How to move up to an Ultra
For runners who are thinking about moving up to running an ultra-marathon, training properly and increasing the distance reasonably is very important. You want to make sure that you can take the time to train for the distance, train for nutrition, train for tapering and recovery.
Don’t start too fast:
Signing up for a 100km race as your first ultra might be a bit too much. Taking time to build a strong base and foundation will help you progress strongly and enjoy your first Ultra. Training for 6-8 months, by increasing the mileage steadily, building your long runs from 3hrs to 6hrs on the trail will train your body, brain, and avoid possible injuries.
Now we know how important cross training is to increase our fitness level, core strength, running form, muscle strength in order to avoid injuries and improve our running form. Include functional strength training like jumping squats, lateral lunges, bridges, planks, burpees, push ups. Increasing our muscle strength helps to increase our running speed. If we work on our glutes and core and even arm strength, our overall performance will be stronger. It’s also important to use cross training to avoid muscle overuse, include some other type of cardio like cycling, swimming, elliptical trainer.
Structure your weekly training plan:
2-3 weight training workouts
1-2 long runs
1-2 speedwork or hill repeats,
2 recovery runs
One day off.
Eat healthy and enough:
Eat as clean as possible, avoid processed foods, increase your intake of protein and healthy fat. Find your ultimate personal diet; some people need more carbohydrates than others, or more protein. Figuring out the right diet is also part of the training plan that will get you through that Ultra feeling great and strong. During a race, make sure you eat something every 30 mins, whether it’s a gel, chews, energy drinks, food. Test your running fuel when training, that is the key to not having any stomach issues during the race.
Schedule some recovery time:
Recovery time has to be included in your training schedule. The more effort you put into your training, the more important it is to include some recovery days (slow and easy runs, more sleep, a day off). Also, make sure that you schedule some extra days off after running an Ultra. Focus on stretching, foam rolling, massage, and moving to activate the blood flow. If we don’t include some recovery time, eventually we will either burn out or get injured. Come up with a well-balanced training plan and diet to make sure you feel strong, healthy, and increase your performance level.
Train Hard, Eat Right & Feel Great!