Ultra training for beginners

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7 Nov
8:16am, 7 Nov 2022
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HappyG(rrr)
gg, are you doing WHW race? Enjoy - I'm sure I'll be there in June, either as support crew for someone, or marshalling. Heck, I'll just come and run beside people and cheer, if I don't have any other role! Love it!

It's always worth increasing your leg strength for endurance and for uphill and downhill. I'm sure we all know that. But I think it's worth being realistic about how much running and how much walking you will be doing. e.g. the late John Kynaston had a fantastic insight, having done several WHW, with the quickest about 20 hours and slowest more like 30 and dropped out at least once, I think. He found that *downhill* running was worth training hard on. He ended up doing downhill hard reps of his local hills. A lot. The logic was that he would be walking uphills, but running the flats and down hills more. If he wanted still to be able to run the downs at the end, he needed quad strength. He had cramping quads and couldn't run down in previous races. There are two big, long downhills in last two sections, Devil's Staircase down to Kinlochleven and Lairig Mor down to Fort William to finish.

Makes sense? He was incredibly insightful and if you're able to, I would recommend his podcasts and blogs (inc much training detail!)

I can run a gentle, steady uphill for a few miles in a race of e.g. 13.1 miles. I didn't run a step uphill in my only WHW race. And I managed 22:37, which I was very happy with. And yes, I was running strongly *downhill* at the end. And yes, I did read John K's blogs! :-) G
7 Nov
8:18am, 7 Nov 2022
44,526 posts
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HappyG(rrr)
By the way, if I were ever training for WHW again or any other 100 mile type trail ultra, I would train more *walking*! I was able to run well at the end. But I was rubbish at walking at the start and middle. I'm not from a hill walking or long-distance walking background. Walking is hard. I didn't train for it enough. It hurt me in the race. The running bit was "fine"! :-) G
7 Nov
8:49am, 7 Nov 2022
3,548 posts
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flyingfinn
That's good advice Happy. For most your descending will deteriorate much quicker than your ascending if you don't prepare properly. Rather than doing conventional hill sessions (hard up easy down) Kenyan hill sessions where it's a continous effort up and down are a good session. Being able to run hard down at the end of an ultra will gain you far more time than being able to run up at the start.
Practice your walking is also very sound advice.
7 Nov
8:54am, 7 Nov 2022
57,262 posts
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Derby Tup
Avoiding that dreaded 2mph death match at the end of an ultra, where you’re looking at your watch constantly and seeing time haemorrhaging away is key
7 Nov
9:45am, 7 Nov 2022
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geordiegirl
We’re doing it over 4 days aiming for September

In a race or my own day out I’d walk the hills last weekend was more me stressing about keeping up with the group. I will keep working on improving my hill ascents even as a fast effective walk and great thought on working more on descent as that goes actually make more sense - at the lakes last year I was in awe at the speed some people got down the hills. Thanks so much.
7 Nov
10:24am, 7 Nov 2022
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paulcook
The logic was that he would be walking uphills, but running the flats and down hills more. If he wanted still to be able to run the downs at the end, he needed quad strength.

Intriguing. Something like this - though it wasn't quads (hips if I recall) - happened on my first Three Peaks race. I was happy running uphill at the end but flat or downhill pained me.

Have to say I have down some hard downhill workouts prior to other races particularly to strengthen my less than sturdy quads.
7 Nov
10:42am, 7 Nov 2022
19,100 posts
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geordiegirl
I’m very good at walking 😃G

I’m going to do some downhill training power hike up and fly down we have a good hill close by that if I fell wouldn’t be too hard a fall I need to stop being fearful of falling. Of course all of this will be next year after I recover from my bunion removal.

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Maintained by jacdaw
I'm planning to run a couple of ultra events next year and I'm looking for some general training i...

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