Tell me about Ultra Marathons

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  • Tell me about Ultra Marathons
  • mogrim
    Member

    I did one last year, signed up for another this year. I did it on the back of training for my first (normal, road) marathon, although I was already doing a fair bit more milage than you…

    Basically you need to gradually up the distance, without getting injured. Pace isn’t that important, you’ll almost certainly be walking parts of the ultra anyway.

    The book Relentless Forward Progress is a pretty good guide – if you do get it, get the paper rather than Kindle version as you’ll want to flick back and forwards while reading. It includes a training plan, I’ve converted it to km and it’s here: http://jdcheesman.blogspot.com.es/2013/07/ultra-training-plan.html

    mikey74
    Member

    Thanks for the input. Without being too specific, how much training are we talking? 5-6 days a week? I’d like to see if I can actually fit it in, lol.

    willard
    Member

    I tried, and failed, to do an ultra.

    For several months beforehand, the trainign took over my life. Five, six day weeks with the shorter runs being between nice miles and half marathons (three short runs, one longer one a week) with cycling and weights/core strength thrown in.

    I lost 10kg during the training though although, ultimately, I injured my right knee so had to pull out of the race. I was gutted. Getting back to that level of training will take more time and effort than I can contribute right now.

    mogrim
    Member

    4 days a week if you’re planning on doing any cycling on the 5th: you will need the other two days to rest. Don’t underestimate how much time you need to put into it, you need to be doing 2-3 hour runs at the weekend, and a couple of hour long runs during the week.

    Ideally you also want to do the long runs on similar terrain to the ultra you’re planning on tackling, so if you live in a flat area but want to do a hilly ultra you should also factor in a bit of driving to get somewhere similar.

    (Should say I didn’t follow the plan slavishly, the longest run I did training was just over 40km, while the plan includes a 50km run…)

    mogrim
    Member

    For several months beforehand, the trainign took over my life. Five, six day weeks with the shorter runs being between nice miles and half marathons (three short runs, one longer one a week) with cycling and weights/core strength thrown in.

    Sounds familiar, it does take over. And you look forward to those lighter weeks where you “only” have a 23km run on Saturday ๐Ÿ™‚

    mikey74
    Member

    Sounds good, although I was toying with studying part-time (as well as my full-time job).

    It looks like it’s one or the other.

    brooess
    Member

    Goodbye to your knees?
    I’m a regular club runner and working hard to push my 5k and 10k PBs and my observation is that most keen runners have constant injuries. I do a lot of stretching, yoga and cycling to try and avoid this – limiting myself to 2-3 runs/week.
    Personally I can’t see how you can train for an ultra without the risk of long term injury.
    Best advice seems to be run off-road as much as you possibly can, make sure your shoes are spot on, and consider insoles like Superfeet

    Premier Icon nickc
    Subscriber

    Be prepared to nothing but plan, think about, do or rest from; running

    Don’t worry about pace, I’m routinely in the 9:30 to 10 min miles, its just about the time and distance. If you’re new to it, work up slowly, I went from 10 miles a weekend to doing 25-30 miles as a standard run but it took 6-7 months . Be prepared to go through heaps of shoes and socks, be prepared for blisters and black nails and bruised toes!

    mikey74
    Member

    Worth it? What sort of training is involved? I’d be going from average weekly runs of 7-10km (with occasional runs ones of 13-17km) to just over 70km in just under a year.

    surfer
    Member

    Its “only” around 44 miles. Its not the longest run in the world. If you are simply aiming to get round then 3-4 10 milers per week would probably suffice. Is it off-road? If so the terrain and ascents/descents will be the challenge you need to prepare for them by training occasionally on similar terrain.
    Always skeptical of training schedules that just contain a list of numbers, in this case high daily mileage. You need to enjoy the training or you wont complete it. You will have bad days but if you dread every session it wont happen.
    Go out and build up your training as much as you can manage, alternatively I can provide a different set of “numbers” for each day!

    Premier Icon stever
    Subscriber

    Depends where you’re starting from I guess. My advice would be not to get psyched out – it’s just a marathon plus a bit. And Keith and Sandra from Accounts have both done marathons. Pick an ultra that’s well supported with plenty of food stops so you can travel light and only need to look as far as the next 6 or 7 miles, or whatever.

