Featured image of post Ultramarathon, here I come!

Ultramarathon, here I come!

Well, i've done it, i've lost my mind... i am going to run an ultra marathon.

Background and Motivation

I’ve run a ton of half marathons. At the time I thought it was crazy to run a regular marathon. While training for the marathon I ran in December, approaching my training peak, I was running 10 minute miles for 20 miles.

That was a pretty cool feat.

I can’t remember if I wrote this in my other blog post, but the entire reason I ran a marathon was so that I would have at least 1 completed race at each distance up to ultramarathon. With that accomplishment completed, I’ve decided it’s time for my first ultra.

As I look back at my life, I can see that what I really enjoy is competing against myself. I’ve never really been competitive with other people except with cars, driving, and lifting weights.

So what does that have to do with anything?

Well, I met a new neighbor recently that used to run a ton of ultramarathons, and wants to get back into it. We’ve been running together 4 times a week, strength training, etc. I’m incorporating more varied training which is helping me to get a better handle on my weak areas related to running.

  • heart race based training
  • tempo runs
  • fartlek runs
  • back to back run days
  • hill sprints (welll…. technically tire drags since i’m in east Texas LOL)

Texas heat is rough!

Anything that happens on a day where the humidity is in the high 90s is challenging. I’m actually pretty blown away at what the humidity does to me. My heart rate is automatically 10 points higher while running a slow pace. The amount water (and electrolytes) I need to consume immediately jumps up.

Last year I did a sweat test last year at 71 degrees, 99% humidity. I ran 6 miles in 60 minutes (10 minute miles). During that time my body lost 2lbs or 32oz of fluid. This means I was sweating 8oz every 15 minutes.

These are just some of the things I’ve had to learn, and adjust to while training for endurance races.

Lets change things!

In the interest of working more with the mechanics of my body, I decided to switch from an 8mm drop to a zero drop shoe. Ultimately it was a good decision how my feet. They’re much happier, but it did take a while for me to get comfortable running at distance again. New things were sore after every run. I’ve seen an improvement in my overall foot strength, my ankle mobility, and some other things that help me know I made the right choice.

I was running in the Adidas Terrex Speed Ultra, and really enjoyed it. It was by far my favorite shoe to run in.

Adidas Terrex Speed Ultra

The toe box in the Adidas was roomier than my previous shoes, however, now I feel like it’s too narrow to be comfortable. I may never be able to go back to regular shoes again ha ha ha.

Some of the things I was looking for in my next shoe were:

  • Zero drop shoe - this just means it’s flat, but doesn’t dictate it’s height or cushion from the ground.
  • Larger toe box - more space for the piggly wigglies.
  • Less toe lift - allow my toes to do what they’re supposed to do.

This landed me squarely into the Altra Lone Peak 7. Overall I like it. There’s something I can’t quite describe about it that I miss from the Adidas. It feels a little more heavy. My feet get soaked much more easily running through dewy grass, but overally I’ve seen major improvements in my foot strength/health using them so I’m not changing anything for the foreseeable future.

If you look at the toe lift on the lone peak, you can see it’s dramatically lower. I’ve noticed pain I used to have in my left big toe is COMPLETELY gone from switching shoes. Pretty wild.

Altra Lone Peak 7

Previous Training plan

This is what I worked up to during April/May. Pace was intentionally slow since I’m changing my training around so much right now. I was running 12 minute miles which feels PAINFULLY SLOW. I was advised by /r/ultramarathon to try to stay around 8 miles per run, and focus on back to back runs since completing an ultra is about managing food, water, electrolytes, and time on your feet.

Total weekly miles: ~35

  • Monday - 7 miles
  • Tuesday - 7 miles
  • Wednesday - Active rest
  • Thursday - 7 miles
  • Friday - Active res
  • Saturday - 12 miles
  • Sunday - Active rest

New Training Plan

In June, we’ve been switching things up a bit. We still want to keep time on the feet high, but focusing some additional types of training. Just like in strength training there are 2 types of stimuli you can apply.

Direct, and indirect. Indirect training is not running, but contributes your overall ability to run. Strength training, and cross training both contributes to your overall fitness, and fill in gaps with stability, muscle imbalance, etc.

I personally struggle with a muscle imbalance from an old injury, and it finally bothered me enough to go to Airrosti, which I can’t recommend highly enough. I’ll talk about that in another post though. Needless to say that because of this issue I have a deep care for ensuring longevity, and correcting bad habits/imbalances early.

The advice we’re following here is that we need to spend a minimum of 6 hours training. So between these days we’re probably at 5 hours. We’re just at the beginning of this shift, so we’ll see how it changes in the coming month.

One final note regarding active rest. Active rest to me is anything that is active but not running. Hiking or using the rowing machine are good examples of what I will most likely do for those days. I have not been as diligent lately with my active rest days. Work has been taking a lot of time away from the kids, and they are my priority. Running is just a hobby :)

  • Monday - 7+ miles
  • Tuesday - Strength / Conditioning
  • Wednesday - Active rest
  • Thursday - 7+ miles
  • Friday - Active rest
  • Saturday - 12 miles
  • Sunday - Active rest

Great… so what races are you going to do?

This is a general list of things and how they are currently shaping up. I need to find a 50k to run some time before my birthday at the beginning of October.

That’s it!

I don’t have any plans for a 100k, or 100miler…. yet.

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