Ultramarathon – Should I?
I’ve been getting into running again these last few months and, with the distances going up and the times coming down, have started thinking about what to do next year as a bit of a look-forward challenge.
I’ve always fancied running a marathon and I reckon I could do one of those now easily enough (well, with not much in the way of serious pain at least), but something in last month’s Runners’ World caught my eye.
Yes, 65 miles along Hadrian’s Wall over two days in June next year. Camping half way. I really want to do it. I have no idea whether I could do it and the training might kill me, but I so want to do it.
Did anyone here do it this year? If so, what was it like?Posted 5 years ago
The one day, big vs. two days, small(er) has got me thinking a lot about tactics. If the first day is tougher than I plan, then sleeping in a tent and having to get up early is not going to be good for me. But this has to be traded off against a single long slog on the first day.
In theory, it should be possible to walk the whole course in a day (24 hours at just less than 3mph), but that doesn’t take into account breaks, food, exhaustion, death, etc. Running, even if it is on/off should be faster than that.
Reading the training schedule makes me think that I could handle it, but I do need to try a longer run out with a bit of weight I think. Maybe this weekend…
Thanks for the call on the fell runner forums. I’ll give that a look.
Edit: FlyingMonkeyCorps. That might be a good idea. Not sure about the same sort of run in the heat of SA though. Tell your mate he’s mad.Posted 5 years ago
The FRA forums are well worth checking out, there’s a thread on running the wall here:
Not many people will run the whole way on these sort of things but the key to it is “relentless forward progress” as someone once said.
Long days out on the bike can be valuable in the early stages of training to build up aerobic endurance without knackering your knees etc.Posted 5 years ago29erKeithMember
go for it!
the first few miles on day two will be the toughest.
what sort of mileages and times are you up to already? what’s your longest run distance and time?
Ultra’s have quite a different feel to a lot of other races, there can be long spells on your own, pace is very different to how you’d run a half marathon for example also kit eating and drinking needs a different approach
I’ve done a few ultra’s and multi day stage races, there are a few other guys on here that do ultra’s too… Pyro +??Posted 5 years ago
Relentless Forward Progress, it’s a half decent intro to Ultrarunning
the irunfar website is a reasonable source of info as well
Get googling for LDWA events, plenty of options there. Cake is good too.Posted 5 years ago
Hammerite : six miles a night for about four/five nights a week. My original plan was to see if I could do a half marathon before the end of the year (either in distance or an actual raced half) and that plan is on track. when I get back from this weekend with the Army I’ll be upping my training to alternate 6/9 miles four times a week and will probably try a half at the weekend. I’ll let you know the time when that’s done.
Time-wise, the first lap/3 miles takes about 24 minutes, with an overall time for two laps/6 miles of about 49 minutes. This is off the pace for my normal 10k pace, but not by much. I think my fastest 10k was about 46 minutes.
Avdave: Yeah, been there, done that. ITBS hurts. They have, touch wood, been fine so far, so I have high hopes for them. I did get a foam roller though and that gets used a fair bit.Posted 5 years agosteverSubscriber
Good base fitness then, you’ll knock off a half without too much bother. Try doing some longer stuff and see if you actually enjoy it. See how you feel after a couple of hours? I did a solo 6 hour run once and actually got a bit fed up of my own company. I’m not an interesting man. Much easier with people to chat to though 🙂Posted 5 years ago
Good base fitness then, you’ll knock off a half without too much bother. Try doing some longer stuff and see if you actually enjoy it.
This. Don’t get too hung up on going round in three mile circles every night… start looking for some longer weekend outings, off the tarmac with some hills in. Great excuse to go out in some inspiring places over the next few months.Posted 5 years agobensalesMember
Got for it. I ran my first marathon at the beginning of this year (Edinburgh) and my first ultra in September (JWUltra). Just put the training in, and you’ll be fine. I used a marathon plan for the JW as it was “only” 30 miles.
Will be doing a couple of marathons next year, plus one round of the UltraTrail26 (off-road marathon with big hills and navigation). 2014 will aim for an 50 miler (probably the Lakeland 50) and enter the ballot for a Western States place in 2015 and have a fall-back 100 miler if I don’t get a place.
All this and I couldn’t run 2 years ago…Posted 5 years agosteve-gMember
I do something like this every year, 100k along the south downs in 24 hours my quickest time for the 100k was 19 hours, which was a walk/run for 40k, then walk the remaining 60.
