the ultra xone
training plans, kit advice and template nutrition plans
Taking on a multi-day ultra in a far flung corner of the earth is one of the greatest experiences in the world. The sense of achievement you feel after grinding through each day, and the camaraderie you build with your fellow competitors in a remote desert, jungle or mountain camp is what makes competing in the global Ultra X series truly unique.
We know that everyone is capable of completing a multi stage ultra marathon, and that the hardest step is often the first. There are many things written and said about multistage events, with differing opinions and, quite often, simply too much over-complication. It can be very easy to overthink it, when focusing on the basics is all you need.
There is no reason to be scared of the challenge. It will take commitment, yes, but do not think that you need to give up on social life, run crazy amounts of miles, and stop drinking in order to get to the finish line of an Ultra X event!
Some stats about our previous finishers:
~ More than 50% have never run a marathon before signing up;
~ 33% of finishers train for an event for between 4 and 6 months
and 39% for between 2 and 4 months;
~ The average longest training week (peak week) for competitors is 100km (62 miles).
Every December, we challenge our community to run 100km in 8 days between Christmas and New Year. So yes, if you’ve finished the Ultra X #Holiday100, you’ve already run as far in (just over) a week as our average finisher in their biggest training week!
It’s easy to focus solely on the physical training for a multi-stage race when, in reality, the success of any competitor during a multi-stage event is dictated by their overall preparation. This can be broken down into three key aspects:
Physical preparation is highly specific and will depend on several factors, including: how far out from the race your training begins, your current fitness levels, and your race goals. However, below we’ve created some example training plans to help you begin structuring your physical training.
NOTE: These plans should be used as a framework and each session should be tailored as appropriate for each individual. Follow plans blindly, without listening to your body, and you will be asking for trouble. However, adopt a learning mindset and you will be better able to adapt the principles and make them fit your goals, training history, and time available. If you would like a bespoke training plan or to work with a coach for an event, simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will put you in touch with our network of experienced coaches all around the world.
You are new to multi-day events, ultra marathons and maybe even running.
You are looking for a new or alternative challenge that gives the opportunity to be adventurous and explore new regions.
This ain’t your first rodeo!
You have tackled multi-day events and ultras before.
You are ambitious and whilst you probably won’t be standing on the podium at the end of the week, you’d be disappointed if you didn’t give it a good go!
Get out of the way!
You’re an experienced ultra runner and multi-day athlete.
You relish all that is put in front of you, seeking the fastest times, recognition for your exploits, and to push the outer limits of yourself and the sport every day.
2) mental preparation
The reason people fail to complete, or perform as well as they could, is often because they haven’t prepared mentally. In a multi-stage race, everyone experiences lows. What is important is that you are prepared for these and have a coping strategy in place for when they arrive.
Know your why
What is your goal? What are your motivators? Who are you doing this for? Establishing the “why” behind the objectives you want to accomplish can make the difference between success and failure. This will be one of your anchors when the going gets tough.
There is no perfect training plan. Some competitors will get through our events averaging under 30 miles per week, whereas others will do well over 60 miles per week. It is important to recognise that, depending on your goal, you may as well be completing a very different event.
Training plans which get you ready physically are one thing, but how can you go about preparing mentally? The difference between success and failure is often down to mental attitude and your ability to deal with the lows. Check out this article for some useful things to consider.
By teaching you to monitor how your body actually feels, while suspending judgement about it, mindfulness can help you prepare for feelings of discomfort, therefore avoiding the psychological mismatch between expected and actual effort levels, and prevent an overreaction to pain.
3) kit, nutrition and race admin
kit and equipment
Success in ultra running is about 30% down to running — the rest is an admin game. If your admin is on point, you will be successful; if not, something trivial will destroy your mind and soul.” Marcus Smith, InnerFight Founder and Ultra X Sri Lanka 2019 Finisher
Your admin is the key to your success. You can spend hours of time and lots of money messing this up while learning how to get it right. Luckily, we’ve been in the game for a while and have made all the mistakes — so you don’t have to. We also love to learn all about new equipment and test it out for ourselves.
Our partners at myRaceKit will offer you expert advice on the mandatory kit required at all of our events (specific kit lists can be found on the race pages) as well as 10% off everything with the code MRKULTRAX10. Follow the links below to purchase mandatory items as well as additional recommended kit.
Everyone will have their own calorie requirements and favourite foods. We encourage you to carry out thorough nutrition tests in training to ensure your body reacts well with each food item when under physical stress. For further information and advice on nutrition planning for multi-stage events, check out the articles below.