An ultra marathon, also called ultra distance, is any footrace longer than a traditional marathon, 26.2 miles. An ultra marathon may seem impossible. However, with the right material and guide, you might find yourself training for an ultra marathon sooner rather than later.
Running is widely popular around the world. It is one of the best forms of cardio exercise. It is great for your heart and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Additionally, it is great for strengthening your joints and keeping you in shape.
Typically, people tend to run for different reasons. It could be that you want to stay in shape, lose weight or you want to see what you are capable of in the long run. For OrthoIndy trauma surgeon, Dr. Tim Weber training for ultra marathons has been a process.
It started when Dr. Weber was an avid cyclist. He was cycling the Leadville 100 mountain bike race when he learned that people actually run 30 to 100 mile races. “My mind was blown away and I began to wonder if I could run that far,” said Dr. Weber. “So mostly, I got started because I wanted to see what I was capable of.”
Dr. Weber’s first ultra marathon was in Michigan, at Woodstock, where he completed his first 31 miler race. After this, Dr. Weber completed a 50 miler in San Francisco and then attempted a 100 miler in Colorado. Dr. Weber fell short on his first 100 miler, but finished his next attempt at the Indiana Trail 100. Since then, Dr. Weber has gone on to finish 100 milers in Utah, Wyoming and Michigan.
Dr. Weber has ran around 25 ultra marathons and has finished a total of four 100-miler races. “I like to run the longer distances because I learn a great deal about myself when I test myself,” said Dr. Weber. “I love being in nature and I feel it is one of the best expressions of who I am.”
How to train
When Dr. Weber trains for an ultra marathon, he reminds himself how the number of miles that are necessary to run per week are not as important as being consistent with your training. This allows an individual to gradually build up their miles and never stray away from their training plan.
“Training is a little individualistic and it depends on the type of race someone is preparing for, mountain or flatter grounds,” said Dr. Weber. “In general, most people will run around 55 to 75 miles per week when training. However, people need to be consistent.”
Dr. Weber runs at a “long slow distance” pace. This means Dr. Weber will run longer distances, but at a slower pace. “The difference when training for an ultra marathon versus a marathon is that I will fit a longer mid week run in, 12 to 15 miles,” said Dr. Weber. “After my long mid week run, I will run a long run again on Saturday and then followed by a medium long run on Sunday.”
Dr. Weber stresses eating right and listening to your body. Food is the most important part when it comes to distance running. Food fuels your body and gives you energy to keep you running when you get tired.
During ultra marathon races, there are aid stations with food, anywhere from chips, pretzels, candy, baked potatoes and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. “Usually I will eat a protein bar between aid stations and drink an electrolyte drink,” Dr. Weber said.
Dr. Weber ensures anyone who plans on training for their first ultra marathon that they are absolutely capable of the distance, as long as they know how badly they want to finish. “Stay positive, even when things are hard. Never quit, often the low patches will turn around and you will have a long period of strong running,” Dr. Weber said.
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