It is very important that all participants in the Laugavegur Ultra Marathon are very well prepared for the challenge ahead. The most important things being correct training, nutrition and gear but also to know the race plan and race rules.
Before taking part in the race participants must evaluate if they have trained enough and are strong, mentally and physically so that they will be able to finish this 55 km mountain race in a hectic environment and sometimes difficult conditions. Participants will be running up and down steep hills in snow, mud, and sand. Cold rivers will need to be crossed while dealing with cold winds, rain, and even snow. Therefore this race is only meant for well trained and experienced runners who have trained by doing mountain hikes and off trail runs. Those taking part in this race must be ready for the unexpected.
The key to a successful participation in this race is running long distances, hills, mountain hikes and runs and strength training. Being able to be on the move for 6-7 hours or even more is important. As guidance, participants can use a marathon training program that lasts for 20 weeks or longer where the goal is to run 50-70 km every week. On top of that, you will need to add weekly mountain- hikes or runs. Systematic strength training is necessary.
Mental training is also important, to be prepared to deal with the cold and the unexpected. Each person is meant to be able to help them selfs all the way to the finish line in Húsadalur, Þórsmörk. The time limits and cut-off are permanent and will not be changed for anyone. Read more about that here.
A detailed description of the course can be found here.
Part of preparing for the Laugavegur Ultra Marathon should be training your self into balancing your bodies energy levels. You can train to run, walk and at the same time train your energy management. Each participant needs to find out what is the best food for them to be able to be on the move for many hours. Energy gels are a good solution for many but not everyone. What does one need to keep going? Participants need to know this before the race. Those who have experienced being totally at loss of energy know that it is very difficult to the energy up again.
Even though there are refreshment stations along the course it is important that all participants have a drinking flask with them no matter what kind of weather is expected. It is also important to bring along energy gels or other nutrition.
Leaving litter on the course is forbidden, energy gel packages, banana peels, cups, plastic wrappings, human waste or anything else. Participants need to carry their litter with them to the next refreshment station where there will be a bin.
We kindly ask participants to put their energy gels in bottles on their waist belts to limit the possibility of unwanted litter on the course. This is also good from the nutritional point of view since you will this way be able to use the gel over a longer period of time by storing it on your belt in between sips. By avoiding, as best we can, to damage or leave litter on the trail we help keep this natural environment clean and healthy so that this race can take place for years to come.
What to wear during the race depends on the weather forecast. All participants must be able to add clothes to their attire before the race if the race director thinks it is needed.
On the below picture you can see which equipment runners should have available on race day should they need it. Long sleeved top and long trousers, jacket, gloves, and headgear that covers their head and ears and can also be used to cover the back of your neck. This is all necessary minimum equipment. When you reach mid-point at Bláfjallakvísl you will have the opportunity to leave the things you are no longer using behind and they will be transported back to Reykjavik after the race. According to the race rules, the race director can disqualify participants that do not follow these rules.
It is recommended that participants wear shoes meant for off-road running that have been used for some time before the Laugavegur Ultra Marathon takes place to prevent minor injuries. Waterproof shoes can be a good idea but some of them tend to keep the water inside the shoe as well if water finds it’s way into the shoe through the top. Wearing wool socks or something similar is well seen and highly recommended. It can also be a good idea to wear gaiters to prevent snow an gravel from getting inside the shoe, here is an example of gaiters.
Other things that previous participants have recommended to bring along are plasters, painkillers, lip balm, space blanket, sunglasses and sunscreen lotion if the weather forecast suggests it will be needed.