Congratulations on your first ultra and thank you for sharing your story.
Wish you the very best with your training and goals for next year.
I successfully completed my first Ultra yesterday in the Chiltern Hills in England, a 50km race with 950m of elevation.
I first decided to do this race essentially on a whim in May of this year, as I was originally planning to do the Half-Marathon at this event, but then the event was postponed to October due to Covid. I thought “to hell with it” and decided to switch my sign-up to the Ultra as I wanted to have something to motivate myself through the year.
I came across this website while researching training plans and I have stuck to the ‘Intro to Ultra’ plan by Luke Nelson and it has worked wonders. Despite suffering major setbacks in my training to make it far from perfect (missed the biggest week of training due to injury, the route being changed at the last minute, and then a storm on the actual day of the race) I felt super happy to have completed this race.
The storm on the day turned the route into an absolute mud-fest, so my original target of 5 hours to complete this just wasn’t possible as I hadn’t trained for the mud and it just sucked the energy out of my legs. My aerobic base felt very strong throughout and I didn’t feel out of breath at all, and I was on pace up until the 35th km before the mud wrecked my calves and my hamstrings.
One of the most important lessons that I’ve learned (along with all the training knowledge I’ve picked up along the way) is that it feels like more of an accomplishment for sticking through the difficult day to make it to the end. I performed very well for my first Ultra (37th out of 87 starters, 5:41 time), and although making my target time of 5 hours would have been nice, I feel like I “earned it” more for having to dig really deep mentally to make it to the end.
Thank you to the UA team for the training plan and the advice that I’ve picked up along the way. I’ve bought a copy of TftUA and it’s been an educating read, to say the least and I’m looking forward to applying the principles to improve. I’ve got some fun goals next year and this will be invaluable!
Posted In: Your Athlete Stories
Thanks for your very nice post. You are understandably proud of your accomplishment. You should be. That race sounds really tough. It is a nice accomplishment to set you mind to these things and follow through. You learned a vey valuable lesson: Training never goes perfectly. Something always goes wrong. Getting 90% right though is good enough. If the rest of the plan is well crafted you do not have every last detail fall into place.
Keep it up. You’ve just scratched the surface of what you are capable of.