January 07, 2021
You’re out of breath, you feel like you could drink a gallon of water, your legs are burning, and your feet are screaming at you. You’ve just started training for that 250km ultramarathon, and right now completing it probably seems impossible, maybe even ridiculous.
It’s easy to start questioning your decision to take part in such an epic race, if it’s your first or your fiftieth, whether it was a spur-of-the-moment idea that you’re making reality or whether it’s been on your bucket list for years.
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” —Nelson Mandela
Life is all about setting yourself goals and working towards them. RacingThePlanet are there for you every step of the way to help you prepare yourself mentally and physically and achieve that incredible goal.
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Feedback from Previous Runners
RacingThePlanet have spoken to some 4 Deserts runners to share a few words about the 250km ultramarathon experience:
David Cox, UK, who has completed three 4 Deserts races since 2010, said:
"I love the physical, the mental and the emotional space. It allows me the time to put things into perspective, to marvel at this beautiful and amazing planet, and to enjoy the company of (extra)ordinary people."
He is right, the races do tend to turn people into better versions of themselves.
Alex Chapman from England has completed three races. He says he was inspired by others:
"Some of my friends did a 4 Deserts race and they stopped being 'those fat middle-aged blokes down the pub' to being 'those guys.' I wanted to be one of those guys, too."
How Can I Start to Prepare in the Meantime?
Here are some suggestions from an expert ultramarathoner:
Isabelle Sauvé (originally posted on RacingThePlanet):
Completing a marathon on its own is a bucket-list achievement. But Ontario’s Isabelle Sauvé has completed nearly a dozen ultramarathons, many of them back-to-back on some of the most challenging terrain in the world. The Ontario Provincial police officer was the overall women’s 4 Deserts champion for 2018—a year-long challenge that has participants complete four 250 km+ week-long ultramarathons in four radically different destinations across the planet—starting with the driest place on Earth in Chile, to the challenging rock terrain of Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, to the Namibian desert, before finishing in Antarctica. Needless to say, she’s a master at running through all kinds of crappy weather.
"I break prep into different components: equipment, nutrition, training and knowing the terrain. It’s really learning how to manage every component properly, to make sure that you’re good mentally.
In terms of terrain: When it’s going to be a sandy desert, for example, I’ll find a gravel pit where I can run in the sand. And then, with anything snowy, obviously in Canada it is pretty easy [to practice].
A big part of multi-stage racing is doing marathons back-to-back. You can try to mimic it as much as you can in your training—it’s pretty brutal in terms of getting used to the fatigue.
[When preparing for an event], I train nearly every day. Some days are weight training or cross training. As I get closer to an event, I can spend five to seven hours a day training. I often break up training into two or three sessions daily and allow some rest in between. Some days I don’t include breaks to further build endurance. My shortest training runs are one hour, with the longest at six to seven hours.
Closer to a race I’ll test out all of my foods. With the ultras, you’re eating dehydrated food so I’ll try and mimic the race in mini sessions of 3-4 days. That way, it’s not so much of a shock to the body and I know what to expect and whether or not it works."
How do I Organise Nutrition for my 250km Ultramarathon?
Anim Swart, South Africa/Canada/US, has achieved 5th place in the Namib Race and 4th place in the Gobi March.
“Last year this time I was preparing for my first desert ultramarathon, the Namib Race. I went with the package [ration pack] of Expedition Foods for stage racing. But, needing to find something a little more local and less expensive, I used other freeze-dried foods for the other deserts.
BIG Mistake, I almost felt like that scene in Pretty Woman with the clothing store. However, I am going to attempt the 4 Deserts Grand Slam Plus this year and will go back to Expedition Foods.”
The most important tip we can offer about nutrition is this – try EVERYTHING out in conditions as similar to the event as you can. Know your system well and don’t get caught on race day eating or using something that doesn’t work for you.
At Expedition Foods, we have experienced ultramarathoners available to answer your nutrition questions, so don’t hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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March 08, 2023
Regarding my freeze-dried food, I've always liked exotic meals: curries, couscous, chilis, and other kormas or tikkas. And for desserts or breakfast, I like all kinds of custard experiences. Expedition Foods' flavors are awesome in that sense. I have been using it for years and it has always left my stomach at peace.
February 15, 2023
February 15, 2023
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