So you want to run an Ultra-Marathon?
Last Saturday Bo, Libby, Lisa and I gave a SHED talk at Sheffield Adventure Film Festival about ‘Demystifying the Ultra-Marathon’. It was basically a TED talk, if you’re familiar with those, but based in Sheffield (see what they did there with the name!).
In our talk we spoke about how ultra-marathon running isn’t that crazy; we are just a group of ordinary women. We haven’t been running all our lives, we are not elite runners, we simply love running and love running long distances.
Here is our list of Top Tips that we think will help you if you’re thinking of going the distance:
Our Top Tips for getting into Ultra Running
Have Fun – The number one thing is make sure you have fun; getting out with friends makes the long runs so much easier, join a running club, run with your dog (as you can see from my profile photo I run everywhere with my dog), whatever works for you.
Race – Try one of the summer fell races in the Peak District. Racing is fabulous as you tend to push yourself harder than you would on a normal training run. It’s surprising what a little competition can push you to achieve. This is also a good way to immerse yourself in the fell running community. The fell running community is super friendly and there is a great feeling of camaraderie between runners. It’s like a secret society of friends who all share a love and passion for the outdoors.
Have a Goal – Have an adventurous goal that you are aiming for. Believe it is achievable and train accordingly – your limits are only temporary. Having a goal helps you get out the door on those days when you don’t feel like training.
Back to back runs – When I was training for my first ultra-marathon I built up to running 4 times a week. Two short runs during the week and two longer runs on the weekend. On the second day running on the weekend your legs are tired and have to work harder than they would on the first days run, therefore building strength. Also, it’s not so much about how fast you go or how far you go it’s about having long days out or time on your feet.
Eat Real Food – Learn to eat and run. Gels, electrolyte drinks and sports bars are great, but if you’re going to be running for a long period of time you’re going to end up sick of them. So get used to eating normal food while running. I tend to eat croissants with cheese and tomato, peanut butter and jam sandwiches, whatever you like really. Just make sure you practice eating the food in your training runs before trying them out on a race.
Employ the 10-minute rule – Sometimes getting out the door is the hardest part, so on those days were you’ve planned to get out and run or workout and really don’t feel like it, just go for 10 minutes and see how you feel. If after 10 minutes you still aren’t into it, then stop. I find that 9 out of 10 times I keep going.
So get out there and get running!
If you’ve got any questions ask away in the comments below, we’d love to help where we can!