MagazineMarch 2011First-Time Ultra Tips

First-Time Ultra Tips

Ask the Expert: Rebekah Trittipoe has finished 75 marathons and currently holds the speed record on West Virginia’s 302-mile Allegheny Trail.

To maintain nutrition, I know I need to eat during the race. How do I eat and run? You need to experiment to find out what your system likes and doesn’t like. Eat based on taste, maximum calories, and what it offers nutritionally. Eat and drink before you are hungry and thirsty. Also, consider eating substantially on uphill sections. It is easier to pull things from your pack, chew, and swallow on a slow uphill.

What’s an unexpected item you consistently find yourself needing to make it through an ultra? Lip balm with sunscreen—it’s not only for lips. I have used it under my nose when it gets raw and red. I’ve even used it on my shoulders in the hot sun of equatorial Brazil. In a pinch, it can save sunburn or chafing in some odd places.

Is it true that it’s sometimes more economical to walk steep sections?
Absolutely. Sometimes I walk an entire hill if it is steep. When you find that you are breathing too hard, break into a fast hike. Hiking is still working. It just calls on a different set of muscles. Let your heart rate come down before running again. When going uphill, never over-stride or lean forward from your waist. Be sure that you maintain a neutral spine as you climb.

Places to Go, Things to See: