ultra running

The Right Shoes for the Job

The Golden Ultra was designed to test the ability of a trail runner in a number of different trail disciplines - from the vertical challenge to the ultra marathon and the shorter, flatter, faster race. With all of these different styles of running, you might want to considering having a few shoes at your disposal that will perform on the different terrain and meet the technicality needs.

Salomon, the official footwear sponsor of the Golden Ultra and a pioneering trail and ultra running company has provided us with their recommendations to meet the unique challenges of each day.

Day 1 - The Blood

Consider the Salomon Sense Ultra 4 SG

If there was ever a climbing specialty shoe – this is it!  The Sense Ultra 4 SG is a super lightweight and made to go fast. It’s minimalist and low profile design makes it the ideal shoe for going uphill and the super tacky Contragrip SoftGround sole will give you all the grip you need to climb with efficiency. Sense Ultra 4 SG features include:

  • Minimalist 13mm-heel / 9mm-forefoot cushion for total of 4mm drop 
  • ProFeel Film underfoot protection
  • Endofit bootie for extra comfort
  • Seamless upper construction to avoid potential foot abrasion

Day 2 – The Sweat

Consider the Salomon SpeedCross 3

A fan favourite that fits like a glove. There’s  a reason why the SpeedCross 3 is our best selling shoe – it's super comfortable, very versatile and offers great wear & tear for long distance running.  This traditional drop shoe offers very good cushioning at the heel and provides amazing grip with the super luggy Contragrip sole.  Rain or shine, the SpeedCross 3 will get you up and down this 55km loop with ease.  SpeedCross 3 features include:

  • Traditional 31mm-heel / 20mm-forefoot for a total of 11mm drop
  • Sensifit construction for great foot control on the trail
  • Aggressive yet versatile Contragrip sole for the best grip possible on all terrain
  • Rubberized toe, heel and side protection

Day 3 – The Tears

Consider the Salomon Sense Pro or Sense Propulse

After 2 days of hard racing, you’re feet will definitely be craving some lovin’.  Both of these models offer a great cushioning story with a less aggressive Contragrip pattern for moving fast on all trails.  The Sense Pro is a slightly lighter/low profile design – whereas the Sense Propulse offers precisely tuned cushioning and propulsion for the harder striking runner.   Other benefits also include underfoot protection from the ProFeel Film to avoid those sharp rocks on the trail, and a comfortable Endofit bootie to maximize foot comfort.  Sense Pro and Sense Propulse features include:

  • Sense Pro: 23mm-heel / 17mm-forefoot cushion for total of 6mm drop 
  • Sense Propulse:  29mm-heel / 23mm-forefoot cushion for total of 6mm drop
  • Profeel Film underfoot protection
  • Endofit bootie for extra comfort
  • Seamless upper construction to avoid potential foot abrasion
  • Lighter Contragrip sole pattern for lighter trail use

What’s your Favourite Trailside Snack?

Honey Stinger, the manufacturer of delicious waffles, honey gel and chews, will be providing Golden Ultra runners with the necessary on-course calories to reach the finish line each day. 

“I love natural energy sources, so I’m so excited to hear that Honey Stinger products will be available on course at the Golden Ultra,” says runner Magi Scallion.  “Their pure honey gel is one of my favourite trailside snacks when I need the quick energy boost... their chews are basically the best thing that has ever hit my tongue.”

Honey Stinger products will be included in race packages as well as provided at all of the aid stations on course each day.  The Golden IGA also carries a full range of Honey Stinger product for those runners needing an emergency mid-weekend re-stocking.

Honey Stinger headquarters are located in Steamboat Springs, Colorado and their full range of honey-based products include energy bars, protein bars, energy gels, organic waffles, organic chews, and organic wildflower honey.

The Golden Ultra is a three-day stage running race (or relay) in Golden, BC from September 18-20, 2015.  Runners may participate in all three stages as a solo or part of a relay, or may register for any single or combination of two stages separately.  For more information, please visit www.goldenultra.com.

