Prepare and test your equipment
The choice of suitable equipment is a key factor in the success of your race. Ultra-endurance requires thorough preparation, including the choice of the equipment that you take with you.
The month of August in the Mont-Blanc area can be very hot (more than 30°C), but it can also be very cold (up to -10°C experienced above 2000m), with rain, hail or even snow. Your equipment must be suitable for confronting all types of conditions and enable you to spend one or two nights on the race route, according to the speed of your progression. In the case of an incident, your equipment must enable you to await help in sufficiently safe conditions.
The UTMB® imposes obligatory equipment which all runners must have with them permanently to avoid risk of penalty. Checks are carried out during the races. We can only encourage runners to also take with them the equipment which is highly recommended, as well as the equipment that we advise them to have.It is essential to be able to adapt your equipment to your reality, test it during training sessions in varying conditions and take everything that will be useful and necessary. Weight is a concern, but don't be too minimalist. Optimise your chances of success and your performance through judicious choice.
Running around Mont Blanc is above all an inner adventure, a unique experience where each participant will have to draw on his or her strengths and reserves and push back his or her mental and physical limits to cross the finish line at the Place du Triangle. This extraordinary journey in the heart of the massif will allow the trailers to cross valleys and passes in contact with the most beautiful summits, in a unique alpine setting.
Good preparation !
SIDAS: How to avoid foot problems on the UTMB® Mont-Blanc.
FIGURES & A STATEMENT:
According to the results of studies by the UTMB® Mont-Blanc medical commission:
- 16 to 20% of dropouts are directly related to foot problems.
- 76% of foot pains contracted in ultra-trail result in the appearance of another pathology (knee, hip, Achilles’ tendon…), following the adaptation of the stride, which then loses its natural ability to limit the pain.
Feet are the natural base of a biped but above all the indestructible foundation of a successful UTMB® Mont-Blanc. It is an absolutely undeniable fact: care, protection and preparation that you give them will allow you to cross the finish line which makes you dreming ! #No Finish Line Without Foot Care
THREE EXPERTS FOR SOUND ADVICE:
In order to give you sound advice on the care of your feet for the UTMB® Mont-Blanc, we have combined the recommendations of three experts:
Marie MALIGORNE, head of the SIDAS podiatry centre, who has seen the feet of many champions pass through her hands, all endurance sports included. A team composed of Olivier GARCIN, podiatrist referent on the UTMB® Mont-Blanc, and his associate, Marie Charlotte ALEX, also a member of the Podoxygène association.
The 3 most common mistakes that should be avoided:
1/ Do not cut your fingernails, or worse, cut them the day before the races, as they have not had time to grow back slightly and are therefore very sharp.
2/ Put a hydro-colloid dressing from the outset, to prevent possible rubbing or blisters. For Olivier GARCIN, this bad habit is like “taking a Doliprane without a headache”. The same applies to abrasive straps stuck between the toes: “It is all very well to want to anticipate a pathology, but if it is only to generate another one, the usefulness is very limited”.
3/ For Marie-Charlotte ALEX, the golden rule is to “banish the new”. Too many runners venture out on the event with untested equipment.
Prepare your feet to run 170km and 10 000m of elevation.
You need to prepare your feet thoroughly, first a few weeks, then a few hours, before the big start.
A few weeks before the start:
1/ Pedicure, three weeks before the start.
2/ Tanning, two weeks before D-Day to build up “a robust and hydrated foot, ready to face the UTMB® Mont-Blanc”.
3/ Choosing the right shoe to run the UTMB® Mont-Blanc. To do so:
- Carry out as thorough an examination of your stride as possible beforehand and seek the expertise of an expert with real technical knowledge in this area.
- Focus on the benefits of comfort, durability and cushioning rather than dynamism and lightness in view f the length of the effort ahead of you.
- Avoid high drops. Why ? « Because they tend to favour the heel attack, which is much more traumatic because of the shock waves it generates on the whole body. However, be careful, if up to now you feel good in your trainers, don’t change anything!”
- Assume that your foot widens by 3 to 4 mm between the 50th and 80th kilometers, as a result of muscle tiredness and arch collapse.
4/ Equip yourself with insoles.
Instead of a basic insole, choose a pair of insoles that are perfectly adapted to your feet and your practice. The purpose of these insoles is threefold: increase comfort, maximise the precision and stability of your stance and to limit the risk of injury. Discover the guide "How to choose your running insoles here”
In case of pathology, it is recommended to consult a health professional (podiatrist) for an assessment and a tailor-made medical solution.
5/ Don’t neglect your socks!
Feeling good in your trainers is the result of a synergy between three elements: the shoe, the sole and the sock.
6/ Reinforce your foot.
There are many specific strengthening exercises that can be done once a week to make your feet a strong and confident base for your performance. Here are some exercices that we can recommend.
A few hours before the race:
1/ Put anti-friction cream.
Coating your feet with Anti-friction cream, especially on the arches and toes, is a big step towards reducing the risk of blisters. This cream can also prevent chafing on any other part of the body that is sensitive to repeated friction.
2/ Adjust your socks.
After putting on your socks, which you have already tested and approved many times, make sure that they do not wrinkle at all. This is where a problem can occur.
3/ Take care of your lacing.
Two fundamental principles must be respected for a good lacing ont the UTMB® Mont-Blanc: “First, lace up evenly from the toes to the top of the instep to avoid a bottleneck on the upper part ; and do not tighten your laces too much risking to create tenosynovitis, meaning the inflammation of the extensor tendons that allow the foot to be lifted on the climb.”
4/ Insert the Safety Kit into your race bag.
In order to prevent or at least slow down the appearance of a blister or a black nail while waiting to get to the care base where a professional can help you to solve the problem (we strongly advise against any form of self-medication), we have developed with the medical commission of the UTMB® Mont-Blanc, a Safety Kit particularly practical and light (115 gr) which will allow you to react with calm and discernment until you reach the dedicated medical teams. The Safety Kit consists of:
- 1 pocket size tube of 15ml of anti-chafing cream
- 1 pocket size tube of 15ml of Cryo effect cream to relieve muscles
- 1 survival blanket with the required dimensions 1.40m x 2m
- 2 elastic bands pre-cut to the required measurements for the UTMB® Mont-Blanc
Beacuse taking care of his feet is esssential for allowing you to cross the finish line, discover all our dedicated solutions to trail-running.