ULTRA TRAIL TRAINING: RYAN SANDES SHARES KEY TIPS FOR HIS 1.046KM RECORD AT HIMALAYA TRAIL
Ultra trail training is most demanding, both because the physical and mental challenges it poses. Ultrarunner Ryan Sandes and compatriot Ryno Griesel completed a Fastest Known Time (FKT) on the Great Himalaya Trail back in March. Now, Ryan shares key insight into how tough it was just to prepare adequately for it. Training smartly first, and then running with full heart and mind upon the 1,406-kilometre Himalaya Trail to achieve a world record after 24 days 14 hours and 47 minutes in March. Watch out the video summary first, then let us go over the 12 key points.
TRAIL RUNNING TRAININN TIPS BY RYAN SANDES AFTER HIMALAYA TRAIL RECORD
Every runner has his or her own way of preparing to tackle a distance event but few are perhaps better versed in the rigours of road and trail running than Ryan Sandes, who
Here’s Sandes’ tips to achieving your own running ambitions…
1. Be natural: Running should be natural, and you need to find out how your body can move and flow as efficiently as possible. I find that barefoot running on a field can give you good running form, and I often do a couple of drills, some sprints, heel repeats, etc. You mustn’t over think, though. When I watch my heart rate, and I’m too focused on technique, is when things start to go pear shaped.
2. Be strong: Strength work helps you become a good runner. That doesn’t necessarily mean going into the gym, it can mean lots of heel repeats or even speed work as part of your training. I get more gains out of doing a bit of extra strength work and a bit less running so you have to find that balance. I also find it ‘bulletproofs’ me and helps prevent injuries.
3. Be consistent: Consistency is a massive part of running, and if you can train without getting injured, that really helps. Also, spread your runs out. Don’t do two really long runs a week, I’d rather do four shorter runs and be more consistent.
4. Be efficient: Being an efficient runner helps performance, and losing as little energy as possible is vitally important.
5. Don’t over train: Over training is a massive problem, particularly in ultra running, because a lot of ultra runners are fairly headstrong and happy to train themselves into the ground to improve. You also find people trying to get into that side of running who see some big gains, and then plateau, so the next thing they do is up the mileage. However, that can do damage.
6. Switch your muscles on A lot of recreational runners only have a short time to run, and don’t want to waste 10 to 15 minutes warming up, but it’s really important to fit in mobility drills before you start a run. I do hip aeroplanes, because my hips often get tight, some baby get-ups, rocking over my big toe, and some single leg hip swings. It helps switch the muscles on, which gives you better technique.
7. Gear it down on the ups: Try to reduce your stride and increase cadence when running up a steep slope so that you’re spinning over and trying to feel as light as possible. Move up a big climb gradually like that instead of over striding and trying to force it.
8. Look up on the downs: When you run downhill, don’t just look straight down at your feet. I look two-and-a-half to five metres in front of me, depending on how fast I’m going, because the mind is really smart and can pre-programme what’s happening with the ground in front of you. That enables you to move faster and have a better technique, and also avoids any injury.
9. Make breathing part of your prep: Do a bit of breathing even before you start running. I find it helps to just to relax me, and that helps breathing on the run. Even when I’m running, I find it’s important to focus a little bit on your breathing, because you need to be relaxed to be most efficient.
10. Keep check on your stride: Making sure your feet land just below your hips when you’re running is really important. You don’t want to over stride because when you do that you’re putting your foot in front of your centre of gravity, which breaks your momentum.
11. Keep your arms in shape: You want your arms to be going forwards and backwards, and not crossing over the centreline of your body. That way your shoulders are as relaxed as possible, and that gives you better form. Some people like to have big arm movements, others say it’s a waste of energy, but I find arms are really important to use, especially when you’re running up a steep climb.
12. Stop running once in a while: For trail running and endurance running, it’s important to be a strong and efficient power hiker as much as a good runner. This discipline uses different muscle groups, and practice really helps. Bringing your upper body into the movement by putting your hands just above your knees is really important. If you only run in training, when you get to trail races and need to power hike some big climbs, you can get really fatigued.
ULTRA TRAIL TRAINING BY RYAN SANDES: PHOTOGALLERY.
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