Changing the Challenge

June 5, 2013


Previous running post

MK MarathonBefore taking on the challenge of training for an ultra, I don’t think I fully appreciated the difference between the challenge of doing a ‘normal’ marathon, and running an ultra.  I guess you never really think beyond the marathon unless you need to.  The multiple day ultra is an entirely different beast.

This is us in the Milton Keynes stadium just before the MK marathon started.

Here are the main differences between a marathon and Hadrian’s Wall:

Marathon – Race for a good time.

Hadrian’s Wall – Run to finish. Both days.

Marathon – Run all in one go with no real food.

Hadrian’s Wall – We will be eating solid food at some point, and stopping 2 or 3 times along the way.

Marathon – Training consists of long runs up to 20-24 miles.

Hadrian’s Wall – Training peaks at consecutive days running, along side long runs and multiple sessions in one day.

Marathon – Wear as little as possible unless you are in fancy dress, in which case dressing up as a pair of speakers, or a shopping trolley is acceptable.

Hadrian’s Wall – We have a list of things we need to take with us in our back packs including a ‘triangular or comfortable roller bandage’ depending on which kind of injury you are most likely to sustain.  Still not quite sure how to come to that decision.

Marathon – Blisters can be nursed after the race. All you need is a pair of flip flops to drive home in, and a stretcher to get you out of the car at the other end. Simples.

Hadrian’s Wall – Really need to find a way of not getting blisters for the second day! Taking spare running shoes as a precaution.

Marathon – In the case of Spring marathons, the weather always seems to be about 10deg higher than on our training runs, which is not ideal.

Hadrian’s Wall – We’re expecting rain, so just like our training runs (with puddles and showers of all types).  There’s no such thing as bad weather – there’s just inappropriate clothing, as they say…..

Marathon – Race pace strategy: negative splits seems like a good plan, until you hit the wall, after which point any graceful or ungraceful movement forwards is a positive thing to be celebrated.

Hadrian’s Wall – Slow and steady all the way.  So far our strategy is to run 11-12 min miles, and walk up any really steep bits. Any experienced ultra runners out there – ideas welcome!

I was thinking for a while that Hadrian’s Wall might be easier than a marathon because of the stops, the food and the lack of pressure to finish in a good time, but now I’m starting to get a bit worried about day 2.  Also, it’s great that we are camping in the middle, but what happens if the local pub doesn’t have enough spag bol for all the runners?!!

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About Venessa Moffat

Marketing, Strategy and Growth Hacking specialist, with 20 years' experience in the Data Centre industry. Driven by data and analytics, Venessa uses lean startup techniques and intelligent feedback loops to maximise the learning, adaptation and growth opportunity. Obsessed with growth, her approach is both creative, but also leverages in-depth technical knowledge and experience for maximum value creation and excellent customer experience.

View all posts by Venessa Moffat


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