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 Post subject: running an ultramarathon
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 6:50 pm 
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Has anyone here done an ultra before? And if so, can you direct me to a good training plan? I'm finding a number online but am not sure if there is a good one to go with for a general outline. I'm not looking for anyhting too specific and I'm looking at the 50 mile distance to start.
Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: running an ultramarathon
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 7:01 pm 
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nothing useful to add, but I once hosted a guy that did ultramarathons.. he's run across the US twice, and this year finished a pole-to-pole run. completely nuts, but huuuge respect!

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 Post subject: Re: running an ultramarathon
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 8:28 am 
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Wow - that's awesome! I just ran my first marathon and honestly I can't imagine running almost TWICE that distance! I haven't used this myself obviously, but on another forum I read a guy was using this plan from Runners World:
http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-238-244--7556-1-2X3X4-4,00.html

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 Post subject: Re: running an ultramarathon
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 8:50 am 
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i always wanted to run an ultramarathon. when i was training for my 1/2 marathon i had my eye on an ultra. however, i fubbed my foot up so bad in the race (almost 3 years ago) i can't run long distances any longer.

BUT i did subscribe to this magazine: http://www.ultrarunning.com/index.shtml (i may have recycled all my old issues, panda, but i will check on my lunch break today for you). i also have these running books if you are interested (and i highly recommend both of them): The Lore of Running and Daniel's Running Formula - i can easily FedEx them your way (we can FedEx for free at my work!).

so while i don't have a ton of helpful information, i thought i'd add that.

oh - and i used to listen to a lot of long distance running podcasts. don't know if many are still out there, but i always enjoyed them.

also - this guy was veggie & is now vegan and has run an ultra: http://www.nomeatathlete.com/

edited to add this: http://www.ultramarathonrunning.com/training/


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 Post subject: Re: running an ultramarathon
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:58 am 
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I just finished reading Eat & Run my unlikely journey to ultramarathon greatness by Scott Jurek. A great read. Each chapter starts with a quote & finishes with a vegan recipe. He does have a website but not sure if he has any training plans.
I think his book is great & would be very inspiring to a wanna be ultramarathon runner.
Good luck


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 Post subject: Re: running an ultramarathon
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 12:52 pm 
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I've run a 50K and have my first 50 miler on August 25th. BRB, gotta go hyperventilate into a paper sack...
I ran 8 fulls before my 50K, so I felt like I was ready to bump distances.

I used the Runner's World plan linked above and did liberal back to back long runs.

Basically, I trained like I was marathoning, just increased my volume and ran more trail. I also practiced eating solid food on the run and walking hills. Walking hills is vital in ultras on trail. It was *really* hard to get used to that. As a road runner, I hated walking any time. There is this idea that you have to gogogo and never walk or you're weaker? At least that's how I felt about me - I never seemed to think anyone else walking hills was weak. Haha. Oh, self esteem issues. In trail running and in ultras darn near everyone walks those hills. It was actually really funny. We'd all go "oh f this!" and start walking together. Especially on single track where it's hard or impossible to pass, you get used to calming your jets. Sometimes the trail is just unrunnable for all but the most elites. Losing your ego seems to be necessary to run trail. I love that. :)

To prep for the 50K I ran three marathons in 5 weeks, using them as supported long training runs.
I did the first 26.2, added 2 miles onto the middle marathon for a 28 miler, and finished with another 26.2 for those long runs. Did a couple solo 20 milers in there, too.
Ran the 31 miler in July on a very hilly, technical trail course (Dances with Dirt in Baraboo, WI) as my most difficult training run for the 50 miler.

Two weekends ago I did my longest training runs - 20/30 back to back on the weekend.
Last weekend it was the last long runs - 20/25 with the 25 on hilly trail that involved some hiking.
I peaked at around 65+ miles with most of my weeks around the 40s. I'd have run more but all those long runs really take it out of you! The mid week runs and overall mileages seem less important that hitting the long run time on feet and making sure you stay uninjured during training.

I'm in taper now. Not going nuts yet but it's a close thing. ;)

I feel pretty good about where I am, training-wise, so I think the Runner's World plan was a good one. :) Heck, I even took third in my division at the 50K! So, something must have clicked. ;)

If I were you, I'd look into a 50K during the training period as a tune up race. It REALLY did my nerves good to have that experience. I was able to try out all my gear, really see how my fueling strategy was working in race conditions, fine tune my drop bag contents and get valuable insight into trail etiquette and technique while doing that sort of distance. If you've never done a trail race before, start doing some now. It's a totally different beast. I don't tend to fall on my face while road running but I managed to bite it at the 50K and on my 25 trail training run. Stupid invisible roots. ;)

Most of all, HAVE FUN!