    I’ve aways been a bit of a bodger and never had the time/inclination to do too much training. First Bristol 12h I did off a longest ride of 20+ miles. First trail marathon I don’t think I went past 15 miles. First ultra I got up to around 20 miles a handful of times. This year I decided to have a quiet year and not do anything big, but then did the Excalibur (26 miles and 6000′) on a whim and had a really good run. I’d only done a few club 9 milers in months. Point being, I’m not trying to brag, but do enough that you get the confidence you can do the distance, but you don’t need to drive yourself nuts. More training is better but depends if you want to complete or compete. It’s a lot mental and about pacing yourself and refuelling regularly.

    Shred
    Member

    I’ve always wanted to do the Comrades marathon in South Africa. 89km from Durban to Pietermaritzburg (or the other way). My mother did 10 of them and got her green number (her number forever), so I’ve always thought of it as a once off in her memory.

    What puts me off is I am enjoying my cycling too much, and would need to take a lot of time out to do this, plus the injury worry.

    It can’t be that hard as the entry is capped at 18,000 people!

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Subscriber

    Personally I can’t see how you can train for an ultra without the risk of long term injury.

    It’s a risk, definitely. Managing the risk is about listening to your body, knowing when to rest, what’s good pain, what’s bad pain, what could be corrected and what can’t. And being prepared to give it up if it’s the right thing to do.

    I’ve read a few interviews with ultradistance runners. One answer that frequently crops up to the “What makes you special?” type question is “I’m lucky to be extremely well aligned, bio-mechanically. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do.”

    A lot of people find out that they aren’t.

    winston
    Member

    You will injure yourself. Not if but when. Everybody does eventually. Its a real pisser as long distance running (especially over tough terrain) gives you real legal high quite unlike long distance cycling. Longest race I did was only 36 mile so a baby ultra really and it was only 2 years ago but now I can’t really run more than 2 miles……luckily it hasn’t impacted my cycling too much

    Edit: Completely agree with nedrapier above. I wasn’t.

    Premier Icon wonkey_donkey
    Subscriber

    i’ve done one – doing another 70 miler this weekend.

    it does take over your life.

    the training is harder than the actual event.

    I managed to stay injury free by: never training for more than 3 hours at a time, build up slowly – regular rest weeks. Stay under 60 miles per week.

    You cant really train to run 70 miles, it’s just about building up endurance.

    I wont be doing it again after this one. Although i said the same after the last one. ๐Ÿ™‚

    xterramac
    Member

    10-20% fitness, 30% nutritional, 50-60% mental. Have done a few of those kinds of events and it can be surprising the type, shape and age of the people that finish. They are a great place for killing off triathlete’s and the “all-the-klobber-what-a-nobber” bunch.
    Just remember to smile and try to forget you paid to do it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I’ve always wanted to do the Comrades marathon in South Africa. 89km from Durban to Pietermaritzburg (or the other way). My mother did 10 of them and got her green number (her number forever), so I’ve always thought of it as a once off in her memory.

    What puts me off is I am enjoying my cycling too much, and would need to take a lot of time out to do this, plus the injury worry.

    It can’t be that hard as the entry is capped at 18,000 people!

    I think about at least a third of it missed the 12 hour cut off point so didn’t make it, there were people crawling over the finish line, being carried over and all sorts, one guy died.

    cynic-al
    Member

    I can guarantee you will never get any punctures.

    The bike will be so heavy and slow you won’t ride it anymore ๐Ÿ˜›

    redben
    Member

    I have done a few marathons and laterly a 50mile ultra and failed a 100mile race, giving in at 77miles.
    Training wise i ran 4-5days a week and ran whatever distance felt comfortable. I think its all to easy becoming obsessed with running plans.
    The hardest part is the mental side of it, when you conquer that the rest is easy ๐Ÿ™‚

    cynic-al
    Member

    Odd wrong-topic posting error above! – actually I thought he was asking about tyres ๐Ÿ˜€

    brooess – Member
    Personally I can’t see how you can train for an ultra without the risk of long term injury.

    Depends on volume/intensity and how you’ve increased that surely?

    Folk who say “you/I couldn’t do [marathon/ultra etc]” are talking guff IMO. All you need to do is keep going. I did my first marathon on a longest run of 12 miles and 6 months hap-hazard and injury-interrupted training. I did a 220 without much training either.

