23miles then I can't go on :-(

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01/10/2012 at 08:20

Hi all,

 I am thinking about bailing out of doing a 50k ultra in December. The last month on my long runs I get to 20 miles feeling pretty good then BANG up to 23 miles I just die. Friday just gone I was anticipating this so the 23rd mile was at my house. I went in changed into some joggies and T shirt and thought I'll just walk as far as I can. I got another 1 1/2 miles before I just couldn't do anymore. Doesn't bode well either as this was a pretty flat run and the run I am doing has 6000ft of ascent. Should I bail out now? If so what are the rules and regs on selling your place because the company I went through do not accept refunds. I have emailed them asking if I could knock it down to a marathon which I think I could do but that will cost another tenner. All in all that would be roughly 65£ to run a marathon! Which I cannot justify.

seren nos    pirate
01/10/2012 at 08:29

how are you doing the 20 miles.are you running the whole way............and at what kind of pace........

have you tried run/walk from the beginning

01/10/2012 at 08:42


I'm running full 20 miles. I do that pretty slow at about 3hr 45mins which seems to be exactly the same time every time!

KK I've been running properly since January But always had a half decent level of fitness. I will look into deferring it but they seem pretty strict with what they allow.

I could try run/walk but you just seem like a bit of a div all kitted out in lycra and plodding down the road But perhaps needs must.

01/10/2012 at 09:21

Thanks for that. My recovery time is pretty good after a 23 miler I can go and do a few miles the next day but I also do 12 miles 2 days after no problems. It's just a barrier I cannot get past. Perhaps I just need to get through that wall but my legs feel like lead and no matter what I eat or drink it doesn't make a difference. Its just like my body says no more thanks

01/10/2012 at 09:35

TheVicar - Do you take any food in on your runs? What about drinks? the long runs do take practice, I know it is just running at the end of the day but like KK says building up is the key.

I think you are doing the Dorset CTS, I am down for that as well. Trust me if you do it you wouldn't be the only one walking! Make the most of the terrain to do your walking though. No point walking to the foot of a hill and then trying to run up it and killing yourself!

Personally though, I would not like to turn up to a race without feeling well enough prepared. I don't mind suffering but I like to suffer for a reason

01/10/2012 at 09:46

Thanks guys Yes it is Dorset CTS. It was my own fault for thinking I can do it lol.

My hydration is spot on. My eating is not too bad now I think. Do you think doing back to back 15 milers would be more benficial than one 23ish miler?

WIB if you could give me a piggy back 13 miles i'll be alright

01/10/2012 at 09:54

It is a temping offer... unfortunately as you are not a female beach volleyball player I will have to decline. Best I can do is a mildly enthusiastic clap at the finish?

I still think a single long run is important but you dont need to be banging them out every weekend. Back to back runs of slightly less distance can be just as beneficial but requiring less recovery and the quality is likely to be better.

01/10/2012 at 10:03

I don't mind wearing a bikini. But a 6ft 1 13 stone man in a bikini on a cold day in december, isn't what you imagined.

I think mentally doing back to backs would be better as i'll think well ive covered 30 miles (say) in 2 days surely I can do 33-34 in one go. But i'm not hitting that wall and I am not sure whether it's something I should be getting used to.

I have been doing 20milers every week as I was panicing as i only have 2 months left and was trying to squeeze it all in.

seren nos    pirate
01/10/2012 at 10:10

you could keep the 20 miler going as that isn't a problem and ythen another one the next day 10 to 15 miles.see how that goes....

It might be a mental thing now and so It would be good to get a longer one in of say 30 miles just to know you can..........take a picnic and let yourself take all day on it. run/ walking.....enjoying the views.........time on your legs is important for ultras.........

then you will know if you can go longer or not.....

if you are one of the few that want to run the whole thing then I think you will need to defer and spend the next year or two building up the long runs so that your body is used to them and have learned to cope



01/10/2012 at 10:25

Have you tried having a rest?  You do seem to be banging out the miles with so much regularity.   Maybe try a "mini-tapering" exercise - similar to that recommended before a marathon?  Perhaps go 7-10 days where you do very little, to allow your body to be well recovered- then go for a long run and see if you can go beyond your 23 mile barrier? At least you'd learn something.

The other thing to question, is the degree of core strength.  Do you do exercise other than running?  I've not run past 20 miles myself yet.. but a lot of advice says that you need to condition your whole body to help you deal with 'the wall'.

Good luck.

01/10/2012 at 10:31

no I knew I'd never run the whole thing I just thought I could at least get 25 miles under my belt and half run and walk the rest. In 2 weeks I am going down for the day to the coast to run part of the course as its only 20 miles away.

