Training for your first Ultra

Firstly, the majority of us are work bound, restricted to a limited to a number of hours we train each week. We must use our time to train and mix work and other commitments around our training or work training around work ! This may mean running to work and back or running during your lunch break, which is what I did whilst working at college. It may be relatively easy to have work clothes ready at work, after you run in, ( of course a shower would be good )

Remember you are training for an Ultra and this means – time on your feet. This is not about running all the time, you can walk when ever you wish, just keep increasing the time on your feet. Always train with a light back pack, which includes fluid, food & gels. You are going to experiment with various foods and gels now, before your ultra race obviously, as you do not want to try something different on race day, including kit, clothes, socks and shoes.

Firstly visit a good shoe shop and try a variety of shoes, take advise from other runners and buy a pair you think are a good fit. A good shoe shop, should be run by someone who is a runner, if not move on. Don’t be fooled into thinking you need to visit a podiatrist, if you do not have any problems just buy a pair of shoes and start running. All you have to do now is tie the laces and off you go. They do however have a habit of coming undone, look online and see how to tie the shoes right.  There are other problems you may have with your feet include, your nails being too long, make sure they are cut short. When you start to run, your feet move a little and your toes can touch the shoes you wear, this can be painful.

Hiking at weekend

Weekend may be the only time you have to do a longer session. Take advantage of this and get into the hills. It is all about time on your feet, so a good 2 or 3hr hike is fabulous training. Hills will become your best friend, as hills are the best endurance training, as much as you can get in. Training for an ultra is difficult, as the lengths of the races is ultra, ie… longer than 42km. One of the best ways to train for these is to actually enter these at weekend, use these as training. I know ultra runners who do just this. You could make this your long run, I am not saying go out and run 85km, you can find lots of mountain races of between 21km and 30km, which could take hours, what could be better. This is really good training, just think long term and use these at every opportunity.

The key to a good training programme, is that it must be progressive, you must see progression, each week. As you are new to running, lots of short runs, say 60mins and a longer run at weekend if possible.

Training with a heart rate monitor here