new to ultra training

Hi

Am looking for some advise. I hope to run comrades next year but am more than a little concerned about training. Not so much the distance but the time involved. Having just dropped my mara pb to 3.48 in Leicester Im going to go easy for a month then start building. I know there are no short cuts but wonder if anyone has run less miles with a back pack or pushed something to make it harder and therefore not run as long. Any other ideas welcome. Thanks

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  • martin 007! wrote (see)

    Hi

    Am looking for some advise. I hope to run comrades next year but am more than a little concerned about training. Not so much the distance but the time involved. Having just dropped my mara pb to 3.48 in Leicester Im going to go easy for a month then start building. I know there are no short cuts but wonder if anyone has run less miles with a back pack or pushed something to make it harder and therefore not run as long. Any other ideas welcome. Thanks


    ...but you are looking for some already....

    If you want to run Comrades, then you need to train to be able to run 56 miles on road, and hilly ones at that.

    Back to back long runs are accepted generally as good practice for ultras....as this means you run on tired legs. You need not always run on road, but some will be necessary....I found out how critical this is recenlty the hard way.

  • If you've not been told about it yet, then have a look at Lore of Running, contains a training schedule for Comrades
  • i tend to work up to a long run of 15miles ish.... and then start introducing a shorter run the day before.. i.e. 5miles.

    and gradually increase both until they're say 20 & 20.

    i think nick is better placed to advise than i.

    i suspect hal higdon has a comrades/50 mile schedule ?

  • Back to backs are good if you really can't get the proper long ones in but to be honest you are not going to get your body used to long runs unless you do long runs. There is more to it than just the running on tired legs, how will you know what foods you can stomach, how will you know what kit rubs you or is comfy, how will you know what shoes are OK for that long.. it goes on and on.  Without the experiance from long sessions or long races these are all unkonwns that could wreck your day.

    If you are serious about doing it then find a plan for it (they are all pretty similar) and follow it.

    Otherwise you may well be in for a lot of pain and disappointment if you go too slow to make a cut off image

  • Thanks I think!

    I get the message. Will have to think what to do. Sunday felt good and there was a bit left at the end so at the very least I have a good base. Draycote 35 feels like a good stepping stone

  • AndrewSmith wrote (see)

    Back to backs are good if you really can't get the proper long ones in but to be honest you are not going to get your body used to long runs unless you do long runs. There is more to it than just the running on tired legs, how will you know what foods you can stomach, how will you know what kit rubs you or is comfy, how will you know what shoes are OK for that long.. it goes on and on.  Without the experiance from long sessions or long races these are all unkonwns that could wreck your day.

    If you are serious about doing it then find a plan for it (they are all pretty similar) and follow it. Otherwise you may well be in for a lot of pain and disappointment if you go too slow to make a cut off image

    IMO this is the most important point Andrew raises, and is critical to success - or not. (fluids are also important)

    You can fit in long runs into your lifestyle, it just takes a bit of thinking. Draycote is a good opener, as it is significantly longer than a marathon to mean you cant just 'hang on for the last few miles'.

    Think about getting up at Arse O'clock on a weekend once a month....to stick in a 35-40 mile run....you can get this done by noon if you start soon early.

    Consider www.ldwa.org.uk also - lots of long and cheap events.

  • I always use Norrie Williamsons schedules for comrades you can find them in "EVERYONE'S GUIDE TO DISTANCE RUNNING" . Just about every Comrades schedule I have ever seen only calls for two long runs beyond 26 miles, the longest being 60K or 37miles, you will be able to run this in six hours given your marathon time so start at 0500 and your done before lunch.

    There are no short cuts to ultra running. As others have said experiment with what you eat and drink, Comrades has Water / gatorade / Coke (Coke is great after 25 miles) plus banana's, oranges , salted potatoes and various chocolate things!

    Its way to early to be thinking about training specifically for Comrades yet. Keep to your regular marathon schedule until february then start a Comrades schedule. Enjoy it

  • DD- That makes me feel a lot better only 2 over 26. 24 hours on Im thinking something like this Rest of October recovery from mara. Nov/dec at least 1 20 miler a month plus similar to what I was doing e.g. 10 miler midweek and a 10k for speed work. How does that sound. Only other question what do you suggest pace wise.  I find running anything over 8.45 difficult so thinking about starting with walk breaks now after maybe 6 miles? The loop Im going to use is 6.5 miles so could walk to my house and try food. Ive eaten SIS bars and choc on training runs in the past without any negative effectimage

    thanks

  • Martin: Your plan sounds fine, I always start my Comrades schedule February 01, however I am Marathon fit at that point with the usual background of long runs, speed work and tempo runs, pretty well what your proposing.

