Multi-day ultra training
This last week Ultra Trail Spain hosted a multi-day running camp. Steve and I are both experienced stage-race runners on the trails and we enjoy the opportunity to share our knowledge.
Welcome to the multiple-day race
The multi-day is an interesting concept, and it’s often not the fastest runners (on paper) who triumph since the race isn’t just about running. The actual running takes up about a third of the time of the race…most hours are actually spent recovering and preparing for the next day’s running and there-in lies the challenge. Many entrants naturally have to spend most time training for the running. The time restrictions of everyday life mean they can be forced to skimp on their preparations for during-race recovery.
Ultra Trail Spain’s training camp is able to focus on these issues as well as the running, training around the tracks of Moclín. Our October camp welcomed a 2017 Marathon Des Sables runner.
First run out
The first run on any holiday or camp is always an introductory trot out. We’re keen to get to know our runners and help them to familiarise themselves with their surroundings. We still save the best trails until later in the week though 😉 The run is also the opportunity to conduct some basic biomechanical form assessments.
We at Ultra Trail Spain know that time is in short supply to most runners. Nearly everyone ends up fitting their training around full-time work and family commitments. It’s no easy task. The challenge is to make every mile count and so Day 2 of our multi-day running camp was dedicated to revealing some of the tricks to making those mid-week runs really add to training. It was an intense day.
The long day furnace
Day 3 was long run day, which after all is the staple of all long distance…well any… endurance training. It was a tough day and with prior knowledge of our routes we were able to add some decent heat training with temps passing 30C, despite it being mid October. Something UK based runners probably won’t be getting right now. It was a challenging day.
Day 4 was all about climbs. Multi-day organizers love to throw in a stage or two of hills if their course permits and being the sadists they always are, these are often after long, long days on the feet. It’s a case of beat the legs and then trash them some more. We’re very fortunate in Moclín to be able to offer some classic climbs without always having to put in a lot of miles to get them. We pushed out a 25km with a strong 1,800m ascent.
Under the stars
Day 5 started early with a pre-dawn run. Many multi-days start or end under nightfall on their ‘long’ day and it’s a great experience to have before the big race. We kept it steady and enjoyed a terrific trot out in the moonlight with views back over Granada on our final ascent.
The week was also interspersed with training talks and specific strengthen and conditioning ideas. There are often a few exercises we can suggest to tackle individual biomechanical weaknesses.
We had a great time and look forward to welcoming more of those crazy runners tempted by the multi-day staged race.