Imagine the sense of exhilaration you’ll experience at the end of race that’s even longer than a standard marathon. Intrigued? Welcome to the world of ‘ultra running’.
I have a few friends that are ultra runners and I have often had people ask me what’s involved and what it’s all about so today’s post should help answer a few of those questions.
If you’ve never heard of ‘ultra running’ before, the term basically covers all types of competitive running longer than the 42 kilometres of a typical marathon. They can also take place on any surface – including roads, dirt tracks and mountain trails.
In Australia, the UK and US, 50 mile (80km+) routes are becoming increasingly popular, as are trails that take in rough terrain and woodland to really push runners to their physical limits.
While in many respects this could be considered the next step up from a marathon, taking up ultra running doesn’t necessarily require you to double your training schedule. Speaking to Men’s Health magazine, record breaking ultra runner William Sichel said it’s not necessarily increasing your training that’s crucial to succeeding in ultra running; rather it’s about adapting your running style, by incorporating walking breaks.
If anything, the only difference you’ll notice between traditional marathon running and ultra running is the speed at which you wear your running shoes out! It goes without saying that the more kilometres your rack up, the quicker you’ll need to replace your footwear. Stringer Sports is a favourite Australian source for running shoes at the moment – in a lot of the stores they are too expensive and I end up having to order from the US but their prices are reasonable. And, for any UK readers, take a look at the selection of running shoes from Millet Sports and opt for a design that incorporates gel and foam into the design for optimum comfort when you’re covering long distances.
Even though your training schedule won’t need to be expanded, you’ll notice that ultra running takes more of a toll on your body and recovery time is longer. If you’re feeling the strain of your exertion and you’re struggling to recover after a spot of ultra running, check out these top recovery tips from Runners World.
Ultra-running is about discovering your bodies limits; and pushing past them to achieve and endure more. If you’re an experienced and accomplished marathon runner, why not take the next step with ultra running and put your body to the test?
Interested in racing in Australia? See a list of Ultra races here.
I am not sure I am ready to yet but who know’s one day…….
Have a great weekend and happy running 🙂