Ultra marathons are any distance above 26.2 (marathon distance), but most runners consider an ultra starts at 50k or 31.07 miles. I’m no expert and i’m not running 31 miles for MS with any particular time goal. I just want to have a good time, not injure myself and finish. PS- Thank you so much to the many awesome people that have already donated! It makes me extremely thankful and proud to call you my friends.
First I did a little research about how to train for an ultra. Hint: it’s not the same as a marathon. Big change #1: You have to get used to running on tired legs. Hence the double weekend long run.
I do a normal long run on Saturday and a shorter run Sunday. Eventually the goal is to have your weekend runs equal the distance of the ultra. I need to build up to two back-to-back 15 milers OR something like a 20 miler + a 10 miler. I was surprised at how I’ve been afraid of the 2nd run more than the first. The 4-5-6 miler has been terrifying after a 15+ long run, but each 2nd run has felt better and better. Maybe it’s a mental thing since I’m running a short distance?
Also, I like having an off day before and after long runs, so during the week i’m running Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, which gives me Friday and Monday off. Those three back to back running days again, help with more cumulative leg fatigue.
Second you have to strength train. Just because the mileage is creeping up (44 this week!) it’s no excuse not to strength train legs. It keeps the hips and glutes strong and i haven’t had any IT band issues since December. I contribute that to lifting heavy. I try my best to strength train 2-3x week, one heavier leg day, one lighter or body weight day. And i do arms/abs every time no matter what. You can’t swing your arms by your sides for hours running without a strong upper body.
Third, you need to fuel like a pro. Plan your routes around water fountains, take money or a debit card in case you need to grab food/drinks. Or do the opposite of what i’ve been procrastinating and buy a hydration pack already. And take more food than you think you’ll want. Last Saturday’s long run I finally was able to get down 3 gels (one more than usual) and it was the reason I had the energy to finish.
Last, take the recovery seriously. During the week I have ONE day off from working legs in either a run or strength session. Which means I have to spend extra time stretching, foam rolling, wearing compression gear, sleep & nutrition. I’m on top of having a protein smoothie immediately after a workout. <—this was a big change with a noticeable recovery time difference. I also walk a LOT. I stopped adding it to my weekly workouts log because I couldn’t get track of how often i’m out with LE and Cameron. I truly think the additional walking miles are keeping my legs fresh and working the other muscles running doesn’t.
One note I found very interesting about ultra training is not to forgo speed work altogether! You still want to keep the fast twitch muscle fibers firing. June was all about mileage building which i good about and July will be about tossing in some speed to prep for the August ultra. Someone asked me why I want to do this in August. It’s my birthday! And why not?? Plus i’m hoping all this heat and humidity training will translate to some fast times this fall once the ultra is over. 🙂
Monday: 20min upper body
Tuesday: 7.5m easy 9:02/pace, 45min legs (backsquats 45-110lbs, bosu ball burpees, situps)
Wednesday: 8.1m tempo 7:53/pace
Thursday: 5m easy 9:45/pace
Saturday: 17.5m long 9:23/pace
Sunday: 6m easy 8:51/pace
Total Miles: 44.1
Who’s training for a fall race? When does your plan start?
How did your long run go last weekend?