Ah, the internet. It is a vast wasteland of all the information about ultra marathons that anyone could ever want to know. Ever. Since I committed to my ultra goal earlier this week, I can’t even count the number of times I’ve fallen into the rabbit hole of ultra research. As I’ve investigated everything from coaches to training plans to nutrition, I’ve oscillated between sheer inspiration (“I really CAN do this!”) and utter despair (“WTF am I doing?????).
Here are my personal favourite finds and realizations and, let’s face it, some true gems:
- From runnersconnect.net: This was promising at first. I’ve found an article that supports my view that anyone can run an ultra! And then, then I read this: “All you have to do to run an ultra is slow down.” As I reflected on these wise words, I wondered if maybe, just maybe, being able to run 50km really is as easy as slowing my pace. Could it be simple mathematics at play? For instance, if I comfortably run 12km roughly at a pace of 5 min/km, then a basic algebraic formula tells me I should be able to comfortably run 50km at a pace of roughly 21 min/km. As an added bonus, while training at this new pace I can experience the shame of being passed on the seawall, while I’m “running”, by the countless hordes out for their casual strolls. Other minor details: at this comfortable ultra pace, it would take me 17.5 hours to complete the ultra and I would surely be disqualified for failing to reach the 18km mark in the allotted 2.5 hours. However, I do seriously wonder if they would grant me an exception for mathematically solving the problem of ‘how do you comfortably run 50km?’
2. I will never find an ultra coach: Ultimately, I find the uber-inspirational to be…well, nauseating. I’m looking for what I’ve coined Inspiration Lite. I want the coach that won’t sugarcoat the hell of training for this type of event. I want the coach who can empathize with my desire to lay on my couch for an entire day watching countless hours of Boy Meets World on Shomi (FYI readers: BOY MEETS WORLD IS ON SHOMI. In my opinion, this is a worthy shout-out and also a damn good reason to supplement your Netflix subscription with Shomi*). I want the coach that won’t make me hang my head in shame for lacking discipline and perseverance because he or she has been there. I read one coach’s blog on which she discussed her worst year of training and running, but then went on to say how she placed first in a 75km ultra that same year. Let’s compare this to my own personal worst year of running in which I stopped running entirely for several months, gained 20 pounds, and then painstakingly built my way up to being able to run for 45 minutes without wanting to vomit. Now that is a bad year in running. When I find a running coach with that story, I’m all ears. In fact, if you’re that running coach, please leave a comment and I will be your client/best friend for the next 6 months.
3. http://theoatmeal.com/blog/ultramarathon. Enough said.
- Please note that Shomi has not endorsed this post nor paid me to promote their services (and I say this with great sadness, since I’d absolutely accept that payment).