If you read my last post, you may have seen that I recently walked an Ultra.
Sorry (not sorry) for going on about it, but the experience was amazing.
It was not all smooth sailing. I didn’t get it all right and I’m ok with that as I’ve had loads to learn from to apply to my next Ultra.
In this short article, I’ll go through some of the things I would do differently.
Sort my feet out
I was happy with my choice of shoes – a pair of lightweight trail runners. However where I went wrong was my choice of socks and inadequate foot care. I’ll break it down.
Firstly I needed to have a pair of liner socks to help with blisters. I’ll be trying this next time. I’ll also bring a spare pair of socks to change into at the half way point.
I also didn’t pack talk or compeed, so when I got a hot spot there was nothing I could do. This caused me to alter my natural walking rhythm and caused me to get a sprained ankle and bruised upper foot, in addition to getting a whopper of a blister.
Lesson learned, look after your feet.
I wouldn’t use a bladder again on an Ultra. They are great pieces of kit, and my Osprey one has never leaked in over 10 years, however, I couldn’t monitor how much I was drinking.
As a consequence, I got dehydrated towards the end which made it harder than it should.
For future events, I will be using soft flasks and a bag with bottle pouches at the front.
Not bringing music
It was nice to be in my thoughts all day, but as the going got tough I wish I had some pumping dance tunes to get me through, or perhaps a podcast or two.
Next time, I’ll be bringing music, and a power bank to give my phone the juice it needs to keep me entertained when I’ve stopped caring about the views…
I shouldn’t have driven home
I’ll not tell you how I drove home that night, but in hindsight, it wasn’t the best decision I’ve ever made, and I should have just grabbed a B&B for the night. Next time, I’ll be recovering a little before I jump into the car.
Overpacing at the beginning
I overpaced at the beginning. I wanted to make some room between me and the rear marker. I’m glad I did, but I didn’t need to push so hard before I warmed up.
I don’t know if this was, or wasn’t the right approach, but I wondered if I should have slowed down initially.
I wish I had run down hills
I don’t regret my new approach to go uphill very slowly, like a landrover defender with diff-lock engaged. Slow and steady to reduce burning out the clutch.
However, I should have bombed downhills. The times I did, I certainly added to my time, and on my next ultra I will walk uphill, on the flats, but on steep sections, I’m running.
I don’t regret all the times I didn’t manage to train, but I will be training harder for my next ultra. I want to do more 20 mile days with very few aches and pains. In addition, I want to improve my core mobility to reduce injury and aid recovery.
The mistakes and proposed improvements above are very personal. Certainly don’t take this as an article telling you what you should do for your Ultra event. That being said, I hope you find something useful in this article to apply to your next long-distance walk or ultra.