Ultra Runners

1

Getting Started (Read 363 times)

    OK, I have officially lost it! I badly want to join the ranks of the ultra runners. I finsihed my first marathon on 12/06/08 not having put in the miles needed, but i know I want to do it again and I know I want to challenge myself even more. I haven't been running but for about 7 or 8 months, but love it. I want to run in an ultra in about 15 months. There is one in my home state of MS that is held in March every year, and I want to take the plunge in 2010. For now, I am just going to concentrate on running every chance I get...be it a 2 mile run, 5 mile run, 20 mile or whatever...just run everytime I get a chance and try to begin to build some serious miles before the Fall of 09' and hopefully be at the point of being able to enter a marathon or two just as part of my training for an Ultra. Any tips...advice. Do you remember having that thought of "I think I can do it." Well, that is where I am.
    2008 GOALS GET BELOW 175 (at 175 now) RUN 6:00 MILE (at 6:29) RUN BELOW 25:30 5K RUN BELOW 55:00 10K RUN A MARATHON (DEC. 6TH - MEMPHIS - ST JUDE)
      Hi Ben, You have just made the first step, and that is that you have decided you want to do itBig grin I went late into ultrarunning and I can't really say how or why I went into in but what I can say is I hate these large, overly organised, over sponsored events with 1000's of people running in them. I can see my feeder runs were cross country, hill runs, fell runs (I'm English) and then marathon fell runs. I have got to 20 miles into a run with the idea of another 10 miles but actually stopped and looked at the view from the top of the hill just to take in the sense of accomplishment. Ultra running is a totally different game compared to boring marathons with different techniques, tactics and I have noted tends to be run by people in their late 30-s going into the 40s and 50s. You are in a perfect position to start both in age, fitness and maturity. There is nothing special about ultra runners, they are normally the quiet man or lady in the middle of the crowd. First thing you have to do is set your self a series of short, middle and long term goals, I'll give you an idea of mine from Jan 2008 when I was challenged to an ultraun 1) April - Trail half-marathon (hill run) 2) June - Fell half-marathon (hardest as the hardest in the UK 3,000 feet) 3) September - 20 mile Fell endurance run (orienteering 4,500 feet) 4) October - Trail marathon (26.2 mile 4,000 feet) 5) December - 30 mile trail ultra 6) February 2009 - 32.5 mile nocturnal trail Note how I have progressed my short, mid and long term goals each was set up as individual training plans and with every success I moved to the next level. I will be running a series of trail marathons and entry level 50 km ultras this year to finally do the London to Brightom 56 mile ultra trailmarathon in September 2009. I think you can see that, I am probably like a lot of ultrarunners who utilise a schedule and plan at least a year ahead, you have to if you are to progress. You know when you are there when you are offered a marathon number only 2 weeks away from the start and you say yes and run it!!! You will be setting yourself a big challenge, it looks like you are a Dad of a young kid and with that you have to set yourself quite a strict routine, I run every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. The latter is for long runs and have found that the only way to keep my sanity I have met up with similar minded friends who keep me company on the long trail runs. So don't just run for the sake of running, run in a routined, scheduled and controlled way. Ultrarunning is about discipline and running in a controlled way. I promise you, you will absolutely love it, the mix of emotions that you undergo during your first ultra is brilliant and all the hardships, pain and injuries you collect over the 6 months of training will pale into insignificance to the feeling when you cross the line. So for the next 6 months, set yourself a nice easy target, say a flat marathon or half marathon, get the miles under your feet, and the time on your trails. Sorry if I am teaching you to suck eggs, I love the sport of extreme running and I love to see new people wanting join the sport, even if they are 6,000 miles away. Good luck, I'd love to hear your progress.