    A pal has done a few ultras and says a key aspect is doing a couple of long runs (20m+) on consecutive days. I don’t see why you NEED to train 4 days a week, though the OP may not be a strong enough (i.e. injury-free) runner) to build up his miles to a good standard without some injury.

    IanMunro
    Member

    Thanks for the input. Without being too specific, how much training are we talking? 5-6 days a week? I’d like to see if I can actually fit it in, lol.

    I think it depends an awful lot on the individual. A neighbor of mine came 2nd in a 100 mile ultra a couple of weekends back and averages around 25 miles a week +/-15 miles a week (I can see on Strava that we’ve both logged pretty much identical mileage for the year).

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    For those who’ve missed the other thread, a chap I know is currently in the middle of a 510km “ultramarathon” (with almost a normal marathon of ascent!) http://stevebirkinshaw-wainwright2014.blogspot.co.uk/

    Premier Icon allfankledup
    Subscriber

    Wonkey donkey – are you running hadrians wall?

    Wife’s pal is running it this weekend – her first ultra. Some of her training runs were 40miles…the last few weeks have seen midweek runs of a half marathon, then a longer run at the weekend…

    She’s running to raise cash for Cystic Fibrosis research (daughter has CF) – driven is the best description, aside from mental..

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    I spent two years doing ultras – loved the mental challenge. But beware it screws you short distance speed. Ran my slowest H mara this year and had no speed in my legs at all.

    Premier Icon miketually
    Subscriber

    Based on my riding experience, if you know what/when/how to eat you can do long distance stuff off very little training, provided you’re just trying to finish not be competitive.

    rhbrhb
    Member

    I’m supposed to be doing a 33m ultra next year. Nice to read this thread as still getting my head around it a bit.

    richpips
    Member

    Based on my riding experience, if you know what/when/how to eat you can do long distance stuff off very little training, provided you’re just trying to finish not be competitive.

    I can ride a bike for a long way. It’s low impact.

    The furthest I seem to be able to run before my knees give up is ~40 miles.

    you could do the comrades in South Africa and still get you cycling fix by doing the Unogwaja challenge, a cycle ride of 1400k over 10 days that takes you to the run then you do the run on the 11th day! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

    here

    mikey74
    Member

    Thanks for all the input folks.

    For your information: The one I’m thinking about is the Transvulcania in La Palma. It will be hot, rocky, with lots of climbing (the course takes you from sea level, up and around the caldera of a volcano with 4.5k vert ascending and 4k vert descending).

    My experience with my running is that it seems to be high frequency, coupled with high mileage, that seems to cause me damage. Otherwise, I can seem to run relatively far with little “build-up”. If I do run frequently then, for the moment at least, I need to keep the mileage down.

    From what you have said above, this seems fairly typical.

    roper
    Member

    If anyone fancies a rocky dusty ultra, the Ronda 101 is very good.
    Very well organised with a dinner the night before and lots of food and water stations. Great countryside and you get to run through small villages where people line the streets cheering you on.

    This is the route

    or here
    http://www.lalegion101.es/prueba/modalidad/seccion/edicion-2014-marcha-individual-mapa-recorrido-2014

    There is also a MTB or a half run/ride option.

    finbar
    Member

    I spent two years doing ultras – loved the mental challenge. But beware it screws you short distance speed. Ran my slowest H mara this year and had no speed in my legs at all.

    Normal marathons do that to me as well. I haven’t been the same since London back in April…

    mogrim
    Member

    I was planning on doing either the Transvulcania or Ronda 101 next year, both look excellent.

    freeagent
    Member

    I’ve always wanted to do the Comrades marathon in South Africa. 89km from Durban to Pietermaritzburg (or the other way). My mother did 10 of them and got her green number (her number forever), so I’ve always thought of it as a once off in her memory.

    What puts me off is I am enjoying my cycling too much, and would need to take a lot of time out to do this, plus the injury worry.

    It can’t be that hard as the entry is capped at 18,000 people!

    I think about at least a third of it missed the 12 hour cut off point so didn’t make it, there were people crawling over the finish line, being carried over and all sorts, one guy died.

    One of my mates did the Comrades earlier this month.
    He finished in 7hrs 22mins, which gets you a silver medal – he reckons it was the hardest sporting event he’d ever done.
    He had run over 1000 miles since Christmas in preparation for it, his longest training run was 35miles.
    However, he is a running machine, who has done a sub 2hrs 30min London Marathon.

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