We asked the competitors in the feedback form how they would have trained differently for this stage race. Here’s a summary of what they said:
The main feedback was more hill training, both ascending and descending. It’s the Himalaya after all, and there is a huge amount of elevation change in this terrain. Many people just counted the kilometers / miles they ran as a measure. D+ should be counted too!
More hills and hill intervals! I trained too long in terms of mileage and not enough vertical. I did my best on that long day and got crushed on the shorter hill days. Also should have practiced rocky descents more. I mostly focused on running during my training – long mostly flat runs and hill repeats. Next time, I spend longer days hiking quickly up mountains.Sam, USA
Definitely more hills or hours of step training.
Long uphill hikes, and more technical downhill running.
… if I was to do this race again, I would incorporate running stairs at least once a week and find trails that either had a lot of elevation gain or do hill repeats. I would also train hard on consecutive days for my legs to get used to running on tired legs.
Hill train and practice with similar weight pack.
This is the one thing that people really can’t train well for unless you already live at high elevations. Everyone faces the same situation, so despite these comments, focus on what you can train for.
If possible to train at altitude. Perhaps get altitude tablets.Anon
Although difficult to do, I would have looked for an opportunity to spend some time at altitude. Daily distances and elevation was not the problem [for me]. It was the altitude.David
I would recommend to put your body whenever possible to the stress factors you will find in the race: cold, heat, dryness, altitude, mostly vegetarian diet, similar distance and elevation. Because the race is >50% hiking, I would recommend people spend most of their time on strength work, hiking up (and running down) hills. And be as light as possible. But because the days are relatively short (distance wise), it isn’t really necessary to do huge mileage in preparation.David
Get those meters of altitude into your legs. Train in cold conditionsTobias
Those who got it right.
Never having done a trail race before I was concerned I had prepared enough. The training I did especially the time on my feet at the weekend were spot on, I feel I was well prepared for my first race but I had built my training to 200km in August and September then 300km in October with only 1 day a week off.Edward
I averaged 50 km a week in 2022 before the race, which I found to be sufficient to finish without issues. Getting used to run with sore legs is the most important lesson.Thomas
More hiking. Practice using poles. Practice patience. Practice not judging oneself, just moving forward in the time and surroundings. Have a mantra. Practice laughing at oneself!A wise man
Injuries and prevention
In 2022 there were at least four cases of ankle strain, or rolled ankle.
Here’s some advice which applies to everyone and especially those who’ve had ankle problems before. You can improve your balance and ankle strength with this very simple exercise.
An additional exercise that will help everybody is a simple squat as demonstrated here.
And while we’re at it, here’s one video of many that focuses on the gluteus medius muscle, which is often weak in people who spend a lot of time sitting. Weak glute medius is a common cause of secondary effects for runners. There many other videos on YouTube offering exercises specifically for runners. See if you can do 20 hip raises without significant burn!
In summary, focus less on training to run fast, and more on resilience.
- Definitely include hills in your training – running / hiking up (using poles, weighted pack), and descending (once per week gentle downhills, once per month, longer, faster downhill.)
- Make sure your core stabilisation muscles are strong and flexible.
- Improve your balance and ankle strength with a simple 1 minute per day investment.
Please ask questions in the comments below!