It is human nature to always want to go further and do better in all aspects of our life. The same applies to athletics. If you’re a recreational runner, you probably want to get into marathons so you can push your limits.
You might start off with a 5 or 10-mile marathon. The truth is once you have run marathons for some time, it becomes easy and ordinary. So then you probably want to do something even more challenging.
To take your marathon game to the next level, you’ll want to know about ultra marathons. An ultra marathon race ranges from 35 miles to 100 miles. If you want to learn more about what it takes to become an ultra marathon runner read on.
Who Is an Ultra Marathon Runner?
An ultra marathon runner is an athlete that runs very long distances with the usual ultra marathon being a 50-mile distance. An ultra marathon is almost twice as long as a regular marathon.
You must wonder how a normal human being can endure a 50-mile race. Well, it’s not an easy feat, and just like any race, it requires extensive training. An ultra marathon race can either be on a trail or road but the trail is most common.
Ultra marathon is divided into two categories; a distance-based ultra and a time-based ultra marathon. A distance-based ultra marathon is about racers completing a designated distance.
The most common distances include 50 miles, 50k, 100 miles, and 100k. On the other hand, a time-based ultra marathon is run according to certain hours of 6 hours, 12 hours, and 24 hours.
Why Ultra Marathon?
Most people wonder of what use one can run a more than 35 miles mile race. Some people even wonder whether it’s achievable. Well, through the right practice, an ultra marathon is achievable and has various benefits.
If you can burn calories by working out in the gym for 30 minutes or an hour, how much more will you burn running a 55+ mile race?
Also, exercises like running reduce the risks of chronic diseases and fatal diseases like cancers and lifestyle diseases. They include heart diseases, obesity, hypertension, etc. Another benefit is to reduce anxiety.
Running for long distances has been known to ease stress by releasing endorphins (also known as feel-good chemicals) in the bloodstream. Ultimately, if you can run an ultra marathon, you increase your mental toughness as well.
Training Tips to Become an Ultra Runner
Conquer Your Fears
Just like any race, there will be many thoughts of second-guessing yourself. The truth is you are moving from a shorter distance to a much longer one. This thought alone can be nerve-wracking.
But like any person determined to win, you’ll leave these negative thoughts behind and instead embrace your abilities. You’ll have lots of mental challenges as you train which will make you doubt yourself even more.
But you just have to embrace the 35+ miler as an ultra marathon runner, start and see what happens.
First Build Your Base
Before you start training for an ultra marathon, you need to have made a firm and solid running base in place.
You should have at least one year of consistent running practice. Work on this way before you think of training for an ultra marathon. This prepares your body and mind as opposed to being shocked with a 50 miler training.
Practice Running Long, Slow, and with Little Speed
If you are used to other races an ultra marathon is a different one. It is about long and slow runs but with little speed. If you have to run a 50-mile track, you have to go slow and on slow speed so that your body can endure the long distance.
You can decide to do mid-week shorter runs to build a higher mileage base. Don’t forget to include ‘’down weeks’’ or rest weeks so that your body can heal and rejuvenate.
Taper Before Your Event
While there will be heavy training before the event, you need to spare time to taper or reduce the volume of training before the Ultra marathon event.
This will help you get to the event feeling energetic and fresh ready to take on the challenge.
This type of marathon is not for the faint of heart. You need major dedication and determination if you’re going to even think about running a 50-mile race.
The beauty of it, however, is that a human body is capable of doing it. This means once you do it, you feel like you have no limits.