Running events can take many different forms. You’ve heard of a 5k run or walk, a 10k, a half-marathon (13.1 miles), and a marathon (26.2 miles). If you haven’t run one, then you’ve probably at least heard about an ultra-marathon, which is any event that covers a distance of more than 26.2 miles. These marathons sometimes require runners to cover dozens, even hundreds of miles. Here are the things you don’t know about running an ultra-marathon.
- You get to EAT. When you compete in an ultra-marathon, get ready for a buffet table like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. They’re lavish and expansive, and the best ones even include beer and coffee (not that those substances will help you finish). Your body will need as many calories as it can get in between long bouts of exercise, so eat up!
- You WALK. If you’re going fifty or a hundred miles, then guess what? You won’t be running them as often as you think. Your body needs to conserve as much energy as possible to manage that kind of distance, so you need to be careful when deciding when and where to run. If you’re headed uphill, you’ll be walking at a leisurely pace. Other times when you need a rest, you’ll be jogging as slowly as possible. And eating. Did we mention the eating?
- It’s MENTAL. If you’ve ever gone without your eight hours for an extended period of time, then you know what we’re talking about. Everyone needs sleep to thrive, but an ultra-marathon isn’t about thriving. It’s about surviving. Wait until you reach the finish line, and you’ll be shocked to find how much you could achieve on so little fuel. It’s an effort worthy of a giant, and you are one.
- It’s SOCIAL. These events draw quite a few people, and not all of them will be killing themselves at the front. The adrenaline rushing through you–or the lack thereof, at points–will turn you into a chatterbox if you let it. Talk to the people around you, find out about their journeys, and use the overall sense of euphoria to fuel your own.
- It’s EASY. Well, it’s easier than you think. Most ultra-marathons occur on soft terrain over pavement. That can make a huge difference on your feet and joints after a huge number of miles, making this experience easier than the traditional marathon. Then again, when you’re ready for a 100-mile test of endurance…well, you get the picture. Good luck!