And what about my first ultra trail…

It’s done! I am officially registered for my first ultra trail. I am as excited as a child before Christmas, and at the same time feeling like “what have you done?” 72.5KM, and +2400 m elevation gain in beautiful Auvergne in France, Trail de Vulcain, here I come.

When I was running with a colleague of mine last week in Italy, he asked me how I would train for an ultra trail in the first place – like how do you train for 73K – but also how do I prepare best to tackle the elevation gain while living in… Berlin.

Good questions.
I guess I don’t know.
Or at least I can try to find theoretical information about how to train for this.
I summed up my answers in one sentence.


Whatever the preparation, it’s going to be hard anyway. I’m going to make a lot of mistakes because it’s my first one. But I’ll finish. Strong if I can. On four feet if I have to.


How do you train for an ultra trail?

I read a lot about long distances races, but never ran one. So I guess in theory, I know how to train for this kind of race. When I look at my friends who gives you the feeling that they run an ultra every weekend, it seems easy. But I know it’s not.

As I said in this article, I’ll first work on my foundation. On my basics. I need to rebuild the machine to avoid any injuries. How do I work on my foundation? Well, running at an easy pace, including core and cross training to a daily routine and stretching.


How do you train for elevation gain when living on flat

Well I guess today you have lot of opportunities like running / walking on the treadmill with inclinations going up to 20%. In Berlin you have two hills of 100m, Teufelsberg and Müggelberg. There are not mountains – believe me, I experienced the difference myself while training there and running on the Zugspitze after that – but it’s a start.

Or you can do stairs. Up and down. But it won’t prepare you for downhills.

For those who have the money and the time, organizing some holidays in the mountains can be a good idea too. For my part, it would be cross country skiing since the race takes place in early March, but I am not sure I have the resources to do so. Maybe during my short visit in Geneva in December. Who knows.

The coming two to three months are dedicated to rebuild my basics. Running an ultra trail is not a joke. I imagine it’s a lot of fun, but to be prepared conscientiously. Nutrition, training, gears…I don’t want this race to be the last of the year, or the last ever. So preparation is key!


I guess my project ultra is finally starting, and I will document my progress, my failures, my learnings and my successes around the road here in the blog. I will post regularly about my training and keep you update!


If you’ve ever run an ultra trail. Please. Advices are more than welcome!



Picture: Marc Lagneau / Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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