Facing Ultramarathons: Essential Tips and Considerations

We venture into ultradistances when speed no longer provides the adrenaline rush we seek. Perhaps it’s the fleeting sensations of shorter races that push us beyond the limit, toward seemingly infinite distances. However, a common mistake is approaching these monstrous distances as if they were mere sprints. Intervals, intense workouts… yes, they’re effective, but if we want to delve into longer races, we must think big without reducing everything to grueling training sessions.

Walking Before Running

You don’t become an ultramarathoner by starting with a 24-hour race. The human body is adaptable, yes, but not to the point of immediately digesting the leap from a marathon to 100 miles without significant consequences. It’s like going from a sprint to an endurance tour. It takes patience and gradual steps to accustom your body to push beyond its limits. Don’t rush from 50 to 100 kilometers per week; proceed with caution. A weekly 10% mileage increase is challenging enough.

Recovery: The Overlooked Art

In these races, what we often forget is that recovery times can be trained. We aim not only for the ability to endure effort but also to recover quickly. Elite runners can run for days, resting scarcely. Even if we’re not aiming for that level, we need to learn to recover fast from our efforts. Seize moments of descent or flat terrain to catch your breath. Plan two training sessions spaced 8-10 hours apart in a weekly day. They don’t have to be both at the maximum level but a mix between sub-maximal and light or endurance work.

Endurance: The Secret Weapon

In ultradistances, forget about steady pacing; it’s not a run with a consistent pace; it’s a journey through unpredictable variables. Focus on the aerobic zone. Train hard, push into “Zone 3” with targeted sessions to enhance your aerobic capacity. Long repetitions at medium intensity, progressions, varied sprints with segments similar to race pace. You have to endure, yes, but also optimize your breathing. It’s not straightforward, trust me.

Eating: The Runner’s Fuel

The more you run, the more calories you burn. But don’t indulge just because you’ve clocked triple-digit kilometers. It’s the quality of food that matters, not quantity. Seek advice from those who know about the right calorie intake and proper supplementation, or else you risk bursting like a balloon!

Ultradistances aren’t just about kilometers; they’re about wisdom. It takes intelligence in training and planning, never forgetting that long-distance running isn’t merely an extended sprint; it’s the art of endurance.