Once again, we tie up our laces and take to the countryside to see the wonderful world of running an ultra-marathon. In part one of our blog we touched upon ultra-marathons being one huge food party, and how often the tortoise beats the hare in this endurance form of running.
In this blog we will learn that walking is actually encouraged and you can even use the assistance of trekking poles in competition. And one of the most surprising facts about running ultra-marathon is that you don’t have to train too hard, and nothing like you would for a marathon. It can be summed up to:
- Walking is Encouraged
- You Can Have Trekking Poles
- Don’t Bother Even Training!
Walking is Encouraged
Ultra-marathons must be the only running races that walking is actually encouraged. For most people this fact simply goes against the grain of any running experience in their lives. Since schooldays it has been indoctrinated into the psyche that you must not walk, or face the teacher’s or trainers wrath. In the case of ultra-marathons the competitors run on vastly different types of terrains so when tackling inclines such as hills, ultra-marathon runners will almost always walk to save energy and preserve muscle power. The times these long races can take makes it almost inevitable that athletes take a break in the form of walking.
You Can Have Trekking Poles
In most running events, no assistance by external means may be used. Unless of course it is a disabled event of some kind. But in the case of ultra-marathons even trekking poles are sometimes allowed.
Ultra-marathon running is a bit like competing in the boy scouts on some adventure experience. Each runner has a mandatory kit list, and on arrival he or she must present their bag of tricks. Usually included are a phone, first aid supplies, a map and a compass, food, drink and spare clothes. Obviously some races go on for days and in these cases you will need camping equipment and even more survival kit.
Don’t Bother Even Training!
Training for a marathon takes months and months of hard preparation to even get to the start line. This is because you are really not only racing against competitors and the distance, but you are mostly racing against the clock. For most marathon runners the time is the most important thing, but for ultra-marathon competitors it is the distance that is the most important. This means it is a completely different kind of training you have to undergo to complete in an ultra-marathon. Physically the exercises and amount of running are basically the same, but you are not trying to achieve timed stages. This means the training is not as intense, the biggest thing you try to achieve in ultra-marathons is endurance and not speed.
Ultra-marathon running sounds a lonely life, but it is quite the reverse. Everybody is in the same boat and so runners often bond together and form lifelong friendships. The world of ultra-marathons is getting larger and more popular all the time, so why not enjoy all the fun and dust off your training shoes.