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How to Prepare for a 12 Hour Ultramarathon

Posted by on May 11, 2011 | 2 Comments

Step One:  Treat it like that subtle grinding noise your car just started making.  Yeah, that’s right, just ignore it.

Pretend it’s not even there.  Just go about your normal day-to-day existence. There is no need for additional steps!

This more or less sums up my preparation for the Mind the Ducks 12 hour ultra I will be running this Saturday.  I don’t normally take such a haphazard approach to training for major events, but this one is special.  Given that it is a timed race, there’s no pressure to finish.  I could feasibly show up, jog a single half mile loop, then spend the rest of the day eating junk food from the aid station.

That’s the appeal of the timed race.  It’s like the marijuana of ultras (gateway drug.)  Why do timed races in general and Mind the Ducks in particular make good first ultras?

  • It’s not as harsh as a trail ultra.
  • There’s no pressure to finish a given distance unless you publicly announce your distance goals.  FYI- my goal is four and a half miles… I like to set low expectations then absolutely crush them.  If I hit nine miles, I can brag about doubling my goal mileage.
  • The likelihood of getting lost is minimal, especially when you can see the start/finish line the entire time.
  • Plotting the strategy between aid stations is pretty easy.  You’re probably not going to drain your water bottle between the stops since you pass the aid station every half mile.
  • You can brag about having passed the eventual winner… even if they are 30 miles ahead of you.
  • Repetitive actions = ready-made drinking game.

My training for this specific event has been lackluster as I’ve been focusing on Western States-specific activities.  That’s probably the main reason for my lack of planning.  Still, I have to get my ass in gear.  I haven’t even packed and we’re leaving tomorrow after I get out of work.  I don’t know what I’m wearing for the race, what gear I’ll need, or what strategy I’ll use.

The grinding noise in the car is getting louder… can I just wait for the wheel to fall off?  🙂



It’s not too late to get a free Barefoot Running University sticker and a copy of The Barefoot Running Book– all you have to do is donate to the charity the Hobby Joggas are supporting at Mind the Ducks.


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  1. Brandon Mulnix
    May 11, 2011

    It will be fun! A Block party of sorts. My goal might have gone out the window this week with a spasm in the top of my foot, but it will be worth it.

    The adventure is near!

  2. shel
    May 11, 2011

    no need to prepare for that. bring lots of clothes, they’re calling for rain