Training for an ultra

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JP1
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Training for an ultra

Postby JP1 » Mon Oct 17, 2005 10:58 am

I've completed 2 marathons and am looking for a new challenge. I was thinking of attempting a 50 mile race, sometime next year. Does anyone have any training advice? How much more mileage should I be doing compared to marathon training?

Thanks!

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Postby Jo-Jo » Mon Oct 17, 2005 11:13 am

hopefully Rune will see this post...he's the Man!!

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Postby Ironmike » Mon Oct 17, 2005 11:47 am

Jo-jo is right about Rune, he's the man!

I have done three 50k races, and I hope to do my first 50 miler next summer. I'm looking at doing the White River 50 in Washington State at the end of July.

I'm assuming this is a trail race?

To do a 50 miler, you are probably looking at 100km+/week, with long runs of 5-6 hours. And get used to running on trails, because it uses different muscles than running on the road. If you haven't done a lot of trail running in the past, start out with some of the shorter 5 Peaks runs and you can learn a lot about where to step, etc by just watching the people around you.

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Postby dwayne_runs_far » Mon Oct 17, 2005 12:59 pm

Hi,

Check out Hal Higdon's site for his ultra plan, that's the one I'm following. It is designed for the Comrades Marathon which is actually a 54 mile race.
http://www.halhigdon.com/ultramarathon/ultramarathon2000.htm


Two things are important (from what I have been told by some seasoned ultra runners) 1. get used to the trails, as most ultra's are not road events. 2, get used to running on tired legs.

The peak for my training this year (before I got super sick) was a 55km trail run that was followed by a 25 km run the next day. The first 5k of the second run was like trying to make lead pipes move. But once I got the kinks out, it wasn't too bad.

One thing I found to be really tough is the mental game when you're running for 6 hours. Parts of your body are telling you to pack it in, hitch a ride home, other parts are saying keep going.

That's my two cents worth, and hopefully I will be tackling my first 100km event in May (Blackfoot Ultra).

Dwayne

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Postby cimit » Mon Oct 17, 2005 1:01 pm

or you could take up triathlon!

Why would anyone run past 42.2km?
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Postby Ironmike » Mon Oct 17, 2005 1:33 pm

cimit wrote:or you could take up triathlon!

Why would anyone run past 42.2km?


My original reasons for starting ultras:

1. Ultras are cheaper than marathons (I measure in $/mile)
2. I can do 10 ultras for the price of 1 Ironman.
3. I don't have time to train for 3 sports.
4. I can't afford a $2000 bike and a $400 wetsuit right now.


After doing a few, my reasons for doing more ultras:

1. Ultras have the best food at aid stations.
2. You get to enjoy nature.
3. Races are really laid back and friendly.

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Postby cimit » Mon Oct 17, 2005 1:39 pm

On a $/mile basis, IM isn't too bad ($3.20 USD).
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Postby Irongirl » Mon Oct 17, 2005 1:42 pm

Coolrunning.com has a forum with a board specifically for ultra's - you might want to check that out as well....

http://www.coolrunning.com/cgi-bin/ubb/forumdisplay.cgi?action=topics&forum=Ultrarunning&number=30&DaysPrune=20&LastLogin=
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Postby Ironmike » Mon Oct 17, 2005 2:07 pm

cimit wrote:On a $/mile basis, IM isn't too bad ($3.20 USD).


The White River 50 is $70 USD. That's only $1.40 per mile.

If you look at it in terms of $/hr its an even better deal. A 50 mile trail race is going to take me about 12 hours. That's only $5.83/hr USD.

The Vancouver Marathon is $62 USD. If I run it in 4 hours, then that's like $15.50/hr.

Ironman would take me 13-14 hours, at a cost of $465 USD. That's like $35/hr USD. :!: If I add in another $2000 USD for bike and wetsuit, and I'm up to $182/hr USD. :!: :!:

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Postby Madame Bourette » Mon Oct 17, 2005 2:10 pm

cimit wrote:or you could take up triathlon!

Why would anyone run past 42.2km?


I was about to tell him about tri. :wink:

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JP1
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Postby JP1 » Mon Oct 17, 2005 2:21 pm

Actually I'm a she :)

I have done a few trail races and found that I like them so much more than road races, which is why I considered maybe doing a 50 mile race. The other question I had, aside from getting in enough mileage in training is how much should I be eating and what?? In the two marathons I've run, I've gotten by with just one gel each - eating and running - haven't really worked for me yet!!

As for considering a tri. I'm much too slow a swimmer!!

Thanks for all the feedback.

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Postby Madame Bourette » Mon Oct 17, 2005 2:26 pm

JP1 wrote:Actually I'm a she :)

I have done a few trail races and found that I like them so much more than road races, which is why I considered maybe doing a 50 mile race. The other question I had, aside from getting in enough mileage in training is how much should I be eating and what?? In the two marathons I've run, I've gotten by with just one gel each - eating and running - haven't really worked for me yet!!

As for considering a tri. I'm much too slow a swimmer!!

Thanks for all the feedback.


This is no excuse for not "tri" it. :wink: You don't have to go by Benchmarking. Just compare with yourself. :idea:

I am a slow swimmer but I am working on it. My training partner saw me swimming Saturday for the first time since early July and she was really impressed by my improvement.

