Monday, June 10, 2013

On your mark… How to prepare for MDS Ultra

Tips, tricks and advice to those who want to take part in one

Before participating in an international multi stage ultra marathon like the MDS, one needs to be physically and more importantly mentally prepared.

Some must dos:
-        Should run a few full marathons under different conditions (trail, city, hills, tropical), at least one ultra marathon of 75k or more
-        Should be in endurance running for at least three years
-        Practice walking for long hours as it is impossible to run on some days and stages
-        Practice running with a backpack for a few months (ideally, up to 5kgs for 8months and 10kgs for the last two months)

Some other recommendations:
-        In this case, older the better. A 35yrs plus runner is mentally a lot tougher than an Average 20-25yr old. The average age of a multi stage ultra runner is ~45Yrs. This is so for two reasons: he/she is mentally tougher, and has the financial resources to afford this expensive sport/hobby. One needs to save money for this event or have the ability to raise sponsorship.

-        To stay injury free, combining running with strength training and cross training is critical. Running and cycling combo goes quite well too. If you are into gymming, circuit training works very well with running.

-        Another good test of your endurance ability is to do one half marathon a day for 7-10 successive days in preparation. This, preferably with a backpack - heavier the better. If time is a constraint, split them into two 10k runs a day.

-        Plan and register for a multi stage ultra ideally one year in advance, minimum of nine months before your first one, assuming one is already a seasoned ultra marathoner.

-        Ideally, register for a local (usually cheaper) self sustaining multi stage ultra before going for exotic or tougher multi stage ultras like MDS or jungle ultra marathon in Amazon. Eg. Kerala multi stage ultra in Jan every year would be a good starting point, they have special pricing for local (Indian) runners

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