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Marcus Scotney talks training and mental prep for ultras

by Press Release
Sunday 15th January 2017
Tags  Marcus Scotney   |   Montane   |   Spine Race   |   Spine Race Challenger
Montane ultra runner and former Montane Spine Challenger winner gives his tips on training and the mental preparation required ahead of competing in an Ultra marathon.  
What are your key differences in training & preparation between a marathon and an Ultra?
Learn to walk. You don’t run the whole of an ultra, you need to train the body to get used to being on your feet for longer. The best way to do this is, rather than doing longer and longer runs in training, is to go out for long days walking and getting used to walking up hills. 
Think about the length of time on your feet, rather than covering a certain long distance in training. 
What are the key differences you notice when it comes to nutritional intake during an ultra?
You need loads more calories during an ultra, you need to eat real food and food you enjoy eating for many hours. I would never recommend running an ultra-marathon on just gels. 
Carry a sandwich (or even a slice of pizza) and ideally, pack more savoury foods rather than just sweet food. Make sure you have tested the food out in training as well. 
In your opinion, how is running an ultra different from a marathon in terms of mental stamina?
Both require a lot of mental stamina, but on an ultra you have to deal with sleep deprivation and sometimes complete physical fatigue. You have to have the right positive mental attitude when your legs are feeling completely wiped out. 
Most ultras are off road and the scenery is stunning, so use the location to help with the mental stamina required. Soak in the scenery and views and remember how far you have come. Remember that every step forward is a step closer to the finish or next checkpoint. 
Break the race up into smaller sections and focus on getting to the next checkpoint/aid station rather than on just getting to the finish. 
What kit do you recommend for an ultra (determined by conditions I guess) and why?
Don’t wear or use any new kit for an ultra-event and make sure you have worn it and tested it in training. In particular, wear running shoes that are very comfy and fit well so you know they won’t rub causing blisters. 
A good running pack which doesn’t move about when running is vital. I love the MONTANE Fang 5 it’s very comfy, extremely lightweight and I can fit all my ultra race kit in.
It’s also worth investing in a good taped waterproof, which isn’t too heavy as well, as hopefully it will stay in your Fang 5 for most of the race. 
What do you think a first-time ultra runner will notice when it comes to recovery when comparing it to a regular marathon?
Recovery is longer after an Ultra and it can take a while to get back up to normal training load, so don’t rush back to running too quickly. 
Appetite can also be a lot bigger post ultra so make sure the fridge is well stocked – if anything it’s a good excuse to indulge and eat lots of food!. 
Finally, what is your ideal kit list?
Montane Minimus 777 Smock 
VIA Fang 5 Pack 
Montane VKM Regular shorts 
Montane Featherlite Trail Jacket for cooler days
VIA Trail gloves for colder days 
Montane Allez Micro Hoodie - perfect winter training top

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