the little ultra shuffle on and can't open up your muscles and use them properly after many hours of running and you look like funny. 

So you need to start the run/walk scenario early on in a race like this..
Regarding hydration and energy -Sip sip sip and nibble nibble nibble, you need a constant flow of food and hydration and electrolytes, never let your stomach empty always keep it half full, never overload it all at once and keep your water intake luke warm never ice cold. 

Use only foods you have used in training and never try anything new on race day. 

Use Tailwind or electrolyte tablets to cover your electrolyte requirements. I also recommend having some crampfix on hand (from tailwind guys too) and taking BCAA's or Branch chain amino acids to slow the build up of lactic acid in the muscles and speed recovery. Here is the link for that https://www.zerotwenty2.co.nz/
Another thing to stop tight muscles is to do squat down regularly to open up the hips and put the muscles into a different position. Leg swings holding onto a wall or fence post are another good thing to do regularly. So little stretches regularly to change up the position of the tight muscles. Caution it will hurt and don't rip anything, ease into it.

Start eating and drinking from the get go and never stop if you can help it. Just little and often, set your watch for every 15 min.

The longer it is the harder it gets when you stop for too long. Just know there is nothing you can really do its, brutal you just have to deal with the pain of starting again and dig deep.  You won't have that long between rounds after 15 or 20 hours anyway it will be straight back out.

So I hope this little plan helps. 

If you have a big hairy audacious running goal whether thats your first 5km or your hundredth ultramarathon download our Free Ebook "How to run faster, be stronger, run longer without burnout and injuries" at www.runninghotcoaching.com/ebo... and come join our online run coaching tribe. Where we have over 600 athletes from all corners of the world and all levels striving for their running goals. Get the plans you need, the holistic approach so you can keep doing this for the long haul without burning out. Plans from 5km right up to half, full marathon, and all ultramarathon distances. 


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