ultra marathon

I would like to have a go at the dartmoor discovery this June after missing it last year through injury.
I would like some advice on training for this distance as things went badly wrong last year. I train 4 times a week, with a chance for a long midweek run on my day off.
Any advice would be welcome.


  • way, way out of my league Jane, but good luck - Wild will does tri's and Ironman, but not sure about any Ultra guru's.

    only thing i would say is that some of these guys train twice daily, and clock more than a few miles a week (ten times my mileage anyway) - maybe that may be the key...
  • How far is it?
  • 'zilla's right, most ultra runners run twice a day
  • LizzyBLizzyB ✭✭✭
    Hmm, I've been toying with the idea of doing an ultra this year. Ironwolf, have you ever done the Laugavegurinn (55km) in Iceland? Or know anyone who's done it? I want to know more before I commit myself!

    PS the winning time was a slighly scary 4:39! But most people had the decency to do it in around 7 hours.
  • Hi Jane. I ran the "sister" event to the Dartmoor last year - Two Bridges - in Scotland, 35 miles. It was pretty awful (!) but there is a good amount of information about training for ultras on the following sites....




    In the main the training is much the same for a marathon but with the weekly long run getting longer!

    Good luck. Ultras on the back burner for me this year and back to concentrating on getting my marathon time down.


  • What's the Dartmoor Discovery?
  • Hi LizzyB - sorry, I've never been to Iceland. But I want to one day do the Midnight Marathon.

    There's a 50 miler fairly near here at the end of June, I keep thinking about doing that one but it conflicts a bit with triathlon training. It starts late evening too, I think 11pm.
  • Jane,

    I'm running the Marathon des Sables in April and have actually shortened my runs during the week to ensure 1 really good quality distance effort at the weekend.

    The shorter runs consist of a fast tempo 5 miler, a 4 mile interval and a 2 mile 'best effort' run. As I find with most of these threads, the advice is a case of 'horses for courses' though.

    Other than the running, I have changed my mental approach on the long run concentrating on time rather than distance. For some reason, I find it more relaxing to approach it by saying that I'm going to put 2 hours 'into my legs' rather than think I've got 15-16 miles to do. I don't know if the Dartmoor has stages but that is how I plan to treat the MdS, just a stage at a time.

  • Jane,

    There are lots of different ways to train for longer distances.
    If you look on the some of the other running websites they have crazy schedules were running twice a day every day at ridiculous mileage is the norm. Knees and ankles of steel seem to be required.
    If you can cope and have the time I'm sure that such schedules are great and runners who follow them are confident on the start line.
    However there is another way (Sniffers way and my way) which judging by your preference for 4 runs a week seems more likely to suit you.

    What went wrong last year?
    Have you done any long distance before?
    Are you doing a marathon before the Dartmoor Discovery?
    How long is the race?

  • run loads. there's an article in a recent runners world, you could get it on back issue, maybe one of the guys here would know which one it is.

    general gist of it seemed to be "double the mileage of your weekly training runs for your maraton training plan and try to do a long run of 25-40 miles once to twice a week depending on your expectations"

    have......fun, if that's the word, and don't build up themileage too quickly..

  • ....then injure yourself and try again next year?
  • why am I looking at this
  • There is an Ultra in France, the Trans Gaule, that is over 780 miles in 18 days!

    Its in September.

    If only I could take the month off to do it and recover afterwards.
  • When and where is the 2 bridges one done?
  • Sarcy - 23/08/03 round the Dunfermline/Grangemouth/Edinburgh area.

    I have the entry form in front of me & am thinking of doing it. This would be after my first marathon in July so it might to early in my long distance running career!!!
  • I agree with you on that one G, too early and too soon after the marathon. What one are you doing?
    I was thinking about trying next year but just wanted to find out when it was.
  • Doing the Blackpool Marathon , will see how I feel after that. You can check out more @ www.twobridgesrace.org
  • Just checked - Blackpools in June not July, so would have 8 weeks to get up for 2bridges
  • Thanks for all your help and advice.
    the dartmoor discovery is in early june run on roads in the dartmoor national park in devon. It is 34 miles or there abouts.
    cheers jane
  • Hi Jane,
    I did the Discovery last year in a fairly comfortable 5 and a half hours. I did most of my training up to March off road on Dartmoor which ammounted to about 40 miles/week. Leading up to the big day I gently upped my road miles and included a Sunday long one of 20 miles every other week. I ran the course a fortnight before and took it very easy after that.Hope you can make it this year.

    Take care
  • And it's only 32 miles!
  • We're doing Dartmoor this year - entered in 2004 but I carelessly broke my hip in 2 places mid May so we had to pull out (of that and everything else for the next 10 months!).
    We only train 30 - 40 miles a week (sometimes less), but we have been making sure we get plenty of long runs in, mostly off road, which we find lessens the risk of injuring our decrepit old joints. We've already done some long races as "training" sessions - Four Trigs, Devon Coastal marathon and we are doing FLM and the Neolithic marathon in the build up too.
    Really looking forward to DD, we were bitterly disappointed to miss it before as it was to be the start of our move into ultras.
  • My tips would be

    1. Don't up your weekly mileage that much, too much risk of injury, instead practise ultra pace on your long run and get this up to 15-20 miles, ultra pace means 2-3 mins/mile slower than marathon, I do 9:30 min miling as opposed to 7 min miling. I've done 6 ultras on mainly 20-30 miles a week

    2. Try a run walk strategy say 9 mins running 1 min walking you can use the walk to refuel

    3. Sort your refueling strategy and practise it, for a short ultra like this energy drink and /or gels is prob enough BUT also practise running slow enough that you can do 2 hrs or more on just water

    4. Cultivate stubborness, look out for chances to develop this skill while training e.g plodding along in shit weather, rather than shortening your run or not going at all

    5. Go run as much of the course as you can, although it's fun to have the challenge of navigating a unfamilar route don't do this on your first ultra.

    6. Run off road as much as poss

    7. Keep it fun, most ultras have a really nice vibe and everyone is really supportive


  • You've commented on a thread that started over 6 years ago, and the last post was made 2 1/2 years ago!  Useful tips though...
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