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Make The Leap With Our 7 Knowledgeable Ideas

As a UESCA-certified working and triathlon coach I work with a whole lot of half marathons and marathon runners.

Though many marathon runners are content material with the problem of the marathon distance and need to work on bettering their marathon race occasions some avid marathoners need to push themselves bodily and mentally by stepping as much as the “king” of long-distance working races: ultramarathons.

Transitioning from marathons to ultramarathons can take time and persistence, simply because it does once you construct up from the 10k to the half marathon or the half marathon to full marathon races.

Nonetheless, the world of extremely working is huge and various, and plenty of lengthy distance runners who’re accustomed to the aggressive ambiance of street races love the extra laid-back ambiance and camaraderie of the ultrarunner group in addition to connecting with nature on the paths.

On this information to going from marathon to ultramarathon coaching and racing, we are going to talk about key coaching ideas for ultramarathon coaching to assist skilled marathoners have a optimistic first ultramarathon race day.

A trail runner running uphill.

What Is An Ultramarathon?

Earlier than we talk about how one can prepare up from the marathon to ultramarathon, let’s shortly cowl the fundamentals of ultrarunning:

An ultramarathon is any race longer than an ordinary marathon (26.2 miles or 42.19 kilometers). Extremely races are normally, however not all the time, run on trails.

Ultramarathons embrace 50ks, 50 mile races, 100-mile races, 200 milers, 24-hour races or different timed occasions, and something between or past.

How Do I Transition From A Marathon To Ultramarathon?

Listed below are some prime ideas for transitioning from the marathon to ultramarathon distance:

#1: Observe An Ultramarathon Coaching Plan

If you’re eager on transitioning from the marathon distance to ultramarathon racing, you’ve got clearly put within the time constructing as much as marathon and have an understanding that distance working takes dedication, structured exercises, and a gradual development in quantity to organize you for race day.

Subsequently, it ought to come as no shock that working with a working coach or following an ultramarathon coaching plan is important for getting ready for an extremely race.

As with marathon coaching plans, the perfect extremely marathon coaching plan for you’ll rely in your health stage, the kind of extremely race you’re doing (street racing vs path working), the extremely distance you’re coaching for in addition to the kind of coaching you are likely to do effectively with.

Marathon Handbook affords many free extremely marathon coaching plans, a few of that are nice newbie extremely race coaching plans, whereas others are meant for extra skilled runners.

Almost certainly, in case you are engaged on increase from the marathon distance to your first extremely marathon, it’s best to choose one of many newbie extremely marathon coaching plans.

A person running in grass.

#2: Begin Small

It in all probability appears considerably like an oxymoron to have a “brief“ extremely race, however as a result of the world of ultramarathon working encompasses any race distance that’s longer than 26.2 miles, even a 50k is taken into account an ultramarathon.

As a working coach, I extremely advocate that you just select a 50k or maybe 50-miler as your first extremely race fairly than bounce as much as a 100-mile extremely marathon or a timed working occasion equivalent to a 24 hour race.

After you’ve got tackled transitioning from the marathon to shorter extremely distances, you’ll be able to construct as much as the large long-distance beasts just like the 100 milers and longer stage races or multi-day path working extremely races.

#3: Begin Path Working

Though there are many extremely street races, nearly all of ultramarathons are path races whereas most runners are accustomed to street half marathon and street marathon races.

This is among the most important variations within the coaching plans and preparation for a marathon vs ultramarathon working.

Even at shorter distances, transitioning from street working to path working can take a while for inexperienced persons.

Working off-road terrain requires extra agility, stability, ankle and hip stability, core power, and variations in your working approach.

Technical trails typically require you to shorten your stride size, and it’s possible you’ll even must interspersed brisk strolling on steep uphills and descents.

It is extremely vital to coach on off-road terrain in case your extremely race goes to be a path working occasion with the intention to get accustomed to the challenges of working on trails.

I typically encourage ultramarathon runners to do their tempo runs and velocity work on cross-country programs (equivalent to these at your native highschool or college), as they need to have distance markers for interval coaching, and also you’ll get expertise with working quick off roads.

Most longer distance ultramarathons even have a major elevation acquire over the course of the extremely path race, as it’s possible you’ll be going over important mountains to get to the end line.

Practising hill coaching as velocity work will assist construct up power in your glutes, hamstrings, calves, and cardiovascular capability.

I additionally advocate doing quick packing, stair climbing, and mountain climbing mountains as an effective way to complement your weekly mileage working with low-impact cardio for most of these extremely path races.

A person trail running.

#4: Get the Proper Extremely Working Gear

Working ultramarathons requires totally different working gear than you’ve got doubtless wanted in your marathon street working races.

Path trainers are a should to enhance traction and stability on uneven terrain.

Additionally, you will want to hold a hydration pack to have fluids, power gels, or no matter supply of carbs, electrolytes, and hydration you’ll need for the extremely distances you’re working.

Although there must be assist stations throughout an ultrarunning occasion, the help stations are sometimes very far aside.

Plus, you’ll be able to’t assure that there’ll nonetheless be meals and fluids that agree with you on the assist stations, relying on how your race goes and your common working tempo.

