What is ultra running?
Ultra running is considered any distance over 26.2 (marathon). Races are typically set at a 50K(31 miles), 50 miler, 100k(62.1 miles), or 100 miler. Though now there are ultra races that far exceed the 100 mile distance.
Ultra running can take place on any type of terrain and has been known for its off-road races through extreme climates. Some of the hardest races in the world are ultras.
Races like the Badwater 135, in Death Valley, who's extreme heat paired with 19,000 feet of climbing has affectionately won it the title of the hardest race in the world.
Training for an ultra race has you upping the mileage but staying at a more conservative pace. You are training for the time on your feet, you don't need to run 50 miles everyday, just train for the hours you will be moving. Many ultra athletes will aim for overall mileage on the week, not trying to get insane distance in one day.
For the average ultra runner, on race day you will end up walking some portions of the course, most commonly on the uphill portions. When you are running 5+ hours at a time you need to conserve your energy. When you are on mile 70 of a 100 hundred mile race, walking can hurt just as bad as running.
When running long distance, calories are everything. Your body needs to have energy coming in at a regular rate, or it will not be able to sustain the demand. Figure out what your body likes and more importantly, what it doesn't like, during your training runs.
If you can handle solid foods, pack high carb snacks that easily break down (ex: peanut butter and jelly, bananas, wraps, cookies, soups). If your body doesn't like solids when racing you can always try some of the sports drinks specially adapted for ultra athletes (ex: Infinit, Sword, Tailwaind, Scratch).
If you are feeling the itch to start running long distance, here are some local Ultra distance races that you can check out!
-Steel City 12 Hour August 17th, Middletown OH
-RunRaiser 24 Hour August 30-31st, Kettering OH
-Germantown 50k September 28th, Germantown OH
-Broken Toe 50k October 19th, Waynesville, OH
-Stone Steps 50k October 27th, Cincinnati OH
-See you on the road!