    Walk breaks: well you are going to take them on Comrades so you might as well get used to them now. My "normal Comrades" includes a run / walk system up the big hills (100 walk / 100 run). A walk through every aid station at 5K intervals, run the rest. This got me to a respectable 8-40 finish last year so it works! Pace wise I run a marathon in about 3-20, at Comrades I went through half way (marathon distance in 4-17. So in other words I slowed by 25% on Marathon pace, I pretty well did my long training runs at Comrades pace, so perhaps 10 min miles for you?

    Have fun. See you in the International tent at the end! 

  • Thanks Dave

    My target is a bronze,allowing an hour for a distaster, must be honest enjoying total blow out food/drink wise this week. Back on track next week

  • Hi Martin,

    Fully endorse what DD is saying. Just add my penny's worth, definitely worth doing a run that is significantly beyond the marathon if you haven't run one before - it's not just the physical training but the mental training that is useful. Also do lots of run on hills - learning to run downhill when knackered will come in very handy on Field's Hill - which comes with at around 40miles in the race...

    SD
  • Having just done London2Brighton (56miles cross country) , i would agree with the food element, very important to know what you will and won't want to eat after 8+ hrs running. Unfortunately there is no one size fits all training schedule, as i have heard someone say before 'we are a project of one' what works for me may not work for you training wise. I didn't run further than 30miles (Downland Ultra) in preperation for L2B but i did concentrate on higher mileage than the schedule i was following and got upto 75miles as peak mileage, and did on quite a few occasions do 3 runs in a 24hr period  each 9.5miles (run to work 7am, run home 5.50pm, run back to work 7am) one of these at about Half Mara pace.

    You have loads of time to find what works for you, then stick with it and don't be afraid to do some shorter events (half mara's etc) as fun as you want to enjoy the training.

    Just my un-expert opinions image

  • Thanks all, great advise so far. First proper run since Leicester monday. Im going to find reducing pace VERY hard. Plan was to do 10 miles at 9 min mileing, first couple close but felt great so got quicker and quicker, at 8 thought I can go sub 1.20 here so I did, Very strange feeling, great run but far to quick. Any thoughts about the mental side of ultra training. ?
  • Yes it is mental. Possibly not the answer you were looking for image
  • I am also hoping to do Comrades next year. Did my first marathon in London this year at 4hr13min. Of to New York next week to try and get sub 4hr. Then want to concentrate on training for the Comrades if I get in. Just looking at the events next year, for those of you who have done it, what do you think about me doing the 50kultra at Wyre Forest at the begining of March, would that be good as part of my training programme, and have any of you done that one?

     Thanks in advance.

     Tricia

  • ultra running is 50% mental.......and 50% mental.

  • Tricia: My Comrades training schedule says 50 - 60K in week 4 of the 16 week plan, so somewhere around Mid March, so your plan should be OK, personally I never do the first 50K run preferring to run a hard marathon instead.  If you want to get in to Comrades enter on 01st November and you will be fine, 1st first come first served.

    The mental side of Ultra running? Well you will have bad patches, its learning to get through them and how to ignore pain thats important, I have a couple of coping stratergies,

    1  I break the run into sections and only think about getiing to the end of the section I'm currently running,that objective might be a aid station or in the case of comrades the next timing mat. The rest of the run can wait until I get to that objective.

    2 Distract myself by trying to name all the english league football teams, counting how many countries I have visited etc etc.

    3 If really desperate count my steps, I can assure you by the time you get to 500 you will have forgotton what you were worrying about!

  • Thanks Dubai Dave. Do you think I should train to run/walk or should I just run slow and walk up all the hills. Which would be the best strategy for getting round - don't want to break any records but just to get in before the cut off.
  • Tricia: Run / walk?

    Well when I was running Comrades in around 10 hours I used to walk all the hills and all the aid stations. When I got serious about it I started run/walking the hills, walking the aid stations.... so in reality very little changed.

