Training For A 24 Hour Race
1. Choose your race
It makes some sense to start with the assumption that you can run a marathon. Most healthy people could run a marathon under ideal conditions though relatively few believe it. Actually doing it is still very different from thinking you can do it - that’s the starting point. Believe you can do it. Hundreds of thousands of people every year from kids to octogenarians run marathons and finish alive. Fewer take the next step: the ultra..
The ultramarathon is often defined as any distance beyond 26.2 like a 50 km however, a more common definition is the 50 miler. But ultras don’t stop there. The famous London to Brighton footrace is 88 km and the Comrades marathon in South Africa is 90 km. In the US there are many relatively popular races at the 100 k/100 mile distance like Western States, Leadville, Hardrock and Wasatch to name a few. These races requires patience, will and training spread over at least 3-4 months prior to the race depending on the fitness level. Some of these races are quite difficult as they are run at altitude and over mountainous areas. Western States gives a 30 hour cutoff as does Leadville. Hardrock gives 48 hours while Vermont 100 allows 30 hours as well.
Most, not all, 24 hour races are held on tracks for convenience for both organisers and runners and there crews.
In the UK this year there were two 24 hour races and in the US about a dozen and worldwide about 60 races. Each race is unique in conditions, facilities and quality/quantity of runners so deciding which race you will attempt will involve some detailed planning. In the UK the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team host an annual 24 hour at the Tooting Bec track in London at the beginning of October and the East Hull Harriers 24 hour race at Costello Stadium in 2006 is in the first week of May - Hull in Mid-Spring and Tooting Bec in Mid-Autumn.
In North America, 24 hour races begin with Houston in February and run about one a month finishing with the Across The Years 24/48/72 in Arizona which ends on New Years morning
If this will be your first 24 hour then allow 6 months prior to the event for your preparation if you are able to run a 4-5 hour marathon comfortably at the beginning of your training. This will give you the opportunity to gradually become accustomed to being on the feet for long periods.