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Signs It May Be Time To Try An Ultra Marathon

  • You have not set a road PR in 5 years
  • Your long road run feels abusive to your body
  • Walking is a regular a part of your weekend run
  • Trails, trees, and hills bring a smile to your face

If this describes you, it may just be time for you to sign up for an Ultra Marathon! It's an invigorating transition but allow me to share some important tips and tricks if you're a newbie!

  1. Find a trail running group – not a snobby group of elites (sorry folks, they do exist).  Find a group that openly welcomes novices to their Sunday morning runs.  A great place to find a group is Facebook – search ultra-running + your geography and you will immediately be connected to experts and crazies in your area. Don't be afraid!  Everyone was new once.
  2. Consider investing in trail-specific shoes if you plan to hit technical trails in your area. Grippy soles, correct drop (shoe speak), and a conversation with a salesperson that runs trails, is more than worth the money.  Go to a real running store! Proper foot care is a large component of Ultra running.
  3. Throw your average road mile pace out the window!  You might even leave your expensive watch at home!  Trail and ultra-running is not about how fast; it is about how far.
  4. Get ready to learn how to fuel on the run.  Some OG ultra runners claim they are professional eaters and drinkers with a running problem.  No joke; adding calories consistently from hour one to hour 30 is fundamental.  The right calories for you may take trial and error; start with Fuel 100 Electro-Bites as a staple. 
  5. If you choose to wear a hydration pack, strap it tight – movement in your gear causes lots of hot spots that hurt like hell later.  This goes for all things that bounce, jiggle, or rubs; whether it be your own body parts or equipment.  Fitted clothing and body lubricant are a must.
  6. Walking and speed hiking are great ways to go long!  Find a rhythm and pace to your uphill portions.  Start slow so you can finish the thing.
  7. Music is great and can help pass the miles and hours.  If you listen to music on a trail, keep the volume low enough to hear an approaching person.  I leave one earbud out when going downhill, as my mountain biking friends approach very fast and our safety is my responsibility. 

Products that have worked really well for me include:

  • FlipBelt – this is the only piece of gear I wore for the entire 200+ miles of the Tahoe 200
  • Nathan Hydration Pack
  • Injinji socks
  • Scott & TOPO trail shoes 

See you on the trails,

-Michelle 

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