The ultra-running trend is the latest form of marathoning trend, according to reports, with entries and races increasing dramatically over the past decade for ultra-long running races that span beyond the 26-mile mark. Even for experienced long-distance runners, the challenge of starting with ultra-running and even taking on races that span 30-50 or 100 miles isn’t easy.
If you’re familiar with running road races at the fastest possible speed, you should take an exhale and relax. Unless your goal is to be an elite athlete, most runners run ultras lower than their marathon PB. Some experienced ultra runners describe it as a picnic jogging and even suggest you take a walk up the hills, chat or a snack with the aid station’s marshals, and capture pictures of the fantastic views. If you can increase your distance slowly, you can reduce the speed, make sure you take care of your feet, and continue eating and drinking. All runners can start the ultra-running.
Before you set out on the road or trails, we’ll show you how to get started on the journey to ultra-running and the top 10 tricks for running the distance.
Aim to increase your running distance gradually.
It’s a fact that we can’t emphasize enough! Many marathon distance runners are attracted by the prospect of that mysterious 100-miler and decide to sign up for one as their first race the following year. The body can handle it, and some may be fine (for a time), but for most runners, it’s just too much too quickly and could result in injuries from racing. It’s better to take your time and wait several years to build up to running 100 miles. If you’re a seasoned marathon runner, you can book at least two to four 30-50 mile events over the year and space them out to give you enough training and recuperation time. You can do 75 miles or something similar in the spring of the year and then try to run 100 by the season’s final day.
Gradually increase your training range.
Sorry for being boring however, your distance for training should be increasing at a similar pace as your race distance; otherwise, you’ll be at risk of injuries and overload. Since the distances are long, and the courses are long for ultra-running and you’re not expected to run 90 miles of training before 100 miles. You’re more likely to look at running between 90 and 100 miles in an entire week at the top of your fitness. Training for ultras is completed with three runs a week. This is in addition to 10-20 minutes of exercise and the occasional cross-training sessions. Consistency, a slow-paced run, and gradual building up of distance are crucial aspects of running an ultra for novices. A coach or a plan of training is ideal for beginners.
To pole or not to pole?
Many ultra-runners consider running poles a massive advantage in alleviating leg strain, preventing knee injuries, safely balancing across river crossings, and getting up the mountains. Depending on the terrain of the race poles, it could be a problem for steep, muddy trails unless you’re trying to bat off the leopard. In ultras with lots of smooth, wide paths, poles may accelerate your pace; however, if you decide to utilize poles, it’s a great idea to utilize them during your long runs so that you can get your arms used to the additional weight and various movements. Make sure you’re not chafing your hands, and practice taking them away fast when not required.
Find out better ways to navigate.
It takes quite a lengthy period of time to complete a waymarking ultra race, particularly the 100-milers. Therefore, in the longer distances and more remote races, more of the responsibility falls on you to find your way through the route. Many race organizers permit participants to download GPX documents of the route on their GPS watch to follow the route. However, it is even more essential to master the basics of navigation to make informed choices based on what the watch tells you. This is especially crucial if your battery fails during the race. A navigation course is the most cost-effective and fun method to accomplish this. It opens up a variety of new places that you can run through using a map and perhaps compasses.
Get injuries treated efficiently.
One of the main reasons for this is that some people cannot get started immediately following an ultra or DNF start due to picking up an injury during training. It is crucial to listen to your body, perform lots of cross-training and avoid falling into the trap of overtraining; however, if you’ve got an issue with your throat, you should not put your head in the sand. Take it to an experienced sports physiotherapist – and not through just the Doctor Facebook group, as nobody knows how to fix the issue; you can see simply because they share similar voices.
Practice on terrain used for a running race.
It’s also crucial for ultra-runners to train on terrain that is similar to the terrain you’ll race. If you’ve registered for a 100-mile run that is flat along an existing canal, you should train along the closest canal towpath. If you’ve got 50 miles within the Lake District, run up all the hills you find, and then make multiple excursions towards The Peaks, Lakes, and Snowdonia and anywhere else the tracks and footpaths are similar to the ones you’ll be running in the course you’re running. Read race reports and view YouTube videos of former participants to get a feel for what you’ll have to do.
Drink and eat on the go.
Contrary to shorter events, which can be done by eating nothing but two jelly babies or gels and a sip of water, ultra-running can be a game changer in regards to your stomach. There are some who seem happy to consume anything they can find at the aid station, from beers to sports drinks, pizza, gels for running and cakes made from scratch It’s a good idea to know whether you’re among these talented cast-iron-stomachers prior to the race!
That’s why it’s a good idea to achieve your goal slowly with a lot of long runs and training races. You can only know what food you can afford when you are there and doing it on a journey of more than 12 hours. You may know that your mouth has dried up a lot and you need a certain brand of sports nutrition gel and energy drinks, or slippery, moist real food such as rice kher, tin peach and catch.
The mental aspects of ultra-running are extremely, very fascinating. You must possess an amount of perseverance (some refer to it as stubbornness, while others call it insane) to work towards and finish an ultra. As you might imagine, you’ll often be forced to disregard the pain in joints, muscles and stomach. You also have to face the sun and wind, snow, and rain in the same race or training run and we’ve barely discussed the desire to sleep when your race runs all night long and into the next day. Who would have thought that a camper’s chair at an aid station would be so difficult to remove from?
It’s beneficial to practice in all weathers and to break the race into smaller segments that are easy to complete You should have a purpose to be running for charity, and create a solid mental picture of you crossing the finish line. Another tip is to not quit when the initial sensation strikes you. It’s not always the case that it gets worse So keep going and you may feel better in the end. If you’ve been tempted to give the ghost more than five times, should you stop? Beware – if you’re injured or the conditions are risky, quit immediately!
Test your equipment
Many people concentrate only on the physical aspect of running an ultra and forget about the gear, fuel, and mental aspects. They’re all crucial in races with such distances, more so than when running shorter races. Utilize all your long runs in training to test the clothes and equipment you’re going to race with to ensure that it won’t get chafing and that you can use it efficiently and quickly regardless of the weather.
For instance, can you use the touch screen on your most reliable GPS watch in the event of rain and when you’re in gloves? Do you find that your backpack for running becomes irritable after a few hours of being sweaty and hot? Do you develop a blister hot spot when you run in particular shoes? Are poles helping or hindering you? How long will the battery last in your headphones? You can only know the truth by testing everything under all conditions.
Gain enjoyment with some training.
A 100-mile or 50-mile race goal is definitely amazing. However, when it comes to ultras, you’re not always sure of finishing the race as you do with half marathons, 10Ks, and marathons. It’s possible for anything to go wrong over the course of this length, including kit failures to blisters, stomach issues to weather conditions that aren’t ideal. It’s crucial to enjoy your time in the gym too.
Take advantage of the bright, early mornings. Discover new trails close to you and wander through the local forest; put on your most efficient headlamp for running and explore old trails in darkness for a more enjoyable Meet up with friends for a more enjoyable social experience. Wear your most comfortable headphones to listen to motivating music as well as enjoyable podcasts. You can make running an ultra-marathon your routine for a time.