Best preparation for running races this August
In two months, it's finally time for thousands of runners to gather in the Vasaloppet Arena again. Are you one of them? Or are you thinking about which race suits you best: Ultravasan 90, Ultravasan 45, Trailvasan 30, Trailvasan 10, Vasakvartetten or Vasastafetten?
Whether you’re running a long or short distance, fast or slow, here are five pieces of advice for your race. These tips are compiled by official Vasaloppet coach Håkon Breistrand who is also a physiotherapist, running coach and experienced ultrarunner.
Maybe he has thought of something that you’ve missed?
Five tips for runners
- Train in different weather.
Some like running in the heat, while others prefer cold and rain. We all have different circumstances but it’s actually possible to train your body to perform in all kinds of weather. For example, if you normally exercise in the morning to avoid the hottest hours, try moving your workout to later in the day. This way, you can slowly get your body used to running in the heat and bright sunshine of midday. This is important because these might be the exact conditions of your race. And if you dislike rain, take the chance to do a running workout next time it pours down.
- Make an energy plan.
Many forget to think through how much energy you use and how much you need to replenish. It’s therefore a good idea to create an energy plan to ensure that you don’t run out of juice. In some cases, the energy you get at the checkpoints may be enough, but my recommendation is to bring your own bottle of sports drink, and preferably another type of energy in the form of gel or the like. That way, you can top up when you need to and not limit yourself to the checkpoints.
- Make a mental plan.
Sooner or later you will get tired, maybe even very tired. And when you get tired, there is a great risk that a lot of negative thoughts come up. Therefore, it’s good to think through in advance how you will deal with fatigue. Thoughts are not facts nor truths; they are only thoughts. To break out of negative thoughts, you can, for example, talk to other participants, focus on the running technique, use a mantra, visualize the finish line or similar. Think about what works for you.
- Test your equipment.
Where do you need tape or ointment to avoid chafing? Do you want a cap or buff that you can dip in cold water and cool off with? How do your shoes work in different weather and on different surfaces? Where do you store extra energy? My tip is to test your equipment carefully during training, so you can make the right clothing and equipment choice on race day. For example, if you have taped exposed areas to avoid painful chafing, this will be worth its weight in gold.
- Get out and train!
Give yourself the chance to complete the race in the best way – train for the task and come well prepared. For example, if you want to be able to run 30 km, you need to train muscles and joints for that. Not just to manage the race itself, but also to avoid injuries and to feel good afterwards. Taking a chance on your body and trusting just your stubbornness is a terrible idea. Set your sights on getting as many fun running sessions in this summer as possible and run in the woods, in unbalanced terrain. Sure, it’s a bit slower than running on paths and roads, but it is very effective exercise that challenges both small and large muscles. If you are stressing over your kilometre averages, leave your clock at home; just run based on your emotions and enjoy it.
Vasaloppet’s Summer Week 2022 – places available in all races
• Friday 12 August: Cykelvasan Öppet Spår, 94 km, start Sälen
• Friday 12 August: Cykelvasasprinten, 1 km, Lindvallen, Sälen
• Saturday 13 August: Cykelvasan 90, 94 km, start Sälen
• Sunday 14 August: Cykelvasan 45, 45 km, start Oxberg
• Sunday 14 August: Cykelvasan 30, 32 km, start Oxberg
• Sunday 14 August: Ungdomscykelvasan, 32 km, start Oxberg
• Friday 19 August: Trailvasan 10, 10 km, start Mora
• Saturday 20 August: Ultravasan 90, 90 km, start Sälen
• Saturday 20 August: Ultravasan 45, 45 km, start Oxberg
• Saturday 20 August: Trailvasan 30, 30 km, start Oxberg
• Saturday 20 August: Vasastafetten, 90 km, running relay for ten-person teams, start Sälen
• Saturday 20 August: Vasakvartetten, 90 km, running relay for four-person teams, start Sälen