I would say go for the do it in one big go option, it will probably be easier than getting up and starting again in the morning and you get the walking through the night experience which is usually my favourite bit of these things.
What are you going to try to do, run it in 12 hours, or get round in the time limit of 24?
I think I will sign up for this with the aim of 18 hoursPosted 5 years ago
Dunno if there’s a huge demand for entries for the race. But as entry fees are around £200 it might be worthwhile seeing how you cope with longer distances first and putting in place some kind of structure to your training.
It’s a big jump going from the sort of training you’re doing to marathon training, let alone sticking another 40 miles on top!
Put some variation in, start increasing the distance for 1 run a week, then start putting in some speed work for 1 run a week (not the long run!) – and see how you get on.Posted 5 years agoseanocMember
Speed work for an ultra? I’m not sure I’d buy into that.
Work out what your expected pace will be on the day and get used to doing that. Go running lots, run a long way, run on an empty stomach and without water every now and then, build your mental toughness; that’s what’s going to sort you out.
Perfect your feeding strategy and you’ll be halfway there.
They’ll be loads of conflicting ideas and ideals but the best thing you can do, without any doubt, is to do a load of running and try to avoid injury.Posted 5 years agomrblobbyMember
Trickiest thing will be avoiding injury. Worth having a good look at your running form and maybe get some professional advice (e.g. a session with a good running physio – though these are few and far between.) If you’re going to start doing a lot of distance then it’s worth sorting out any issues with form as quickly as possible, otherwise you will get injured.
May even be worth checking out some of the barefoot stuff, as even if you don’t go barefoot, some of the literature about form, and exercises to strengthen feet and lower legs, are still well worth a look.
I’ve not looked at it but I’ve heard some good things from PT friends about chi running. Could also be worth a look if you are doing ultras.
Edit: Just to add to this, you want a light, efficient, easy running form, and the barefoot and chi stuff will all take you in that direction.
Double edit: … and do this before just doing loads of running!Posted 5 years ago
No Sean, read the whole post. I’m suggesting willard get used to varied training before even embarking on training and entering an ultra. I’m suggesting willard get’s used to running further and occasionally faster/slower, before entering. I haven’t mentioned hill work, but I’d also suggest that – but wouldn’t introduce that at the same time as increasing distance or speed.
Too many people get used to running at one pace and one pace only.
As for the merits of speed work for an ultra I guess it depends on the event and what your aim is. If you want to complete, fine just get used to running further. If you want to compete/race I’d suggest some speed work might be useful.Posted 5 years agomrblobbyMember
Listen to yourself!
+10000000 for this. Especially aches and pains. Ignore them and carry on running at your peril. Get a good running injury book and evaluate aches and pains. Easy to just think something is a bit of muscle soreness and carry on running when you should be getting it seen to. Watch out for things like soreness in feet when walking when you’ve just got out of bed for example.Posted 5 years agomikehowMember
Haven’t really read much of whats been written so apologies if its a regurgitation. If it motivates you then go for it, you’ve got time to train.
I’ve done alot of running – fell, trail, road and ultra marathons.
First thing to be aware of is not upping your mileage excessively especially if you are new to running. Noakes Lore of running quotes 10% increase in weekly mileage which is generally the rule of thumb.
Physically any one capable of running a half marathon could probably run a ultra without much extra preparation, the main thing comes down to the mental aspect. No matter how much training you do its going to hurt and its down to how mentally tough you are and your will to finish the race.
The second thing to consider is pacing, ultra races unsuprisingly aren’t particularly fast you just need to keep tapping out the miles. People new to them tend to go off too fast in the first half of the race suffer around the half way mark.
Next up, is feeding and hydration. You need to get this nailed in training. With practice you’ll realise when you hit energy lows, and need to hydrate more but this only comes through practice and sometimes you’ll still get this wrong.
Finally I’d make sure you are factoring in some core work in to your weekly routine, perhaps a couple of sessions with a running coach to work on running form and finally factor in some speed work so you don’t become a singlespeed plodder which many ultra runners inevitably become.
+1 LDWA eventsPosted 5 years ago
Ton: No mate. Had that fixed a few years ago and since then I’ve done a lot of running and been to AFG once. Besides, with some of the stuff that’s been going on recently, even if I had been I still would have tried it!
All: Hills are a bit of a luxury round these parts (Cambs) but we do have one or two in the area. I did batter the crap out of the trails in Dortset when I was down there for a week in summer and really enjoyed having to actually go up and down things that were steep.
