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Ultra marathon article

Hello, read this and thought I would post it here. Interesting read.

Re: Ultra marathon article

Interesting but... Why do I stick to 26.2? Because I can do it day after day, week after week with low risk of injury, because I can usually run all (or most) of it, because I would rather run 26.2 than drag myself along for 100 just to prove I can do it, because I regularly meet the same people who become friends, because there is always someone to run with if I want company and space to run alone if I don't, because I have a fair idea of how long it will take and so how much time it will take out of my day, because I can fit it in around work, life etc, because most weekends there is something within 50 miles of home but mainly because I am doing it for me because I enjoy it, not so that I can tell other people what I have done.

I have gone further, I didn't enjoy it, I got stressed about how much time it was taking out of my day. I don't like going as slowly as is necessary to complete the extra distance. I want to run, not walk. I also felt very odd the next day and recovery took much longer.

Also, MDS £4250, Valleys and Views (rural Warwickshire, 27 miles uphill into a headwind with nothing more than a route description to guide me back to where I started) £6. Yes, £6 - and that includes food and drink at all the checkpoints. Some think the Great Barrow 10-in-10 is pricey at only £300! I could not justify that sort of entry fee (and that is before buying all the obligatory kit) - these name-dropping Ultras are never cheap - even if I wanted to! Which I don't!

Re: Ultra marathon article

I agree. Was thinking of you when I read this. I read Scott Jureks book and had a nagging feeling throughout that it just didn’t seem enjoyable. He just kept pushing and pushing. I will see how my first marathon goes in September before signing up for the Badwater.

Re: Ultra marathon article

I fancy an ultra at some point just to find out what they are like...but need a lot more time in my life to train first!

Re: Ultra marathon article

interesting to see that people think that to push yourself harder you have to run these longer distances, it's almost like a badge of honour...

You can take an alternative approach and push yourself just as hard in training by trying to achieve a faster time at a shorter distance, rather than just trying to finish a longer race.

This can be just as obsessive as training for an ultra....I'm not saying that marathons / ultras are not hard, but getting a very quick 5K or 10K time takes just as much commitment (e.g Mo Farah 100+ miles per week for years!) and could be (I assume, as I haven't done this yet!) just as rewarding.

Regarding pushing yourself not being very enjoyable - I think training at a high level, whether for a 5K or an ultra, will always have it's moments where it's not much fun. This is, however, part of the deal if you want to improve....and sometimes it may even be enjoyable!

Re: Ultra marathon article

I have done a few ultras – 26 to be precise – ranging from 30 miles all the way through to 104 miles. My weekly training mileage has never been anywhere near what some people do when they are training for a road marathon. I have concentrated more on time on my feet and being able to go for long periods with not that much to eat when you still have 25 or 40 miles to go! In other words, running at a slow pace over three to four hours on consecutive days.

I personally think that it is a lot harder to train for a fast 5K than it is to run over 30 miles – unless of course you want to be within the first five or so finishers! Ultra-running is all about having the willpower to keep your body moving and not blaming yourself when you have to walk, when you get lost, being able to run /walk through the night without wishing you were at home in bed. Most ultras take you to some lovely places where you would be silly not to stop and admire the views, take in your surroundings and maybe buy an ice cream along the way and chat to others about their adventures.

I doubt whether I would ever do 100 miles again. It does take it out of your body and recovery time is long. But there are lots of "shorter" ultras out there and before you hang up your running shoes it might be worth dipping your toes into one because you may just like it! :runner:

Re: Ultra marathon article


never say never!

When I first joined the club, tales of your long distance exploits were epic....I'm sure there's still more to come.

Re: Ultra marathon article

I really do have the utmost respect for anyone who can give 100% for a 5K or 10K and then go back to training trying to shave a few more seconds off. I tried it when I first started running - believe it or not I did once hold the club FV35 5K record - but it hurt like hell and I hated it. Short and fast is a completely different sort of pain and requires far more dedication and takes me far too far out of my comfort zone.

At the other end of the spectrum Ultras seem to be about proving how long one can endure slow physical activity, preferably in an inhospitable climate, whilst being deprived of sleep and nutrition - and paying the price of a small car for the privilege. I'm afraid I just don't get this as, from reading runners' reports, no-one seems to enjoy it while they are actually doing it - it is just something that for some reason they feel they have to force themselves through.

I'm lazy, like sleeping in my own bed and getting home in time for dinner but also like running for long enough to make the drive there worthwhile - so it's 26.2 for me!

Re: Ultra marathon article

I have run one ultra and have signed up for 2 more this year.

Why? I wanted to know if I could do it. I wanted to know if I had the physical and mental strength to push myself further and keep on my feet for longer than I have ever done before.

What I found when chatting to the people I was with was not that they wanted to be able to tell people that they have done x miles etc. but, like me, they wanted to do it to see if they could. Those of us at the back of the pack were so encouraging with each other, each having low points and high points and urging each other on to the check points and towards the finish line. If anyone pulled out we were genuinely devastated for each other as we knew how hard it was to get that far.

It was mentally far tougher than it was physically - especially as there were strict cut off points in the one I did and I am not a fast runner.

The marshals came into their own at that distance, so much so that as I can't compete this year I have volunteered to help to give back.

The one I did was in the Scottish Highlands, the next two are in Canada and the Peak District. All areas with beautiful scenery which for me is a great distraction when running (even at marathons I end up with a lot of photos and slow times - I wonder why!). So I am looking forward to giving them a go.

However - I will never run as far as Sue (she is a machine!).