Ultra Runner Vlad Ixel’s Tips For 100km First Timers

Despite only having picked up running in 2012, Australian Vlad Ixel, 27, is a seasoned ultra runner today, with several podium finishes to his name. These include winning The North Face Singapore’s 100km event in 2013 and 2014 as well as The Most Beautiful Thing, a 100km race in Sabah, Malaysia in 2014.

Vlad Ixel (in green tee shirt) shares tips with first-time 100km runners.

Vlad Ixel (in green tee shirt) at a recent running clinic.

Ultra running is becoming more popular amongst amongst Singaporeans these days, with more runners signing themselves up for ultra races – such as the 50km and 100km distances, both locally and overseas. So I caught up with Ixel, who is currently based in Hong Kong, and asked him to share a few tips with first-timers who are taking on the 100km distance – as this is a rather giant leap from the traditionally popular marathon distance.

Here’s what Ixel, also a Race Director & Running Coach, shared with PrisChew.com.

1) Train well and train smart

Train well and train smart. For example, this means that you should respect the distance that you will be running and commit yourself to a training programme for it. Doing so will give you the confidence to do well in the race. And understand that there will be pain but just deal with it – don’t let it surprise you.

2) Prepare well

Make sure you prepare your gear. Credit: sumatratrekker.wordpress.com

Make sure you prepare your gear.
Credit: sumatratrekker.wordpress.com

Prepare to run well, think of everything you might need to bring with you, to run well and make sure that everything is there on race day – for example, your gels, your food, drinks and drop off bags. Find out beforehand, what will be provided in the aid stations and see if you can use that as part of your nutrition during the race. This will save you carrying extra weight which might slow you down.

3) Choose a race that you really want to do

Chose a race that you really want to do, and find out if it’s in a place that you have always wanted to visit or a place where you know your friends and family can come to support you. Knowing that it’s a race that you’ve always wanted to run in and that your friends and family are able to come and see you at the run, will keep you motivated during the hard training sessions which you will need to do before the race.

4) Set yourself a post-race reward

Set yourself a reward, whatever it might be, such as a nice meal or a gift that you have always wanted to buy yourself. Remember that reward when times get hard during the race, and it will help you to stay motivated.

It's okay to give yourself a small treat after a 100km race.

It’s okay to give yourself a small reward, like your favourite food, after a 100km race.

5) Look at it as many small runs rather than a single 100km race

Don’t look at it as an 100km race but rather see it as small runs between aid stations. For Ixel, his goal in any race is to make it to the first aid station. Then upon reaching this goal, he will aim to make it to the second aid station and so on. In this way, Ixel added that he only really have to convince himself to run about 10km each time.

6) Have fun and enjoy the journey

Have fun and enjoy the journey. Ixel is always happy to see the finish line after a long race. But what he remembers most after the race is the journey that he went through to get to the finish line – which for the ultra runner, is more special then the finish line itself, according to Ixel.

Ixel and his partner, Eti Rodriguez, are organising  a team trail running event, The Great Relay, in Singapore on 13 June. For more information, click here.

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