Here’s how an ultramarathon runner prepares for race day

Ultramarathon runner Sophie Power knows a lot about endurance.

She caught the world’s attention in 2018, after a photo of her breastfeeding her three-month-old baby during the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) went viral. Since then, she has established PBs both in her off-road races and in her work to level the playing field for female racers.

We caught up with her to find out how she prepares for race day, so that we can cover those last grueling miles with equal success.

Run for fun

“Each year I will probably have two big racing goals, but I do a few extra in training – and for fun.” This year my main focus is the IAU 24 Hour European Championships in September but before that I have the South Downs Way 100, the Grand Tour of Skiddaw 40 mile in the Lake District and the Impact Marathon on the island. of Mull, which are for pleasure.

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adidas terrex agravic flow 20 sneakers

Test your kit

“I test running gear before races, so my choices don’t let me down. I currently do most of my training in my adidas Terrex Agravic Flow 2.0 trainers – they’re comfortable on the road and responsive on the trails. My runs vary between the two, so having a hybrid shoe works perfectly – especially since I usually run straight from the school hike.And I really like how the Gore-Tex material keeps my feet dry in the grass wet.

“Other must-haves are my EVB shorts, which support my core and pelvic floor, my Garmin Fēnix 6 smartwatch, and my Arc’Teryx Norvan waterproof jacket.”

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Complete your running training

‘I have Raynaud’s [a circulation condition]so you won’t have me running in the cold, but the training is similar regardless of the season – I just have to maintain my mileage, and don’t forget the full strength training.

“Breed-specific training takes a few months. For the UTMB, I did a lot of upper body work, like pull-ups and dips, during and after my pregnancy, which allowed me to put my poles to good use, as well as to strengthen my quads to manage the descents. For my last 24-hour track run, I ran mostly roads, with three larger sessions (about 20 miles) on the track beforehand to test kit and nutrition.

adidas terrex sportswear
adidas terrex sportswear

Choose your fuel carefully

“I started using the Supersapiens blood glucose monitor to help me load up on carbs more efficiently. It helped me eat better the days leading up to the race, as well as during the race.

‘During a race I always use Veloforte bars, gels and chewing gum – I love the flavours. And I usually run with a hydration pack. It can make you sweat, but the mesh back panel of my adidas Terrex Agravic t-shirt keeps me cool. It’s also a sustainable choice, as 50% is made with recycled ocean plastic, thanks to adidas’ partnership with Parley.

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Prepare yourself mentally

‘At the start line of the Spartathlon in 2016, I felt 100% mentally ready. On paper, the odds were stacked against me: I was the slowest to qualify and the only woman in the 25-person British team – for a race that only around half of the entrants complete each year.

“But my coach at the time, Robbie Britton, gave me a pep talk the day before, highlighting my strengths: my stamina, my mental resilience and my ability to handle insomnia as a mother!” I learned so much from him, and I’m now considering the reasons for failure – if I can control them, I do; if I can’t, I don’t worry about them.

adidas terrex sportswear
adidas terrex sportswear

Believe in yourself

“Having a positive race day experience depends on so many things. Ultras are notorious for the under-representation of female athletes – and events such as the UTMB, less than 10% representation. There are many obstacles , but the first steps for race organizers should be to make inclusive marketing and more generous race thresholds.

“I just launched a campaign called SheRaces to bring more women to the starting line, ensure they have better experiences and are treated more fairly – from pregnancy postponements and women’s t-shirts to our competition which takes place with the same respect.

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