For sea-level athletes venturing into the world of ultra marathons set in trails and mountains, the journey is not only a physical test but also a thrilling exploration of diverse terrains and elevations. In this guide, we’ll delve into the unique challenges faced by sea-level runners tackling trail and mountain ultra marathons, and outline a specialized training approach to prepare for the altitude changes and rugged landscapes that lie ahead.
Understanding the Altitude Challenge:
- Acknowledge the impact of increased elevation on your body’s oxygen intake and adjust your training accordingly.
- Gradually acclimate to higher altitudes by incorporating altitude-specific training strategies.
- Trail and mountain ultra marathons present varying surfaces, including rocky trails, steep ascents, and descents.
- Train on similar terrains to build the necessary strength, agility, and proprioception.
Ultra Marathon Training Plan:
- Altitude Adaptation Runs:
- Plan training runs at higher elevations to adapt your body to reduced oxygen levels.
- If possible, incorporate specific trail sections of the race route to familiarize yourself with the terrain
- Hill Training with Mountainous Challenges:
- Prioritize hill workouts to mimic the elevation changes of mountainous races.
- Focus on both uphill and downhill training to build strength and resilience.
- Specificity in Long Runs:
- Schedule long runs on trails and mountain paths similar to the race course.
- Include elevation gains and losses to simulate race-day conditions.
- Technical Trail Running:
- Develop technical trail running skills, including navigating rocks, tree roots, and uneven surfaces.
- Incorporate agility drills to enhance your ability to adapt to the unpredictable trail conditions.
Visualization in Mountainous Landscapes:
- Visualize success by imagining yourself conquering the mountainous trails.
- Cultivate a positive mindset by focusing on the breathtaking views and the sense of accomplishment that awaits.
Mindfulness in Nature’s Playground:
- Practice mindfulness during training to stay present and attuned to your surroundings.
- Embrace the serenity of nature to foster mental clarity and reduce anxiety about the challenging course.
Gear and Nutrition Considerations:
- Invest in trail running shoes with proper traction for varied surfaces.
- Consider lightweight and moisture-wicking clothing suitable for unpredictable mountain weather.
Nutrition for Altitude:
- Adjust your nutrition plan to account for the increased calorie expenditure at higher altitudes.
- Stay vigilant about hydration, recognizing that dehydration can occur more rapidly in mountainous conditions.
Our coaches at Altitude Athletic Training are experts in ultra-marathon training and simulated altitude training. Schedule a time to meet with one of our coaches and learn about the benefits for you: