You’ve crushed the 5K, mastered the 10K, and excelled at the marathon. It’s time to read these ultra marathon training tips to get ready for your ultra run!
If you trained hard to get through your last marathon, you will have to train even harder to get through the ultra marathon. If you relied upon marathon training tips for the last race, you will rely upon ultra marathon training tips even more.
If you felt accomplished when you crossed the finish line after running 26.2 miles, you will feel even more accomplished after completing the longer distance designated in your chosen ultra marathon.
Are you ready to start training? The following ultra marathon tips will help you train efficiently so you are ready to go the distance.
1. Select the ultra marathon you run with great care.
Ultra marathons vary by a variety of factors:
- Total Length
- Total Duration
- Profitable Charities
You have to take all of these things into consider to select the ultra marathon that will suit your needs.
First consider the number of miles in the entire race and the date of the race. If you don’t have enough time to train for the race, then consider waiting to do it the following year or choosing another race. Next consider whether the race is to be completed in one day or over a longer period of time. Make sure you can clear your calendar to fully participate to the end.
Finally, consider where the race will be completed, the rules for participation, and the charity to benefit from the proceeds. Make sure everything is to your liking before signing up.
2. Don’t ditch the weekly long run.
You probably included a weekly long run in your marathon training plan, right? You won’t get rid of it while training for the ultra marathon. Keep the long run in the plan and use it to push your body and play with pacing for the race. Make sure to give yourself a day of recovery afterwards because you will need it.
3. Balance shorter runs between harder training sessions and more casual runs.
Your training schedule should include some runs that are more leisurely and others that are more intense. Even a short workout can be challenging if you go at a pace that is a bit uncomfortable or do intense interval training. These harder workouts will improve your speed and endurance, which will help you during the race.
4. Include regular recovery periods.
Your training plan must include periods of recovery where you take your training down by about ten percent. Some long distance runners prefer to break their training down into month long segments with one week out of every month dedicated to recovery. You can divide your training time any way that fits your lifestyle, as long as these ultra marathon training tips are followed.
You probably took days of recovery when training for your marathon, but you will need a longer period of recovery when running harder and longer for the ultra marathon.
5. Keep the core of your body as strong as possible.
Don’t just focus on your legs so they can carry you through the race. Your entire body needs to be strong, especially the core muscles. Your lower body muscles may be what you feel working the most during a long distance run, but rest assured those legs could not make it to the end without the support of your abdominals, back and chest muscles.
6. Don’t buy into supplements, gels and other products marketed to runners.
Beginner runners often think they have to use the many products marketed to runners and athletes for muscle development, stamina and refueling. They buy into the bars, gels, drink mixes, and endless supplements because they think it is how the best runners gain the edge.
In reality, the best runners tend to be those that use very little of those products.
Rather than going for gels and special waters, hydrate with a sports drink. Don’t mix water and sports drink or gels and don’t rely entirely on water as it can be harmful over the course of a long run.
Stick with fresh vegetables and fruits, especially leafy green veggies, rather than buying into supplements. You can make smoothies or start juicing to get the vitamins and minerals that you need to keep your body healthy through the intense training. If you eat to fuel your body rather than for taste, you will not need all of those expensive supplements.
The best ultra marathon nutrition varies from runner to runner. Do some testing!
7. Pay attention to your body.
This is the best of all ultra marathon training tips. You will have days of feeling tired, but you shouldn’t be so exhausted you can’t pull yourself up and gain some energy for the day. You may have aches, but you should never be in real pain. Listen to your body and you will avoid a lot of injuries common to long distance runners.
8. Don’t be ashamed to walk when needed.
If you have been running a long time, you might feel a bit offended that someone is telling you to walk. You aren’t a walker, you’re a runner! This is a normal reaction from those who feel walking is for beginners. Just remember that you are a beginner when it comes to training for extremely long distances.
No matter how many marathons you have run, you may need to walk some while training for the ultra marathon. You may even need to walk some during the ultra marathon. Some of the best runners will be walking as well, so consider it part of the game.
9. Don’t focus too much on speed.
Just as you need to free yourself to walk as needed, you should free yourself to slow the pace as needed. Ultra marathon tips prepare you to go the distance, but you don’t have to be in the lead all the time. Speed may eventually be something you focus on heavily, but right now take it easy when you need it. That goes for training and the big race.
10. Get your head straight.
During your long runs, pay attention to your attitude and the thoughts in your head. Ultra marathons are mental games more than they are physical.
If you give up in your mind, your body will soon follow. If you convince yourself that you can do this and that you are strong and powerful, then your body will believe it and keep going.
Use inspirational quotes, motivating music, or any other tools you need to keep your mind positive and focused.