How Much is Too Much Training?

What is the common mistake runners make when preparing for an ultra? Too much training!

Incorrect Logic : since ultras are longer than ordinary marathons the training should also be longer and harder – completely wrong and can only lead to injury, illness and frustration!

Incorrect School of Thought : because the distance to be run is extreme the training must be equally extreme. This is not so !!!

Things to Do :

  • train for an ultra as if you were running an ordinary 42KM marathon. Prepare the same – it’s the same training.
  • do a handful of longer runs to build endurance. The runs need to be run very slowly, emphasizing ‘time spent on the legs’ rather than the speed of the training.
  • do hill work. It builds strength. It is leg muscle strength that keeps runners going beyond 42KM

Bottom-line : produce STRENGTH for ultra-marathon running

REST is vital for ultra-marathoning. Since the race is going to be so long and grueling, it is best to REST UP as much as possible beforehand.

If your body is going to be asked to endure many hours(or even days) of running, it is vital to be ‘RACE-FIT’ but extremely ‘WELL-RESTED’ as well.

Gowlland Tod Park

Gowlland Tod Park

  • mentally, program yourself for being on the road longer

Mental FOCUS is one of the critical elements of a grueling race. CONFIDENCE and a POSITIVE ATTITUDE are others.

Thing to Do :

  • adjust for changing conditions, mishaps and external influences you can’t control – don’t focus on the negative, rather ‘modify your game plan’ to suit the specific situation

Having a bad patch during the race? losing your rhythm? ‘slow up on the pace’, adjust your stride and FOCUS ON BREATHING. Don’t push yourself. Do this and you’ll usually recover.

Thing to Do :

  • concentrate on KEEPING MOVING FORWARD. If you stop, your muscles could seize and prevent you from continuing.

‘Pace’ during the race is particularly important for ultra distances. Don’t overdo this during the beginning stages as there are a lot of kilometers to cover if you misjudge your speed and end up with depleted energy reserves halfway through the race.

Thing to Do :

  • pay attention to fluid and food intake, easily digestible, light meals high in carbohydrates

In the end, TRAINING and WILL-POWER are what take over when you start tiring in a long race. The ultra is ultimately a ‘Test of Will’.

Mike at Sun Mountain

Des at Sun Mountain

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