my first 30 miler

I hardly dare creep on this ultra forum with my wee 30 miler but I need advice.

I am doing the Chagford Challenge on March 27th.  It is a very hilly off road route - over Dartmoor etc. It is self navigation so will be squinting at the map regularly.

I did an off road Marathon last October (4.44) and am up to 20 miles at the week end now.  I do get quite tired and only run 2 - 3 times more during the week plus a couple of gym sessions.

My question is should I run more than 20 miles  or just keep my weekend runs to that.  Should I try doing say 14 mile runs on both sat and sunday - gulp.

Alos I am doing the Grizzly two weeks before but will only trot along in my own sweet time - actually I only have one speed over this kind of distance and that's politely called steady!!

So if I am going to put in an extra big run when would be the right time? - I am also moving house but that's a whole other marathon!!

Would appreciate your words of wisdom


  • I did my first 30 miler last October and only did around 20 miles leading up to it. I took the 30 miles really easy, around 10.15 per mile on average I think. Normally do long runs at 9-10 minute pace, recent half marathon is 1:37.

    I am now training for a 40 in August and a 50 in October, and am planning on doing some slow long ones at ultra pace - I want to do 30 miles before the 40 and then I reckon I'll be ready for a 50.

    I personally would try to do 25 miles or so, nice and slow, maybe 3 or 4 weeks before the race. Hope you enjoy it!! Oh, might be worth doing some hill work midweek too!!

  • I also ran my first 30 miler last year on the back of (for me) a relatively normal marathon training programme (although interrupted by injury).  I think my longest run was around 18 miles.  Given the lack of long runs I used a run/walk pattern (25/5) on the day- if you are self-navigating I guess you will have fairly regular breaks to consult the map.
  • Thank you - that all sounds good.  I am a member of a running club and in our training sessions we have a variety of stuff including hill reps.  I can't step out of the door without being faced by an enormous hill.

     Good luck with your forthcoming races

  •  What the sombrero man said, I wouldn't do any more than 24 in prep for a 30 and no less than three weeks before your main event.  I'd probably do at least one of your sessions as a speed session and one as a hills session then do my LSR at your expected race pace, that way you're covering you the runs you really need to be doing in three days and so if you get out on another day it's a bonus.

     Having said that I run to how I feel on ultras rather than a specific pace, if that's 8 mins on the flat or 12 minutes uphill then so be it

  • Great - thanks everybody - that's very encouraging and I seem to be pretty much covering what you advice
  • Pretty much as has been said above, you dont need to put in the total miles of the race in a training run before hand, although a warm up race about 6 weeks before can help over a shorter distance (say a resonably tough 15-20 miler in this case). If you are going over Dartmoor I can recommend getting the hill training in. Going up and down, I find its the fast downhills that hurt more than the uphills!

    As it is self navigating, then remember its better to check the map for an extra 15 seconds than run the wrong way for 15 minutes.

    It is acceptable to walk. So don't kill yourself trying to run if your legs don't want to! Some people stick to a pattern like previously mentioned (25/5). Others take an a approach of run downhill and flat, any hill that you can't see over the top of then walk it! you will most likely develop your own method.

    At the end of the day, get your key training in, any extra you can manage without detriment is great. Time on your feet is more important than miles. On the day just listen to your body, if it can go a bit faster then go faster. if it needs to go slower then go slower... just dont stop image

    Oh... and once you have done the 30 prepare yourself for the fact you will most likely get home aching and look for a 50... and before you know it you will be running in the middle of nowhere as the sun comes up, munching flapjack and thinking "not bad, only a half marathon left to go and I'm finished!"

    I will shut up now!

  • Ha ha - that's brilliant.  I live on Dartmoor so am well used to big hills every time I run. 

    Thanks for the tip about the map - am most nervous about getting lost even though there seem to be very comprehensive written instructions as well as OS no's etc.

  • Step 1: enjoy yourself first and foremost! Good thing about ultras is that people are less obsessed about time

    Step 2: Take it rel easy first time out - experiment with different run/walk strategies versus running steady. I find that 30m is when a run/walk works better for me than pushing all the way. But it's a personal thing

    Step 3: Don't obsess over distance beforehand. No need for crazy distances. Personally, I would favour the idea of shorter back-to-backs than going crazy on longer one offs. Its good to feel your legs being heavy on the second day but knowing that you can get through it. Valuable experience for the inevitable energy low at some stage on the day.

    Step 4: enjoy yourself first and foremost - you are running in beautiful countryside.

    (p.s. get used to 'thumbing' map/roadbook ie keep your thumb on your last reference point so you dont lose your place and waste time re-locating your position)
  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭
    Enjoy the moment when you go past 26.2 miles for the first time.
  • This is exactly the thread I was looking for, just entered the Farilands Valley Challenge 50k for July which will be my first race longer than a marathon. I like the idea of going out there simply to enjoy it.
  • i am creeping in quietly to this thread just to gain some insight and knowledge at the moment! so please excuse any questions that seem really looking also to do an ultra of 30miles(eventually) to begin with like flipperjane.  i really like the idea of the ultras and running with less time pressure and taking in the scenery. also the feeling of just running and running!! hope nobody minds me sneaking in and listening and learningimage
  • To add my 2 pence worth ive done a few 30s and 35s just off the back of normal marathon training so agree with all the comments above. But be warned - you will not stop at 30 ! I've just done my first 50 miler - with a 30 being the longest training run.
  • amd how was it?  details please  image
  • I also did my first 50 miler recently. 

    It has to be said that once you have done a 31 or 35 mile race and found that your legs dont drop off, you immediately develop a hankering to try your hand at a 50 mile event. 

  • Loonybell, have a look at the JW ultra, it starts in Stratford and finishes in Bham and you run along a canal. It's in sept although this year may be sold out. I did this last year and it was great. Really friendly.
  • oo thanks madlot...are you doing it this year? i can run (or crawl) with a fellow loony....image
  • Yep, it's a great race and a great day out. Bring the family. Not sure if it's sold out though. I'll boing the thread.
  • ooo sounds exciting and im so loonybelle im daft enough to do it!image
  • You'd be daft not too image
  • thought you had gone orf to beddy byes!!

    tell me roughly what JW involves...briefly..

  • oh you did already didnt you?image oopsie, i forgot, its getting lateimage
Sign In or Register to comment.