Multi-Day Running Events: 9 Step Strategy

You're going for it! You've entered a multi-day event! Now the challenge really starts as you need to get to the start line in the best possible shape, injury free, with suitable kit, and mentally strong enough to take on the race.

We've got this! Ultra Trail Spain has put together some of the best online stage-race training information out there to help you in your preparations.

We're keen multi-day racers ourselves and know exactly what it takes to reach that finish line. This guide brings together some of our favourite information to add to your own training to help you get there too. 



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'Where do I start?': Planning for your multi-day race

'Where do I start?': Planning for your multi-day race

Stage-races are more than just a running experience. Whether you are embarking on a completely self-supported race in which you carry everything you need for the duration, or a semi-supported event where the organisers help out with food and move your kit forward each day, you will be almost entirely responsible for your own well-being for several days or more. The multi-day is a truly epic event. It's an opportunity to disconnect from modern-living and a chance to reconnect with your natural surroundings. This calls for special preparation.

In 'Multi-day events: The ultimate guide', we've brought together some of the best knowledge available to help prepare you for your race so that you have an adventure to remember.

WHY? Preparation will make your multi-day journey a more pleasurable experience.

Most stage-races are held in places of outstanding natural beauty. Our planet is precious. Preparation will ensure you get to savour your once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

The ultimate list of the web's best links to:
Multi-day racing


Training to adapt

Planning your training strategy for a multi-day event is similar to any ultra. Consistency in your training is the most important aspect, mixing high intensity and lower intensity days to ensure you recover between each session. Multi-day training isn't just about running big miles; it's about being very specific in your training. Sure you want to get used to being on your feet for long periods at a time but if there's a bucket full of ascent in your chosen race then train to run hills. Similarly, if the race temperatures are going to be hot – train somewhere hot or simulate this as much as possible. Remember, you won't just be running in these conditions, but living in them too.



Building endurance capacity

While sprinting and training to your higher anaerobic capacities is still vital in your training, you're going to be running the majority of a multi-day in your aerobic zones. Why? It uses less energy.

Getting through a multi-day is often about conserving your muscles' fuel and burning an almost limitless supply of body-fat. And while this sounds very scientific; it's actually all about slowing it down, keeping your heart rate ticking over, and being active for long periods.

You still need to incorporate a fair amount of high intensity training too. Your schedule is all about avoiding those wasted miles which are too fast for working your aerobic system yet too slow for feeling that anaerobic burn.

Unless you're elite, your multi-day is going to involve plenty of power hiking. A skill in itself, you're advised to learn to walk and incorporate hiking with a laden pack into your training.

Don't forget Ultra Trail Spain is hosting a Multi-Day Training Camp to help you understand these key strategies. Check out for more info.




Race R&R

Fast forward to your race...Day 1: finished you arrive in camp, elated, excited...exhausted. What do you do now? Planning your recovery on the fly is an important strategy to have in place before you arrive at your multi-day event. It's never too early to start thinking about how you will get yourself turned around and in a good place to do it all again the following morning.



Living the moment

Elites aside most of us sign up for stage-races for enjoyment. It's often our holiday, our chance to getaway, and have some 'me' time. Never forget why you are where you are. You trained hard for this, you chose to do it, embrace the opportunity.




Pacing, profiles and cut-offs

Learning to read a race is all the more important on a multi-day. It's often possible to squeeze through tight cut-offs during a single day...but hitting them day after day after day takes planning and preparation. Take a look at the course profile as soon as it's available.
Past runners' blogs can be a mine of information, even if the route changes year-to-year. Study these and get a feel from those who generally run at a similar pace to yourself. The times they ran are going to become your targets.



Running with your pack

First up, you have to choose a pack. Rule 1 – find the one which fits you. Ideally, take some items to the shop and try it loaded. How a pack feels and the amount of movement can be very different empty to loaded.

Selecting the rest of your kit is down to personal choice. Compulsory kit is a must, including specified calorific intake, but then it's up to you to decide what you really need...think of it as 'luxury items'. Ask: 'What can I live without for a few days?'

Rule 2 – train with your pack, gradually upping the weight and bulking it up to race weight.





Nutrition and hydration

As with all ultras, trial your food in training. For a self-sufficient multi-day you have the challenge of finding energy dense but lightweight foods, which will still be palatable several days into your chosen event.

Get into the mindset of eating because you have to during the race, not necessarily because you like the taste of your food. You may not always want to eat, but food is most definitely fuel so keep it going in.

Hydration can be tricky to manage. Exertion over several days, will almost always demand an electrolyte intake of some form. Choose a method which works for you, is lightweight and easy to use on the move. Fiddling around with powders at aid stations isn't always straightforward.







Research results continually show that blisters are the main reason runners drop out from multi-day events. Time spent preparing your feet for the race conditions is an investment.

Simply standing up for longer than you are used to, as may be the case during the race, can cause pressure points and dry skin on the soles of your feet. It's quite common to complete a multi-day event and promptly shed the skin on your feet (and you thought toe nail loss would be your biggest issue!). Plan to moisturise and wear comfy shoes for a good few weeks post race while you recover.


CHAPTER 9 (bonus chapter)

Strength & Conditioning

Available on the PDF download.


Download a free PDF version of this guide to Multi-Day Running Events.

Contains a bonus chapter:

Strength & Conditioning


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