Top 10 Tips for preparing for your first Ultra Marathon
Updated: Jan 13, 2021
Checkout our top 10 tips for preparing for your first ultra-marathon
1. You're not alone
Please don't worry. Everyone has a first ultra-marathon, even the pros. Entering and preparing for an ultra-marathon can seem to be a daunting prospect but you've made the best possible start, by reading our Top 10 Tips... hopefully these tips, learned from experience, will help you go from ultra-virgin to ultra-marathoner.
2. Time on your feet
The best preparation for an ultra-marathon is simply time on your feet. This does not have to be running. A long walk at the weekend, walking to work instead of the bus or train and limiting your time sitting down will all help you prepare. Measure your training walks/runs not in distance but in time.
3. Test your kit
Many ultra-marathons will require you to take certain items with you (eg foil blanket, first aid kit and head torch). You are likely to need something to carry these in along with your food and drink, so on your training runs/walks use your intended race-day kit. Getting used to using your equipment and getting used to the weight of your pack will all help you on the day of your challenge.
4. Sweet and savoury
As well as testing your kit, test your food and drink. Whilst training, learn what your body craves during a long run/walk. You will no doubt crave salt and savoury items as well as sweet, so don't fill up your pack entirely with jelly babies and gels. Everyone is different, but my personal preference was always peanut butter sandwiches and BabyBels - this is not an advertisement ;)
5. Recce the route
If you can, check out parts of the route as part of your training. This will help build your confidence as you will know which sections are approaching and that you have completed them before.
6. Support team
A support team can provide a much needed boost to morale when the going's tough. Let your friends know when you're likely to be a certain parts of the course and use real time tracking so they can see your exact location to make it easier for them to support you.
7. Build up distance
Entering your first ultra-marathon doesn't have to be 100km or 100 miles, Build up your distance, learn from shorter events and this will all help your prepare you for your "A race"
8. Playlists and podcasts
Music can motivate and podcasts can entertain. Prepare what you will listen to. Please be aware that some events do not allow earphones and you will need to press pause when crossing roads/listening to instructions from marshals.
9. Plan your finish
Planning your finish, is just as important as planning your training. How will you get home? Get back to your car? Who is meeting you? Will you be able to drive? What are you likely to want to eat? Whether it is arranging to meet friends at the finish line, a restaurant booking, a hotel stay locally - these plans will all make your post-event celebrations much more enjoyable.
10. Plan your "A race"
Congrats! You've just completed your first ultra-marathon :)
Now you're hooked, which events will you want to enter now?
Good luck to all our first-time ultra-marathoners taking on #UltraLondon - we look forward to celebrating your achievements with you.