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 Post subject: Re: running an ultramarathon
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 1:07 pm 
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Thanks for the links, y'all. I spent some time yesterday and this morning working on some training plans.
I did a half marathon distance a few weeks ago and need a new goal to work toward. I like the idea of the ultra because a) I'm good at that type of running and b) it gives me some small goals within the larger one to work toward. I'd be doing the marathon distance first, so that's the first goal to work toward.

Some scouting around looks like it is more about getting in time on your feet then just building up to the distance you want to run (although obviously that's being done too). I was wondering about that.

happyfaced, I can get those books out my local library so I will check them out there. Thanks for the suggestions!

Chickpea, I have read Eat and Run and got to meet Scott when he was in PDX promoting it. The running philosophy he talks about really jives with why I get out and I plan to re-read parts of it while training.

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 Post subject: Re: running an ultramarathon
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 1:11 pm 
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I have a friend at school who is a major runner, she runs all the time and she just did her first 50 mile run. I asked her if she'd ever run 50 miles before and she said the most she'd done before the 50 mile race was 30 something miles. I found that really interesting, that she never actually practiced a full 50 miles before.

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 Post subject: Re: running an ultramarathon
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 1:17 pm 
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Thanks weeona! I'm not going to register to do an official race, I just like to get out and do the running. I do a mix of road and gravel/dirt trail and will most likely do the long distance on that as well. I just want to do it to see if I can do it, rather than be in a race situation. It's super helpful to see how you're doing back to back long distances.

Good luck on the 25th! Rock it.

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 Post subject: Re: running an ultramarathon
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 1:23 pm 
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Also, I really like that comment on ego. I am not a very fast runner right now so I am not going to beat anyone in speed. So for me it is more about being out there and seeing what I can get my body and mind to do, which is a great place for me to be in while I run. And the longer I run the better I tend to do, so I figure I can just keep training and go for it.

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 Post subject: Re: running an ultramarathon
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 1:50 pm 
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ijustdiedinside wrote:
I have a friend at school who is a major runner, she runs all the time and she just did her first 50 mile run. I asked her if she'd ever run 50 miles before and she said the most she'd done before the 50 mile race was 30 something miles. I found that really interesting, that she never actually practiced a full 50 miles before.


Most folks training for a 50 don't get much past 50K training distance. :) All the plans I've seen top off there and it seems that 90%+ of ultra runners don't do longer than 30 in any one run. The back to back long runs, where you're doing the 50 miles over the course of 24-36 hours, are also pretty much a norm.

I know it seems weird (and terrifying) to leave 19 miles at the end to chance but I believe it's due to spending that much time on your feet in a training run does more harm than good. You save your legs from the thrashing so that you're more able to complete the race.

Sort of like how marathon training plans mostly go to 20-22 mile long runs. You trust the taper and the training to bridge the gap of those last miles.


Last edited by weeona on Thu Aug 09, 2012 1:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: running an ultramarathon
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 1:58 pm 
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pandacookie wrote:
Thanks weeona! I'm not going to register to do an official race, I just like to get out and do the running. I do a mix of road and gravel/dirt trail and will most likely do the long distance on that as well. I just want to do it to see if I can do it, rather than be in a race situation. It's super helpful to see how you're doing back to back long distances.

Good luck on the 25th! Rock it.


Oh gurl (she said in a non-gender specific way), you're stronger than me. I did that 30 miler alone and it was Not Fun. I much prefer the race atmosphere. I like being around other runners and having all that energy and excitement. Even though the terrain was way easier to run and I could slow or walk as I needed, the 30 solo was way more mentally difficult than that physically challenging 50K. Also, it sucks planning my own course that long. I liked just zoning out and following flags rather than doing elaborate math to make sure I ended up back to the start at the right mileage. My math skills go to hell while running. Hah.

I looooove racing, though. :) So your mileage may vary!

Thanks for the good wishes. I'll finish even if I have to crawl but I am worried it won't be pretty!


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 Post subject: Re: running an ultramarathon
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 2:27 pm 
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It don't have to be pretty!

I am considering memorizing some Shakespeare so I can be out in the woods screeching out the battle cry from Henry V on some of my long solo runs. I am really into the self motivation but we'll see how it pans out.

