Fitness Magazine

Ultramarathon Training Without Thinking

By Ajwbowen
I have been particularly busy of late sorting out the logistics and training for my 1400km run across the Nullarbor Plain in August (only 4.5 months away scarily), hence my posts have be far from frequent and have not gone into the dark depths of ultramarathon running that I would normally.Part of my preparation has been to try and learn from the best, as there is very little information on running a multiday event, and this week I was lucky enough to speak with Pam Reed, an outright winner of Badwater, she has run 300miles non-stop, and is currently training to make an attempt on the trans American record for a lady (and I’m pretty sure she’ll do it). She has also released her autobiography, the Extra Mile, covering the  stories behind her terrific achievements.I took a lot from my call with her, which I will share over the coming weeks, but the thing that I have in mind currently is the need for a plan and to complete it even when you may not want to; in fact it is more beneficial when training for an ultra (especially a multiday run) to do those runs when you don’t want to or are feeling to tired. She actually said that I should be aiming to train tired as that is what I will be experiencing and whilst it is physically tough, mentally it can be far harder to get out there and just run.

Ultramarathon Training without thinking

Love the calf guards!

Yesterday I decided to mix things up from my normal routine opting instead for a road run of about 35kms. It was after dark so I opted for the full pack (about 6.5kgs) and the full compression outfit from Linebreak, calf guards, shorts and short sleeved top. I wouldn’t want to upset the locals by being seen out all in lycra in daylight! By running in the dark, which is something Pam chooses to do quite often, you have a very different experience, you could almost say a more pure experience as you have fewer distractions. The roads I run are very quiet and at night it is unusual to see any cars at all, so I can turn off my torch and rely on feel to guide me. I found that I could run on along the middle of the road without too much difficulty, as I could sense if I strayed because of the changing camber of the road.The great thing is you have little else to think about, so I could focus on my running form, and importantly keep on top of my nutritional and fluid needs. I often find on longer runs that I forget to eat or drink properly with unpleasant results. The problem for me is getting too dehydrated on the run, which I can’t properly replenish before the next day’s effort.What was also different was that in the course of this run I didn’t stop once, not even to pee (a trick that takes practice) as normally I would stop at the top of a hill or at a scenic spot for a few minutes recovery. I basically found myself in the zone, running at an amazingly regular pace kilometre after kilometre. My heart rate was about 10bpm lower than normal, as if my body was saying to me,” look what I can do without you thinking and causing problems!”This was certainly very reassuring, and I guess is a reflection on the base training I have put in over the previous months.  I did feel a little tired after, before realising that I had hardly eaten anything all day, and had been engaged in some fairly physical digging in the garden for a couple of hours prior to running.
Ultramarathon Training without thinking
The real beauty of this run was that having Pam’s advice fresh in my head I gave me time to think and plan how I am going to approach my 33 Marathons run both for training and the run itself.  Personally I find the thinking I do when running is far more effective than if I were to sit at a desk and try and work out a solution to a problem. So if you need to convince your boss to give you 2 hours for lunch for a “brainstorming session” refer him to me.As an aside if you are in the market for some compression gear, the guys at Linebreak have given me a 40%discount code for my running friends. So drop me a line if you’re interested and I’ll pass it on.Happy Running!
Andy
“It is not death or dying that is tragic, but rather to have existed without fully participating in life – that is the deepest personal tragedy.” – Edward Abbeywww.ultrarunning.com.au

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