Most ultrarunners we know have little mnemonics they use as mantras at various stages during a long run. Damian Hall famously had FFF on his arm when he broke the Pennine Way FKT. One we’ve been using, based on the final advice in ‘The lost art of running’, is HHHH.
A mental and physical cue. Head up (form), smile on, and focus on why we are here and doing this (Damien’s FFF). Head up also means we won’t miss all the amazing sights, sounds and smells of the environment around us. But don’t forget to keep your eyes on the trail! A micro stop every now and then to take in the view really won’t impact your time that much!
Leading with the heart – again mental and physical. Physically heart forward to keep our form together. And mentally remaining emotionally connected; there are lows in Ultrarunning but also so many emotional highs. Keeping our head up and heart open means we don’t miss any of those highs and can quickly drag ourselves through the lows (For example catching an amazing view can be an instant mood reset).
Hands? OK maybe a stretch but fixing on our hands makes sure they are relaxed, so in turn our shoulders are relaxed. They should also be balancing and driving us along (or following the elbows if that works better for you). Knowing where your hands are and what they are doing is a key element of form.
A catch all reminder to focus on our feet and form. Am I landing too heavily on my heels? Is my cadence slipping? How are my feet feeling? Am I landing well? Is there a hot spot forming I need to deal with? Your feet are going to have to carry you the distance so keeping a mental awareness of their state will help.
And that’s it. One of many little things that we use to keep us going physically and mentally. Something that we make a micro or tiny habit so we keep ‘checking in’ with our body and mind.
If not HHHH – what works for you? Let us know.
Our plans are broken down into a 4 week blocks, with each block focused on a specific aspect of your training. Our team have built plans using their own experience, knowledge (and quite a collection of personal ‘lessons’ such as those above) to help you fully prepare and avoid some of the pitfalls, mistakes and pain we have suffered on our own Ultramarathon journeys. Each 4-week block includes details on preparing physically and mentally, as well as ensuring your equipment is ready and won’t let you down on the day.
When you purchase one of our plans, we will give you access to our members only Strava Club and Whatsapp group so you can talk to, be encouraged by, motivated and helped by other runners. It’s a club after all, and seeing other runners working towards their goals, sharing their highs and lows, and ultimately becoming your tribe and support network, will hugely increase your chance of success.
Our plans can be found here.
If you don’t see what you need in our standard plans, don’t hesitate to get in touch.