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Training for an ultramarathon is more fun than I expected

Training for an ultramarathon is more fun than I expected

Marcel is a Foundation Run member training for his first ultramarathon. He’s tackling it one run at a time.

A few years ago I trained for my first marathon and it sucked. It was lonely and hard and I actually quit five weeks before the event. “Running is stupid and boring,” I declared. I gave myself a week to sulk, then wised up and finished the race. Best run of my life, as it turned out, but I hadn’t enjoyed the training at all.

Here I am again, and this time it’s an ultramarathon. My wife Debbie got me into this glorious nonsense. We’re both aiming for the same event, the 102km Tarawera Ultra in February 2018. It’s my first go at such an ultra-stupid distance. There’s a lot of pain coming my way, but for now, surprisingly, I’m having a great time. What’s changed?

I have someone else to do all my thinking.

Get a running coach. If you’re even half serious about making tangible progress, it’s worth every cent.

Foundation Run plans my programme with challenging and interesting runs I’d never come up with myself, focusing on speed and endurance without overloading me into a state of injury.

High fives for not having to think as much.

I’ve got cheerleaders.

I hadn’t anticipated how much fun it would be getting to know the other Foundation Run athletes. We see each other at the weekly strength classes. We compare shoes. We celebrate each others’ milestones. We suffer together at speed sessions, and we cheer each other along on the Strava app.

Here’s a typical Tuesday track session at the Domain.

It’s been cool watching people like zippy Martin burning around the Waikareao Estuary, Lisa battling the wind and rain to fit in her speed work after her night shift, and Nic conquering her doubts about the entire enterprise by nailing the inaugural Tauranga International Marathon.

In fact, they all smashed out some personal bests at the Tauranga marathon this weekend. High fives all round. The process worked for them, let’s see how it works for me. I’ll log a few more notes about my own journey over the coming months.

October 10, 2017

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