Good plan on seeing if I like the longer stuff before bunging the entry fee in though, although with a friend doing an ironman in Austria the weekend afterwards, I’ve pretty much got to do it (and finish) now. Thinking about times and the like, I would plan on doing it in 20 hours, then anything under that is a bonus. I guess running a half marathon would give me a bit more of an insight into how well that would work out for me.Posted 5 years ago
If you are training for a long event or even a shorter one but aiming to be competitive then soreness and aches and pains will be the norm.Posted 5 years ago
If you dont have them t least most of the time you arent trying hard enough!
As Brendan Foster used to say “being a distance runner means you go to bed exhausted and wake up tired”
Listen to yourself!
+10000000 for this. Especially aches and pains. Ignore them and carry on running at your peril. Get a good running injury book…
…and find a good sports physio who you trust, and go to them pro-actively with any minor niggles to get them massaged away or whatever before they turn into major ones.
Also, everything mikehow said.
Can see the problem with hill training in Cambridgeshire 😆 but you’re in range of eg. the Peak District or the South Downs for weekends out.Posted 5 years ago
Weekends out? I like the sound of that, but they are few and far between right now! I’ll just have to choose my local “hills” carefully.
Leaving aside the lack of relief features in the fens, what should I be looking to use shoe-wise? I’m currently running on a combination of paved road/footway and gravel track with normal running shoes (Saucony Progrid Rides), but the Wall Run strikes me as being a bit more off-road. Not much mind. Also, with winter coming up, the local footpaths round here will just turn into slippy, muddy death. Should I be looking into getting something else to run in for a more off-road focus?Posted 5 years ago
If your current shoe gives you some grip then stick with them, its flat where you are so you dont need aggresive grip plus that comes with a trade off and you sacrifice support and cushioning for the road and hard pack sections.Posted 5 years ago
I run around 40 to 50 a week and on mixed terrain (I also represented Lincs in the Inter Counties cross country champs a few years ago when I lived their so I know the terrain!)and I use Nike Pegasus, perfect compromise.
Well, we have the Gogmagogs a bit nearer Royston, but other than that, the only real hill is in Cambourne… That’s spoil from the building they did and a mere pimple compared to the stuff in Brecon.
Edit: Surfer, I’d been looking at either Innov8 Roclite 310s or staying with Saucony but moving to the Peregrin or something a little more grippy. My current shoes slide all over the place on the footpaths after a bit of rain.Posted 5 years ago
I run in Grid Rides too, I’m on pair number 6 now, always been happy with them (original pair prescribed by Advance Performance in Cambridge).
If it’s footpaths round fields then a trail shoe should be fine rather than an aggressive soled XC/trail shoe. I have some Asics trail shoes, can’t remember the model name but they do the job well and have coped with races like the Grizzly as well as the footpaths and fields around my way.Posted 5 years ago
Inov8 shoes are great but I would go for one of the more cushioned onces as oppose to the aggresive fell racing ones.Posted 5 years ago
I have the mudclaw for fell races and they are incredibly grippy but no use on anything but severe terrain. I did the OMM in a pair of Roclites and they have some cushioning but I would always gor for a road shoe with a bit of grip myself.
Hill training in cambridgeshire, your stuffed.
I found ploughed fields a good alternative, purely anecdotal that tho! An obviously your bike can help with running uphills, doesn’t work for descending though. And if there’s a lot of descending you will be punished.
Last Sundays race was amusing for me, the really muddy sections, and the sections with climbing and descending I was flying relative to the other guys and gals. Flat road section comes along and it was like running through soft sand.
Specificity is important. Many found the route too muddy and hilly, I found it too tame and flat.Posted 5 years ago
Swelper, I’d strongly suggest letting him finish that first! Yes though, It would be good to talk to people that have done this sort of thing before/currently.
Ok, so I’m going to try a longer run as soon as I can to see how I feel after that. If things still work after 13 or so miles, (legs, lungs, heart, etc) then I’ll train a bit harder and see where that takes me. I’m also going to be looking up a physio mate to see what he can recommend and have already dug out some exercises for hips and core strength. Taking care of that sort of thing now should benefit me later on.
Piemonster, tell me about it. The only trouble with ploughed fields is that, round here at least, if you run on them your feet end up weighing about 20 kilos each. It’s that claggy.Posted 5 years ago
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