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Postby Ironmike » Mon Oct 17, 2005 2:44 pm

JP1 wrote: The other question I had.... is how much should I be eating and what?? In the two marathons I've run, I've gotten by with just one gel each - eating and running - haven't really worked for me yet!!


I have an Iron stomach, so I might not be the best example, but I usually go through 6 or 7 Clif bars on my longer runs. Plus maybe 4 litres of Gatorade (I carry powder). If you have done trail runs in the past, then you already know that everybody walks the uphills. Its easiest to eat when you are walking.

For training runs, you might find yourself drinking out of creeks. Be sure to bring along some iodine tablets for water purification. You need 2 waterbottles because it takes 30 minutes for the iodine tablets to work. Once the water is purified you add the Gatorade powder and it covers up the iodine taste.

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Postby dwayne_runs_far » Mon Oct 17, 2005 3:10 pm

JP1 wrote:Actually I'm a she :)

The other question I had, aside from getting in enough mileage in training is how much should I be eating and what?? In the two marathons I've run, I've gotten by with just one gel each - eating and running - haven't really worked for me yet!

Thanks for all the feedback.


As for eating, that is a big part of the experimentation during training. I have tried numerous energy bars, cans of ensure, high calorie/protein/carb wraps (avacado & turkey is the fave!). Gels just don't cut it for a 6 hour training run, and I can't imagine sustaining myself on them for the full 12+ hours of a 100 km trail race.

Exeriments are good,
Dwayne

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Postby rune163 » Tue Oct 18, 2005 9:06 am

glad to hear your thinking of giving the ultras a crack! you'll love 'em! the people and the camaraderie is amazing!

if you have run a few marathons your program shouldn't vary too much from that with a few exceptions. Your long runs should go father than 20 miles. 30 miles I think should be the minimum you can go farther if comfortable but at least get a 30 miler in. Also, take your time goal for the 50 miler and do a "time on your feet run" For example if you wanted to run 10 hours go for a 6 hour SLOW run. The time spent on your feet is more critical than how far you go. This will begin to prep you for how long you will be out there. Your weekly runs I would try to do between 5-7 miles with maybe one 10 miler during the week. Some weekend also do a long run on one day and a mid distance run (10-12 miles) the next day.

Speed work isn't super critical but hills just like you did in the marathon program will help you immensely.

Did you have a particular race in mind you were thinking of trying? I can give you some course info or suggest some good ones pending where you are located.

Also consider entering a 50k as a training run for the 50 miler. It would be a great long run and that way you don't have to go out for a 30 mile run on your own!!!!

Happy trails!
Rune

JP1
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Postby JP1 » Tue Oct 18, 2005 9:11 am

Hi,

A few other questions - how many of these long!! runs should I be doing before attempting a 50 mile race? I was thinking of one in the spring - but not sure how the training will go throughout the winter. As to which 50 mile to attempt - any suggestions are welcome - I live in the Guelph area of Ontario.

Thanks!

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Postby rune163 » Tue Oct 18, 2005 9:20 am

you should be doing 1 long run per week but not all at 30 miles! what distance are you "comfortable" with running right now? what is your marathon time?

i think a minimum for getting ready for a 50 miler should be a 15 mile long run per week then spiking up to 20-25-30 miles. like the marathon where you only do one or two 20 milers it would be the same for the ultra, one maybe two 30 milers, the rest all 15-20-25's.

if you can average 40 miles on your down weeks and 50-60 miles on your longer weeks you will be more than prepared. a friend of mine runs 50 miles per week and had no problems with a 100 miler. heavy mileage weeks aren't always necessary.

there is a nice local run (sulphur springs 50 miler) at the end of May in Ancaster. there are also some great 50 milers in the US. Bull Run Run in Manassas, Virginia (10 hour drive) goes through many historic Civil War sites. Umstead 50 miler in Raleigh, North Carolina is a great one for first timers. Its the first week of April. If you have the means to travel its worth it! Flight from Buffalo to Raleigh were about $200 CDN and the race hotel (which was very nice) was $41 USD / night. The course is 5 minutes from RDU Airport as well so car rental isn't necessary unless you want to tour the area which is in full bloom that time of year. Note - if North Carolina is in the Final Four Basketball Tourney a trip to nearby Chapel Hill is worth it for the pub scene!!!!!

Any more questions please don't hesitate to ask them!

Rune

JP1
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Postby JP1 » Tue Oct 18, 2005 9:26 am

Marathon time is about 3:35 but on low training mileage - long runs of 32 kms, but just 2 weekly runs of 8 km each. I am now running about 5 days per week. My only other question is about eating during the run? I can't stand energy bars of any kind, and gels don't go down that well either - any suggestions?

Thanks

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Postby rune163 » Tue Oct 18, 2005 10:07 am

hey,

which gels have you tried? clif seem pretty good. also give luna or mojo bars (also by clif bar) a try if you haven't. luna bars are more like rice krispie squares. V8 juice is great salt replacement and pretzels and chips help a lot as well. Dried prunes are good as well. The main thing is to get calories in. Where it comes from isn't the main thing, getting them into your body is.

If you want to pm me (or email) - rmelcher@runningroom.com your info I can hook you up with some ultra runners in the Guelph area to train with. You are also more than welcome to join me on some training runs. I run a lot in the Hilton Falls, Crawford Lake, Rattlesnake Point Area which is nearby Guelph....

Rune


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