Marathons to Ultras

so over the last few years have done a few marathons and dabbled in triathlons including one ironman. Now looking for a new challenge and ultra running looks appealing but wondering where to start in terms of advice around training, recommended events, nutrition and lessons learnt. Any help greatly appreciated. Really tempted by the ultimate of a 100 mile event!


  • Training: longer runs, but slow down, also back-to-back long runs. You can get some good midweek training by running to/from work. Ultras generally start at 50K (occasionally 30 miles), but you get all distances on up, with 50 mile, 100km and then 100 mile being the standard ones, but there are 33 mile, 35 mile, 40 mile etc., also 12-hour, 24-hour...

    Centurion events (50 and 100 mile) are well organised with good route markings, aid stations well stocked etc. LDWA Challenge events are cheap. Start with shorter ultras and work up.

    Get decent lightweight waterproofs (e.g. Montane) and find a backpack you're happy to wear for several hours. Experiment with water bottles/drinking bladder. Learn to eat real food (not gels) on the run. Learn to navigate with map & compass if that's not a skill you already have. Find out which socks work for you (I've moved to toe socks for all my long runs; a while ago I loved twin-skin socks.

    Lots of training plans for 50K, 50M online - look at several and see how they vary, then follow one/adapt it to your life. Try run/walk schedules. Walk the steep hills.

    And enjoy it. Get out on the trails, note the wildlife you see, stop and savour the views.

  • DazDaz ✭✭✭
    edited May 2017
    Hi Silver Fox,  I too went from Ironman (through double Ironman) to Ultra running.  I'm sure you will have a great time and it won't be as difficult as you may think.  I found 50mile XC runs less damaging to the legs than road marathons.  I have done a 100 mile race and got the old official record for the 102 mile Cotswold Way. 
    In a 50mile race you can 'blag' it and fuel yourself in a similar way to Ironman.  100 miles are a whole new kettle of fish and you really need to be on the ball with nutrition.

    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
Sign In or Register to comment.