UTMB Training Part 4 – The Rest!

part4

After Volume+Intensity, Nutrition and The Gear this is the last installment of UTMB – Training on tri-ops!

One week from today the race will be on and there are a couple more points I would like to address before going to Chamonix! First, I never had to prepare for such an adventure. In the week leading to taking my flight I must have spent at least two hours a day packing, unpacking repacking, weighing items, labeling, re-reading the runner’s guide, preparing the drop bag and getting ready to get there with all I need on the start line.

One thing that is certain about the UTMB is the uncertainty about the course!  In the previous years the weather was so bad that they had to shorten the course.

UTMB Training Part 3 – The Gear

part3

If you have missed the previous posts about UTMB preparation here are the links: part 1 – training volume and intensity / part 2 – nutritionThis week I want to explain and clarify the issues that relate to the gear that is needed for participating in the UTMB. For US based ultra runners this is subject to much torture because in the US I have yet to see an event that has a mandatory gear list. It stems probably from the fact that in the US no one cares if you die on the mountain in severe weather and also reflects cultural attitudes: in the US you’re on your own! In contrast the UTMB organizers provide a list of clothing and safety items that participants have to carry – the bags are checked when bibs are handed out (a couple of hours before the race) and random checks can occur on the course. It’s a lot of gear to carry for a ‘running’ race – this sounds more like a fastpacking list. And it took quite some time and research to assemble most of the items. Please note that the list doesn’t include a backpack! I’ve had a great experience with the Salomon Advanced Skin S-Lab 5 Set so I got a Salomon Advanced Skin S-Lab 12 to fit all the gear that I need to take with me. On long runs carrying the UTMB gear the pack weights about 8 to 9lbs.

UTMB Training Part 2 – Nutrition

part2

Training for the UTMB isn’t just about physical and mental fitness (see post on Training Volume and Intensity)

Over the years I have developed a nutrition strategy that support the muscular and systemic training load. This can be broken down in three different components: routine nutrition, effort nutrition and recovery nutrition. Routine nutrition is concerned with daily food intake (meals, snacks, hydration, supplements), effort nutrition is implemented during long runs and races (fuel, supplements and hydration) and recovery nutrition comes into play when effort has stopped and the body needs to repair and regenerate. One thing to remember is that there are no hard rules here. Nutrition needs to be tailored to genetic make-up, athletic level and circumstances. On other words my nutrition strategy is only specific to me but I do hope that the following points can help inspire many ultra athletes design their own strategy.

Routine Nutrition

The most striking quality of what I eat on a daily basis is that it is made of organic, non-GMO and non-processed foods. That’s it! That is were the dogma stops. This personal guideline is not only important for ultra endurance performance but also for a healthy lifestyle. Our ecosystem has worked for thousand of years to provide us with nourishment and medicine. What about sweets then? Although I love to make desserts I limit my consumption of processed sugar to a minimum (maybe 3 times a week). I tend to not understand when I hear runners at all levels think that because they are active they can just eat what the hell they want! The human body and spirit is both strong and susceptible to toxins. Typically I eat lean proteins and vegetables and a huge amount of fruits. I have the meat usually come from Niman’s Ranch (delivery through Spud) and the veggies and fruits delivered by Farm Fresh. My lunch typically is a huge salad and I add carbs with Udi’s bread (I don’t consider myself gluten intolerant but I feel better whenI avoid it). For pasta I have been very happy with quinoa pasta.

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