7 tips that helped me to finish my first Ultra
by Jakub Forgács • May 27th, 2024

7 tips that helped me manage my first Ultra

Want to take part in an Ultra race for the first time? This article is just for you! It was prepared by our Spartan ambassador Jakub Forgács (35), a member of STG Ružomberok, who has been participating in Spartan races since 2017.

This year, the royal Spartan Ultra discipline awaits us in the picturesque nature of Malinô Brdo. It runs on Saturday, August 31, 2024. That's why it's high time to read advice from an experienced racer.

When I also managed my first Ultra in 2021 and I remember how, after reaching the finish line, I said that never again ... However, this year I registered for my fourth and therefore I want to share with you the advice that they helped me survive my premiere three years ago.

1. Don't underestimate preparation Ultra is a great test of endurance. Steep ascents or descents will give your legs a lot of work and you need to prepare them for it. Paradoxically, due to a problem with my ankle, I cannot overdo my running training. That's why I included bike tours and hiking in the hills or several-day crossings in my preparation. My favorites are, for example, the Low Tatras, where in four days you can walk about two lengths and double the elevation of one Ultra. Of course, only try something like this well in advance of the race.

2. Hydrate yourself before running Many think about taking in fluids during the race. However, if you want to keep enough water in your body, think about it several days in advance. It also paid off for me when I increased my water intake. At the same time, I also added electrolytes in moderation before the run, especially the last days, when I mainly relaxed.

3. Don't go it alone A partner on the track will not only pull you along, but in the case of Open waves, they can also help you on obstacles. We also started with the Ultras in a pair, and not only did the time fly by faster, but at the same time the "torture" was much more pleasant. In addition, if you are accompanied by someone who has run Ultra before, it is only an advantage.

4. Run light, but not empty When you have 50+ kilometers to go, you don't need to rely only on refreshment stations, although they are regularly located on the track. However, sometimes even the 5 kilometers between them can take more than an hour. That's why I carried a small rucksack, in later races a hydro bag. Thanks to its content, I was able to regularly replenish the necessary fluids, electrolytes, or supply the body with energy whenever I needed it. At the same time, I had fresh supplies, clean clothes and shoes ready in the comfort zone in my bag in case of need.

5. Receive energy regularly Perseverance and self-denial would be useless to me without a sufficient supply of energy. You don't have to stuff yourself and overdo it. But don't wait until you're completely drained. I used to have at least a piece of banana, energy bar or gel every half hour and it definitely didn't hurt. I also regularly tried to replenish fluids and, of course, I always had magnesium on hand.

6. Sometimes it pays to take off your shoes or undress Consider wisely the choice of clothing that can also be a burden on you on the track, especially if it is cotton. During the first Ultra, for example, we sacrificed a minute of time to take off our clothes in front of the water channel (which was just beyond the comfort zone and people often went there dry and changed), carry our shoes in our hands and put them on again. Thanks to this, we walked a significant part of the course with dry feet. When we returned again in the early evening and a cold lake awaited us, we threw all unnecessary clothes into our backpacks so that we would not be "knocked" by the cold after coming out of the water. So we basically arrived at the destination only in underwear, but warmed up. :)

7. Do not experiment unnecessarily Last but not least, you can read tons of tips on how to handle Ultra. However, what you and your body are used to is also important. Whether it's clothes, shoes or food in the comfort zone, go to the "recipes" you've verified and especially tried. I also tried to follow that. You still have enough time to train and prepare, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you.

PS: The tips mentioned above are aimed more at people who have never had a similar experience and they are concerned with conquering the entire course, not the actual performance or placement. Of course, these days I don't even waste time taking off my shoes and so on. and I don't even stop in the "comfort box" anymore, I just pack the necessary things ;)

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