top of page

The Crucial Role of Recce Runs in Ultra Trail Running

One often overlooked but critical aspect of race preparation is the reconnaissance of the route, or "recce". Exploring the race course before the actual event has become a crucial element of my training plan, and here's why I believe it's a game-changer.

Embracing the Environment 🏔

The first and perhaps most profound benefit of a recce is becoming familiar with the environment. It's about soaking in the "vibe" of the place while getting a real feel for the underfoot conditions. Sure, studying the GPX file on your laptop can offer some insights, but nothing compares to being there in person. The terrain often holds surprises, turning technical in places you'd least expect. Only through a recce can you truly get to know what awaits you.

No Wrong Turns 🚷

Given the already daunting distances of ultra races, veering off course and tacking on extra miles is a nightmare scenario. Recce runs significantly mitigate this risk. By getting to know the course's twists, turns, and key landmarks, I've learned to navigate with greater assurance. This strategy proved invaluable during my Devon Coast to Coast race last year. After a wrong turn, my familiarity with the course quickly alerted me that I was off track, saving me from a prolonged detour.

Mental Visualisation 🧠

Mental visualisation is a crucial aspect of my race preparation. I often replay my recce runs in my mind, envisioning myself at various points along the route. This mental exercise is especially useful for me to anticipate tough spots. I immerse myself in the forthcoming challenges, envisioning moments of struggle and visualising my resilience as I push through adversity.

Emotional Cues 🧘‍♀️

There's a unique freedom and lack of pressure in recce runs that's hard to find on race day. It's a great opportunity to absorb the scenery and truly enjoy the journey. These positive moments create a bank of emotional cues I can dig into during the race, providing comfort and motivation when needed.

In sum, recce runs are more than just practice; they're a strategy that encompasses physical preparation, mental fortitude, and emotional resilience. They remind me why I run, not just to cross the finish line, but to embrace the journey until I do.


bottom of page