How to prepare for your first ultra-marathon?
So, what an earth is an ultra-marathon I hear you ask? And could it be the ultimate challenge for me? An ultra-marathon is considered to be any footrace longer than the traditional marathon (42.195 km). Although the most common distances of ultra-marathons are 50 km, 100 km or 160 km, there are some ultra-marathons that are even longer. Training sessions are usually pretty long as you’d expect, so don’t forget about your safety and visibility when training in the dark, and make sure you are fully prepared in all aspects with our expert guidance!
Read on for 7 invaluable tips on how to prepare for your first ultra-marathon.
- Want it: You must REALLY want to run an ultra-marathon. It should be your decision and your decision only. Don’t let anyone convince you unless you’re sure it’s the right challenge for you.
- Lose some weight: Find a healthy eating plan suited to marathon running; there are loads out there. Each extra kilogram is unnecessary weight to carry with you for such a long distance.
- Train: Build a strong foundation. Your training should start at least 6 months before the race if you have some previous running experience. The minimal amount of distance trained per week should be no less than 80km.
- Prepare: Two months before the race, you should be able to run the full distance within two days. For example, if you plan to run 100km in June, you should be able to run 50km+50km over a weekend in April.
- Fuel Up: Find the best fuel for you. Ultra-runners consume approximately 200-400 calories per hour, and you have to eat as often as every 30 minutes. During your long training sessions, start practicing eating on the run. Find out which energy gels, bars, bananas or other carbs work best for you.
- Hydrate: Learn to drink before you get thirsty. Staying hydrated is the number one rule for ultra-runners.
- Sort your sleep out: Get a decent sleep two nights before the race. It is likely that you won’t sleep well the night before the race, so make sure you get as much sleep as possible before that.
Be ready to suffer. Be ready to have long talks with yourself. And be ready to feel incredibly proud after the finish line.
Good luck for your first ultra-marathon!