Pain boxPaul DoteyLearn from the best with these top three pieces of advice:

Going long: Renowned ultra-distance runner Ray Zahab says that besides logging a lot of training miles, the most important thing to do in preparation for a longer race is to break a cardinal running rule—do two long runs back to back. “It focuses your training. Your body wakes up the day after your first long run and thinks it’s going to have a day off to recover. By taking it out for another run, you force it to adapt to the time on your feet and it shortens the hours your body needs to recover.”

Put your pain away: There’s no doubt that at some point this summer, while Jenn Segger-Gigg is running in the Badwater Ultramarathon, a 217-kilometre sufferfest in Death Valley, she will hurt. She will want to quit. And that’s when she’ll open her pain box. “It’s a metaphor I use for ‘Suck it up,’” says the professional endurance athlete from Squamish, B.C. “I open it up when it gets tough or I don’t feel well. I put the pain in the box in my head and—boom—I can keep going.” Her mental pain jail has enabled her to finish countless events. “It helps me remember that the race only lasts so long and then the pain is gone,” she says. “It helps me be in the present.”

Control your butterflies: It’s all too easy to be overcome with excitement at the starting line and go out too strong. “In mountain running especially, I find it important to build myself up into the race and manage the adrenalin and butterflies so that they work longer and don’t cause that ‘short-circuit’ breakdown,” says Katrina Blanch. One of B.C.’s top female trail runners, Blanch says to focus on your own pace and not what everyone else is doing as the race begins. “Staying focused is calming and reminds me to be patient and listen to my body. I will, however, ensure I am in a position within the race that will allow me to move ahead when I am ready.”
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