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Ultrarunner Checklist Manifesto

Inspired by the book, The Checklist Manifesto, this checklist comes from my personal list after completing 6-100 milers and several 50/100K races. I reviewed my race reports to create this but wanted the input of the community. List items should be simple and self-explanatory so it’s quick to review leading up to your race.

Experience is king, so learn from the mistakes that I and others have made. If you think there is something I should add please let me know.

Training Checklist:

  1. Training terrain matches race terrain.
  2. Weekly mileage increases won’t exceed 10%.
  3. Cross-training with mobility and strength weekly.
  4. Eating whole foods between 9AM to 5PM. (intermittent fasting to increase fat burning)
    1. Paleo Shopping List
  5. Rest
    1. When motivation is low or after extreme efforts.
    2. Cycle 3-week high intensity 1 week low intensity or rest.
    3. Limit alcohol after hard workouts to improve recovery.
  6. Back-to-back long runs that increase in distance.
  7. Train in different weather conditions(Hot, Humid, Wet)
  8. Train with race day gear. (Poles, Shoes, Food)

Pre-Race Checklist (1-2 weeks before race):

  1. Lower caffeine consumption to increase race day effects.
  2. Running at a lower mileage and intensity.
  3. Focus on mobility, rest, hydration, and stretching.
  4. Preset pace/plan for crew and pacers
    1. Pace chart
  5. Know the course.
    1. GPS Course on the watch (Garmin only?)
    2. Aid Station Details (Distance and Quantity)
    3. Elevation Profile
  6. Weather
    1. Hot = No records or PRs that day.
    2. Wet = Correct shoes to maintain traction.
  7. Pack drop bags 2-3 days before the race. (vary on race requirements, see drop-bag checklist)
  8. Mentally Prepare
    1. Envision yourself on the course, aid stations, finish line.
    2. Read Race Reports
    3. Watch Course Videos like mine 😉

Race Checklist:

  1. Nothing new on race day. 
  2. Control excitement and pace early (Follow pace you planned!)
  3. On-Person Items (varies greatly per individual)
    1. Vaseline
    2. Baby Wipes
    3. Spare socks
    4. Electrolyte tablets
    5. Caffeine
  4. Feet clean, dry, and lubed on hotspots.
    1. Change socks and shoes as needed.  (Every 20-30 Miles)
  5. Batteries/charger for headlamps.
  6. Music when you feel low.
  7. Large doses of caffeine saved for night.
  8. Monitor heart rate
    1. 180-age or 220 – age (ZONE 2-3)
  9. Don’t stop eating (30 minute repeating timer on watch)
    1. 300-400 calories an hour (highly personal)
  10. Drop bag treat
  11. Ice Ice Baby!
    1. Fill zip lock and bladder at aid stations
  12. 5-10 minute power nap when shit hits the fan.
  13. Head-to-toe inventory every hour.
    1. Electrolytes, fluids, pace, happiness (keep things positive), food, feet.

Post-Race Checklist:

  1. Move to recover – Motion is lotion.
  2. Compression increases blood flow.
  3. Write a race report of what went right, wrong, and how you would do it differently next time.
  4. Hydrate
  5. Ibuprofen as needed
  6. Sign up for the next race! (Something to look forward to!)

Drop Bag

  1. Spare shoes
  2. Spare socks
  3. Spare Sun Glasses
  4. Spare shirt
  5. Spare Shorts
  6. Special Treat (Food you are excited for)
  7. Batteries (charger packs or double/triple As)
  8. Long Sleeves
  9. Electrolyte pills
  10. Hat/Gloves
  11. Spare Headlamp
  12. Spare Pace chart
  13. Vasaline
  14. Baby Wipes
  15. Paper Towel (Use to clean feet for shoe change)
  16. Poles
  17. Hand Warmers
  18. Zip lock bags (use for ice)
  19. Poncho or Emergency Blanket (sometimes a race requirement)

That’s it. Reference this list as you train, during the race, and after the race. Test these items out. A checklist is only good if it is tested. I plan to keep adding to this list and refining it. The items on this list should keep you healthy and racing successfully year after year. Let me know what you think is missing and why.

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