To do or not to do?

Have done alot of reading in recent months and find myself drawn to training for my first ultra.

However I only have two previous marathons under my belt and a handful of half marathons, then 10k's etc...... all this may laughable to some but I have an iron will and the ultra desire will not go away.

I have a charity place for VLM 2013 but the thought doesnt excite me nor does the fund raising chore of £2,500 basic!!.

I have jumped on here in the hope that I will get some sound,helpful advice from some genuine people who can point on the right road.

No, I havent got bags of experience but I got guts and determination so thats a start and I am used to time on my feet .....but I know this is a whole new ball game!!!.

Friends and family are all advising me against it and would prefer a nice day out in london!! and dont think its possible.

Bit confused right now and would appreciate some sound advice.

Thank you for reading 

Clare image




  • wehats your weekly mileage like and how much spare time do you speedy are you.......

    do you like mountains or flat.........there are canal ultras and mountain ultras.........

    i would start by slowly building up your long run and then the next day start building up a recovery that they both get longer....

    some events like the LDWA are very cheap and friendly and are designed for walkers and so if you are a slow runner you are not worried about missing cutoffs........

  • Reminds me of myself last year, now have several ultras done and was the best choice I made. That itch won't go away so you may as well succumb! I can appreciate that fundraising is a chore and if your heart is not in it then let the place go to someone who really wants it.

    Training is not too much different to a marathon if you start with a 50k race - good luck!
  • I did a 30 mile race as a long training run for a forthcoming marathon. I took it steady to save my legs and found it easier than racing a marathon. My legs recovered much quicker. So if you just want to complete it - it's not too bad at all.
  • I ran a 50K before I ran my first marathon. It had the great advantage that it gave me mental permission to stop worrying about speed and just concentrate on building up mileage. Then I went into my marathon training with my legs used to running long (and knowing I could run the distance) so working on speeding up wasn't a problem.

    50K is a relatively easy option and there are a number to choose from. I did the London Ultra, mainly because it was easy for me to train on the route.

    50 miles is more of a challenge... In between there are e.g. 33 mile, 35 mile and 40 mile events.

    There are training schedules available online for 50K and for 50M, which you may find useful to get you started and at least give you an indication of the amount of training you need to do.

    If you're not enthused about London & raising £2,500, then don't do it go ultra instead!


  • Clare, the itch isnt going to go away. I ran a 52k only after 2 marathons I think like you  I had to see what it was like and loved it. It is a different mindset but the training isnt that different in truth. I agree with whats been said, think about what you like best, roads, trails, is time more important than finishing?, there are loads to choose from that would suit whatever preference you have, go for it and good luck!

  • imageclare..can i redirect you to the 'wannbe ' thread?? some helpful advice there from some lovely people

  • Hey thank all of you for replying and I will jump onto the wannabe thread and have a nose.


  • The longest race i ever done was a half marathon before jumping in to the world of ultras. Completed the London to Brighton ultra having never ran a marathon with 6months training.
  • how did you find the step up john?.....and where do you go from here?


  • Easy ish. I started cycling too and from work which was 11 miles round trip. I took the cycling as my cv work out. Then 3 or 4 times a week i'd go out running at a nice easy pace and just built up the miles. Eventually got to the point where i could run 13 miles one day followed by 26 the next.

    I was also doing yoga and palaties once a week and as much rock climbing as i could squeeze in. Future ultras for me are the Born to Run in feb, The Wall in june and from there i should be ready for my first 100 miler on the Ceasers Camp Challenge.

    Ultra running is all in the head, just keep moving forward and you'll get to the end at some point. Take the pressure off by not getting wrapped up in times or distance just go out and run.
  • Heck John , where and how do you fit all this phiz !! Into your life

    Amongst work etc, I admire your commitment though .

    I think that is what is bugging me about the VLM 2013 timings etc ..when

    I just want to be out there for the sheer thrill of running .

    I still can't decide sack VLM next year but was running for friend's charity

    And feel guilty image

    I think the ultra bug is spreading though!! image
  • i dont think you will find any similarities between running an ultra and VLM image

  • No I don't think I will.... My mindset has moved onto

    Ultra I feel.

    I feel torn between duty for my friend and pursuing an ultra...

    VLM feels like wading through treacle! In comparison as I feel the

    Excitement has gone !.... Must it be so hard to decide!! image
  • You can still run for your friends charity but doing an ultra instead of a marathon.