      Jerry
      A runners blog-updated daily

        Jerry, I have friend running his 1st Ultra in March and wanted me to run it, but when I looked at the training schedule I KNEW that I had not put in the miles or training to get there that soon. Also, with kids I didn't have the time to prepare for the training...finding routes, marking them, setting up aid stations, etc. Well, I got a Garmin 405 for Christmas and all I have to do is run now...so, the time consumed just preparing for runs has drastically been cut. I also am one of those wierd folk. I enjoy running at 5am and not 5pm. I bought an IPod to run with, but it sits on my nightstand about 95% of the time as I enjoy the rare quietness you obtain while running. My goals for 09' were to run some local 5k's and 10k's for the heck of it. Run 1 Half-Marathon and 2 Marathons (1 in August and 1 in Dec), and like you mentioned. I would love for these not to be Main Events that I train specifically for over the course of 6 months...but more of there is a marathon close and I need the long run...but I have many miles to put in b/w now and then.
        2008 GOALS GET BELOW 175 (at 175 now) RUN 6:00 MILE (at 6:29) RUN BELOW 25:30 5K RUN BELOW 55:00 10K RUN A MARATHON (DEC. 6TH - MEMPHIS - ST JUDE)
          Looking at your goals, they are easily achievable, don't set those targets to highEvil grin Get those schedules written up....naaaahhhh don't for the first few weeks, just get those shoes on and run, no more preparation, just get out for 30 minutes. I was laughing to my "long run" buddies last weekend that I used to drive2 miles to a particular park to run around it now I don't bother with that park as there is another one 5 miles away that I run to and back. I just have to visit where I have come from and how far I have come in 18 months. I'm trying to sound motivational here, not doing a very good job but I am trying to open that door for you to take the first plunge. Your only hurdle now is the motivation...keep it going.

          Jerry
          A runners blog-updated daily

          mbk


            I would add one thing (building on what Jerry said). Don't "run everytime I get a chance." Take a more structured approach if you can because you don't want to burn out or get injured, and you don't have to run a gazillion training miles to complete an ultramarathon. Just like with marathons your most important days are your long days, the other days are for maintenance, aerobic development, speedwork, etc. You need some structure with a gradual mileage increase. That's about all you really need. Also, you will need to figure out what works for you from a nutrition/hydration perspective. I've found that what I eat and drink during marathons will not work for me in ultras - I get sick to my stomach, stop eating and drinking, and then the wheels come off. So your long runs (and training races) need to also be used to experiment with your fueling plan. I did my first marathon in March 2003, then did my first ultra (50 miles) in October of that year, followed by a 50k in November and a 50 miler in December. I did a three day stage race in March 2004 followed up by a couple more 50ks and then a 70 mile race in June. So your plan is definitely achievable, just be smart about your training and follow Jerry's advice about a schedule and some intermediate goals and training races. For example, my original goal was a 24 hour race in November 2003. I realized in late summer that I wouldn't be ready. I shifted my target to the October 50 miler and delayed the 24 hour race for a year (in that race I walked 100 miles - I was a racewalker at the time). Make sure you have flexible goals and give yourself opportunities to evaluate your progress and decide on the next step. I think in my own rambling way I've repeated what Jerry said. Just wanted to give my experience and tell you that I think you can definitely achieve your goal. And don't neglect eating and drinking - it's different in ultras and you need to find your own personal solution. Good luck!
              Marshall, Thanks for the confirmation, I sometimes think it is just me when it comes to being slightly obsessive about training plans. I have had running buddies who tease me as at one point I had the habit of prededing sentences involving training runs with "But my training plans say I have to....." One used to "So Jerry, if the plan says jump off a cliff would you do it?" They gave up in the end as they found me running to the meet point and then running home from it just so I could get my alloted time/distance in. Which brings me onto my next point; I have had a quick read of your blog and I see you have quite a few runs under your belt and therefore, as a trainer, do you rather run with the idea of " Time on your feet" or concentrate on the concept of "mileage only" plans or a mixture of both. I say this as I do feel I have come a slave to the mileage plans as I sometimes hear one of us saying "I have to get back for 11.00am to take the boys to soccer" so we say. "OK 2 hours out, 2 hours back let's see where we get to"

              Jerry
              A runners blog-updated daily

                Hi Ben - I agree that a structured plan, with small increments of mileage increases, along with experimenting with hydration and nutrition, are essential to a successful ultra run. Trail running is a completely different animal than road running (I am assuming when you say "ultra" you are talking about trail running??). I also highly recommend that you include a whole body strength training program into your schedule. You will need to include hill work, as well as speed work. There are a few of us over on the trail running thread, as well, who participate in ultras. Lots of excellent advise. You can also get great advise from folks over at the kickrunners extreme running forum: http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=31. Good luck, and post often!

