So I’ve written a post about finding a balance when you are training for a marathon (which can be a task in itself) but what about when you are training for an ULTRAmarathon? It can be tough to try and increase your workouts and/or your mileage with a busy career and social schedule. BUT as someone that actually enjoys running BEYOND the 26.2 distance I am here you tell you…than it CAN be done! And you don’t have to lose your mind, either. So for those ultra unicorns out there (or those of you that are thinking about training for a 50k, 50 miler or 100 mile race) here are a few things you can do to maintain your balance (and your sanity) while training for an ultra.
–Be realistic about your training. Not everyone can run high mileage without injury. Bottom line. It takes patience, persistence and lots of ego free easy running to build it up slowly and safely. It has taken me years to be able to run 80-100 miles a week on a consistent basis. I never thought I would be the type of ultrarunner that I am today. Yet here I am. But, do what your body is capable of doing. Not what your friend’s body can do.
–YES, you can run an ultra if you run 50-60 miles a week. Supplement some of those run days with cross training days. I know a lot of folks that do Ironmans and triathlons that dabble in ultra races. They can handle the workload and stress of ultra running, even though they may run less. Why? Because they are used to the endurance part of it. So, bike if you want to bike, swim, do YOGA. Strength train. The stronger you get your body the more you will be able to do without breaking down.
–Put in the WORK. OK, keep it real time. Sometimes I may post on here and I may make it look easy in terms of how much I run. But trust and believe I work my ASS off. I (usually) never bitch about it. I have a good attitude about it. I actually LOVE what I am doing (imagine that?) I am not running because I want to look good in a cocktail dress (okay maybe sometimes) I run a lot and I teach classes at the gym and I work hard because I love it. I thrive off of it. Because I am competitive by nature and I like to kick my own ass. You have to have a certain type of grit I think to actually enjoy ultra running. Develop that GRIT and that mental capacity that it takes. Get up early. Run alone sometimes. Run when you don’t want to, on a day when it is cold and rainy and you would rather be in bed. Those are the days you will remember when you are running an ultra, or when you are on the trails ALONE going at it for 50, 60, 100 miles. Believe it.
–Mix up what time of day that you run. Do you ALWAYS habitually run in the morning?? Go for a run at lunch sometimes. Can’t run at lunch? Go for some sunset miles. Run twice a day to get used to how you feel at certain times of the day when you are running. Especially with any distance over 50 miles (100k or 100 miler) you need to change it up to mimic how you will feel when it gets dark on the trail or whatever ultra race that you run.
–Give yourself a BREAK sometimes. I mean this in all aspects of life. Take a rest day at least once a week. Go out with your friends WHO DON’T RUN. Talk about other shit that has nothing to do with running. Go to a nice restaurant and treat yourself to a good meal. Enjoy food! Enjoy life! Live is for living. Life is the reason why I run ultras, frankly. I love life and I love running and I want to be able to do it, for a long time. That is why I’m thankful for the trails, to be able to enjoy nature and soak it all in.
Where my ultrarunner unicorns at!? How do you balance ultratraining with life?