Six Tips for Climbing and Descending

Prepared by: Jen Segger

With just under two months to go until race weekend, there is STILL time to improve and develop your hill running game in time for September’s Golden Ultra. Whether you plan to partake in only one day of racing or take on the entire 3 day challenge, hill running, up and down, will likely be the key to your success!

I’ve been competing in trail running events and epics for nearly 12 years, choosing to mainly tackle races that have daunting elevation profiles. Through practice and focus I’ve learned how to become an efficient climber and to actually embrace hills when I come across them. By focusing on form and technique, I was able to remove fear and hesitation in descending and learned how to save my legs for the next climb. All my coached athletes, whether new to running, veterans or elite, work on hills throughout their training cycle.

Each of the three stages are unique and your legs need to be ready to take on the demands that the Golden Ultra trails have waiting for you. Day #1 is purely vertical, short and sweet covering 1,000m of vertical gain in just 5km. Day #2 begins with a mix of ascents and descents but ends with a long sustained downhill so you want to make sure that your legs are prepared to take on multiple kilometres of downhill running (almost 20km!!!!) and still have functioning limbs for the final day at the event. Day #3 being a mixed bag of everything including a number of downhills that are technical and steep. As you can see, it will be beneficial to have a diverse set of hill skills for this race!

The ABC’s of ASCENDING

Assume Position As you approach a hill, no matter how big or small, determine the game plan for how you are going to get to the top. This might sound simple but many people don’t think about the most efficient way to climb based on the grade of the hill, the terrain (technical or smooth) and the length of the ascent. Set your body position. Stand tall, drop your shoulders and avoid hinging at the waist. Look up to where you want to go and ensure your arms don’t swing across the body. Avoid toe running unless the terrain gets really step. This will help prevent fatiguing the smaller muscles in the legs such as the calves. Then from that position you can determine if it’s a power walk, a steady controlled ascent or a fast and powerful all out climb.

Breathing Longer hills require that you get control of your breath. I do this immediately when starting a hill that is anything longer than a quick up and over. You want to keep your breathing rate steady and avoid gasping for air. Control the rate of your inhale and exhale. Aim to avoid quick, shallow breathing. Dropping the shoulders and relaxing the upper body including the arms will help promote quality and controlled breaths. For short power climbs that are only a few steps or 10-20 seconds in length, a more aggressive pattern can be established that will almost match the rhythm of the arms as they pump forward to propel you up. As soon as you crest over the top though, resume controlled breathing.

Cadence Aim to keep your cadence (or stride frequency) the same regardless of if you are climbing, descending or running flats. Instead adjust your stride length. Focus on short steps for a steep grade. If you need to power walk the hill, do so with purpose. Keep the legs turning over and stacked under the hips. You want your feet moving and propelling you, rather than feeling like you are hauling 2 heavy weights up the hill.

The 123’s of DESCENDING

#1 Little Effort Running downhill should require very little exertion. The more you can relax and let your body move with gravity, the less energy you will expend and the more your quads will be saved. Think about it like this: How you run one downhill will ultimately affect how your legs feel for the next climb that you ask of them. The first part of your body down the hill should be your chest (sometimes called leading with the heart), especially in non-technical terrain. By maintaining an engaged core yet relaxed arms and legs, this is achievable.

#2 Lengthen Out As your speed increases, lengthen your stride but don’t let cadence drop. If the terrain is more technical you may need to sit back slightly and shorten the stride but remember that quick foot work, paired with high cadence will move you over rocks and roots with ease. Regardless of terrain, land on the balls of your feet and avoid heel striking. Aim to have the least amount of foot to ground contact time as possible. Strive for quick, fast, agile feet.

#3 Look Ahead Focus your eyes down the hill, looking to where you want to go and not at your feet. I suggest a 45-degree angle to the ground is a good starting point. The more you practice this, the more your confidence to trust your feet will grow.