Family life

Week 6: Tread 6-hour ultra marathon training

A few weeks into training for her first ultra marathon, Jennifer takes on her first 20-mile run.

By Jennifer Pinarski
Week 6: Tread 6-hour ultra marathon training

Photo by infomatique via Flickr

I had read a lot about the dreaded 20-mile run. Considered to be the longest and most difficult distance that most runners will face in their marathon training, most beginner and novice marathon training plans recommend only covering that distance once in the lead-up to a full 26.2. because it takes a long time for your body to recover. In my training for the Tread 6-hour trail run, I'll run 20+ miles four times in the next five weeks — and then follow it up with 10 miles the next day. 
For my metric readers, that’s 33K followed by 16K. 
Heading into my run, I tried not to think about the overall distance, instead planning my trail running route as a series of loops so that I could take off extra layers, pick up extra water and food and, of course, quit if I needed to. As luck would have it, I was joined at the last minute by a new running partner, who was with me for the first 15K. It was great to have company and a distraction to keep my mind off the distance I still had to cover.
Turns out I was worried for nothing. The kilometres clicked by without incident. After the first 15K on the road with my running partner, I headed for the trails to give my legs a break from the pavement. I drank when I was thirsty and ate when I was hungry. When I got tired of listening to my footsteps, I turned on music. When I was bored of music, I turned on podcasts. The only dicey points in my run were when the trail was washed out — when I stepped out into what I thought was a puddle, I was shocked to find myself hip-deep in freezing water and mud. My knees appreciated the cold!
Actually, that’s not totally true. The second uncomfortable part when returning from my four and a half hour run to a slightly irritated husband — I promised to be home sooner than I was. I was more than an hour longer than I should have been. Oops. 
Last week’s stats
Ran: 67KM
Ate: homemade Larabars, jelly beans, Honey Stinger gels
Wore: Ron Hill running tights, mittens, 
Feeling: Hungry, tired and annoyed with the little blister on the inside of my big toe
The week ahead
Running: 57KM (seven done)
Eating: Easter candy
Drinking: green tea
Wearing: sandals, because my toes really hurt

Photo by infomatique via Flickr
This article was originally published on Apr 11, 2012

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