Top 5 mistakes people make during the Fire & Ice

We’ve been organising the race for 7 years now and we’ve
seen plenty of people have to drop out of the race for reasons that could have
been prevented. Here are the top five mistakes that people make both before and
during the race, maybe you can learn something which will make your race that
bit easier.

1. Not looking after your feet

Every year we struggle to believe how many people have the
most awful blisters at the end of day one. If you’ve been putting in the hours
in your race shoes and race socks then you should by now have a strategy to
prevent blisters. It is understandable to have blisters and hot spots towards
the end of the race, but don’t let something near the start ruin your race.
There are lots of different strategies, including taping, lubrication or
wearing multiple pairs of socks. Try them out in training and see what works
for you.

2. Using new and untested kit

One of our top bugbears is when people turn up to the kit
check with their kit still in the wrapper! Everything you are going to use
should be tried and tested. You need to know how it works and whether it is up
to the job. Everyone likes buying kit and you want to save your best, most
expensive kit for race day but it’s a false economy if it’s going to ruin your
race. You might have worn your nice new backpack for a five mile run to see
whether it fits, but have you worn it for a three hour run or for two days in a
row? If not then you might not know where the little spot of chafing starts
until you are a few hours into day one of the six day race, and the next five
days are going to be agony. Don’t be that person, you’ll have more fun if you
test your kit out in advance and know how to prevent these sorts of issues. Not
many people drop out because they can’t physically keep moving, but we do see people
forced to drop out due poor kit choice.

3. Being cold

There is no excuse to be cold during the race! Every year we
get people who are surprised at how cold the race is. The name Iceland gives
you a bit of a clue as to what to expect. Most people don’t get terribly cold
whilst running as they are generating plenty of heat. What we do see is that
when people are sat around in camp in the evenings they struggle to keep warm.
Make sure you are carrying an adequate sleeping bag and have some warm dry
clothes to change into at the end of each day. In the morning you can put your
damp, cold running clothes on and keep those dry clothes for the evening.

4. Doing all your training on the road

The Fire and Ice Ultra may not be the longest race or have
the most elevation but the feedback we get from runners time after time is that
it is some of the hardest ground to run on. Whilst a lot of the race is on four
wheel drive tracks, which Icelanders optimistically call ‘roads’, it is by no
means easy going. Expect to run on long stretches of soft volcanic sand where
your feet may sink. You will cross lava fields which are uneven and sharp
enough to cut holes in your trainers. The tracks themselves are strewn with
large rocks ready to trip up an unsuspecting runner. Prepare yourself by making
sure that you train off road on difficult terrain, don’t just rack up the miles
on tarmac.

5. Turning up with the wrong mindset

This race is as much a mental test as a physical one. We see
people every year who come with a negative attitude and don’t get the most out
of the race. Come here with the right frame of mind and you will have a
fantastic experience. You will get to sample the incredible scenery Iceland has
to offer, get a great sense of accomplishment and make friends for life.
There’s nothing quite like running 250km and sleeping in a tent with someone to
forge a strong friendship with someone you’ve never met before.

We look forward to seeing you at the start line, most of all don’t forget to have fun!

John