23miles then I can't go on :-(

Hi all,

 I am thinking about bailing out of doing a 50k ultra in December. The last month on my long runs I get to 20 miles feeling pretty good then BANG up to 23 miles I just die. Friday just gone I was anticipating this so the 23rd mile was at my house. I went in changed into some joggies and T shirt and thought I'll just walk as far as I can. I got another 1 1/2 miles before I just couldn't do anymore. Doesn't bode well either as this was a pretty flat run and the run I am doing has 6000ft of ascent. Should I bail out now? If so what are the rules and regs on selling your place because the company I went through do not accept refunds. I have emailed them asking if I could knock it down to a marathon which I think I could do but that will cost another tenner. All in all that would be roughly 65£ to run a marathon! Which I cannot justify.


  • how are you doing the 20 miles.are you running the whole way............and at what kind of pace........

    have you tried run/walk from the beginning

  • Hi,

    I'm running full 20 miles. I do that pretty slow at about 3hr 45mins which seems to be exactly the same time every time!

    KK I've been running properly since January image But always had a half decent level of fitness. I will look into deferring it but they seem pretty strict with what they allow.

    I could try run/walk but you just seem like a bit of a div all kitted out in lycra and plodding down the road image But perhaps needs must.

  • Thanks for that. My recovery time is pretty good after a 23 miler I can go and do a few miles the next day but I also do 12 miles 2 days after no problems. It's just a barrier I cannot get past. Perhaps I just need to get through that wall but my legs feel like lead and no matter what I eat or drink it doesn't make a difference. Its just like my body says no more thanks image

  • WiBWiB ✭✭✭

    TheVicar - Do you take any food in on your runs? What about drinks? the long runs do take practice, I know it is just running at the end of the day but like KK says building up is the key.

    I think you are doing the Dorset CTS, I am down for that as well. Trust me if you do it you wouldn't be the only one walking! Make the most of the terrain to do your walking though. No point walking to the foot of a hill and then trying to run up it and killing yourself!

    Personally though, I would not like to turn up to a race without feeling well enough prepared. I don't mind suffering but I like to suffer for a reason image

  • Thanks guys Yes it is Dorset CTS. It was my own fault for thinking I can do it lol.

    My hydration is spot on. My eating is not too bad now I think. Do you think doing back to back 15 milers would be more benficial than one 23ish miler?

    WIB if you could give me a piggy back 13 miles i'll be alright

  • WiBWiB ✭✭✭

    It is a temping offer... unfortunately as you are not a female beach volleyball player I will have to decline. Best I can do is a mildly enthusiastic clap at the finish? image

    I still think a single long run is important but you dont need to be banging them out every weekend. Back to back runs of slightly less distance can be just as beneficial but requiring less recovery and the quality is likely to be better.

  • I don't mind wearing a bikini. But a 6ft 1 13 stone man in a bikini on a cold day in december, isn't what you imagined.

    I think mentally doing back to backs would be better as i'll think well ive covered 30 miles (say) in 2 days surely I can do 33-34 in one go. But i'm not hitting that wall and I am not sure whether it's something I should be getting used to.

    I have been doing 20milers every week as I was panicing as i only have 2 months left and was trying to squeeze it all in.

  • you could keep the 20 miler going as that isn't a problem and ythen another one the next day 10 to 15 miles.see how that goes....

    It might be a mental thing now and so It would be good to get a longer one in of say 30 miles just to know you can..........take a picnic and let yourself take all day on it. run/ walking.....enjoying the views.........time on your legs is important for ultras.........

    then you will know if you can go longer or not.....

    if you are one of the few that want to run the whole thing then I think you will need to defer and spend the next year or two building up the long runs so that your body is used to them and have learned to cope



  • Have you tried having a rest?  You do seem to be banging out the miles with so much regularity.   Maybe try a "mini-tapering" exercise - similar to that recommended before a marathon?  Perhaps go 7-10 days where you do very little, to allow your body to be well recovered- then go for a long run and see if you can go beyond your 23 mile barrier? At least you'd learn something.

    The other thing to question, is the degree of core strength.  Do you do exercise other than running?  I've not run past 20 miles myself yet.. but a lot of advice says that you need to condition your whole body to help you deal with 'the wall'.

    Good luck.

  • no I knew I'd never run the whole thing I just thought I could at least get 25 miles under my belt and half run and walk the rest. In 2 weeks I am going down for the day to the coast to run part of the course as its only 20 miles away.

    I was half wondering whether on my long runs to do 15 miles out and back. Then I have no choice but to cover the mileage? I wonder if its a mental thing because I run 20 odd miles and I then run a few loops of the block incase I cant carry on and have to walk back. Now mentally I am so close to home and in your head you think I can just turn and go back or do one loop etc.

    I don't know I just thought I'd crank up the mileage and have no problems so its a bit of a knock

  • RW I had the last week oof due to having a cold and a bit of a niggle with my hip flexor. So I did have some time off but perhaps not feeling too strong because of being ill. I don't do much other than running. the whole core strength thing seems like a good idea as the further you go the sloppier your technique gets etc. I will give it a go as i did start some other exercises but finding the time is a sod

  • JeremyGJeremyG ✭✭✭
    TheVicar wrote (see)

    Hi all,

     I am thinking about bailing out of doing a 50k ultra in December. The last month on my long runs I get to 20 miles feeling pretty good then BANG up to 23 miles I just die. Friday just gone I was anticipating this so the 23rd mile was at my house. I went in changed into some joggies and T shirt and thought I'll just walk as far as I can. I got another 1 1/2 miles before I just couldn't do anymore.

