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Ultra Marathons - Well Beyond 26.2 Miles

Ultra Marathon Training Books

Ultra marathons are distance events which are even longer than the marathon distance of 26.2 miles. Two of the most common distances for ultra marathons are 50 miles and 100 miles, however, these events can consist of any event defined by the race director. Training for these events can be a grueling process. However, despite the difficulty of this training process there are many new runners who opt to compete in ultra marathon events each year and the number of participants in these few events is increasing at a rapid pace. This article will take a look at the reasons why competitors are being drawn to these events and will also examine the training requirements for these unique events.

The draw to ultra marathon events may be difficult for many to understand. Even runners who run for exercise, fun and even compete in shorter distance events often have a difficult time understanding why runners would be drawn to these extreme events which require the runner to complete distance in excess of the marathon distance. Although this sport is not overwhelming popular largely because it is not the type of event to which many people are naturally drawn it is growing in popularity with more and more participants seeking out these events. For those who take the plunge and enter one of these events the most common appeal is a desire to complete an event which so few competitors even attempt and even fewer accomplish. Participating and completing these events give the runners a great sense of accomplishment.

Other runners are drawn to ultra marathon events to break out of what they consider to be a training rut. Training for an ultra marathon is certainly a unique situation and regardless of the type of events the runner was participating in already, he will likely have to alter his training regimen significantly to properly prepare for an ultra marathon. This can be especially appealing to runners who feel as though their current training routine is not challenging them enough and are seeking out a way to challenge themselves in new ways. Runners who previously competed in events equal to a half marathon distance or shorter will obviously need to make drastic changes to their training routine. However, even marathon runners who opt for participation in a more challenging ultra marathon will have to make a number of changes to his training routine. These changes will largely be dependent on the event the runner has selected, the distance of the course, the terrain of the course and the anticipated weather conditions on the day of the race. Each of these factors presents its own unique training challenge and devising a new training strategy to prepare for these factors can help a runner to refocus his physical and mental energy. It can also help to revitalize runners who have fallen into a pattern of workouts which are far too routine.

Still another aspect of ultra marathons which draw runners to these events is the strategy involved in completing these races. There is certainly a great deal of strategy involved in completing a marathon but this degree of strategy pales in comparison to the amount of strategy involved in completing these extreme races. Additionally, the runner will not likely have the opportunity to complete a run similar in length and terrain to the chosen course prior to the race. This means the runner will not have the opportunity to essentially rehearse his racing strategy on a training run. This presents a unique challenge because it puts the runner in a situation where he is facing the unknown on the day of the race. Most first time ultra marathoners do not have a particularly easy race in their first foray into the ultra marathon racing circuit. However, these same runners are usually inspired to seek out another ultra marathon event in an effort to improve his performance. The runner is also likely eager to improve upon his previous performance and correct any mistakes which he realized had been made in terms of either training strategy or racing strategy. The process of learning about how to compete successfully in ultra marathons is largely based on trial and error. Runners learn from their mistakes which strategies are not effective and also learn which strategies are beneficial. In preparing for subsequent races this information is devised to improve upon the training and racing strategy.

Finally, ultra marathoners should consider how they are going to train for an ultra marathon. There are many online training programs available for first time marathon participants but there is significantly less information available for first time ultra marathon runners. Some runners may mistakenly believe they can simply scale up a marathon training program but this is not the best way to devise a training strategy. Instead the athlete should plan on increasing his weekly mileage as much as possible without making himself susceptible to overuse injuries. Additionally the runner should also carefully evaluate the terrain and profile of the course and should be sure to incorporate similar hills and running surfaces into the training to ensure he is prepared for the race. Ultra marathons can usually keep high intensity speed workouts to a minimum during the training process because these workouts are not likely to be beneficial during the ultra marathon.


The video clip above is from my DVD about running stetches and other running related information. Click on the DVD case below to find out more.

Running Stretches and Running Tips

Click Here to view the DVD.

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