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bennyhana22 - 13/09/2018 16:12:47
   
Your thoughts - for a newbie
Hi guys

I'm sure you get a lot of these types of threads, so apologies if they're a bit tedious...!

A bit of advice. I'm currently navigating post-run blues having done the Great North Run on Sunday. A massive come down now after four months of pretty full on dedication. I ran the London Marathon in 2016 too, so have some experience of distance.

I'm pretty sure I want my next challenge to be my first Ultra. I'm also always a bit stupidly ambitious, but have the mindset to achieve my objectives too.

Having done a bit of research, I have my eye on the Race to the Tower next summer.

So - am I entirely foolish even to think that my first Ultra would be a double marathon, or, so long as I was meticulous in my preparation, is that a reasonable goal?

Let's throw that out there for starters! For reference, I'm male, almost 49, fit with no medical issues (other than OCD when training for a race...) and did London in 3h05m and the GNR in 1h28m.

Your thoughts would be very welcome...

Thanks!

Ben

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SarahCrunning - 14/09/2018 00:37:34
   
RE:Your thoughts - for a newbie
Hi Ben,

Welcome to Run Ultra and well done on your recent successes. There are no hard and fast rules regarding the best distance for your first ultra, as long as you train appropriately for the distance you are aiming for and don't jump from marathon to double marathon without sufficient time to build the miles gradually. From reading the details of Race to the Tower and reviews from other runners (https://www.runultra.co.uk/Events/HEINEKEN-Race-to-the-Tower), it looks like this is a tough route but well supported. The course is marked and there are frequent checkpoints which are well stocked. This means you won't have to worry about navigation or carry too much food. I would recommend getting plenty of hills in your training runs.

Some people find it helpful to enter a shorter ultra (e.g., 50km) as part of their training for a 50+ miler - you don't have to race it, but you can treat it as a long training run in which you will have checkpoints to make refilling bottles and getting snacks easier. It also allows you to get a feel for the atmosphere and experience of an ultra and to practise pacing. It's not essential - you could do self-supported very long training runs, but the logistics will require some planning.

'Relentless Forward Progress' by Bryon Powell is a useful book for new ultra runners, and it includes some example training plans. You may also find the following helpful:

https://www.runultra.co.uk/Training/July-2018/Are-you-ready-to-tackle-your-first-ultra

https://www.runultra.co.uk/Training/January-2018/How-to-tackle-your-first-ultra

https://www.runultra.co.uk/Training/November-2015/50km-training-plan (useful if you enter a 50km as part of your training or just to use to build towards your double marathon distance)

There are many other useful articles in our training section, so please do browse. You may also find our other articles helpful - for example, nutrition articles and kit reviews.

Good luck with your training.

Sarah (Social Community Manager)
Sarah Cooke

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bennyhana22 - 14/09/2018 08:10:20
   
RE:Your thoughts - for a newbie
Hi Sarah - thanks so much for your reply and all the helpful advice. There's loads of smashing stuff in there and I'll use the links too.

Good to know that I'm not totally off the scale with my ideas. Your suggestion to do a shorter ultra as a training run and practice of the essential skills to get around an ultra distance seems extremely wise!

Thanks again

Ben
:o)

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SarahCrunning - 14/09/2018 20:45:14
   
RE:Your thoughts - for a newbie
Happy to help :-)
Sarah Cooke

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charliewhitetiger - 15/11/2018 17:27:48
   
RE:Your thoughts - for a newbie
Hi Ben,

Just going through this and saw your post a little while ago.

My advice - absolutely go for it, there is nothing to hold you back here. It's simply your mindset and dedicate your time to training.

I went a similar way about seven years ago, had run half marathons, a handful of marathons and the occassional OMM.

A mate of mine had run 'The Wall' which is a 69 mile ultra following Hadrians Wall. I figured if he had done it, and he wasn't the running type, then I could definitely give it a go.

I followed a training plan rather losely, but made sure I got a few long runs in (25-30miles) over a couple of weekends and built up my weekly mileage. I don't think my training was anywhere near perfect, but the goal was to just get round. Needless to say I finished it in 15 hours and that has been a springboard for great things for me in the Ultra running world.

I love the Threshold race series for a number of reasons, they organise the races really well, the way marking is good, the support fantastic, you get free photos the way round and the provisions at aid stations is fantastic too.

I also ran the inaugural Race to the Tower last year, it's a toughy but there is nothing to stop you. If you wanted a slightly easier race the Race to the King is a beaut and one worth considering. As an FYI I trained up my girlfriend who had previously not even run a 5k race before, we got round in 11 hours and she finished 25th female.

So, I would get yourself entered into one of those races and then you are in it, no going back. Then crack on with the training and you will find you are on the path to achieving what 99% of the population cannot comprehend ;-)

All the best!

Charlie

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bennyhana22 - 15/11/2018 17:35:23
   
RE:Your thoughts - for a newbie
Hi Charlie

Thanks so much for taking the time to reply.

I've continued to give it lots of thought since originally having the idea and then posting on here...and still can't come up with a reason not to do it!

I've started to make my weekly long run 'longer' than my usual not-training-for-an-event weekend run, now doing at least a 10-miler and usually 11-13 miles. I figure that if I keep that going through the winter, I'll be more adapted to the regularity of somewhat longer runs as a good base for then lengthening that over 4 months before an Ultra.

I don't mind the idea of a toughie - tbh, it's the distance that would be the greatest concern, rather than the difficulty. I don't mean that in a blasé way, more that if I am able to get myself into shape for 52 miles, then I know I'd be ok with 52 slightly tougher miles, as it were!

And, you know when you just get a 'feeling' about an event? Everything about the RTTT is telling me it's the one for my baptism! Not least of all as I can get into great shape and achieve something amazing, then celebrate a couple of weeks later at Glastonbury!

So, as it stands, the Race to the Tower is still the plan, and I'm only more encouraged by your lovely reply - so many thanks!

Ben
:o)

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charliewhitetiger - 15/11/2018 22:58:46
   
RE:Your thoughts - for a newbie
Nice one, Ben. I am really stoked for you, Ultra Running is the most fulfilling sport I have ever come across.

Good call on RTTT, I have been thinking about doing it again next year. The start is only 10miles from my house, so not too many excuses not to do it.

It is worth knowing that Threshold events give you a free 12 week training programme once you enter - one for runners vs one for walkers. As it is your first ultra I would 100% follow their guidelines as I think they are bang on for not only getting you round, but also for having you finish in a reasonable good time. They are designed by Rory Coleman, who if you haven't heard of is a utter legend when it comes to endurance events.

I still have a couple of copies of the training programmes floating around in my emails, so if you want to have one now let me know your details and I will forward them on.

More than happy to exchange advice on the sport, I still have a lot to learn, but there are a few hard lessons I have learnt from which you might find of use.

Either way, best of luck and ENJOY it which I know you will. I absolutely love it.

Cheers.

Charlie

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