    It is to a large extent mental - for example your last Friday by fixing it so the 23rd mile was at your house you had already commited mentally to that being the end. These mental blocks can be tough to overcome as you need to switch to the belief you can do it. You seem to have been getting the miles in consistently and decent long runs so I wouldn't start panicking that on the day (rested and tapered) you won't finish. The adrenaline and excitment of taking part gives you a real boost too. Up to 23miles in training is ok to get you round a 50k, as others have said walk the hills and run the downs/flat sections. Unless you are super fast the CTS are about enjoying the day out and appreciating running in great scenery.
    Stick to consistent training rather than trying to get longer runs in - if you pick up an injury the setback will be more of a blow than having to walk the last 5 miles for a finish.

  • Appreciate that. Yes I think it may have something to do with believing I can do it. After 23 miles the thought of doing 10 more miles pretty much breaks me. Perhaps I will see it differently when I go down there the middle of this month. Because I will be forced to walk pretty early on and perhaps that will get me further. I agree too that doing an event you seem to muster that little bit more from somewhere too.

    Is it too late on in the day to change my training plan? Every other week doing a long run (What would be an ideal distance to aim for?) The the second week do a 15/15 back to back? Or something similar?

  • Wow, thats amazing. Well done. I new to running long distance and couldn't even imagine running that long in one stretch. 

  • Neither could I 2 months ago. I would be super chuffed it was a marathon because I could do it and I should be well happy with what I have achieved. problem is I want to run an Ultra so I haven't achieved what I set out to do. I know I sound like a bit of a diva saying that lol. But appreciate the encouragement

  • CC. Yup probably was me lol. I know I need to ease up a little on myself but I set a goal and I hate missing it. Problem is doing the whole ultra thing you don't really have anything to gauge your training by other than distance and when the distance isn't going up I tend to worry a bit image Your training plan makes sense but I think it would be more useful on my next event as I only have 8 weeks left now

  • agree cragchick..........never done more than about 28 ever even for a 50 miler

  • FWIW I have trained only one cycle that got me up to 50 km in training earlier this year for an ultra. For that length of run I was totally unsure at the outset whether I could even make it.To get the confidence, do a run/walk for your long runs, and probably 22-23 miles is enough for 50 km training

    I recommend you do a walk/run right from the beginning, plus walking up even short hills that would otherwise push your HR over a slow long-run speed (I chose 72% maxHR as a cut-off, with 10:1 min run-walk intervals). At that effort I manage about 4:45 for a 50 km (cf 3:40 mara) but at least it tells me I can actually do the distance. Speed can come later!

    It is better to bank energy rather than time, i.e., start and continue very conservatively. Don't worry about being a div or a diva. Ultra people tend to wear tatty old shirts rather than lycra anywayimage

  • Cheers guys really appreciate the thoughts, ideas and help. Perhaps this week ill do a back to back instead of a long run then next week do an out and back and cover 25 miles (Walk/run from the off) and then perhaps top out there and rein it in a little. You're right because I will be walking from the off on the day without a doubt and conserving energy is the name of the game. Heard somebody say the other day an ultra is eating and drinking with a bit of running.

    Plus i'll get myself a tatty shirt too;-)

  • An ultra is to be respected (as is someone who attempts to run one).

    From my own experience, although I had run a few marathons, I found the step up to ultras to be quite tough and best done gradually - an important part of my training was to allow time to rest, recover and replenish - that didn't mean doing nothing - I would have maybe two weeks where I trained relatively hard (building up the mileage) and then a step back "easier" week.

    I also found that the distance involved with an ultra is just as much a mental challenge as a physical one and required a change of mindset (after all, who in their right mind would run an ultra) - rather than tackle each long run as a 20 or a 23 miler I'd divide each long run into sections - a half marathon followed by a 10K or a 5k followed by a half marathon followed by a 10k.

    I'd start off each long run at a shuffle - barely a jog - and build very gradually into a pace well within aerobic threshold (a pace I felt I could comfortably run at all day)  - at first I didn't worry too much about how much distance I covered - I'd focus more on building up to running for two hours and then three hours and more - only when I thought I could run comfortably for long periods of time (sometimes walking on the steeper uphill sections) did I start to consider distance.

    I found that getting used to eating and drinking on the run (small regular amounts and easily digestible) to be an absolute must.- I'd carry energy bars, and isotonic drinks with me or follow a route that took me past a petrol station or two or a village shop where I could stop off and get something.

    Over time the body adapts -  aerobic threshold increases as does lactate threshold (the point at which legs turn to lead) - after putting in the mileage (there's no other way) I began to recognise the right pace to run at - managing to just eke out gradually those energy reserves bit by precious bit.

    It does take time and experience - once you get it right though it's a terrific feeling knowing that with 49k behind you and with only 1 k to go there's nothing (not hell nor high water or any any other type of obstacle)  that's going to stop you getting to that finish line. Good luck.

  • Graham thanks for taking the time to write all that. Much appreciated. I do respect the distance hence the feelings I am having now. From hearing everybody else's words I feel as though I can attack it and see what happens. What have I got to lose? Also hearing people saying go and enjoy it is a breath of fresh air too. 2 Months ago I could only run a half marathon today I could run 20miles no problems-2 months time, fingers crossed I can run 50k. I am going to take everybody's advice on board and alter a few bits and see how I get on. I think I have sussed the eating and drinking as no matter what I do come 23 miles I get the lead legs. So as you say it is just a case of getting time on my feet and racking up the miles.

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