Listed below are another useful items of ultrarunning gear, a few of which can solely be vital for coaching however not race day, relying on the extremely distances you’re racing, the extremely programs, and the climate circumstances:

  • Ultrarunning poles
  • Gaiters
  • Visor/working cap
  • Further working socks
  • Collapsible water bottle
  • Light-weight waterproof working jacket
  • Light-weight insulated working jacket, particularly if you’re going to be working an altitude or experiencing a whole lot of elevation acquire 
  • Headlamp with prolonged battery life
  • GPS working watch with glorious battery life. I like the COROS APEX 2 Professional GPS Out of doors Watch. It’s gentle, skinny, and has each function you’d want for distance working. Plus, the COROS Apex 2 Professional battery life is as much as 75 hours on GPS, which is nice for ultrarunners. The GPS accuracy appears glorious, and I don’t have hassle with the sign dropping, however you’ll be able to all the time pair the watch with the COROS Pod 2 foot pod. That is kind of a backup for including accuracy with path working.
  • First assist equipment
  • Radio/satellite tv for pc for emergencies 
  • Ginger chews
A person trail running.

#5: Follow Fueling

There received’t be any assist stations in your coaching runs, so it’s good to not solely apply carrying your meals, but in addition ingesting and consuming stable meals for ultras.

The fueling technique for ultrarunning will be its personal beast, as many extremely runners discover that they get nauseous or begin to get palate fatigue from consuming candy power gels, power bars, or different typical sports activities dietary supplements mile after mile.

Usually, many extremely runners discover that alternating between salty, savory, and candy meals will help stop abdomen points and make your consumption of carbs and energy a bit of extra interesting.

As with marathon coaching, use your ultramarathon coaching lengthy runs to apply your hydration and fueling technique and in addition to search out the perfect hydration pack, path trainers, and ultramarathon racing equipment that may work finest for you.

Among the hottest meals for ultramarathon fueling embrace fig newtons, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, dried fruit, path combine, pretzels, power bars, chips, jerky, rooster noodle soup, tortilla roll-ups, waffles, potato wedges, do-it-yourself rice krispie treats, and ramen.

A person trail running.

#6: Don’t Concern the Lengthy Run

As with marathon coaching, ultramarathon lengthy runs are key for constructing bodily and psychological endurance and getting ready you for race day.

In case you’re already a marathon runner, it in all probability comes as no shock that your longest future earlier than your ultramarathon race day will doubtless be considerably shorter than the gap you’re planning to race, particularly for 100 mile races and longer distances.

At a sure level, the advantages of a future for an ultramarathon comply with the legislation of diminishing returns. You received’t reap any further advantages working 6 to eight hours in a single future as an alternative of 4-5 hours max.

Relatively, your weekly mileage, coupled with a average weekly future, vastly contributes to your capacity to finish no matter distance your ultramarathon race is.

One other nice ultramarathon coaching technique is to do back-to-back lengthy runs. 

Again-to-back lengthy runs allow you to get used to working on drained and sore legs and supply the advantages of working tremendous lengthy runs in a extra sensible and approachable method.

For instance, an ultramarathon coaching plan for a 50-mile ultramarathon or 100k extremely (62 miles) may embrace two consecutive 25-30 mile (40-50k) lengthy runs within the buildup.

This implies you’ll run 25-30 miles at some point and 25 miles the subsequent day. 

Understand that the extra carefully you’ll be able to replicate the circumstances of your race in your longest lengthy runs, the higher. 

In different phrases, assuming your ultramarathon takes place on the paths, be sure your lengthy runs are additionally path runs.

The psychological advantages of the long term, notably for an ultramarathon, can’t be overstated.

An ultramarathon is certainly a take a look at of 1’s willpower, psychological power, focus, optimistic angle, and skill to push via when issues get boring, tough, or downright exhausting and painful.

Lengthy runs for an ultramarathon power you to apply entertaining your thoughts, staying targeted, problem-solving, and never giving up or stopping once you get drained or uncomfortable.

A person trail running.

#7: Don’t Be Intimidated

A 50k ultramarathon isn’t for much longer than an ordinary marathon, which is 42.2 kilometers. 

Subsequently, a 50 kilometer extremely race is simply 5 miles longer than a marathon race, so the principle distinction is de facto within the terrain, assuming you’re transitioning from a street marathon to a path extremely.

As such, most 50k races are run at a slower tempo than a marathon race because of the inherent problem of the terrain, so some ultrarunners discover that working a 50k race is much less intense than a street marathon race.

Which means that you may be working at a decrease coronary heart price and a decrease proportion of your VO2 max, permitting your muscle tissue to burn comparatively extra fats fairly than carbohydrates in contrast with half marathon and marathon working.

Though this actually doesn’t imply you don’t have to fret about glycogen depletion or fueling with carbs throughout ultras—or that ultras are simpler than marathons—it simply will help marathon runners aspiring to turn out to be ultramarathon runners really feel much less intimidated by their first ultramarathon.

Imagine in your self.

If you wish to run an ultramarathon and also you’ve already accomplished a marathon, you’re effectively in your method, and your purpose must be inside attain.

Don’t overlook to affix the Marathon Handbook Fb group for extra coaching ideas from fellow extremely runners!

A person celebrating finishing an ultramarathon.

Clint McDougal
Clint McDougal
Get ready to meet Clint McDougal, the running sensation who outruns laughter and leaves you breathless with his witty charm. Join the hilarious journey of a wise runner extraordinaire!


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