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 Post subject: Re: running an ultramarathon
PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 4:14 am 
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pandacookie wrote:
Thanks for the links, y'all. I spent some time yesterday and this morning working on some training plans.
Chickpea, I have read Eat and Run and got to meet Scott when he was in PDX promoting it. The running philosophy he talks about really jives with why I get out and I plan to re-read parts of it while training.

He seems like an amazingly interesting guy. I enjoyed his book but cried through most of the last 2 chapters.

Good luck with your running. Let us know how it's going.


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 Post subject: Re: running an ultramarathon
PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:47 am 
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Go pc! I can't even wrap my head around 50 miles.

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 Post subject: Re: running an ultramarathon
PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:23 am 
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monkeytoes wrote:
Go pc! I can't even wrap my head around 50 miles.


You'd have to have a pretty big (and flexible) head!

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 Post subject: Re: running an ultramarathon
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2012 11:07 am 
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This worries me! I'm sure you've thought of it already but please take safety precautions if you plan on running long distances alone! Make sure someone knows where you are and check in with them often. Those kind of distances take a major toll on your body no matter how much you've trained. When you're exhausted you're a lot more likely to fall, pass out or otherwise get hurt. Please be safe!


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 Post subject: Re: running an ultramarathon
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:22 pm 
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I always run by myself but I'm never in an area that is super isolated. I think my biggest challenge is not getting distracted by the feral cat feeding stations along one of my routes.

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 Post subject: Re: running an ultramarathon
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:25 pm 
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i would like to take this opportunity to say holy friggin crepe, panda, i am in awe. i reached my 5-to-8-k goal and am quite comfy there, i can't imagine doing 50k (or whatever the hell 50mi converts to, it's all basically a million to me at that point).

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 Post subject: Re: running an ultramarathon
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:33 pm 
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I had also read somewhere (not sure if it was in Born to Run? or elsewhere) where someone else signed up for a 50 mile race as their first race ever and they had maybe only ran 10 miles as their longest distance before?

I kind of understand the mentality because once you break a personal barrier, it doesn't seem to matter much after that.

I'd love to try to get back into running again but I got injured doing 5k. My physiology may not allow such things though. I think if you can do 13 miles though then 50 should be possible.

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 Post subject: Re: running an ultramarathon
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:54 pm 
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pandacookie wrote:
I always run by myself but I'm never in an area that is super isolated. I think my biggest challenge is not getting distracted by the feral cat feeding stations along one of my routes.


I run alone too but I'm in the city where it wouldn't take too long for someone to find me if i collapsed or broke a leg. Your mention of trails and woods is what caught my attention. My brain gets pretty fuzzy by 20 miles and i know i'm not always able to make the best decisions when i'm that exhausted. And i'm sure my reaction time is much slower. I've never ran an ultra but I've seen people in rough shape during races and it always makes me thankful there are medical aid stations along the way and people who understand the toll your body is under that are monitoring the race.
I feel like i'm coming across as a major know-it-all (and i'm definitely not an expert!) but just be safe, please!


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 Post subject: Re: running an ultramarathon
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2012 5:04 pm 
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My husband runs ultras and I have been to many races to watch him finish or go by or whatever. I am always amazed how supportive the atmosphere is and how cooperative everyone seems to be toward the common goal of finishing. I have only done marathon distance, but even that I appreciated the aid stops and support of others in a common cause. Races are generally awesome. If you are looking for alone time, you'll get plenty in a 50 miles even if it's a race.


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 Post subject: Re: running an ultramarathon
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2012 8:12 pm 
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I have no plans at all to run in a race. It's not why I run. This is really for me to have fun and see what I can do. If I end up having any sort of safety concerns they will be taken care of. Mama didn't raise no fool. The feral cat army shall see me through.

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 Post subject: Re: running an ultramarathon
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2012 8:17 pm 
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linanil wrote:
I kind of understand the mentality because once you break a personal barrier, it doesn't seem to matter much after that.

I think that's interesting and true for me. One of the reasons I kind of like the idea of the longer distance is because it is sort of abstract and once you go for a certain distance, well why not keep on going. I think the question 'how far can you run' is interesting. How far can I run until I don't feel like it any more, or how far can I run until my legs will simply not move any more? There is a big difference for me and I like that space in between.

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 Post subject: Re: running an ultramarathon
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:54 am 
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I hope i don't sound like i'm trying to discourage you or convince you to join a race. I just want you to think about safety stuffs! Otherwise, you rock for going for it! I have crazy respect for anyone who undertakes an ultra.


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