5 TIPS TO RUN YOUR TOR DES GEANTS®
Are you ready to run? Here are the 5 key tips to tackle your Tor Des Geants® written for you by the TRM Coaches experts in endurance ultra trail races up to 900km:
- Develop and follow a Race Plan
- Take care of your feet
- Manage the descents
- Take care of your nutrition and hydration
- Plan Sleep Management
TIP N ° 1 – DEVELOP AND FOLLOW A RACE PLAN
A 330km Endurance Ultra Trail with 24,000m. D + like the Tor Des Geants® cannot be improvised!
It is necessary to carefully consider a certain number of fundamental aspects related with athletic training such as: pre-race tapering and rest; the check list and preparation of equipment and clothing; the definition of the nutritional plan and the necessary products; the drafting of the day by day race strategy.
Your RACE PLAN must include:
- the estimate TIME SCHEDULE of each section of the race, on the basis of your training sessions performed on the race track or on similar tracks/ races. You should also consider the inevitable running speed decreasing with the increase of kilometers and fatigue. During the night sections, keep in mind, that your pace can be reduced by up to 30%
- the determination of the TIME (minutes/hours) spent at the refreshment points/life bases to eat/drink and for the micro-sleeps
- a NUTRITION PLAN, what to eat at the refreshment points / life bases and what, instead, you will carry with you, taking it from time to time from the bag transported by the organization
- where and when to schedule the night / day CHANGES or any replacements of clothing or equipment
- a PLAN “B” in the case of adverse weather situations or problems of various kinds (injuires, accumulation of delay with respect to the plan, breakage of equipment …) typical of an Endurance Ultra Trail
If you need support in setting up the plan we can help you. Click here: Race Plan Tor des Geants
TIP N° 2 – TAKE CARE OF YOUR FEET
The formation of BLISTERS and HEMATOMES on the toenails at the Tor Des Geants® are one of the main problems encountered by the trailer runners. In the most serious cases it can lead to the abandonment of the race.
Remember to wear socks suitable to withstand many kilometers and stresses, especially the “trekking” or “trail running” type with reinforcements on the most delicated areas.
If, despite these precautions, BISTERS form during the TOR we suggest you to:
- immediately contact the medical center in the nearest life base
- do not wait for the situation to worsen and start to manage the problem independently. For example, use a fine and sterilized sewing needle, in which you will have inserted a thread, pass it inside the blister – from one side to the other – then leaving the thread inside, disinfect the part with special products, and put a patch on the blister (WE SUGGEST TO CARRY WITH YOU A MINI KIT)
- As a precaution or in case of doubt, seek a medical assistance as soon as possible.
Watch the foot preparation video. Click here: How to prepare your feet for an ultra trail
TIP N ° 3 – MANAGE THE DESCENTS
The Tor Des Geants® track, in addition to a considerable positive difference in height, has a negative difference in height of 22,595 meters which puts a strain on the athletes’ joints, especially by stressing the knees.
It is important, from the first descents, to maintain a speed consistent with your level of training, a correct biomechanical structure of the body to prevent falls, focusing on the position of the pelvis and the inclination of the lower limbs … it goes without saying that it is recommended for this race to use the trail running poles as an extra support considering the duration of the competition.
The poles, in fact, perform the important function of maintaining the correct structure of the body, especially in times when you will be very tired, and of unloading part of the weight (also related with your backpack) that, otherwise, would weigh totally on your lower limbs.
The TRM Coaches use two particular techniques, taught in the TRM Camps: the “Butterfly Technique” forward with the “Crab Technique”, which involve facing the descent either frontally or sideways, to avoid muscle-joint overexertion and safeguard the knees and ankles.
If you don’t know them yet, you can learn and experience the techniques during the TRM Camps. Click here: TRM Trail Running Camps
TIP N ° 4 – MANAGING NUTRITION AND HYDRATION
The management of NUTRITION and HYDRATION in an Endurance Ultra Trail is one of the most critical elements, responsible for most of the withdrawals.
