Running Hacks: Tips and Suggestions for ultramarathon runners
Running hacks - simple tips and suggestions to make the life of a runner easier during training and competition. The best way to lace up a trail running shoe, how to avoid blisters, and the best homemade recipes for treating chafed areas -- these and many other tricks rarely get much attention on running blogs and forums. But they are incredibly important, and they make a runner’s life significantly easier. We asked a number of runners for their “secret tips”:
Hannes Namberger – Dynafit Athlete
Hannes is a professional ultra runner and the winner of the 75k race of the Grossglockner Ultra Trail. He first ran in 2019 in the Skyrunning World Series, an international mountain running series which pits the best alpine runners in the world against one another:
Potatoes and dates - Nutrition intake is incredibly important in an ultra. In addition to gels, Hannes mainly eats boiled potatoes for carbohydrates and dried dates for their sugar content.
You need to train for eating - Training for an ultra is not merely a question of running and stretching. “You really can and must train for how you eat during a race,” said Hannes. Generally, he packs a small potato into each cheek before he starts on a downhill section - truly “packing in the calories.”
Foot cream - To combat blisters on his feet, Hannes swears by Pjuractive 2SKIN. This creates a protective layer over the skin and prevents sores and blisters.
Malene Blikken Haukøy – Dynafit Athlete
Malene is from Norway and is one of the most successful Dynafit athletes. In addition to the ISMF Ski Mountaineering World Cup in winter and the Skyrunning World Series in summer, Malene is always looking for new projects. In 2018, she ran around the world’s longest fjord – 250k (155 miles) and 20,000 meters (66,000 feet) of climbing in six days!
Alcohol-free beer - Malene swears by it. On long training runs and in races, alcohol-free beer is a great-tasting, balanced source of fluids and also provides the body with carbohydrates.
White bread and oatmeal before a race - Light, easily-digested food is important for Malene on the morning before a race. White bread provides fast-acting energy and classic warm porridge leaves you feeling satisfied for a prolonged period without feeling heavy in your stomach.
Benedikt Böhm – Dynafit CEO
Bene is well known for his ultra projects. Whether he’s climbing 8,000-meter peaks, making speed ascents of Mount Etna, or completing a crossing of the Alps in 28 hours, he certainly is familiar with a few running hacks:
Buy running shoes a size larger than usual - During an ultra, your feet swell up and you need more space in the toe box. Not doing this means running the risk of black toenails.
Trick yourself - During an ultra ski or running project, keep telling yourself that your legs feel great…until your body believes it.
Emy Leitner – Dynafit Marketing Italy
Deer-tallow cream - Emy swears by it. During training and in races she uses the cream on her feet and on other body parts which are subject to chafing. Deer-tallow cream lubricates, is absorbed slowly over time, and creates a protective layer on the surface of your skin.
Tape your toes individually - When the competition gets serious, Emy tapes each individual toe. Tape has a grippier external surface than your skin, which prevents your feet from slipping inside your shoes unnecessarily, especially when you sweat. On downhills, tape helps prevent blisters.
Kerstin Zimmermann – Dynafit Online Marketing
Detox foot baths - A warm, alkaline foot bath after a long run feels good and helps relax your calf muscles. Alkaline additives speed up the detox process and also help to prevent blisters and foot odor.
TP in your running pack - I always carry a small roll of toilet paper, just in case. I practice “Leave No Trace” ethics: I pack out the used paper in a plastic bagbie and dispose of it later.
Johanna Hiemer (née Johanna Erhart) – Dynafit Athlete
Antacids - Johanna suffers from heartburn during the stress of competition, especially during races in summer heat. She drinks antacid solutions every day to regulate her body’s acid production.
Coconut water - Many athletes won’t leave home without electrolyte drinks. For Johanna this means her hydration reservoir is always filled with coconut water. One word of caution - Don’t confuse coconut milk with coconut water!