I didn’t peak as a competitive ultrarunner until I moved to Ashland, Oregon, where I had access to trails every day. This consistent running on undulating, unpredictable trails gave an immense boost not just to my skill level but also to my confidence on race day.
Realistically, though, we don’t all live next door to trails or beside mountains with gradients you can train on in order to crush you race. And I’m not suggesting you move your house to feed your running habit! I simply advise you to be highly cognizant of the terrain you’ll traverse in the race and do your best to replicate it, with the real thing, an approximation in your local or area, or even a treadmill.
If all else fails, at least mentally prepare yourself for the race course by doing your due diligence with a map. Knowing the profile inside and out—and other specifics of the race—is far better than nothing. After all, running an ultra is largely mental, so never underestimate the value of preparing your mind for the race. I have stayed up many nights poring over Google Earth researching race courses, planning how to get out of a particular quagmire or where to rest up for the next one.