In the week before the race it is advisable: to eliminate the consumption of alcohol and spices that can irritate the intestine; increase the intake of carbohydrates with a low glycemic index (preferably wholemeal pasta and rice); reduce the intake of legumes and raw vegetables; reduce the use of products with a high lactose and fat content.
The day before the race, avoid excessive carbohydrate loading that you are not used to.
The TRM Team has developed a NUTRITIONAL PROTOCOL, the result of numerous simulations tested in endurance races and training, which is adapted to the individual characteristics of the athlete and the specificities of the competition
Here are some general guidelines:
- Always carry with you gels, bars or other sources of carbohydrates that you normally use in competition or training
- The number of gels that you can take and tolerate will be much less than in other types of races, given the duration, make a careful evaluation
- Carefully evaluate the distance between each refreshment point, the d+ and the difficulty of the track before defining your energy expenditure
- Consider that solid foods engage digestion much more so it is preferable to plan to eat in the easiest sections of the race and that during the night section carbohydrates help to raise the level of attention of the brain
- Be well informed about what is offered at the refreshment points: prefer foods such as pasta, pasta in broth, crusty bread (removing the crumb), bananas, dried fruit. Avoid sausages, sweet biscuits, brioches, fruit, vegetable soups, meat and any something else you haven’t tested previously. Eat little and often (ideally every hour). Alternate sweet and savory to avoid sugar saturation. Drink often, one sip every 20-25 minutes.
If you are not sure about what to eat on an endurance ultra trail, you can take advantage of the TRM Nutrition Competition in conjunction with the race strategy plan. Click here: TRM Nutrition Competition
TIP N ° 5 – SLEEP PLANNING
Sleep management during the Tor Des Geants® represents one of the critical points of the RACE STRATEGY. We assume that in the months of preparation for the Tor Des Geants® you have studied your sleep cycle, simulated in training and / or in other Ultra Trail races the micro-sleeps to understand the minimum tolerated time according to your characteristics and, finally, understood what are the reactions of your body when you re-start running after a stop for a micro-sleep.
A few final suggestions:
- Plan exactly the duration of the micro-sleeps in each Life Base according to your competition goal and your characteristics
- Remember that the hardest moments of the day to stay awake are after lunch and late at night
- Do not laydown in the middle of a trail at night, the risk is to collapse into a deep sleep and go into hypothermia with the serious consequences of the case …
- Increase the alarm ringtone on your watch or smartphone to make sure you wake up or, better yet, ask someone to wake you up
- Get enough sleep for your chances, don’t save on sleep by thinking of doing a better race. Excess sleep deprivation will lead you to have problems concentrating and will increase the cases of hallucinations. Eventually you will find yourself going slower and losing more time than you could have invested in sleep!
In the future, to avoid the risk of hallucinations or excessive fatigue, train the micro sleep techniques experimented in the TRM Endurance Camp Mont Blanc on the UTMB® track. Click here: TRM Endurance Camp Mont Blanc
Now you are ready, you just have to run ….
Enjoy your race and good luck!
Digital Strategic Marketing Director – certified Innovation Manager – in multinational companies, she is still today the only Italian female athlete to have ran 900 km and 55,000m D+ in the mountains in a single stage race (Transpyrenea 2016, 3rd women overall). She counts numerous Podiums and international Victories on races over 100k. She holds a SNaQ CONI certification as a Trail Running Coach, Athletic Trainer and in Nutrition and Sports Supplementation. Since 2014 she is President and sports executive of innovative technology startups and companies, including Trail Running Movement and Digital Sport 360. She trains elite trail running athletes and she teaches in trail running coach certification courses. She is an author of sports articles on training, nutrition and supplementation in trail running and running, both in Italian and in English and Spanish. She manages relationships and collaborations with Federations and Race Organizers.