I thought I’d start my articles by writing about my preparation into Ultra Running. The first and main thing to remember is that everyone is different, we all train, eat and prepare for our events in different ways. Even if you have a good running partner who you train with together you will still do things differently.
I have a good back ground of pushing my physical limits from being in the armed forces so my body has been used to physical activity for many years, this has also helped mentally. My first major ultra distances were all on the treadmill and I spent most of the time training on them too, my thoughts being ” if your training for a treadmill event then train on a treadmill”.
However in 2009 I completed most of my training on the road and I do believe this helped with the stamina for my world record. So I’m now training fully on the road and the treadmill has been moved into the garage. As for training I’ll not go into specifics unless anyone asks but generally I plod. I’ve moved away from speed work and trying to beat my times to the opposite of going slower but for longer, getting my body used to moving constantly for long periods of time. Over the coming months I’ll be out running for 20+ hours regularly aiming to run about a 100 miles being 5 mph. You need to decide on what your goals are, if they are to run 50 miles as quick as possible then speed work will have to come into it, if its to run 200 miles non stop etc then its a totally different approach. Tailor your training to your events, I used to just try and run as quick as possible all the time and it just doesn’t work. One major thing I have noticed is running at night, you need to prepare for it, its a very hard slog at times because your body is shouting out ” I should be asleep, what the hell are you doing”, it drains your stamina and if unprepared it can be a killer.
Mental training is also a big part and I feel just as important, your body may be capable of running 100+ miles but if your head goes at any point then it become a huge battle to keep going. You need to find your focus, why are you doing this? Use this to fuel your motivation for the events and the points when you need to dig deep. I’ve not needed to yet but I know some runners take little notes with them to read at these moments to spur them on.
I pretty much eat what I want and when I want. I eat loads of chicken and pasta and still enjoy a beer or two. During the events I stick to normal foods, I mainly stay away from these sports drinks and gels as I’ve found them to make me ill and turn my stomach into a washing machine. Over 24 hours running I want my body to eat normally so I take tubs of rice pudding, fruit, fruit buns with plenty of butter and of course jelly babies and chocolate.
There’s so much to write about and each section could be broken down into much greater detail which I may do over the coming months adding them as I go.