    I fit my phiz in around life, just take the opertunities to run when they present themselfs. For instance when the wife goes out horse rideing i'll go out with her and run against the horse. Instead of watching tv at night i'll go out running for an hour or two. Even if i can only get half an hour running done i'll take the opertunity. I'll run from work to the climbing wall, get a climbing session in and then run back to work to get my van.
  • Clare: I'm running about 50 miles a week at the moment (will be more closer to my next ultra, but I'm training for a trail marathon at present), plus one one-hour Pilates session, plus about 15 minutes of Pilates every morning as part of my waking-up routine. So I'm running perhaps eight hours a week and spending a further three on Pilates. But the morning Pilates fits into my wake-up routine anyway, and the rest is probably less than most people spend watching TV each week! It's just about priorities.

    I -am- running VLM next year, because I got a GFA place and I want to do it once. But my "A" race for 2013 is Lakeland 50.

    You can train for and run London as part of your trainiing for an ultra, or as already suggested, give the place to someone else to raise the £2,500, but still fundraise for the same charity for running an ultra - but without the fund-raising target pressure.

  • 2 1/2 grand!   And I bet people still get on waiting lists.

  • Yes thats sound advice debra thank you, I need to rearrange my routine and priorties I think.

    Definately have my sights set on an ultra for 2013 that much I do know.

    You will love the atmosphere of VLM, you will always remember it, same with an ultra I suspect.

    Good luck with your training image


  • i think the queues, crowds ,travel logistics ,cost would be a total nightmare not to mention the infuriating shuffling towards and over the start line for over 1 mile!!....if thats 'atmosphere' it can stay there as far as im concerned. ultras are a totally different buzz

  • ..anyway having stuck my 2 penneth worth in im back off to where i belong on wannabe...;)

  • No it is a bit of a faff ... But it's a tiny piece of the jigsaw and it is positive

    Experience ... It's now very commercial ESP with charities raising the bar .. Year on year with sums to be raised... Granted its not for everyone but that's life image
  • i know clare, its personal choice, and i agree the fundraising level gets ridiculous but i guess its such a well known event now that the organisers know they will get people doing it. have you sorted your dilemma? how about doing an ultra for your friends charirty insteadimage

  • I think I would gain far more satisfaction from an ultra...and get the

    Feeling the people are a whole lot nicer !!on this forum

    People have been great... Seem like a different breed..positive people

    But not saying neg about other folk... It's how you find people.

    I found our From my charity today that they want me to raise

    ??1250 by 31st Dec 2012 and attend meeting and have proof etc..straight up!.

    So no pressure... Much!!!.... Anyway that's the tin lid for me.... Ultra and a

    Bit of fundraising on the side but not at their beck and call !!
  • Its so interesting to hear how you combine everything cragchick and how it all fits in and all clicks into place and it has made me realise what can be achieved.

    Thank you for fuelling my interest and inspiring me to go out there and achieve something similar..

    I aint the quickest and know folk always judge you on the marathon time etc but I know there are miles!!!! in me.

    Hey you go girl...wish you every success


  • hello cragc!! *waves*....the more i read your posts the more i think we are very alike!! lol...chatterwise, runwise and choice of ultras! im like you, and agree that IF you go for the atmosphere element of events being busy/hyped/promotional then London is a probably a goodun..but like you Cragc i dont like it at all...gimme miles of wide open space in the middle of nowere with 100 runners or so all spread out...and thts just fineimage

  • LB: like I've said before, living in London it makes sense to run it once - to have an easy answer to people asking "have you run the marathon?" when I'm not in the mood for explaining that yes, other marathons are the same distance as London. Also for curiosity if nothing else. May enjoy it, may not - I prefer trail to road - but hopefully this will be an interesting experience - and I earned the place and don't need to do any fundraising. About the only other long road race I'm interested in, that I know of, is Comrades (and whatever race I'll need to run to get a decent pen placing for that).

  • It makes sense for people to do that like you say, and having done London

    Twice..2009/10 ... I look forward to the ultras
  • There are some lovely rural marathons out there which are good as trainig runs for ultras- there was a lovely small race in Perthshire last july, there are local races everywhere- no need to brave the hassle and fund- raising terrors of london if you just want to run 26.2 miles.

    Good first ultras? I did a 31 miler off just marathon trainig, 5 weeks after a marathon that acted as a lst LSR, although I did attempt to race it, rather than treat it as a trainig run. I also did a 41 miler off much the same, although that time I was more relaxed about the marathon, and did it 30 minutes slower than pb- pace.

    I suspect that for anything much longer than 40 miles, a more focussed plan , with more very long runs ,or back-to-backs may be needed.

  • Go for it. I started running in January this year. I have done 3 10ks a 30k and in December I am meant to be doing a 50k. I'm moderately confident of doing it and I think I will complete it as thats all that I want. I don't care about times etc. Since January I have been out for about a month with Sciatic nerve problems too.

    Try a 50k first and see how it goes. I'm doing the Dorset CTS but wished I were ready for the Salisbury 54321 Ultra as its a little more flat lol

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