It’s not mad as such, but getting into racing Backyard Ultra is more like a highly elevated determination in the face of great odds. But we get it. To the inexperienced, participating in a Backyard Ultra might seem like madness. It certainly requires a unique mindset and extreme mental and physical endurance.
Completing a Backyard Ultra involves a combination of physical fitness, mental toughness, strategic planning, and an unbreakable will to keep going despite fatigue and sleep deprivation.
Participants in ultramarathons, including Backyard Ultras, often possess a passion for extreme challenges and a deep love for long-distance running. Many find fulfillment and a sense of accomplishment in pushing their limits and overcoming physical and mental barriers.
Training for a Backyard Ultra requires everything you’ve got, then a little bit more. Here are some general guidelines to help you join the wild ride.
A preexisting love of running and a foundation of general aerobic fitness will go a long way. That’s not to say you can’t run a Backyard Ultra if you’ve never run before, you’ll just need to add more time to train. Incorporate regular running into your routine to build endurance gradually.
A Backyard Ultra runs a set loop every hour. You’re going to want to try to simulate similar conditions in your training. Repeatedly running the same loop can help your body adapt to the specific demands of the race.
Increase Mileage Gradually
Gradually increase your weekly mileage to build endurance. Include long runs in your training, and consider incorporating back-to-back long runs to train for the fatigue that accumulates during a Backyard Ultra.
Practice Nutrition and Hydration
Train your body to handle nutrition and hydration during prolonged efforts. Experiment with different types of food and drink to find what works best for you.
Arguably the most challenging part of a Backyard Ultra is the mental strength. Train your mind by practicing visualisation, positive self-talk, and mindfulness during long runs.
Consider incorporating back-to-back long runs on consecutive days to simulate the accumulated fatigue that occurs in the later stages of the race.
Given the hourly loop format, interval training can be beneficial. Train with intervals that mimic the race pace and rest periods to adapt to the specific demands of the Backyard Ultra.
Since the race doesn’t stop until you do, practice running in low-light conditions. Familiarise yourself with using a decent headlamp and running on various terrains in the dark.
Prioritise recovery in your training plan. Adequate rest, proper nutrition, and cross-training can help prevent injury and keep you fresh for the race.
Consider participating in ultramarathons or long-distance events as part of your training. This can help you gain experience, test your gear, and build mental strength.
Use your training to test and refine your gear, including shoes, clothing, hydration, and nutrition. Make sure everything is comfortable and effective for long periods of use.
Remember to listen to your body, adjust your training plan as needed. Consulting with experienced professionals is always advised. The Backyard Ultra is a unique challenge, so tailor your training to fit the specific demands of the race.