Sunday, 9 February 2014

Running rant #1 - Ultrarunning

When I'm out on a long run, I often think about what to write about next on the blog. I think about lots of running subjects, some of which get me wound up! So I'm now having a section on the blog called 'Running rants' where I can air my frustrations!

It would appear the latest running 'fad' is gaining momentum. Ultra running! Yes these days it appears every mere mortal runner is turning into 'ULTRARUNNER'.

Have cake, will run far!

Everyone' bio on Twitter now seems to contain the 'Ultra' word!

Ultra running takes place predominantly on the trails, and I too love the trails, most of my running is done on the trails, but it seems everything related to trail running these days is all about Ultra races. Magazines,videos, everything it seems trail related means you have to run something over the marathon distance of 26.2 miles!

I'm fresh back from a trail race, one of the most enjoyable races I've far?....10K!

Currently I'm running around 30 miles a week, all on the trails. It's perfect for me physically and mentally, I'm not over tired, it's perfect. The trails are strengthening my body and the volume of mileage is keeping me injury free. 

Was a human being really made to run so far, in one go?

I don't think so, when you read about people's race reports after doing these Ultra runs, 90% are injured after the event and can't run for weeks later until they are fully recovered. If cavemen (which everyone seems to be harping back to) had ran this far, they would have gone pretty hungry waiting to recover!

The philosophy of Ultra racing, I do happen to agree with, running long distances slow is how it should be done. I've learnt that ever since training with my heartrate monitor. According to my program that I follow 80% of my running should be in the lower heartrate zones. Running slow burns fat, which is ultimately a main reason why people run.

I think in the long term the buzz and fad of Ultrarunning will pass and return to its routes where it was very much an underground sport. The likes of athletes such as Dean Karnazes really brought this topic to the public domain with his popular book Ultramarathonman (a book I own and love, I'd like to add). But Karnazes is to Ultrarunning what Christopher McDougall is to barefoot running and bringing these subjects to everyone's awareness, but look at barefoot running now, it's been and gone as a fad and returned to a small community who still invest in the idea.

This next point is personal to me, but when it comes to running I'm a bit of a purist. Running is running, not running and walking and if I have to walk in a race then I feel defeated. I know this is totally the wrong attitude, there's nothing wrong with walking, but unless you're one of the Ultrarunning elite then ultra races mean run/walk and that's not in my running mentality.

All this is just my opinion, I certainly don't want to alienate myself from 'Ultrarunners', some of the nicest runners I've met and have run with are into ultra's and lots of people I communicate with on Social networking are the same but hopefully this stirs up a healthy debate :-)

1 comment:

  1. I see you've had quite a bit of abuse on Twitter thanks to this post. Personally, I found myself nodding along with a lot it. Like a lot of things, Ultras will always exist, and have a group of people who love them. But recent coverage, particularly in some popular running publications, makes it appear that Ultras are something everyone should consider their next step after a Marathon, which I strongly disagree with. Don't get me wrong, I may well have a go at some point in the future! But at the moment, my body struggles to stay in one piece for a half-marathon, let alone two or three full marathons bulked in together.