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Ready to expand your training?

It has taken me 5 years to return to a special place. A place in the mountains I felt completely drawn to the moment I arrived there during a photoshoot for Inov-8 in 2010. Life somewhat got in the way of going back to Chamonix, Mont-Blanc any earlier. If anything, I kept finding reasons why I could not make the trip. So the years went by.

Do you know that feeling that you would really like to try and do something different in your training? Feeling stuck in a rut of work, training, family and juggling it all? But something holds you back to take some time off for yourself?

Even if you realize that time to yourself doesn´t necessarily involve a lot of costs but your absolute will to expand and taking your training to new heights?

But I know, something else always takes priority over one or more of your deep(est) desires, wishes, ideas and dreams as an ultra runner.

What would happen if you just did it?

Last week, actually whilst cycling along a nice path with my kids, Chamonix and the trails around the Mont-Blanc suddenly popped up in my head. So sudden that I got goosebumps all over. Up to that day the experience of running in such a remote area which had fueled me with incredible amounts of energy back then had never gone.

Boom, it was all there again and I decided to go back. Instantly and without hesitation.

I took inspired action in response to the vision I had of myself running on those rugged trails that so beautifully surround Chamonix and called up a friend who warmly welcomed me at his place a mere four days later.

I ran over twelve hours in 3 days, completely surrendering myself to the mountains. Every step felt so safe, no matter how narrow the trails were, no matter how hot it was and no matter how many people let me pass by. I was flying along lightly on my feet and was happiest during the hours where I did not see a soul. Just hearing the gravel crumble underneath my shoes was like music to my ears, so pure. I felt infused with abundance.

The weekend was a turning point for me. I sensed what is still in it for me as an ultra trail runner. That even though I had not run past and beyond 1,5 hours the past couple of years and had focused more on horse-riding instead, my endurance, core strength and running spirit have not faded at all.

If anything, I´ve returned back on the trails stronger than ever before simply by expanding my training at last.

Developing your skills as an ultra runner and discovering your true virtue is not done in a day. But you´ll be surprised what you can take away for yourself by changing your routine just once in a while by just getting out there and lifting yourself slightly out of the comfort zone.

On day 3 of my mountain running adventure I finally got passed by a French gazelle-like male runner who slowed down and started to talk. We were hiking fast up towards the Nid d´Aigle when he asked me how many kilometres I had set out to run that day. I said that I was heading up to the top and then taking a different route back down to Les Houches.

However long that would take me.

He proudly announced that he was running 33 K and guess what happened: During that second he had given away his last reserves, his power and his last mental energy he would have needed to keep up with me. He was blown. I decided to take the lead, never looked back and never saw him again.

Shame as I was initially happy to have a training buddy for an hour or so. But his competitiveness spoiled it for me.

On any ascend in an ultra, a race is often decided! The mountain can be a real devil that evokes negativity of it being too steep to run up.

Instead, surrendering to its beauty and the gift within you to be capable of winding your way up to the mountain top is what can leave you with an amazingly rewarding sense of achievement and gratitude.

Don´t waste time on the I-have-to-beat-him or her! That game always ends up in a dead-end road. For you!

It´s when you decide to view other runners in a race as your allies to help you have your best day out on the course you can have the race of your life.

That attitude wins mentally over any negative, competitive thoughts of having to beat the shit out of the others runners in the field.

Discovering such like-minded game players in races is key!

When did you last expand your training? What benefits did you get out of the experience? I am super curious to know your story and thoughts.

Please leave your comment below!

 

 

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How To Best Prep Your Feet With One Simple Method

An ultra runner´s feet would not necessarily win a beauty contest.

By the nature of it our feet are in many cases prone to blistering. I belong to the group of people whose feet are easy to take care of and rarely suffer from blisters the size of a tennis ball – as seen during the Marathon des Sables.

There is one remedy that can at least prevent you from the worst troubles. And is super-easy to get hold of, easy to apply and seriously fool-proof.

 

If this magic tape called Leukotape can withstand the rather hot conditions in a desert then it will surely help on a day to day basis for those living in cooler places.

The key is to go simple – my favorite approach all things considered ultra marathon training. It´s worked many times over. The tape functions as a protective layer on the skin. Unlike most products that are pricy and in most cases boost blistering.

What do you do to prevent blisters during long runs and in races? What´s your #1 tip you´d like to share?

Join the conversation and let me know what you think. I look forward to read your comments.

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Choosing The Right Amounts Of Food Before And During A Run

How much food do you eat before starting your run?

Do you know which amounts of food you need without getting an upset stomach?

