The average person would consider a typical marathon (26.2 miles) a very ambitious distance to run. Events like the Boston and Barkley marathons have been put on many bucket lists. Runners train for months leading up to a marathon race and the average finish time is close to four and a half hours. That’s a lot of steps and a lot of calories burned! But, some runners decide that a twenty six mile journey of wheezing and struggling isn’t quite long enough. These are the bold few that turn to running ultra marathons.

Ultra marathons range anywhere from 32 miles all the way to 150 miles and frequently extend into multiple day events. Unlike other races, runners typically judge their success by whether they were able to finish the course. The amount of time taken to finish is not kept track of. Some popular ultra marathons take place in scenic landscapes such as Cool, CA, Mayer, AZ, and Badwater, CA. Many athletes find appreciation for the Earth and its stunning terrain through these races.

If you’re interested in running long distances, spending a lot of time outdoors, and joining this tight knit community of runners, here are some steps to start your new hobby:

Get equipped

If you haven’t already, you’ll want to pick up a few essentials that will make running long distances easier. For long runs, most ultra runners pack a light kit to carry which holds water, snacks, a lightweight waterproof jacket, a phone, and a first aid kit in case of any blisters or injuries. It’s recommended that you pack these items in order to complete your runs safely and effectively.

Ease into it

Running tens of miles at a time isn’t something you just jump into. You’ll want to start with 5-10 miles every other day and gradually increase your weekly mileage by 10-15%. This will help prevent injury and allow you to build up cardiovascular fitness.

Hit the trails!

Map out a route and then you’re ready to go! Once you get into your training groove you can start looking for ultra marathons in your area. There’s also many races abroad available to compete and challenge yourself in.

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