                Leslie
                Living and Running Behind the Redwood Curtain
                -------------

                2014: May - MDW 70-Miles; July - Mt. Hood 50


                "The farther you go outside, the farther you go inside." (Unknown)
                Ultrarunnerpodcast

                Trail Runner Nation

                Fatozzig's Place

                 

                mbk


                  ...as a trainer, do you rather run with the idea of " Time on your feet" or concentrate on the concept of "mileage only" plans or a mixture of both.
                  We've recently been debating this with Team in Training since one of our coaches has started focusing more on time rather than distance. I am still wedded to distance rather than time. I know people that can stay on their feet for hours but could never finish an ultra under the cutoff. So I focus on mileage and time, since that is really how an ultra is judged - finishing the mileage within an allotted time. I base all of my training plans on my intended mileage for the day. And don't feel bad about planning - I can't imagine not having some sort of plan if you've got some sort of goal. I'm not a slave to the plan (and I'm sure you're not either) but I have goal races and training "guides" that I follow to get me to the race.
                    For my 2 cents worth on the time v. mileage - Last year was my first year to participate in ultras, and I did my LRs for time as opposed to mileage and decided that this was a big detriment in my training. I'm not fast, therefore, it takes me 8+ hours to complete an ultra. Unfortunately, the longest training run I did was only 3.5 hours. This killed me when I ran my 2 ultras. The first I barely finished, the second I DNFd. This year I will be doing my LRs for distance so that my body gets better used to spending such a long amount of time on my feet.

                    Leslie
                    Living and Running Behind the Redwood Curtain
                    -------------

                    2014: May - MDW 70-Miles; July - Mt. Hood 50


                    "The farther you go outside, the farther you go inside." (Unknown)
                    Ultrarunnerpodcast

                    Trail Runner Nation

                    Fatozzig's Place

                     

                      That is really interesting reading, thanks guys. I feel vindicated when it comes to my running plans. All I have to do now is get of these crutches and get going, I am looking to try walking without them tomorrow and then get out for the weekend.

                      Jerry
                      A runners blog-updated daily

                        All I have to do now is get of these crutches and get going, I am looking to try walking without them tomorrow and then get out for the weekend.
                        Why're you on crutches? Did I miss something?? Confused MTA - I like your avatar! I love cats - have 5 black males. Spoiled rotten four-legged hairy creatures. Smile

                        Leslie
                        Living and Running Behind the Redwood Curtain
                        -------------

                        2014: May - MDW 70-Miles; July - Mt. Hood 50


                        "The farther you go outside, the farther you go inside." (Unknown)
                        Ultrarunnerpodcast

                        Trail Runner Nation

                        Fatozzig's Place

                         

                          Actually, no, you didn't I have been jumping forums and forgetting not everyone knows of my little accident. I was running a 17 mile training run a couple of Sundays ago and managed to stump my right foot on a fallen branch end on at about mile 1. I took it as a "trail runners bump", you know the type, run it off, rub some mud in it and it will go away until you have a shower but it was at mile 16 when we had a particularly quad sapping up hill that I realised it was now a bit more than a runners bump. Took my shoe off at home and winced with pain, realising it was a bit more than my usual bumps went to the hospital and they X-rayed it and diagnosed a suspected fracture of the 1st metatarsal. I have been on crutches for the past 9 days, but have returned to just one today as I have now been told it was not broken. It appears it is just a bit of bruising and so will get back into my runners on Thursday or Friday for an exploratory run and then get back to shortened long run on Sunday if all goes well. I have a 32 mile night run on 7/feb/2009 to prepare for so have taken it very carefully. MTA. Now I know you, you have changed your avatar recently. I love your bio with "I aspire to be the crazy lady at the end of the street with 20 cats and a thousand books, movies, and CDs." Big grin

                          Jerry
                          A runners blog-updated daily


                          Ultrachick

                            Looks like some sound advice given here. I'm a total plan person and the sky will fall if I don't get my miles in Big grin Good luck Ben, feel free to ask as many questions as possible and keep us posted on your progress. I'm a coach and don't mind giving out some free advice if you're not sure about mileage. I don't claim to be an expert (Leslie will vouch for me) but I've completed 10 marathons and 10 ultra events including my first 100 miler last September. Kelly
                            If you never go fast, you'll never go fast.
                              MTA. Now I know you, you have changed your avatar recently. I love your bio with "I aspire to be the crazy lady at the end of the street with 20 cats and a thousand books, movies, and CDs." Big grin
                              Big grin

                              Leslie
                              Living and Running Behind the Redwood Curtain
                              -------------

                              2014: May - MDW 70-Miles; July - Mt. Hood 50


                              "The farther you go outside, the farther you go inside." (Unknown)
                              Ultrarunnerpodcast

                              Trail Runner Nation

                              Fatozzig's Place