My Step To Ultra

As you might have read on my blog here before I’ve run a marathon in October 2013. (Posts here, here and here, race recap here).
Seeing that the marathon is a mighty big goal, I lacked motivation once finished to continue running for a while.
I still enjoyed it, it helped me relax etc, but feeling that I had nothing to achieve gnawed at me apparently.
This went on for about four months and then I got invited to join a noncompetition trail run at half an hour drive away.
I went there with a couple of friends whom I never met before in real life, but chatted a lot online.

The run was 25km (~15.5 miles) with some nice hills and about 85% off-road. Nothing too hard, but much more enjoyable than constant asphalt.
We went out at about 5:30min/km and roughly continued at this pace the entire run.
Coming towards the finish I still felt very strong and had the feeling I was able to add a lot more distance if it were necessary.
The day after I wasn’t too sore, nothing worse than a tough interval day.

It than came to me that ultra maybe was possible.
If 25km went this easy, I felt obligated to myself to give it a shot.

We’re talking March-April 2014 here and after some looking around on the Internet I found a nice and easy 50k run at Maasmechelen at the end of June.
It consisted of 4 laps and knowing my daughter was coming (turned out to be April 15), I thought this the best for my girlfriend. This way she could come along and see me a couple of times passing without having to drive around herself.

So this meant I needed to start training.
For my marathon I hadn’t really followed a strict training plan, so I figured I wouldn’t look for one now either.

I focused on upping my mileage steadily with some stabilization now and then. Once again, being a ‘new dad’ meant I had to compromise towards my running (with pleasure off course :-), so I only had the time for 2 runs in the week and one long run in the weekend.
In the end I started with:

  • 1 run in my Zone 1 (Heart rate zones, see here…) for 70 minutes
  • 1 run in my Zone 2 for 70 minutes
  • Long run of 22km

And decided to go with:

  • 1 week adding 5 minutes to my Z1/Z2 runs
  • 5k adding (first time 3 to come at a proper distance) to my long run
  • Running the same as the week before

Rinse and repeat…

I had 12 weeks to go and managed to follow it quite strictly

My schema

Ending with a 40k run, which was 80% of the distance made me feel confident about the race to come.

Race report coming in a later post, hope you enjoyed 🙂