For useful ultra marathon training and running tips by Lisa Tamati, a well-respected ultra runner from New Zealand, do read on.
Kiwi ultra-marathon runner Lisa Tamati has tackled some of the world’s toughest ultra marathons and has conquered more than 50,000 kilometres through the Sahara and Libyan Deserts, as well as the Death Valley.
Said Lisa, a professional runner and jeweller, who lives in New Plymouth, New Zealand “I have been running ultras for 20 years and have also done races in deserts. The longest event I did was running 2,250km through New Zealand, or 52 marathons in 42 days.”
Her most challenging run so far, was the 2008 Trans 333km race, in Niger, Africa. Lisa explained, “I got food poisoning before the start and was very ill and alone while running across the Sahara. It was very frightening. There were only 15 runners too, which spread out very quickly. It was a scary place to be running alone when sick.”
To offer encouragement to runners and give them advice, Lisa has published a full-length book, entitled Running Hot, detailing how she has developed her intense love for ultra running.
Her numerous running achievements are even more remarkable, considering that Lisa had suffered a serious back injury at the age of 19 through picking apples. Doctors had advised her to stop running then, but she didn’t heed their advice. Today, she has become one of New Zealand’s most inspiring athletic figures.
On people who think that she is crazy to take running to this type of extreme level, Lisa said, “They have no idea on anything about it and don’t know what they are talking about.”
Today, she is a well-respected figure in the ultra-running scene in New Zealand.
Here are a few ultra marathon training and running tips from Lisa.
Dealing with Blisters
While tackling extreme races, especially in the desert, sustaining huge blisters is a common occurrence. They are very painful and Lisa has some tips on how to deal with these.
- Pop and drain the blister with something sharp, and then smoothen the surrounding skin down again.
- To prevent it from getting moist again, apply some drying powder on the blister and re-tape it.
- Try and keep the blister clean and prevent dirt or any other particles from getting into them – as these may make matters worse.
Keep your body cool
It is important to keep your body cool when running in hot areas. For example, your body temperature can rise to up to 40 degrees C, in the desert. So make sure you have ice packs and cold water on hand to lower your body temperature.
Such heat can be really dangerous, because if your internal organs get too hot, they can be fried – literally, and this can prove fatal.
Runners, especially in the heat, often collapse during races. This is due to exhaustion and overheating, so do not become the next statistic. Keep your body temperature down and ensure that you stay as cool as possible.
Anti-inflammation and compression clothes
During ultra running events, existing injuries may get inflamed.
To deal with such issues, it is important to have anti-inflammation sprays with you or cold ice sprays, to help reduce inflammation.
As well, you should have a cold wash after a long endurance race to cool your inflamed muscles and reduce any swelling that your body may be suffering from. Compression wear is also good to get the muscles back into shape and prevent them from becoming further inflamed.
Get used to the temperatures at the race venue
If you are going to run in a hot place, it is very important to get used to the heat there.
So in such cases, do try and expose yourself to temperatures that are hot, and slowly increase the amount of exercising that you are performing under this increased temperature. Sitting inside saunas will help the body get used to hot temperatures. The body temperature will rise in accordance with the outside temperature, so this will prepare you to cope better with the rigours of your run.
For races at high altitudes, such as the Everest Marathon, you will have to gradually get used to the lack of oxygen. Said Lisa, “It’s a very tough thing to have reduced oxygen and you have to acclimatise slowly.”
Take plenty of supplements and water during the race
Supplements such as vitamins and minerals are extremely important when doing ultra distance races and other forms of intensive exercises. A lack of vitamins and minerals can cause all types of problems, and may even cost a person his or her life. For example, a potassium deficiency almost cost Lisa hers.
Useful supplements may include calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium, as well as flaxseed and salmon oil. Electrolytes and isotonic drinks are especially important to replenish the depleted vitamins and minerals, as these beverages are artificially fused with the vitamins and minerals that the body needs.
But Lisa also likes her fresh foods too. Said the ultra runner, “I generally eat very healthy foods, with lots of fruit and veggies and heaps of salad and a good protein. I try to avoid processed foods, but I do admit to having a sweet tooth.”
Water is also especially important if you are racing in the desert, such as in the Marathon des Sables. Ideally, try to consume 800mm of water every hour or 200mm every quarter of an hour, according to Lisa.