It is interesting that you can actually train your body (and mind!) to get used to digesting foods that are eaten shortly before a run and even during training.

Without the nasty surprises of getting stomach cramps or even feeling sick.

I show you what you can do to become a good eater before and during your run. And it´ll all pay off in your next race. You´ll see why here…

Years ago this was really tough for me and it took me a while to change my mindset from thinking that running on an empty stomach is actually better. I preferred to feel light in my body. A bad mistake with little to no perspective of ever stepping up to an ultra marathon without sorting out my diet in training.

Then I started practicing. The result was that I could sustain higher levels of energy throughout the entire run. It was just a matter of trying and testing different amounts of foods and drinks.

These days I can basically eat any healthy and nutritious snacks right before a run and if necessary during my training.

The more you practice eating a small amount before you start running the better you can handle your food intake during a race. Because that´s where it all comes together. The more you have “taught” your body to tolerate food intake during running the less nasty surprises you can expect.

Have you been dealing with this issue and if so, what solutions did you find? Share your insights here as your words might be exactly someone else´s cure.

 

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Does Compression Wear Really Make A Big Difference On Longer Runs?

HighCarb writes: I usually wear compression pants for longer runs (more than 30k). Last week I ran 35k (including +- 1200m of elevation gain/loss) without them. What a difference!

After the second last uphill at km 30 my legs started getting really tired and stiff. I have not experienced anything like that for quite a long time.

Obviously, compression works for me.

However, this experience makes me wonder if I should do my training runs without compression and rather wear compression pants afterwards for regeneration.

I wonder if your legs can get used to the assistance provided by compression so that over time you lose the benefit and develop a dependency.

My answer: Thanks for the very informative article and sharing your experience.

I understand the effect you are describing. I was once at the same point feeling dependent on compression wear for running, specially running tights and socks.

The effect is definitely noticeable. However, one layer of clothing cannot have the expected effect for kilometres and hours on end.

It is more so the mind that sends the trigger that compression wear is going to prolong fatigue, hence your muscle have a greater capacity to handle the training load. And that without them you are lost and start feeling stiff.

Bottom line: No clothing material can ever replace adequate training.

A really purposeful way to use compression tights is AFTER long runs or very intense speed workouts. It is the supportive effect more than anything else that can aid recovery to a small degree.

If you spend money on innovative running gear than it´s probably better to invest into high quality socks, a decent running jacket or/and another pair of your favorite running shoes.

 

Now it´s your turn. What´s your personal opinion on compression socks and tights? Do you think it´s something more than just clever marketing?

Leave your comment below and share what you have to say. I look forward to join the conversation.

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Guy´s Post-Trans Gaspesia Flow And How To Be Unstoppable

A few days ago I contacted Guy to see how he had been after his first super successful multi-day ultra marathon, the Trans Gaspesia. Knowing myself how uplifting a race finish can be creating serious flow and often overlooking symptoms of tiredness I somewhat guessed that he wouldn´t sit still for long. And this is what he wrote back:

The feedback after the race was insane, I was in the newspaper (full page) before and after the race, and my company, which is Canada wide, wants to put me in their national newsletter for this fall.

I did not stop since Trans Gaspesia – didn´t I say 😉. Two weeks after I did a 50k ultra for Ray Zahab’s I2P foundation here in Ottawa and finished 4th, today I did a 18K trail race and also finished 4th overall. This is my third  4th place finish in a row, one day I’ll get on the podium – oh yes, you certainly will!

I have a lot more planned until the new year.  In two weeks it’s the Spartan Race World Championship Beast in Vermont (25K of ski hills and obstacles), then on October 12th I have my first ever 50mile ultra in Bromont Quebec.  A week after I have a 50K trail here in Ottawa. To finish the year off I have the Reggae Marathon in Negril Jamaica on December 6th. Just trying to fit my on-call schedule into that. 

After my feet problems at Trans Gaspesia I tried several kinds of trail shoes and finally found the perfect pair. It’s exactly the same fit as my Inov-8 Trailrocs but way more cushioned and support in the midfoot.

Luckily I do not have any more blister problems since running in the Nike Zoom Terra Kigers. I did my last 2 races in them.

Thinking back to my training for the multi stage race I think it was perfect, no complaints at all. The only problem is that I should have done a bit more homework before the race. What I mean by that is mostly the preparation (backpack, gear,  weight etc….) and how to manage my feet since I got all those blister problems and couldn’t run even close to my capacity.

This is Guy´s amazing story.

Part of why he´s able to race so shortly after Trans Gaspesia is that he´s strong-willed by nature and knows how to use his mental strategies to his advantage.

