I started trail running by coincidence.
I stopped training horses and two years later started running because, just like riding horses, I liked the feeling of freedom it gave me.
I love the mountains and forest around where I live in Terrassa, near Barcelona, and in three minutes from my house I can be off-road and in my element.
I train every day. I like exhausting myself and I find the feeling of tiredness satisfying, although juggling the workload around home life can be difficult.
Alongside looking after my four-year-old daughter and doing normal chores I fit in two training sessions every day.
The fact my husband, Pere Aurell, is also an ultra runner helps, but we don’t often train together because of our differences – he’s strong and I’m fast, so I work with my coach Rafa Flores to focus on what I need to do to improve.
I get up early each morning, drink coffee and have a snack – usually an energy bar, protein shake or cereal with almond milk – before heading out around 7am.
People think that because I compete in races like the 250km Marathon des Sables I cover a lot of distance, but in fact my training varies a lot. I don’t count weekly distance because it’s not important.
I often do interval sessions of hill sprints, which are around 20 seconds of intense exercise but will only cover a few kilometres altogether. If I run a flatter route I might do 12 or 13km in 45 minutes.
Even if I’m preparing for an 80km ultra, I’ll do hill sprints, because for me it’s all about building up strength.
Once home I’ll do some core training before helping my daughter get ready for school. I like to have a four-to-six hour gap between sessions, so in the interim I take care of any washing, cleaning or work to do with sponsors.
It’s important to leave a two-hour gap between lunch and the second session. I never eat fried food, which is harder to digest, and keep things healthy, gluten-free and as simple as possible with a balance between carbohydrates and protein.
My second session of the day depends on my training plan. Sometimes I’ll do intervals, sometimes I’ll go road cycling, which is good, low impact way to volume train.
Depending on what race I have on the horizon I’ll also do more specific training, like using an indoor incline trainer, or wearing a hypoxic mask.
I usually train by myself, but I wear a GPS tracker so my coach can monitor what I’ve done and measure my heart rate and other data.
Once I’ve finished my afternoon session it’s back home. Then I’ll often to pick up my daughter from school and take her to the park.
We always eat dinner as a family and even though she’s four, I go to bed at the same time as my daughter, around 9pm, to get enough rest for the next day.
There are tough times in maintaining motivation, overcoming fatigue and pushing through hard weeks, but it’s always worth it when you cross the finish line.
Ragna Debats – 2018 double World champion in Skyrunning and Ultra-Trail and female champion of the 34th edition of the Marathon des Sables – is a proud Merrell ambassador. Find out more about her here: https://www.merrell.com/UK/en_GB/merrell-ragna/#merrell-Ragna