I was half wondering whether on my long runs to do 15 miles out and back. Then I have no choice but to cover the mileage? I wonder if its a mental thing because I run 20 odd miles and I then run a few loops of the block incase I cant carry on and have to walk back. Now mentally I am so close to home and in your head you think I can just turn and go back or do one loop etc.

I don't know I just thought I'd crank up the mileage and have no problems so its a bit of a knock

Edited: 01/10/2012 at 10:34
01/10/2012 at 10:36

RW I had the last week oof due to having a cold and a bit of a niggle with my hip flexor. So I did have some time off but perhaps not feeling too strong because of being ill. I don't do much other than running. the whole core strength thing seems like a good idea as the further you go the sloppier your technique gets etc. I will give it a go as i did start some other exercises but finding the time is a sod

01/10/2012 at 10:58
TheVicar wrote (see)

Hi all,

 I am thinking about bailing out of doing a 50k ultra in December. The last month on my long runs I get to 20 miles feeling pretty good then BANG up to 23 miles I just die. Friday just gone I was anticipating this so the 23rd mile was at my house. I went in changed into some joggies and T shirt and thought I'll just walk as far as I can. I got another 1 1/2 miles before I just couldn't do anymore.

It is to a large extent mental - for example your last Friday by fixing it so the 23rd mile was at your house you had already commited mentally to that being the end. These mental blocks can be tough to overcome as you need to switch to the belief you can do it. You seem to have been getting the miles in consistently and decent long runs so I wouldn't start panicking that on the day (rested and tapered) you won't finish. The adrenaline and excitment of taking part gives you a real boost too. Up to 23miles in training is ok to get you round a 50k, as others have said walk the hills and run the downs/flat sections. Unless you are super fast the CTS are about enjoying the day out and appreciating running in great scenery.
Stick to consistent training rather than trying to get longer runs in - if you pick up an injury the setback will be more of a blow than having to walk the last 5 miles for a finish.

01/10/2012 at 11:23

Appreciate that. Yes I think it may have something to do with believing I can do it. After 23 miles the thought of doing 10 more miles pretty much breaks me. Perhaps I will see it differently when I go down there the middle of this month. Because I will be forced to walk pretty early on and perhaps that will get me further. I agree too that doing an event you seem to muster that little bit more from somewhere too.

Is it too late on in the day to change my training plan? Every other week doing a long run (What would be an ideal distance to aim for?) The the second week do a 15/15 back to back? Or something similar?

01/10/2012 at 11:47

Wow, thats amazing. Well done. I new to running long distance and couldn't even imagine running that long in one stretch. 

01/10/2012 at 12:12

Neither could I 2 months ago. I would be super chuffed it was a marathon because I could do it and I should be well happy with what I have achieved. problem is I want to run an Ultra so I haven't achieved what I set out to do. I know I sound like a bit of a diva saying that lol. But appreciate the encouragement

01/10/2012 at 12:21

CC. Yup probably was me lol. I know I need to ease up a little on myself but I set a goal and I hate missing it. Problem is doing the whole ultra thing you don't really have anything to gauge your training by other than distance and when the distance isn't going up I tend to worry a bit Your training plan makes sense but I think it would be more useful on my next event as I only have 8 weeks left now

seren nos    pirate
01/10/2012 at 12:58

agree cragchick..........never done more than about 28 ever even for a 50 miler

01/10/2012 at 13:18

FWIW I have trained only one cycle that got me up to 50 km in training earlier this year for an ultra. For that length of run I was totally unsure at the outset whether I could even make it.To get the confidence, do a run/walk for your long runs, and probably 22-23 miles is enough for 50 km training

I recommend you do a walk/run right from the beginning, plus walking up even short hills that would otherwise push your HR over a slow long-run speed (I chose 72% maxHR as a cut-off, with 10:1 min run-walk intervals). At that effort I manage about 4:45 for a 50 km (cf 3:40 mara) but at least it tells me I can actually do the distance. Speed can come later!

It is better to bank energy rather than time, i.e., start and continue very conservatively. Don't worry about being a div or a diva. Ultra people tend to wear tatty old shirts rather than lycra anyway

Edited: 01/10/2012 at 13:19
01/10/2012 at 14:05

Cheers guys really appreciate the thoughts, ideas and help. Perhaps this week ill do a back to back instead of a long run then next week do an out and back and cover 25 miles (Walk/run from the off) and then perhaps top out there and rein it in a little. You're right because I will be walking from the off on the day without a doubt and conserving energy is the name of the game. Heard somebody say the other day an ultra is eating and drinking with a bit of running.

Plus i'll get myself a tatty shirt too;-)

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