If you’re a runner, the idea of running an ultra marathon probably seems like a crazy, but exciting, challenge.
While completing an ultra marathon may seem daunting, with the right training plan you can be ready to take on the challenge. In this blog post, we outline a basic training plan and offer tips on how you can get ultra marathon fit.
Tips for running your first ultra marathon
Okay, so you’ve woken up one morning and decided that you are going to run an ultra marathon. Or, you’ve lost a bet and are now stuck with a monumental task ahead of you. Whatever it was that made you commit, you need to make sure that you are planning properly for the big day ahead.
Let’s take a look at a few things you should be doing before you run your first ultra marathon.
Build a solid foundation
First up, it’s important that you build a good base. This means creating a solid foundation of aerobic fitness. To do this, you should be running regularly and consistently, building up your mileage slowly over time.
Start by running 3-4 times per week, with one long run each weekend. Gradually increase your weekly mileage and the length of your long run until you’re comfortably running up to 80 km (50 miles) per week. It’s important you don’t rush into the long distance though. Join a local running club and talk to the seasoned runners about how to slowly build up to the long distance.
Once you’ve built up a good base, you can start to add in some speed work and hill training to really get your body race-ready.
Pay attention to nutrition
If you want to be able to run an ultra marathon, you need to make sure that you are eating properly. This means fueling your body with the right foods to give you the energy you need to run long distances.
You should be eating a diet that is rich in carbohydrates, as this will be your body’s main source of energy during endurance exercise. Make sure to include complex carbs such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables in your diet.
You should also be paying attention to your hydration levels, as staying properly hydrated is essential when running long distances. Be sure to drink plenty of water and sports drinks throughout the day and during your training runs.
A good rule of thumb is to consume between 30 and 60 grams of calories per hour that you run.
Rest and recovery
In order to perform your best on race day, you need to make sure that you are giving your body the time it needs to recover from training. This means getting enough sleep and taking days off from running when your body needs it.
Aim for 8 hours of sleep each night and take at least one or two days off from running each week. This will help your body to recover from the hard work you’re putting in and will make you a stronger runner in the long run.
When you do have an easy day or two, be sure to focus on active recovery by doing things like stretching, foam rolling, and light cross-training.
Make a plan
One of the most important things you can do when preparing for your first ultra marathon is to make a training plan. This will help you to stay on track with your training and make sure that you are prepared for race day.
Your training plan should include a mix of long runs, easy runs, tempo runs, speed work, and hill training. You can find a variety of different ultra marathon training plans online or you can talk to a coach about creating a custom plan for you. As we mentioned above, a running club is a great place to find out the best plan to suit your goals.
Be sure to leave room in your schedule for rest and recovery days, as these are just as important as your training days.
Don’t ever skip the long runs
One of the most important things you can do when training for an ultra marathon is to make sure that you are doing long runs. These runs are essential in building your endurance and will help you to find your limits.
Start by gradually increasing the length of your long run each week. Once you’re up to running 32 km (20 miles) or more, you can start to cut back on the frequency of your long runs. But be sure never to skip a long run entirely, as these are key to successful ultra marathon training.
Take the right supplements
In order to perform your best on race day, you need to make sure that you are taking the right supplements. They will not only help you to perform your best, but the right supplements will help to ensure you don’t get cramps during your runs.
CrampFix is one popular option that more and more runners are taking as part of both their training routine and for those big race days. It’s a proudly Australian supplement, which is now exported to over 15 countries worldwide.
Another popular supplement is Fuel X, a fast-growing product range that replenishes electrolytes that are lost during exercise. Fuel X also help to prevent cramp, while at the same time keeping athletes energized.
You don’t have to take our word for these two supplements. Many professional teams swear by them, including the Wallabies, Springboks, and UK Cricket and Football teams. You can take a look at the full Fixx Nutrition range here.
Getting ready for race day
Now that you’ve done all the hard work, it’s time to start thinking about race day. Here are a few things to keep in mind as race day approaches:
Get your nutrition right: Make sure you are eating and drinking properly in the days leading up to the race. This means plenty of complex carbs, water, and electrolytes.
Taper your training: In the last few weeks before the race, you will want to start tapering your training. This means reducing the volume and intensity of your runs so that you are fresh and rested for race day.
Pack your race day gear: Make sure you have everything you need for race day, including your race bib, timing chip, hydration pack, and any other gear you might need.
Let’s get started
So there you have it, everything you need to know to train for your first ultra-marathon.
Just remember to start slowly, make a training plan, focus on your long runs, and take the right supplements. And before you know it, you’ll be crossing that finish line!