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Friday, November 18, 2016

The Low-Down on Ultra-Running

Ever had an interest in trying out an Ultra-Marathon? Or ever wondered how these athletes do it? Team Infinit Jay Kinsella is one of the best at his sport, and he's joined us on the blog today to give you the low-down to Ultra-Running. The formula is simple.. you have to be a little crazy!

"How do you prepare for a 200 miler? The first thing you have to do is be crazy enough to sign up for one. Then, you have to remind yourself at every single training run, every event that you plan, that this is your main focus. Not to take away from other fun races that you might be doing, but essentially, these are training runs in comparison to this beast of a race that you’ve entered. I read articles on how to train for a 200 miler, and it did not speak to me, so I had to make my own plan. I had looked into respiratory training in late 2015, and that opened up new doors as I saw limitations that I could improve upon. I was first introduced to Infinit Nutrition by Daniel Crumback of Strategic Sport Performance, who urged me to try out their products. Before that, I had tried fuels such as gels, bars, electrolyte tabs and other liquid fuels. Although these have their positive attributes, I found none to be exactly suitable to my needs as I have some digestive challenges to contend with that make it even more interesting when it comes to ultra distances. In May 2016 after a few months of training, I decided to give Infinit a go to see if it would be suitable for my diet, training and be sufficient fuel for what I was about to endure. I was impressed and pleased with the results, and I knew this would be a good nutritional fit for Tahoe 200. As far as training, nutrition should be one of your highest priorities. If I was to say the top 3 things I would tell someone, it would be 1) Nutrition 2) Sleep and knowing your body’s needs; and 3) Quality over Quantity. Due to my busy work schedule I was only managing an average of 100km of running per week.  But, in those training runs, I chose the toughest, most challenging terrain I could find within reach. It is one thing to be able to manage the distance and think you can; but you need to be in tune with your body’s needs and not over-train.


People talk about heat training and properly packing and knowing what climate and terrain you’ll face. Prepare for the worst case scenario.  Let me pass on some advice that has helped me get through some of the toughest moments that I’ve endured and give you my two cents. Rather, two words. Be FLEXIBLE. Here’s my race plan: “Show up. Run. Hope for the best”. Ok, before you stop reading, hear me out. I aim to enjoy the experience and do the best I can, while running only my race and no one else’s. I don’t do heat training, although I go out in all weather. I bring the gear I can, and try to bring relevant items, but what I bring is what I have. Overall, you don’t know what is going to happen on race day, or in fact, in Tahoe’s case….3 days after race day. In all honesty, I don’t record splits or projected times. This works for some, and if it does, I’m not going to say it’s a bad plan. But, you can only predict and try to control your race so far. You can’t control the weather, Mother Nature, and often, you can’t control your body, no matter how hard you will try. Your legs may turn to concrete, or your stomach to soup. Sometimes things will go well, and other times, it goes to hell.  The best you can do, is be as prepared as you can, but also be as flexible as you can. I’ve always found not having an exact projected time makes it easier on me mentally. If I don’t achieve my “A” goal, it doesn’t crush me. Instead, I will say this. Enjoy the experience and the moments you take in during a race like this. Focus on the positives and when you get into that low, think about how amazing it is that you are here, doing what so many can’t. Never feel bad if you are the last to finish, or if you do happen to DNF. I have found my DNFs to be bigger learning opportunities than my highest wins.

Jay's new tattoo inspired by the Tahoe 200

It’s great to have support behind you. Having crew there to pick you up when you are down; to anticipate what kind of shape you might be in, or what supplies you might need is wonderful. To have support of great companies such as Infinit to help fuel you and keep you strong through a race like this is also key. I’ve chosen a few key companies and their products to rely on to allow me to start (and hopefully finish) a race. I was lucky that I had great products and incredible support from so many to help me win the 2016 Tahoe 200 miler. I hope that you will also find what works for you!"

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