Participating in an ultra marathon is a daunting but incredible endeavour. It takes a huge commitment from every facet of your life and will test each of these throughout the training process and into race day. To successfully approach one of these events you need a PLAN. We suggest you consider all the topics below when planning for an ultra marathon of this caliber.
1. TIME. A large time commitment is required, make sure you are prepared to make this a priority in your life.
2. ALLIES. Create a strong support network to help you achieve your goal. Running an ultra can be a selfish activity but runners do not exist in isolation, they require support from their community of friends, family and running buddies.
3. MOTIVATION.Make sure you know why you are taking on this challenge. You will need to rely on this during race day or when you want to skip a run. An ultra marathon will challenge your physical, physiological, emotional, mental and spiritual self to different degrees making authentic motivation paramount to success.
4. EXPECTATIONS. Success is RELATIVE. Whether its getting as far as you can, finishing under the cut off, winning your age group or setting a course record, success is relative to you.
5. TRAINING. Make a training program and follow it. Consult a professional or someone with experience to help. Most running injuries are caused by training errors. Working with a health professional that knows Ultras is a great fit as they can both create a training program and help you manage any past or new injuries.
6. LOGISTICS. Trip Accommodations? What’s the weather? What gear am I using? Who’s your support crew and what will they do for you? What will you bring on each leg? Expected leg finish times? How do you take care of your feet? What will you eat and drink and when? Etc etc etc. This step is time consuming but crucial, do not plan to “play it by ear” out there. Dehydration, hypothermia, stomach fatigue, blisters, and a missed rendezvous with your crew will end your day so make sure everything that you can control is under control so that the uncontrollable is manageable. Things will go wrong and that is ok, just be ready.
7. HEALTH. You are only as good as you are healthy on race day. This means treat your body right to help prevent getting sick or injured. Your body will no doubt feel the fatigue of training for an ultra so if something is hurting or feels off get it check out sooner then later. You could be the fittest, fastest runner at the race but if your injured it does not matter.
Athletic Therapist | Strength and Conditioning Specialist
BPE, CAT(C), CSCS
James is not only an Athletic Therapist but is a passionate Ultra Runner himself. He began trail running in 2011 and since then has completed 16 50km+ trail races and holds the course record at the Iron Legs 50 miler.
To contact James for more help with planning, training, or injuries, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bridge Sports Therapy and Training is pleased to be teamed up with Sinister Sports providing runners with treatment throughout several of their race weekends. Look for “Bridget” our event van with our Bridge crew of treatment providers.