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Once a padawan, now a freaking Jedi. I run really far, I write a bunch, and have super powers that allow me to grow amazing facial hair.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

First Pick: How to Train For Your First Ultramarathon

Congratulations on reaching puberty! Much like those awkward years in middle school, training for and completing your first ultra is going to bring a lot of changes in your body that you might not expect, you will also do and say inexplicable things. Those that have preceded you will sit back and chuckle every time your voice cracks or you get caught watching Cinemax in the middle of the night. But it's okay, we've been there too!

Sorry Billy, No One Believes That You Got Up
At 2am To Watch Law and Order Reruns.
 
Training for an ultra isn't as much of a pain in the ass as it might look, and depending on where you are at, you may be closer than you think to making an easy transition. Here are just a few tips for training:

1. Experiment!
  • Redial your nutrition and find what works. Some runners use gels, others use chia seeds and goji berries, some use Gatorade, others use Nuun. You'll find that even the flavors of certain products work better for you than others.
  • Try out different gear. Do you really want to wear a Camelbak for 50 miles? Or would you prefer running with a hand-held bottle or waist pack? There isn't a "right way, and you'll see variations even among the elite runners.
  • Shoes matter but not in the way you think. Certain generations of a trail shoe might be better than others, some people run barefoot, while others where minimalist shoes. If one way makes you more comfortable and gets you further and faster without getting hurt, then do it.
  • Compression shorts, singlets, t-shirts, no shirt at all. It's all about comfort. That annoying tightness under your arms in a shirt you think looks cool is going to be unbearable if you are putting up with it for 12-hours of running. Pick the right clothing for YOU!
 
 
 
He Chose... poorly.

2. Build Slowly
  • All runners hate this. They want to go bust out 50+ mile weeks right off the bat. In reality, all you are asking for is injury. Know where you are and build slowly from there. One long run a week, gradually increasing distance or time out should be the bulk of your mileage. Use smaller races (even marathons) to train, they help with short term training goals.
3. Train Like You Race
  • If your goal race has hills, train on hills. If it's in a hot climate, train in the heat. If you are going to eat a gel every 45 minutes, do it when you're training too. It's common sense, but it's the kind of simplicity that we overlook. Best case? Train on the exact course.

4. Read, Research, and Investigate
  • There are tons of blogs, websites, books, and everything else you can imagine on ultramarathons, endurance training, endurance nutrition, and everything in between. Do your homework!
Read These For More Help:     Running Through The Wall by Neal Jamison

                                                  Relentless Forward Progress by Bryon Powell

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