André’s Backyard Ultra Lessons

In a month’s time, we will be welcoming our intrepid distance runners back to Uis for the second Brandberg Backyard Ultra! To get you yard-ready, we asked André Ross, the winner of the 2022 Brandberg Backyard Ultra, to share some of the lessons he learned during the previous event.

“This is for me one of the best races I’ve ever run. Not so much so about the win, but because of the experience and personal lessons gained. So here they are.

  • During the race was it awesome to see the spectators and your support team every 6,7 km. They are the ones that elevate your run and help you push through those tough dips. They also help you with your discipline and do not allow you to do what you feel like.
  • My first lesson to share is to respect nature! You will need to be able to run in any kind of weather. The organizers determine the route and time of the race but no one is in charge of the weather…you just adjust your run accordingly. When you know it’s going to be hot…hydrate more during the rest session of your loop. TAKE water on the loop. Find a way to cool your neck during the run (my wet buff in my hat helped me). There’s a lot to read about the Israeli army and their hydration techniques during the 6-day war.
  • We all know the ups and downs we go through in a race. With the backyard ultra, you experience it thoroughly! Find a way to get in your own headspace, especially if you don’t feel good, and don’t take it out on your support team. Share with them, and get back on your disciplines you have planned for your rest periods. Leave this loop behind for there is nothing you can do about it. Calm yourself and plan your next loop. Make it practical, like tell a fellow runner you run now with him or her…it gives you a fresh starting point.
  • Talking about a fresh start. Each lap is new. It is the first one for you now! Don’t ponder on what has been. Keep your thoughts reigned in and enjoy what is around you. On running loops I find it important to look for something I haven’t seen before … it keeps your mind from dwelling on how tired you feel.
  • Another point on a fresh start … go swim quickly or take a quick shower every now and then, put on clean clothes, all to make you feel fresh.
  • Plan before the time! Use your first loop to get a lay of the land so you can plan your walks and hydration points (or which side of the road has fewer rocks😉). Plan before the time about what you’re going to eat and drink and after which loop. Remember a plan must be flexible so that you can make adjustments. In my first 6 loops, I stuck to my snack plan like at gunpoint, and I felt the benefits later in the race.
  • I want to come back to discipline. This was my biggest key during the race, and that was to discipline myself also with my walks in between the running part of the race. This is also for me a personal key to success in life, is do the small disciplines and it will help you to be successful.
  • My biggest struggles and toughest times happened when I started to compare myself with others. In each race, it is you that run. Don’t try to run according to someone else. RUN YOUR OWN RACE. You know how you’ve trained; run accordingly. I believe that only when we run our own race we will be able to glide……

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