HomeRunningTroubleshooting on the Run, Half One – iRunFar

Troubleshooting on the Run, Half One – iRunFar

Races not often go in line with plan. Regardless of how a lot we put together for our subsequent occasion, there’ll undoubtedly be some sudden hurdles. The longer the race, the larger the possibility of mishap. I’ve actually had my share of trailside glitches, as have most of the athletes I work with. Under are a few of the extra frequent points we’ve confronted and a few secure and wise options, together with:

[Editor’s Note: This is the first in a three-part series. Here are part two and part three.]

Katharina Hartmuth - 2023 Trail World Championships 80k - running at 24k

From the entrance of the pack to the again, troubleshooting is a part of the ultrarunning sport. Photograph: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

The Rebellious Abdomen

A rebellious abdomen is maybe essentially the most ubiquitous race-day illness and explanation for most ultramarathon DNFs. As soon as your abdomen begins going south, it’s arduous to absorb sufficient energy to gasoline the hassle. In consequence, the tempo slows drastically and motivation usually evaporates.

  • We are able to often blame nausea on hydration and electrolyte imbalances. Karl King, the President of SUCCEED! Sportsdrink, has developed a beautiful Water/Electrolyte Stability Desk. Use this desk to find out the place you might be arising quick on race day so you’ll be able to alter your consumption accordingly.
  • Excessive altitude can destroy what’s often a sound hydration and diet regime at sea stage. At oxygen-poor elevations, slowing your tempo and consuming smaller parts might fend off queasiness. For races with course profiles just like the Leadville 100 Mile and Hardrock 100, your abdomen ought to decide on the descents that comply with the excessive peak and cross crossings.
  • Be cautious of spoiled drink mixes and meals merchandise. Combine powders solely when wanted and hold opened dietary merchandise refrigerated or on ice. When you’re utilizing drop luggage, ensure that they comprise solely these provisions that gained’t spoil if left uncovered to the warmth and solar.
  • Meals allergy symptoms are frequent. Examine the elements of the merchandise you employ in opposition to recognized meals teams that irritate your intestine.
  • Medicines and dietary dietary supplements can have an effect on the digestive system. Ask a specialist about any pharmaceutical results on dietary uptake.
Anne-Lise Rousset - 2023 Hardrock 100 - Maggie Gulch

Operating below management might help stop nausea at high-altitude races. Photograph: iRunFar/Eszter Horanyi

Dizziness and Weak spot

Nothing could be extra irritating than a weakening stride or extra horrifying than inexplicably shedding your sense of steadiness whereas on the path.

  • Once more, check with King’s desk. Are you ingesting sufficient and the way’s your electrolyte consumption?
  • Are you racing within the mountains and never acclimated? Altitude illness could be the perpetrator. If the signs are accelerating, sit down and permit your physique to recuperate or ask a passing runner to ship again assist from the subsequent assist station.
  • You possibly can be experiencing the legendary bonk. How is your fueling? Decelerate and get some energy in rapidly. Easier carbohydrates, like maltodextrin (the primary ingredient in most gels and sports activities drinks), will snap you out of it rapidly. A cup of soda, if obtainable, will do the trick too. Make sure you proceed to gasoline correctly to forestall the bonk from rearing its ugly head once more later within the occasion.


Issues are going properly after which all of a sudden your hamstring, quad, calf, or foot clamps down involuntarily. Runners have been dropped at the bottom mid-stride due to violent cramping.  See Joe Uhan’s complete iRunFar article Cramping My Type. Extra particularly, learn Uhan’s seven methods famous on the finish of his piece below “The Checklist: Methods to Deal with and Forestall Muscle Cramping in Coaching and Racing” with a view to stop and overcome cramping throughout your subsequent race.

2023 San Juan Solstice 50 mile - 2 runners on ridge

Caring for your self is an important ingredient of operating an ultramarathon. Photograph: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Sickness Earlier than Race Day

Getting sick forward of 1’s race is a standard prevalence. We’ve spent numerous hours of coaching and cash on race entry and journey solely to turn out to be sick every week or two earlier than our competitors. Can we nonetheless go for it?

  • The number-one precedence is to make use of the time you will have earlier than race day to recuperate out of your compromised well being. Every week or two of missed operating is not going to considerably have an effect on your race, however exhibiting up sick actually will. Don’t attempt to practice by way of a fever. The energy, pace, and conditioning you’ve gained over the prior months is not going to all of a sudden disappear. Use the tips and tips in my Operating and Restoration article to assist get the higher hand in your ailment.
  • When you wind up on antibiotics, ensure you’ve accomplished the complete course no less than one week earlier than race day. Your physique is working double time to combat off an infection. Competing whereas on antibiotics spells catastrophe. It can depart you weak and may result in abdomen points, dehydration, and, relying on the antibiotic, coronary heart issues.
  • If the bug you contracted affected your means to eat and drink, perceive that you’ll begin your race at a drawback. Your gasoline shops will probably be depleted firstly line. Rectify this by slowing your tempo and consuming extra on race day.

Leg Soreness

It’s not a query of if, however slightly a query of when your legs will get sore throughout an extremely. Most ultrarunners have skilled no less than one excruciating case of “quad lock” throughout a race.  How can the identical athlete be crippled by muscle harm throughout one occasion and high-quality on the subsequent?

Sudden Race-Day Climate

It’s Murphy’s Regulation. The yr you determine to run an occasion, it’ll be the most well liked, windiest, coldest, wettest, iciest, smokiest, or snowiest on file. What can we do to counteract the truth that we’ve educated in an applicable local weather for the occasion, however race-day circumstances are record-breaking?

Tyler Green - 2021 Western States 100 - Rucky Chucky

Tyler Inexperienced cooling off within the American River at mile 78, on his option to taking second on the 2021 Western States 100. Photograph: iRunFar / Bryon Powell

Getting Misplaced

Subsequent to your abdomen going south, getting disoriented or veering off beam can fill even essentially the most skilled path runner with concern and dread. Your due diligence begins properly earlier than race day, very like your coaching. Right here are some things you are able to do upfront to reduce your probabilities of getting misplaced.

  • Attend any pre-race briefings by race administration. It’s throughout these conferences that very important last-minute course alterations might be revealed. Examples after all markings are sometimes displayed, so that you’ll know what to search for on the course.
  • Carry a map, use an app like Avenza or Gaia GPS with the course route, or familiarize your self (just about or in individual) with the course structure. Concentrate on key landmarks, turns, climbs, descents, and distances between assist stations.
  • By no means assume that the runners in entrance of you understand how. Don’t watch their again, as an alternative look ahead to course markings and turns.

Nevertheless, in the event you do end up off beam:

  • Don’t panic or get indignant. You’re going to want this vitality to get your self again on monitor.
  • Retrace your steps. Don’t depart the path or street you’re on by taking a cross-country route. It’s possible you’ll rapidly end up surrounded by unfriendly vegetation and terrain or much more misplaced. Comply with your personal footprints again from the place you got here till you come across course markings or one other runner.
  • When you’re again on monitor, don’t attempt to make up for misplaced time by operating too arduous. Preserve a stage head, aim race tempo, and ahead momentum. Misplaced time can’t be made up. Doing so will simply depart you haggard and pissed off. Take consolation in the truth that you’re again on the right track!

[Editor’s Note: As one of iRunFar’s best training articles, we’ve worked with author Ian Torrence to update this article before resharing it.]

Name for Feedback

  • How have you ever overcome issues like these?
  • Are there different race-day issues and options that you simply’d add to this record?

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