Updated: 12 Sep 2020
This post is for anyone curious about ultra marathon whether you are just keen to know more about it or planning to run an ultramarathon yourself.
My Ultramarathon Experience. A little time to write and document this experience after my trip to my hometown. I was planning my vacation in my hometown for the new year to spend time with family especially now that everyone’s overseas.
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One day I decided to check my social media and saw this ad about the ultramarathon event in my hometown. I’ve always wanted to try joining a running event in my hometown but my schedule doesn’t allow it.
I only told about the race to a few people close to me because at the same time I’m a little scared about the idea. What if I’m not able to start and finish the race, also if it is a wisely foolish decision being new to the world of the full marathon and then suddenly attempting to jump and do an ultramarathon.
This ultramarathon event is in commemoration of the Rizal Day our National Hero and took place last Dec 30-31 2017, just a few weeks after my full marathon. After the full marathon, my longest run was 20.18 km on the morning of Dec. 24, as I’m still recovering from the full marathon high experience. I just told myself to take it easy and have fun.
My Ultramarathon Experience
How to Prepare
Since I just run a full marathon, my ultramarathon experience is a little different because it didn’t require me so much time to train. But for a new runner who wants to run an ultra marathon here are the preparations:
- Do your research. If you are thinking of running an ultra do a research about the race you wanted to do. Is it a race in the morning or evening, know the time of the race.
- Interview. If you know someone who have done the race before ask them about their experience. Hop on to discussions and learn from their experiences.
- Check Training Plans. There are plenty of training plans available make sure to check for beginner friendly training plan and review it thoroughly.
- Ask yourself. Are you really ready for this, do you have enough time to prepare and how committed you are to run an ultra marathon. Giving yourself enough time to prepare is really helpful.
- Watch what you eat. Since you will train longer and will burn more calories make sure you eat the right food with right nutrients. Consult an expert on this because what works for others may not work for you.
Things Needed In Training
- Hydration Backpack. Hydration setup in an ultra is different with full marathon. Especially trail ultra marathons its important to have your own hydration and practice wearing it while doing your run so you can adjust it in your body and make you comfortable.
Practice on how you will hydrate as well, it is important not to over hydrate. What works for others may not work for you. It is important to drink both water and electrolytes. Make sure the size is enough for you to carry hydration and some food if you do not have any running crew.
- Headlamp. Another important thing to carry is a headlamp because the course maybe too dark whether its an early morning race or late night race.
- Running Socks. It’s a long race make sure you are wearing the right socks or compression socks that will give you enough comfort and can help minimize muscle fatigue. Play with what you have and try them all or if you already have a favourite pair then wear it.
Here I am doing a shakeout run before the race and the only time I was able to test my hydration bag, which is a big no because as they say no new things before and on race day but good thing this bag fits me and very comfortable to wear.
If you are running solo, try to arrive early and when you reach the venue make friends with other runners. If you are comfortable having a buddy system during the race it is good. But make sure you both have the same pace if not then its better to run at your own pace and execute your training you will love the ultramarathon experience.
You know the drill when there’s a camera, I don’t know why I was wearing my cap its not a good idea because the hood is blocking my headlamp but since I forgot to bring my other head gear I dont have a choice either.
The struggle is real, there are very dark areas and I didn’t maximize my head lamp to save battery because I don’t have any spare also. If you can bring an extra pair of batteries do it just incase the ones you have will have any issues.
With my ultramarathon experience I get questions from other runners is why Im running alone and don’t have any support crew. Personally I feel like the race is doable because the 33miles is still considered short when it comes to ultra running.
Hydration point is very much different from a marathon, good thing I have enough supply. I survived with Gummy bears, and 2GU gels I gave my other GU to those hungry runners. At some part I have to run fast and follow other runners because it was pretty dark especially when we have to run in the mountain Im imagining paranormal things.
In my ultramarathon experience, hydration post only starts after 10km, you’ve got to trust your guts that it is the right direction, you’ve got to brave the darkness and silence of the night, there are no distance markers, you’ve got to be patient with hills because there are plenty of them. Every run is a test of endurance and patience. All ?? for this one ??
Real story while I signed up for a 50k race when during our flag off they told us its 53km but now as Im writing this Im dreaming of running the North Face 63km but I knew I cant since its too close to my Ironman event so I guess I’ll be dreaming to when I can run an ultra again.
I hope you find my ultramarathon experience interesting whether you just started running or doing it regularly enjoy and trust your training.
Special shout out to my parents who drop me from the event and on the next day travel to the finish line to pick me up and buy my fave Soy drink. My first meal after the race 🙂