What Training for Ultras is Really Like

Yep, it’s true. Running is a huge part our lives. It is the single thing we probably spend the most time doing other than work. We’ve done some pretty incredible things and have plenty more goals and bucket list races ahead. We get a lot of questions about how we train for these races, what our training schedule looks like, how we handle all the miles and how race day goes. Here’s a little real life insight into the crazy world of ultra-running!

1. You’re going to be hungry: sometimes we literally feel like dumping the whole fridge down the hatch. The amount of calories we are burning on our long runs are sometimes really challenging to replenish. You might be shocked by how much we can eat in one sitting. And if you are going to run this much.. you really do need to eat that much!

2. You’re going to have days of complete exhaustion: there are days where just standing is exhausting. Deep into your training for a race you’re going to crave those rest days like crazy. I’ve actually found myself scrolling through my training plan, looking for my next days off. It is okay to sit back and relax. Embrace the days of lounging around all day. They’re important too!
3. You’ll need a lot of running shoes: most running shoes are good for approx 600km. Add in technical, rooted and rocky terrain and you’re going to kick the crap out of your shoes a lot sooner. We almost always have more than one pair on the go.
4. You’re going to spend all day on the trail: to get in the mileage, you need to commit yourself to running for hours at a time. A 5 hour Sunday runday is going to start seeming completely normal, and completely necessary.
5. You’re going to make amazing friends: who do you spend all those hours on the trails with? Your trail running friends of course, who are no doubt training for their own crazy goals. Our trail running friends are some of our best friends.
6. You’re going to do a lot more laundry: Sweaty, wet, muddy, stinking running clothes… almost everyday. Tack on your work clothes, your casual clothes and I don’t care what anyone thinks of me I am wearing my PJs in public clothes… it all adds up!
7. You’re going to get dirty: You have to use the bathroom in the trails. Your hydration system will never be completely clean, no matter what kind of bleach or organic cleaning product you use. You will eat with your hands. If it’s raining, your calves and butt will look exactly like the trail. Whatever color your shoes are now, forget it, because they’ll soon be brown.
8. You will see a lot less of your “non-runner friends”: It can be so difficult to balance everything… work, training, social life. It’s easier to get new friends who train, or just stop having friends. Or get a dog, that works too!
9. You’re going to spend a lot of time alone: If you don’t like your own company, you’re going to be in trouble and you might not love running quite as much. You really need to get used to running by yourself… for hours and miles on end. All your favourite songs on your ipod? You’ll hear them a million times and you’ll probably get sick of them. Oh and talking to yourself? Yep, totally acceptable.. embrace it.
10. You’ll constantly be explaining yourself: Your friends will think you’re crazy. Your parents will think you’re nuts. On a daily bases you’re probably going to hear things like “you are running HOW FAR?” or “You’re doing that AFTER work?” or “you are training for WHAT race?” Get used to it. Everything think you’re crazy is fun. At least you’re a productive, healthy and motivated crazy!
11. You’re going to see some incredible things: It is pretty amazing when you start logging huge miles and accomplishing things you never thought you could. Your feet will take you some absolutely incredible places that you wouldn’t have other wise seen. And when you toe that start line at your goal race, you’ll realize why you did it all.
12. You’re going to keep dreaming bigger:  Once you’ve accomplished one thing, you’ll realize how strong you are and that the possibilities are endless. When you’ve gone beyond what you once thought was your limit, you’ll see that limits are set by ourselves.

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