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Tips for training for an ultra marathon

Written by Fiona

February 25 2016

With another new ultra race being launched in Scotland, the organisers of the John Muir Way Ultra marathon offer some tips on training and racing a long-distance running event. An ultra is defined as an event that is longer than a marathon (26 miles).

The John Muir Way Ultra Marathon is 50k or 31 miles. This means that the training schedule is very similar to a marathon training plan. The longest run in training will probably be around 25 miles and should be around/at least two weeks before the event.

John Muir Way. Pic credit: Richard West

John Muir Way. Pic credit: Richard West

It’s also a good idea to become familiar with race terrain. The John Muir Way is a mix of good trails and some tarmac. There are some easy going tracks but there is also some rougher sections.

Start the race slowly, then accept you may have to back off on your speed later in the event. Because the distance is close to a marathon distance, it is worth aiming for your marathon pace minus a little.

You are allowed to take the odd break. You can walk for a bit if you need to or slow jog.

You should run with a pack of some kind to carry food and essentials, such as money, a mobile phone and alternative clothing layers.

Find a good nutrition option for you, whether it’s energy bars, gels, carbohydrate drinks. It is good to rehearse the kind of things you will eat and drink on the day. The race aid stations will have cake, pretzels, jelly sweets, Honey Stinger energy bars and gels. There will also be water at the early stations and cola at the later ones.

Be prepared to be out running for a while. Give yourself something to focus on. The scenery will keep you occupied for some of the time but the reality is that there will be times when you might have to help your brain to focus, so practise that in training.

You can follow a training plan written by the organisers if you need one. Contact the race.


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