Last week I posted about “How To Become A Runner In A Few Easy Steps.” But what if you’ve already done that and are looking for a new challenge? A half marathon is a great place to start. Or a marathon. But if you REALLY want a challenge, you might be considering an ultra marathon, which is loosely defined as any distance beyond the 26.2 miles of a marathon; the most common ultra distances being 50k (31 miles), 50 miles, 100k (62 miles), 100 miles, and 100+ miles.
I’ve completed two trail ultras to date (a 40 miler and a 50k) and… it’s kind of addictive (two more on the calendar for 2013) discovering that you’re capable of such things. I can tell you straight-faced that if you can run a half marathon, than you can (with proper training) run an ultra.
Ultra is starting to grow as a sport, which is good to see, because even just a few short years ago it was really hard to find a good training regimen to prepare for such a long race. Most of my own training was gleaning “lessons learned” from various blogs, as well as modifying marathon training plans by lengthening them and converting them to trail equivalents. Marathons, in comparison to ultras, are “short” races. Ultras are not about speed. They are the tortoise to the hare. You don’t train in the same way. You train for time on feet and mental toughness. Ultras are at least 90% mental and the only way to prepare for them is to become familiar with that place where mind forces body to endure.
So, I was VERY pleased when I saw Active.com recently post a great write-up on how to prepare for an ultra. Ultra is a different beast and requires a different approach. The article has good depth to it and is written in a way that makes the training accessible and user-friendly for those that are disciplined in their training. Click on over through the link below, read up, and – if you’re headed down the ultra path – best of luck with your training! Let me know how it goes!