It was a 10k Tuesday around here…just enjoying some ridiculously awesome running temps. 51 degrees in Texas in May?! I will take it. Give me more cool cloudy mornings for sure. The hot coffee went down perfectly after those miles.
So as my ultra marathon training is wrapping up and my 50 is near, I thought I would share 8 things that have been keeping me afloat! I have actually loved this season of building up the miles and it has shown me that I am definitely of capable of more than I ever thought possible. So if you are contemplating training for an ULTRA in the near future, here are some things I have learned.
1. Learn to accept the roller coaster that is running. You will have bad days, crappy runs, days where you are on fire and loving training, and days where you want to sit on the couch with pizza and forget that you are a runner while watching The Real Housewives of Whatever. Been there done that. But at the end of the day you are out there, you are doing the work, and you should be proud of yourself. Every damn day.
2. Running buddies make these long runs go by a heck of a lot faster. The thing I love the MOST about being in a running group again is they have helped me to get my fire back. They are so awesome, so supportive and encouraging. Just like a running community is supposed to be. They have also given me a kick in the pants and helped me to power through when I’m just not feeling it. So very grateful for them.
3. DO the back to back long runs. This is the single most thing that has helped to build my endurance. It has made me a stronger runner for sure. Slowly build those miles up and you will soon be doing the back to backs like it ain’t no thing.
4. Find a (realistic) training plan. There are so many ultra plans out there…I have used this one for my 50k and this as a guide for my 50. Notice I said, guide. I also used my recent 50k and my marathon in April as part of my training for the 50 miler. You don’t always have to follow the plans to a T. But they are a great way to stay accountable and on track.
5. Be patient with yourself and listen to your body. Do the work but make sure you are doing your easy runs. They count just as much as speedwork, intervals, hills and all of the other things you include in your training. Easy running, time on your feet and consistency is the best way to stay injury free, not burn out, and eventually work your way up to ultra status.
6. Nutrition is just as important as your training. Eat your complex carbs (I love qunioa and sweet potatoes), include your lean proteins and fruits/veggies. Cut out the processed junk as much as possible. Your body will appreciate you for it.
7. Get the right shoes/socks/gear/etc that works for you, not what works for someone else. Stick with the shoes that you know your feet love. I have been in Asics and my Newtons for years and I don’t plan on changing that much anytime soon.
8. Make sure your hydration system is on point. I am loving my pink Camelbak for long runs and I plan on wearing it for my 50 on Saturday. Throw some ice in there to keep the water cold and fill it up often while on the run.
What are some things you have learned during ULTRA (or even marathon) training that has helped you in the long run? Pun intended.