Not everyone can say they've completed a marathon, let alone an ultramarathon. We partnered with C9 Champion® at Target and runner and coach Robin Arzon to learn more about the sport.
Robin Arzon is an athlete's athlete. She lives to push herself and to complete challenges that most can barely even fathom, like the time she ran five marathons in five days across Utah.
Inspired by her achievements as both a fitness coach and ultramarathoner (which is essentially running any distance longer than 26.2 miles), we asked her to share some of the most surprising things she's learned about her sport.
1. The best training involves back-to-back running days.
In order to properly train for an ultramarathon, Robin said you need to be able to log long runs on back-to-back days. "I would do one 20 miler on a Saturday, and then I would do anywhere from 18 to 30 miles the next day."
2. Silence is better than music.
When she's going for her long 26-plus-mile distances, she likes to go without headphones. "I can't get in the zone with music," she added.
3. It's OK if you don't sleep well the night before a race.
Everyone knows that sleep is the number one thing that is restorative for our bodies, but Arzon said she's learned that it's not a dealbreaker if you don't get enough shut-eye the night before a race. "People freak out when they don't get a good night sleep before a race. Of course, ideally you get sleep, but unless you are running for a week straight, you can get by. The most important sleep you get is two to three nights before a race anyway."
4. The human body is driven by our minds more than muscle.
Strength is only going to take you so far; you need to be able to visualize success when you're running. "I've seen undertrained people do things that they shouldn't be able to do simply because they were committed," she said. "There is a rawness and authenticity about running ultramarathons. You're left with nothing but the conversations between you and you."
5. Lay's Classic Potato Chips are everything.
When it comes to snacking before and during long ultras, there's only one snack for her. "This is the best thing to eat. The carbs and the salt and the simplicity of the flavor are really good when you're running long miles."
More from C9 Champion® at Target.