At PERK!ER, we’ve had a busy summer supporting some of the fantastic sporting events that have been happening around the UK. As a sponsor of Threshold Sports, The perky team have loved the opportunity to go along to the events, cheer on the participants & fuel them with our Quinoa bars!
We got talking to our PERK!ER ambassador, Pierre Meslet (Osteopath & Ultra-runner), who will be running Threshold’s Race to the Stones this month, to get his advice on how he trains for an Ultra-marathon.
My passion for running began 20 years ago, when my table tennis coach had us running laps of the nearby park every Wednesday. I looked forward to these sessions as running always felt more natural to me than walking. I ran my first competition at the age of 12, which was a road 10km and I loved it! A few years later I starting moving onto half marathon and marathon distances.
My love for ultra-trails came about in 2015 after a friend told me about a her trip to Mount Rinjani in Indonesia. After seeing her gorgeous pictures of the summit view, I looked into it further and discovered that a local club organizes a 53km trail race with 5000m+ positive elevation. I was immediately hooked and started training. Since then, I’ve been racing distances between 10km to 100 miles, with my favourite races being in the mountains.
A little advice for First Timers…
During my first ultra-trail, I made all the beginners mistakes possible. If you are running an ultra-trail for the first time, have a little faith and enjoy the experience! A few of my mishaps include…
- Getting lost and heading way off track after only 10km
- Falling into a ravine (I had to use an emergency whistle to call for help!)
- Running out of water, dehydration, dizziness, falling again…
Despite all this, thankfully, I still managed to cross the finishing line (in over 16 hours). Mount Rinjani Ultra was an epic adventure and an amazing learning curve as a first ultra. A few weeks later I was signing up for my first 100km.
Training for a ultra-marathon
Training for such events is very demanding. It requires good planning and organisation, high levels of motivation and determination and a good support and understanding from people around you. I believe everyone needs to find their own method but for anyone looking into running ultra distances, I would highly recommend to get a coach.
I personally train with a “freestyle” approach. Rather than predetermined sessions each week, I set a target of the weekly mileage I’d like to achieve and how much elevation I need to get fit for a mountain race. I adapt my training session on a daily basis depending on how my body feels, how much time I have, the weather & how the terrain looks on the day.
I am a strong believer in knowing yourself and listening to your own body.
As an osteopath I am lucky enough to use my knowledge in anatomy and rehabilitation to be proactive with recovery and injury prevention. Here are a few of my tips on how to stay injury free:
Be progressive with your training!
Take your time over your training & do not increase your weekly mileage by more than 10%. Be sure to use self-massage techniques, foam rollers & stretching exercises to help your body adapt to the increase load of training that you are doing.
Quality sleep & recovery is key to good performance
A constant amount of quality sleep for a week before an event is what really matters. I’d recommend a good amount to be 8 hours per night. To make sure I’m well recovered for a race, I reduce my mileage progressively 2 weeks prior to a race to make sure I am as fresh as I can be for the race.
Good nutrition is to optimize the human body’s function
For good nutrition, I like to eat a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, proteins and carbohydrates. A week before an event, I’d recommend increasing carbohydrates & decreasing glucose intake. One of my favourite snacks to eat whilst training are PERK!ER Quinoa bars as they are light, easy to digest and great to take on-the-go with me.
Hydration is essential to maintaining tissue elasticity and prevent injury
I’d recommend around 2-3L a day, depending on the amount of training you are doing. On race day, I personally aim for 500ml per hour (weather dependent)
My next challenges are the 100km Race to the Stones in just a few days (15th – 16th July). The route is from the Chilterns to the North Wessex Downs, going through some amazing ancient monuments and through some of Britain’s most stunning landscapes.
Later on in the year, I’ll be running the the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) (September 1st 2017) in Chamonix. This is a 100 mile trail with 10,000m of positive elevation.