Tips and tricks? Heck yeah! I’m talking about those little short-cuts and techniques that you pick up after doing something for a long time. It’s like grandma’s spaghetti sauce. Some of these tricks were passed down to me from fellow runners and others I developed myself. Regardless, they’re all field tested for ultrarunning. Hopefully you’ll pick up a few new ones to add to your toolbox.
Problem: You’re prepping your gear for a long run in the morning and the weather is supposed to be pretty hot. You know you’ll want cold fluid after a few hours but there are no aid stations. Freeze the entire bottle of mixed electrolytes? No way man…it’ll be rock hard all day.
Trick: Mix your bottles of fluid the night prior and position them in the freezer at a 45° angle. In the morning, add some more fluid to the top. Over the course of a few hours, the bottom half will keep the top cold and melt slowly while you’re running. You’ll be the envy of the group with your chilled bottles of tri-berry Nuun at mile 19. Take that!
Salt Pill Pop Top:
Problem: You’re prepping for a 50 mile in few days. You want to carry your S-caps with you. The Ziploc bag works ok but you want something that will hold up to the conditions of the race. When salt pills get wet, they are just a mess. Seriously….
Trick: Buy a “mini M&Ms” pop top container and share the candy with your friends. Put a cotton ball in the bottom with some S-caps on top. The lid stays attached and you can pop it open while running giving you instant access to the S-caps without breaking stride. Wait…maybe we should try a Pez head instead...Heck yeah...Pez head.
Blister Shoe Mod:
Problem: You made a mistake and took off on a long journey run with friends after buying a brand new pair of trail shoes. The shoes are creating a hot spot on the ball of your foot and you know it will be a 1 inch blister soon. Drop out of the run? Heck no!
Trick: Remove the insole from the shoe and cut a hole in the space where your hot spot is located. This additional space will reduce the friction and likely eliminate the hot spot/blister. Now you can finish your Grand Canyon double crossing like a boss.
Arm Sleeve Pocket:
Arm sleeves are pretty popular with ultrarunners, and for good reason. They are great sun protection and they come in crazy twisted designs and colors. (My “flame” sleeves are a fan favorite.)
Trick: You can hide about 2 gels or a granola bar in the lower part of the sleeve where it meets your wrist. They wont slip out and you will have quick access to them while running. (What you actually put in there is truly none of our business.)
Race Day Cheat Sheet:
Problem: When you run a race, the majority of the information about the course is listed on the internet in great detail. You often need this information on the trail!
Trick: Transfer the course profile to another sheet of paper and mark the approximate locations of aid stations. Add any other information you would like on the course, like the drop bag locations and distance between aid stations. Print a small piece of paper with this info and laminate it, if that is available. With that small piece of paper, you can stop asking the aid station volunteers how far it is to the next aid or, “what’s the course like between here and the next stop?” Now YOU have the info everyone wants! Basically, you are now Google.
Got a tip or trick to share? Send it to CoachEnduranceJer@gmail.com! We’ll publish some of the best submissions in a sequel to this epic post.
Run long and prosper,