Fiona Bugler spoke to ultra runner Marvellous Mimi Anderson about how she prepares for an ultra marathon.
1. PLAN IT
“I work backwards from the date of my next event, working out how many weeks I have to train, allowing for tapering and build from that. I tend to do one long run of say 26 to 30 miles and a couple of shorter 18 to 20 miles, a speed session and some double days. My mileage ranges from 60 to 100 plus miles per week (I only go over the 100 for a couple of weeks before I start tapering). The key with any training plan is to build up slowly. Follow the standard recommendation of adding no more than 10 per cent a week.”
“It’s good to do two long runs in a row if you can, this helps you get used to running tired. Rest up before a sandwich run. Try a rest Monday, then 18 to 20 miles on Tuesday and Wednesday. And an easy day Thursday; double Friday, speed Saturday, and long on Sunday.”
“I would definitely do a marathon, it helps give you confidence. If it’s your first ultra and you’re going to run 50k or even 50 miles, having run half the distance or more will give you the belief you need to carry you through the second half.”
“Make sure you stay hydrated and take on board drinks with electrolytes when the weather is warm.” Check out our article on what to eat and drink for an ultra marathon here.
“On your long runs you might find it easier having a running partner, if no one is able to run with you perhaps a friend could cycle with you to keep you company.”
“When you train alone, always take a phone, some spare change (in case you get dehydrated and need a drink) and let people know where you’re going.”
“Rest and recovery is vital. If you are feeling tired, cut back on the training, recover and then build it up again. Always have at least one full day off a week where you do no exercise. A good longer term plan, that will help you not get over-trained, is to have three weeks hard training, one week easy. This works well to give your body a rest ready for the next three-week cycle.”
“Take one checkpoint at a time and when you get there throw it away and move onto the next one. Breaking the race up into little chunks is a great way to keep motivated.”
9. KEEP THE GOAL IN MIND
“When going through a bad patch in racing, or in training, remind yourself why you are doing this, it will give you a much-needed boost and keep you moving forward. In a race, keep an image of the finish line in your mind, you smiling with the race director putting the medal around your neck.”
10. PACE IT RIGHT
“Know the pace you’re going to run at, and be prepared to slow down if you have to. Always run your own race, it doesn't matter if everyone else goes off at breakneck speed – this is your race not theirs. Stick to your plan. Go off to fast and you’ll slow down towards the end – keep enough in reserve.”
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Some great tips here. I think you could transfer these tips to any training plan not just for Ultra running.
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