Eat. Eat. Eat. And… Dare I say, eat?
Longer races result in slower running speeds and long days out in the woods. Add in carrying poles and long, slow climbs and hours can go by like minutes. Trail-running burns a lot of calories with its undulating terrain, off-camber trails, and monstrous climbs. Make sure to eat; a lot. There is no room for your pride when you feel a bonk coming on, if you find yourself in a nutritional hole, stop and eat! You will make back the time later. Eating early on and frequently (I do Coconut Chocolate Gu every 20-30 minutes) will help you steer clear of the bonk and running steady.
Don’t be afraid to practice your second (or third or fourth or non-existent) language.
The beauty of these races is in the comradery. There are thousands of athletes setting out to cover 100km through the alps from all across the world. Don’t be intimidated by language barriers, we are all doing the same task and enduring the same downfalls. A smile or a high-five can go along way to boost excitement. And who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky and run into someone who speaks a language you remember vaguely from high school and can have a go at a conversation to pass the time.
Smile. A lot.
Smiling has been proven to boost positive endorphins and reduce the feeling of fatigue. Need I say more? This probably won’t be a dominant focus of your UTMB training plan, but you’ll automatically feel better, make those who witness the smile feel better, and be guaranteed to look good in mid-race pictures taken by photographers hiding around the bend. Smile through the pain, it will help, and make you remember that since you are the one who signed up for this demonic but beautiful race, you ought to enjoy it.