Ryan Sandes

10 Tips from Ultramarathon Runner Ryan Sandes

Photo above: Nick Muzik/Red Bull Content Pool

Ryan Sandes: south africa’s star trail runner is the kind of guy who runs 26 miles as a warm-up. Here, he talks about how to get farther in may’s Wings for Life World Run.

1. TRAIN ON THE COURSE.

“If possible, it’s good to run on the actual course before the event. You have a mental advantage when you know what to expect. Some parts of the course will suit you; others won’t. This way you know what’s coming.” 

​2. HAVE A PLAN.

“Don’t just train at random distances—set yourself goals. At what point do I want to be able to run this fast or that far? On one hand, it’s good for keeping you motivated; on the other, it helps you keep tabs on your progress. It’s very important to be consistent.” 

3. GET YOUR REST RIGHT.

“If your body needs an extra day to recover from a long run, let it. Try to sleep as much as possible in the weeks leading up to the big event. Massages and eating healthy will also help you get over particularly hard training sessions.”

Ryan Sandes

© Craig Kolesky/Red Bull Content Pool

4. EAT RIGHT.

“It’s very important not to surprise your stomach during a run. You should be used to, and able to digest, anything you consume before and during a race. Drinking watered-down Red Bull works very well for me. Then, later on, I take on electrolytes.”

5. DO DRESS REHEARSALS.

“Train in the clothes and shoes you’ll use for the Wings for Life World Run. Running shoes you’ve never worn before are a recipe for disaster. And you should know what body parts you’ll need to tape or lubricate to avoid pain.”

Ryan Sandes, 33

is one of the world’s top extreme runners. In 2010, the South African became the first man to win all 4 Deserts ultramarathons, each of which is a 155-trek through the Atacama, Gobi and Sahara deserts and Antarctica.

6. SHIFT DOWN A GEAR.

“The hardest thing for me is to reduce intensity and distance by 60 percent for the two or three weeks leading up to the race. But the body needs the break to completely relax, refill all the tanks and fully recover from any minor injuries you’ve been carrying.”

Ryan Sandes

© Craig Kolesky/Red Bull Content Pool

7. HAVE A PLAN A, B AND C.

“Think of three race strategies: the first for if everything goes incredibly well, the second for a bad day at the office and the third for if everything goes according to plan. Set mile times for each. Don’t be afraid to switch from Plan A to Plan B or C if need be. The worst and most common mistake is to set off without a plan.”

8. WARM UP.

“Let your body know before the start that it’s all about to kick off. Fifteen minutes of gentle jogging will make your muscles warm and supple. Wait as long as you can to take your tracksuit off so that you don’t cool down.”

9. STAY STRONG.

“Shit happens. You can’t afford to let unforeseen circumstances during the race increase your heart rate in the slightest. The truth of ultramarathons is that the person who copes best with the lows wins.

10. HAVE FUN.

“Running is fun. You should try to bear that in mind, even when the going gets tough.”

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04 2015 The Red Bulletin

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