One important factor in training for an extreme endurance race is to establish base miles. The concept here is to emulate conditions similar to the race, and then put in a lot of miles in this activity. The more you put yourself through the paces of traversing those base miles, the more efficient you become doing it.
Any endurance athlete’s primary goal is to develop a strong heart that efficiently pumps blood, along with training muscles to better utilize oxygen and fat stores. It can take years of training to achieve peak efficiency, so this goal should be worked towards gradually, which translates to committing to several hundred of miles to a specific workout regimen each month.
It’s all about discovering your own physical limits, then trying to surpass them. Visit Part 2 of this series for more training tips.
There are several factors that can improve your extreme endurance race times. We’ve already discussed base miles in Part 1 – here on this page, we’ll discuss other factors:
Speed should be developed once you’ve got enough base miles under your belt, you can begin to develop speed.
A Denver-based physical therapist,l – not to mention endurance coach – John Weirath, teaches athletes to quicken their pace during 8-minute to 15-minute intervals which helps to reduce their overall time. By speeding up intervals, it makes better use of the body’s resources than running at a fast pace consistently otherwise would.
The reason? After 10 or 12 hours, your body naturally starts cannibalizing all sorts of energy stores, grabbing it from everywhere it can indiscriminately. It’s inefficient, to say the least. And if you happen to be in an endurance race with sub-zero cold, like the Antarctic 100-kilometer Ultra Race, the last thing you want to do is deplete your energy stores, including your fat layers.
Nutrition and Hydration
A healthy and balanced diet is absolutely essential to a racer’s success during training and racing. A strong diet recommendation as you’re training is to consume from 6,000 to 7,000 calories per day, broken down with 60% coming from carbohydrates (which includes fruits and vegetables), about 20% from lean protein and less than 30% from monosaturated fat.
During training, racers should also consume about a half a liter of water each hour.
The importance of proper nutrition and hydration can’t be underestimated. Indeed, we’ve seen numerous athletes deteriorate as a result of dehydration or malnutrition – a sad sight to behold, indeed.
One of the crucial keys to success from a nutritional standpoint is to be consistent about food and water intake. The moment you feel thirsty, you’re already behind the 8-ball in terms of getting hydrated. During longer races, electrolyte drinks and salt tablets are often essential.
Mitch has been a racing coach for the better part of the last 20 years. A pro extreme endurance racer himself, he has won numerous championships in his youth. He writes for various blogs as well as sells Forest Hills homes for sale when not coaching.