How to run and train for an Ultra

Obviously now have I completed and trained for two Ultra’s, I am an expert, so thought I would share with you what I think worked and what didn’t, for me.


  • Back to back long runs in training, time consuming, but essential
  • Train on similar terrain to course
  • Changing my trainers and socks at the half way point was tricky (could not reach my feet) but words can not express the absolute joy my feet felt. Dry socks, dry trainers, bliss.
  • Set an alarm on your phone for every 50 minute, this will remind you to eat. Warning it may annoy those running near you.
  • Eat early on, when you don’t feel the need, later on you will need to but wont be able to.
  • Experiment with food on training, what can you chew, what sits nicely in your stomach and lets you run, with out pits stops or comfort breaks!
  • Mini cheddars, peanut butter wraps, battenburg cake, babybel cheese, coke, diet coke all worked for me
  • Stop for five minutes to eat, running and chewing towards the end is impossible, and very messy.
  • Pack a change of clothes, dry sweat free clothes are worth their weight in gold
  • Fill your hydration pack up at every point you can, you can guarantee else that you will run out of water mid way between check points and this can be a long way.
  • Commandeer friends and family to be at designated support with supplies
  • Find someone brave, that is also good company to run sections with you. Be nice to them.
  • Buy these when your mouth feels like the bottom of a budgie cage they revive it and your tastes buds.

Not recommended

  • Creating a training plan in January, then looking at it after to see you have missed so many runs due to injury and tumbles.
  • Getting your feet out in front of your family ‘your feet are minging Mum’ are not words you do not want to hear with 30 miles to go.
  • Changing in to your road trainers from you off roaders before the muddiest part of the course!
  • Swapping the Buff on your head for a cap just at the point the wind picks up
  • Assuming the water in your pack is enough and not checking
  • Sit down at any point other than on the toilet
  • Trying to squat behind a tree, your legs will collapse
  • Telling support crew you will see them at the next point and not giving them a time. Otherwise you will be greeted with phrases such as ‘we have been sat in this car park for 4 hours’ and ‘don’t ask me to do this again, I would rather poke my eyes out with a sharp stick’. At 55 miles you don’t want to hear about their pain, all you can feel is your own!

So there you have it, things to do and not to do, now take that knowledge go forth and enter an Ultra.


About shazruns

I have been running since 2004 when I decided to do the Race for Life, as a close friend was terminally ill with cancer. Following that I did a couple of 10km at Leeds castle and Sandringham. Then in 2005 ran my first London marathon, then another in 2007 in blistering temperatures. I have entered the London marathon every year since but have been rejected, am now find maintaining my fitness & motivation hard, so when the email came through about Janathon I thought why not! Am hoping this helps with fitness, motivation and weight loss!! Wish me luck!
This entry was posted in Running, trail running, Training for an Ultra, ultra running and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to How to run and train for an Ultra

  1. mawil1 says:

    Lots of great advice there shaz, I dont think I’ll be needing it myself, but you never know!!
    I’m just amazed at what you have done and what you have gone through to achieve it – well done!

  2. CeeJayKay says:

    You can train me to support you! 😘

  3. Great advice.

    But I don’t think I’ll act on that final sentence, thanks.

    • shazruns says:

      Top tips are def- set an eating alarm and eat early, last 1/4 I could only get gels in-hence the vomiting! Real food is the way forward-mostly although you need the electrolytes!

      • My next job is to experiment with some real food. I got on the best I ever have with gels at Great Ocean Road so feeling a lot better about fueling ☺

      • shazruns says:

        Good news. Yep experiment everyone is different, check out what others eat for ideas. Apparently baby food now comes in a pouch with screw on lid-rice pudding, I never got around to trying this but sounds ideal. I would have real food then a gel. You need both in my opinion! X

  4. onthelamb says:

    Two! You’ve done two! Holy cow–I’ve been absent for too long. Way to go!

    • shazruns says:

      Some would say 50k was not an Ultra but I’m always going to count it. To me an Ultra is anything over a marathon! To Ultra snobs it has to be 100km plus!

  5. Pingback: How to run and train for an Ultra — shazruns – Site Title

  6. when’s your next ultra ?

    I’m attempting my first 50 miler. I’ve completed a 60 kilometer but no further. The 50 miler has me a little worried. Doing the training and trusting the plan :).

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