Here are Ed & Phil's top ultrarunning tips. They are in no particular order.
LOOK AFTER YOUR FEET
Blisters and other foot problems can bring you to a grinding halt during an ultra so think about you feet before the event and during it. Before the event make sure that you have good shoes that fit properly and socks that are up to the job. There is more information than anyone can ever need in John Vonhof's book Fixing Your Feet. Find it on Amazon here Fixing Your Feet
Even if you have good shoes and socks things can still go wrong during the event. A hot-spot could become a pus-filled bulge in minutes, so react to problems right away. If something does not feel right stop and sort it out, get your shoes and socks off and have a look. Yes you will lose a bit of time but not as much as you would when you are forced to pull out. Don't wait until the next check-point, get it sorted straight away. Engo blister prevention patches can help prevent hot-spots becoming troublesome blisters. More information at www.edandphil.co.uk
TOUGHEN UP YOUR QUADS
Many ultras take place on very hilly routes and nothing beats up your quads more than tough down hills, especially when you are tired. Just ask anyone who has done the Comrades marathon down run. To strengthen your quads try single leg squats, normal squats and down hill reps. For the downhill reps find a semi-steep downhill, run down it hard for 1 to 2 mins and repeat several times.
Here we are not talking about stretching, but revising goals. In an ultra there are plenty of things that can go wrong. Sometimes it is wise to push on and stick to the original schedule and sometimes it is wise to realise that things are not going well and back off and settle for a slower time. Highs and lows are part of ultrarunning, getting through the lows is an essential part of these events, but if the wheels have really come off and you are in big trouble stop and get help. There is always another day.
DON'T TAKE IBUPROFEN
Many ultrarunners swear by ibuprofen and are convinced that it helps reduce inflammation and muscle soreness. IT DOES NOT and it can cause kidney impairment and endotoxemia, the leaking of toxins from the colon into the bloodstream. There is plenty of medical evidence to support this view.
The New York Times
Fresh root ginger is considered to be a powerful anti-inflamatory. Many South African runners eat it raw during their ultra races. That might not be to everyone's taste, but some grated into a post-race stir-fry may aid recovery. The legendary runner Scott Jurek, who very seldom suffers injuries has a diet high in ginger and cumin because of their anti-inflamatory properties. His book Eat & Run is a good read.
PRACTICE BEFORE THE EVENT
Test out the kit and equipment you are going to use on the event in advance. Test it in all sorts of weather conditions and try and do a few test runs with all the gear. It is a bit late to find out during the run that the technical shirt, which worked well with leggings, wicks so much sweat away that it soaks the shorts you are wearing causing you to chaffe badly. (Ed learnt this the hard way)
Try out the food you are going to eat; experiment on training runs not on the event itself. Gastro-intestinal problems are common when your stomach tries to digest strange food or absorb gels while you muscles are using up all the blood normally supplied to your gut.
PLAN YOU RECOVERY IN ADVANCE
Once you have finished the event you may well say never again, but for most people that will not be true, so you need to recover well. Ideally you should have some carbohydrate and protein within 20 minutes of finishing. Commercial powders are a good way of achieving this (SIS Rego or Hammer Nutrition Recoverite are 2 examples) or you can try chocolate milk, peanut butter sandwiches, tuna sandwiches etc. Then eat a proper meal within two hours. If you plan this before hand it is more likely to happen.
Then get plenty of rest before starting training for the next adventure.