He was already pretty fit starting the specific training for Trans Gaspesia. He didn´t start from scratch as a runner but found a much greater benefit in using a training plan tailored to his daily schedule and fine-tuning his training. This also gave him a lot of confidence and reassured him of his natural talents and abilities.

How enthusiastic are you about racing a few ultras in a row and using your fitness from a previous race for the next one? What is your ultimate tip for recovering fast?

Share your thoughts and ideas and write a comment right below. I look forward to hear from you.

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From Ironman To Ultra Marathon Runner – What You Can Take Away from Mary Nathan´s Quest

What is considered ´average´or ´normal´ is left to one´s own perception. Ultra marathon running ain´t exactly the path that the mainstream walks on but when you truly desire something then it´s never too late to go and pursue your dreams.

What every one else thinks around you becomes irrelevant. This has been true for Mary Nathan whom I had the honour to coach and help her achieve her goal – to finish an ultra marathon at the age of 70!!

Do you sometimes find yourself wanting to do a particular race and then decide to put off the idea?

But deep inside you are driven, keen and ambitious striving towards what you originally set out to do. Then life gets in your way. Job, partner, family, and the rest…

That´s what this podcast is all about. Mary and I openly talk about what sparked her about running, her background, training secrets and why she´s never getting tired to explore, optimize and improve herself.

Mary started running in her 50´s and shortly after ran her first marathon. And why not go further and take up triathlon qualifying for the World Championships in Hawaii becoming super successful in her age group!

 

Now I´d love to hear from you.

What´s the most important follow-through insight you´re taking away today? Or, if you’ve struggled with this issue, what’s the single biggest strategy that’s helped you learn to start pursuing your goal and dealing with outside distractions?

Let me know in the comments below and add as much of your story as you like.

 

 

 

 

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Race Report Trans Gaspesia

Guy´s race report is ready. It sums up the essence of an extraordinary challenging race and the courage it takes to dig really, really deep.

Again, Guy´s attitude is what impressed me so much. I often hear people bragging about their training efforts  like world champions but neglecting to work intensely on visualization and building mental willpower.  The key to successfully finish this beauty of a bone-braking and mind-shattering race was for Guy to work on all aspects. And did he work hard!

Part of his preparation were some Spartan races which served him well. To see the transformation from being a determined runner to a super-confident ultra marathon runner aware of his capabilities and using them to his best advantage turns him into an inspiring achiever.

See his report here: Trans Gaspesia Race Report

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Trans Gaspesia 2014 – The Survival Of The Toughest And How Guy Doiron Did It

Still feeling thrilled about Guy´s outstanding and amazing performance at Trans Gaspesia in Canada awarded with winning his age group (35-39).

I am left with not much to say except to take my hat off to this super ambitious, driven and passionate ultra runner whose sheer willpower helped him finish a race that is known as ONE OF the toughest multi-stage ultra marathon on the planet. Needless to say, only 13 out of 20 runners actually made it.

When Guy first approached me about being his coach for three months and after I had taken a look at his running background I knew this was going to be challenging. Guy has an amazing attitude towards life and always finds an opportunity in something that other people would take as a setback.

Even some niggles and minor injuries would not hold him back in his pursuit to make it to the start and finish no matter what. We adjusted his training plan in a way that would support his strengths and divert to cross training for a week.

A strong-willed ultra runner by nature he developed the skills that would make him even stronger. Never once tired ( except during the taper phase!) or drained Guy managed the training loads in an unbelievably strong manner given that he´s also a full-time employee.

It goes to show again that ambitious ultra marathon running is possible - on a high level and higher! Real people with real lives.

This was just the beginning of Guy´s newly-born passion for multi-stage races. His race report will follow...

What was your toughest ultra marathon ever? What obstacles did you have to face during your training? Join the conversation and leave a comment...I´d love to hear from you...

 

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The Power Of Running Early In The Morning

It´s often true in ultra marathon training that the early bird catches the wurm. Still, it can be a real struggle to lift yourself out of bed before 6 am and head out for a training run first thing. But it pays off…  

I´d love to hear from you in which ways you motivate yourself for an early morning run if sometimes there is no other way than gettin´it done. Leave me a comment after watching the video.

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How To Build Speed And Stay In The Aerobic Zone

There are two sides to every story and this is often true in ultra marathon training. But in which way is it actually possible to do speed training AND stay in the aerobic zone at the same time…

 

 

Please share your comment after watching the video and tell me about your speed training and how often you stretch beyond so that you´re nearly crawling on all fours. I look forward to hear from you…