    Your going to walk in a ultra unless your a elite athlete and clearly neither of us are! I don't like run / walk strategies for Comrades when you say I'll run 8 mins / walk 2 or whatever your plan is.  I don't like them because to maintain such a stratergy you are going to have to run up some pretty steep hills when tired. Therefore I much prefer a scheme where you walk up hill and through the aid stations but its what suits you.

  • Thanks Dubai Dave, I think that sounds the best strategy for me then, to walk up all the hills and through the aid stations. How easy is it to work out what running pace to do, I know what my pace is for a marathon, half and 10k but not sure about 56miles! Thanks for your help by the way - and sorry to have hyjacked the thread
  • Tricia

    Seem to remember that the formula for comrades is 2.48 x Marathon time (certainly spot on for me). so take a 4 hour marathon and you have a 10 hour comrades. Which you a average pace of  10-42 minute miles. Allowing for walking then were probably looking a t somewhere around 9-45 running pace.

    My average pace in 2009 was 5.8 min/K i ran uphill at about 6.2 min/K and down at around 5.3 min/K. I didn't walk very much!

    Good luck

  • Thanks for that image
  • Hi Tricia, no problem any questions answered by the experts on here is fine by meimage  If you have read back I hope to do Draycote in Feb and the grantham canal run in March as my 2 over 26 training runs, figure easier to be with others and not having to carry so much water etc. Good luck in New York with the sub 4 by the way

    Final decision for me Friday after club meeting. (another member also thinking about it)

  • Tricia,

    50km in March sound fine to me.

    As DD has said I would definitely go for the run/walk strategy that suits you on the day. The only thing I would add is that you need to be disciplined in when you start to walk and when you start to run. I find that if I start walking just because I'm tired, I lose my mental discipline and it becomes all to easy to stop running at the slightest excuse. You need to say to yourself "I will run until that road sign/lamp post etc....' and if possible when you get to the landmark say "I feel good so I'll go just to that next lamp post" before walking and whilst walking you need to set a target of where you will start running and keep to it.

    One mental game that I play is to know how long it takes me to walk a kilometre (11min when I'm really tired) and as I pass a km marker try and work out how long it would take to walk to the finish - then add that time to the time on my stopwatch to see if I will make it before the cut-off. The numbers are usually very frightening until well into the last quarter of the race which keeps you focussed on the task in hand. However, it is a geat feeling when you know that you will finish in time even if you walk to the end. Having said that there was one run when that didn't happen until the "1km to go" mark - in the old days when the cut-off was 11 hours I finshed in 10:56:03 - just 236 seconds to spare!

    Martin,

    Hope you're successful in convincing your clubmate to come too.

    DD,

    Are you marathoning in the UK this weekend?

    SD
  • Thanks Slow Duck. Another question for all of those of you experienced in ultras. Doing the marathon I survive on water and gels every 30 mins which I cope with fine. What do you all do for hydration and food? Also do you take electrolyte tablets? Do you carry everything you will need with you or do you rely on the aid stations having what you want?

     Thanks in advance

    Tricia

  • SD: Yep beachy Head on saturday

    Tricia: they have loads of food at Comrades but I run on gels and coke. They have water / gatorade / coke at everyaid station, gels you need to carry.

  • The way I see it is that everyone walks in Comrades except elites! I did this event "early" in my running career and it still holds true, walk thru the picnic spots (in any race), train slow.... sounds easy but train slower than what you can do.  Then use the HM or Marathon event as a "training" run. The idea is apparently that when you finish a long run you should not be drained...you should have been able to keep moving, if not you're training too fast.

    All the best and I wish I could be there!

    Enjoy the event and try not to eat too many sanwiches (only expirement on training runs). 

  • I'm no expert but...
    ...On top of the volumes of sound advice above, I reckon there's a cut off point around 40m when it stops being a marathon with a bit tacked on the end, and becomes a different sport requiring a diferent approach.   Yes Draycote is a good starting point to get the confidence that you can go well beyond mara distance.  But once you get beyond about 40m the other stuff mentioned above - like eating solid food - really comes into play.  As has been said, a lot of it is mental rather than physical and ultra running suits self-reliant people who are not phased by the idea of possibly running alone for hours and hours - it doesn't come on a plate like an organised road mara.   Time, not distance, is the challenge in many ways.   But mostly - have fun.
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