The ultra-marathon is a unique race in that speed is typically not an objective. For most, finishing is the main goal. An ultra-marathon can be defined as any race longer than a marathon. The most common distances for ultra-distance races start at fifty kilometres. That said, serious competitors believe eighty kilometres to be the shortest ultra-distance race. Some races are 160 kilometres or more, and there is a group of races grounded on time, 12- and 24- hours are the most frequently-used intervals for these races. If a participant is not a proficient runner, then the training for an ultra-marathon must entail a base training phase. The base phase will likely be longer than those normally used for shorter-distance events, with a steady build-up to eighty kilometres per week or more. Many programmes for ultra-distance runners contain a running-walking plan during training in order to run-through a common race approach. One training tactic is to set prearranged amounts of time for running and walking, such as running for twenty minutes and then walking for five minutes. An additional approach is to walk up the hills and run or jog everything else. These procedures are a great way to plan before the pressure and exhaustion that will happen during the actual race. Contestants preparing for ultra-distance events must guarantee that they have sufficient training time. This can be problematic for people with duties such as a job and family life. One idea is to execute long runs on back-to-back days. For most people, those days will be on a weekend. The longest training period organised in the hypothetical programme is eight to nine hours over the course of two runs. For most people, the time required to complete the race will outstrip the training time, but with ample training time, finishing is still a genuine goal. As an athlete’s objective changes from finishing an event to finishing within a certain time, the training programme adjusts as a result, usually with an increased training volume.
- Reuter, Ben. Developing endurance. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2012.