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Ultramarathons for the Lazy Runner: Chapter Eight – Race Strategy

Apr 18, 2010 | 8 Comments

How do you plan for a race measured in hours?  I will sometimes overhear runners discussing 5K strategy.  It usually involves running at a specified intensity for various intervals with the goal of finishing as quickly as possible.  Personally, I’ve always used a “run as fast as you can” strategy… which may explain why I suck at 5Ks.  Anyway, I digress.

Needless to say, ultramarathons require a different strategy than the faster, shorter races.  Even a typical marathon strategy won’t necessarily […]


Ultramarathons for the Lazy Runner: Chapter Eight- Drop Bags

Mar 31, 2010 | No Comments

What is a drop bag?

A drop bag is some sort of container used to hold supplies needed during a race.  The drop bag is dropped at some point along the race route.  You will have access to the bag when you reach that part of the course.

Is a drop bag actually a Bag?

Not necessarily, though that is the most common container.  Some people use backpacks, duffel bags, plastic shopping bags, or garbage bags.  Other containers can be used, too.  I […]


Ultramarathon Guide for the Lazy Runner: Chapter Six- Do you need a pacer?

Mar 19, 2010 | 2 Comments

A pacer is another runner that runs with you during a race. In the ultramarathon world, pacers are not official race entrants. They may or may not run the entire course with their runner. This is often dictated by the rules of the particular race. A pacer’s main duty is to get you to the finish line. If you are running for performance, they will help assure you stay on pace for your anticipated finish time. When choosing a race, […]


Ultramarathons for the Lazy Runner- Chapter Five: Do I need a crew?

Mar 12, 2010 | 2 Comments

In ultras, a crew provides support.  They follow you around the course, usually in a vehicle.  They meet you at predetermined spots, often aid stations.  They may provide support in the form of supplies, tracking your pace to keep you ahead of cutoff times, helping you solve problems that may arise, and providing general moral support.  They will have the ability to make sound decisions in the later stages of a race, well after you’ve lost the ability to think […]


Ultramarathons for the Lazy Runner- Chapter Four: How to Choose Your First Ultramarathon

Mar 5, 2010 | 5 Comments

Before we begin planning and training, it is necessary to pick a race. This can be a daunting task given the number of ultramarathons. There are currently over 600 in North America alone! I would recommend using a good calendar such as the one found on Barefoot Running University’s website:

Yes, that is a shameless plug.

The following elements should be taken into consideration:

Location– the closer to home, the better. Being able to drive offers a huge advantage- […]


Chapter Three: Can I run ultras if I’m already a slow runner?

Feb 26, 2010 | 4 Comments

There’s a myth that runners have to be good to run ultramarathons.  By “good” I mean fast.  Sure, many ultrarunners are blazing fast in shorter races.  It’s not a prerequisite, though.  It’s entirely possible to be turtle-slow and still finish an ultra.  I would go out on a limb and say it may be advantageous to be slow. Generally speaking, there’s an inverse relationship between speed and distance.  As distances increase speed (as measured by pace) decreases.  Once you get […]


Ultramarathons for Lazy Runners: Chapter Two- What does it take to run ultras?

Feb 25, 2010 | 3 Comments

So you’re still deciding if you want to tackle the ultramarthon distance.  You’re intrigued by the idea, but you have doubts.  What exactly does it take to run ultras?  As it turns out, it’s probably not as difficult as one would imagine.

First, it does take some degree of physical fitness.  If your goal is to simply finish the race, it is critical that you have the ability to spend a long period of time on your feet.  The “time on […]


Ultramarathons for Lazy Runners: Chapter One- Why Run Ultras?

Feb 24, 2010 | 7 Comments

When people ask this seemingly simple question, I’m often left without a response. There are the typical canned responses like, “I like the challenge”, “I enjoy trail running/nature/pooping in the woods” or the ever-popular “Oprah ruined the marathon.”
My reasons are a little more personal. We all have that little voice in our head that tells us to stop. It is the self-doubt or regulator that is ready to throw in the towel. Some would call it a self-preservation instinct. […]