What Is An Ultra-Marathon?
Put simply; an ultra-marathon is any running event longer than a traditional marathon distance of 26.2 miles (42 km). The most popular events are 50K, 50-mile, 100K (62 miles), and 100-mile runs. These events range from 50K (31 miles) to over 100 miles, sometimes even more!
Ultra-marathons typically involve trails or off-road courses and are often done on very hilly terrain, making them particularly challenging compared to typical marathons on city streets.
Preparing for An Ultra-Marathon
The most important part of preparing for an ultra-marathon is conditioning your body. This means training with longer distances gradually over time; avoiding jumping right into a 100K after having only trained for a regular marathon is recommended.
It’s also important to properly fuel your body with the right foods to have enough energy during the race. Finally, wearing shoes suited for running on trails and appropriate clothing that will keep you dry and comfortable while running in unpredictable weather conditions is vital.
Training For an Ultra-Marathon
Base Mileage: This is the most important part of any ultra marathon training plan. You must ensure a solid mileage base before adding in speed work or other intensity. Runners should aim to increase their weekly mileage by 10%.
Long Runs: These long runs should gradually increase in distance as your training progresses. They will help you build endurance and prepare your body for the marathon distance.
Speed Work: To help you maintain a good pace during the race, you’ll need to do some speed work in training. This can include tempo runs, intervals, and hill repeats.
Strength Training: Ultramarathon runners need to be mentally and physically strong. Include strength-training exercises in your routine to build muscle and prevent injuries.
Cross-Training: Incorporating other activities into your training will help you stay fresh and avoid burnout. Swimming, biking, and yoga are all great options for cross-training.
Additional Gear Needed For An Ultra-Marathon
A hydration belt or pack can be beneficial if you don’t want to carry water bottles while running; this way, you can easily access water whenever you need it without stopping and grabbing bottles along the course.
A headlamp may also come in handy if running at night or through dark areas such as wooded trails or tunnels. Other items like sunscreen, bug repellent, first aid supplies, and snacks should also be part of your race day gear list.
Ultra marathons are not for everyone. They require significant time, energy, and mental and physical toughness. But if you think you’re up for the challenge, an ultra-marathon could be the perfect goal to strive for.