What Is An Ultramarathon? Top 4 Helpful Tips

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Are you wondering what is an ultramarathon? An ultramarathon is anything longer than a traditional marathon, so here's what you must know before running one. 

A marathon is already a very long and challenging race at 26.2 miles, however, for some people, a traditional marathon is not enough. That is where the ultramarathon comes into play. By definition, an ultramarathon is anything that is longer than 26.2 miles.

If you run a few hundred yards further than a marathon, it technically qualifies as an ultramarathon; however, ultramarathons come in many shapes and forms. They are incredibly challenging races, but they have also become more popular during the past few years.

The Common Distances For Ultramarathons

What is an ultramarathon?
Plenty of ultramarathons also focus on geographical features instead of the total distance

There are several common distances for ultramarathons. Many people who have already completed a few marathons decide to jump to a 50 km race. This is about 8 km, or 5 miles, further than a marathon.

It is significantly more challenging, but there are plenty of other distances. Those who want to continue pushing themselves often try a 50-mile race, a 100 km race, or even a 100-mile one.

Plenty of ultramarathons also focus on geographical features instead of the total distance. For example, there are some races that ask you to run up and down the mountain, and it might not be a round number.

The longest ultramarathon is 3,100 miles. If you are looking for the ultimate test of human endurance, you may want to learn more about this race. 

Stage Races In Ultramarathons

Because these races are so long, it is sometimes impossible to complete them in a single day. That is why a lot of ultramarathons are broken down into different stages and are called stage races. There are certain distances that people need to run every day, and the stage usually ends at the place where people spend the night.

For example, you may run a few dozen miles on the first day and arrive at a campground. Then, you may be given cabins to sleep in, or you may be asked to pitch your tent.

You also need to focus on your recovery, as you will be responsible for getting rid of the lactic acid in your body, giving it a chance to recover appropriately. You may also be asked to find your food, or it could be provided to you. This also allows you to get to know the other competitors, as this community is relatively small.

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Aid Stations Are Available

Aid Stations are available
Because these races are so long and demanding, runners have access to water, Gatorade, energy gels, and even sandwiches as they run

A lot of ultramarathon races take place in a loop. This means that runners tend to do a few laps in a given location before moving to the next area. There are officials who are there to keep track of the number of loops that runners run, but it also makes it easier for them to access aid stations.

Because these races are so long and demanding, runners have access to water, Gatorade, energy gels, and even sandwiches as they run. When runners stay in the loop for a certain amount of time, it makes it easier for the course officials to set up aid stations and give them the proper nutrition.

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Tips For Running An Ultramarathon

If you are interested in running your first ultramarathon, there are several tips to keep in mind. They include:

  • Trust the training: You have already trained for a marathon, and training for an ultramarathon is no different. You will need to put in plenty of miles at a consistent pace to get your body ready for such a gruelling test.
  • Try hiking: A marathon tends to take place on an open road, while an ultramarathon tends to take place on trails, in the woods, and on mountains. You will be dealing with uneven pavement and rapid elevation changes.
  • Eat: You may not realize just how demanding it is to eat, but when every muscle in your body is asking for more nutrition, do not stop eating. You must continue to provide your body with nutrition.
  • Put on sunscreen: You must wear sunscreen to run your ultra marathon. You will be outside for many hours, and the sweat can make it easier to develop a sunburn. This will only make the race even harder. 

If you follow these tips, you can put yourself in a position to be successful.