Training for my first Ultra Marathon

May 14th, 2014 | Posted by Erica House in Life

Did I just say that out loud?

For the few of you who have been reading my blog since day one (two years ago this month!) you may remember my very first 5k in November of 2012. It was 5 months after that when I ran my first half, and seven months after that when I ran my first full. After my half I thought, “there is NO WAY I could run twice this far!” and after my full I thought, “I want more.” #Addicted

I’ve got a lot of goals for races in the coming months. I knew that meant I needed to sit down and start planning out a training schedule that would allow me to participate in all of the races I’m hoping to do. So, here’s what life has in store for me starting in July. Updated Training Plan

The excitement I feel toward starting official training for the Ultra is on par with how excited I got for Christmas as a kid. My goals for my big three races are as follows:

Pensacola Marathon: Hit the 4:30 finish time I trained for the first time around!

Rock and Roll New Orleans Marathon: Pace my friend Christina for her first finish.

Blackwater 50k: Survive and not hate running when it’s over.

I’m looking forward to starting to run on trails, experimenting with eating ‘real foods’ more than just gu packs, and pushing myself to a new distance.

Are you currently training for anything?
Would you ever want to run a 50k? 

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36 Responses

  • That’s awesome! Good luck!!

    • Erica House says:

      Thank you! I sent the plan over to a veteran ultramarathoner yesterday and he said it looks good. Nice to hear from someone who has been there that I’m on the right track!

  • Jason says:

    You’re going to love it and I’m sure you’ll kick ass in all of your races!

    • Erica House says:

      I’ve started reading blogs by ultramarathoners and I really feel like they are ‘my people’. I always joke that I only run because I can’t hike on a daily basis so I think being able to run out in the woods is going to be a game-changer for me.

  • HOLY MOLEY that is amazing!!! I would love to take the Ultra plunge one day, but I am not at a place where I can imagine running any farther that 26.2 miles. hahaha Maybe in 2016…

    • Erica House says:

      Honestly, I feel like part of me is doing this just because I can’t afford to get into tri’s right now! If I had a bike and could take swim lessons I’d be training for a half ironman instead, but as it stands I got all the stuff I need to do an ultra right now (more or less anyway) so a 50k it is!

  • Jennifer says:

    I was thisclose to running the Blackwater 50k a couple of years ago when we lived down there but I chickened out. Doing my first this year up here in Virginia. Good luck on yours. Hope you have a blast! And, interesting that they’re doing it in February this time. First one was December, last one was October and now February. Guess they’re still trying to figure out what’s the best time for that trail……

    • Erica House says:

      Good luck on your first one this year! You’ll have to let me know how awesome/terrible it is. I just keep telling myself “it’s only 5 more miles!”

      I think one reason they may have changed it from the Fall is because the Pensacola marathon is in November, and I know a lot of people were interested in running both, but couldn’t so close together.

  • An ultra is definitely on my bucket list! Excited to follow your training :)

    • Erica House says:

      I just wish it was July already! Even though my ‘real’ ultra training won’t start until after my marathon in November .. it all kind of blends together.

  • Congrats on taking the plunge! I love trail races and am doing my third trail ultra in July – totally self supported, meaning no aid stations! You will do great – you have the right state of mind and a great plan! Just keep in mind that your pace on trails in not the same as on roads – and remember to lift your feet or you will be doing face plants, lol.

    • Erica House says:

      Any idea what my training pace should be for LR’s? My marathon pace is 10:45ish so I was thinking of training for a 12 min pace for the 50k. I’m sure I’ll get a better idea if that’s possible once I start running on trails more this Fall.

      Any other tips you have would be appreciated! What do you do for food on the run?

      • 12 minutes or so sounds about right. Depending on the race, you may need to carry more stuff, so get a belt or running vest that allows you to carry more gels, gu etc.. I bought a minalmist vest to use – small, lightweight and lots of pockets and storage for extra socks, or shirt. Plus I always pack 2 PB&J sandwiches – I can only do so many gu’s – and this has plenty of room for stuff like that. But experiment with what doesn’t upset your stomach. Which reminds me – I use tums on ultras – will settle your stomach during the later stages of the race.
        Good luck!

  • Man, we have some catching up to do at Fitbloggin girlie! ;) You’ve got this!

  • I LOVE your goal for the 50k. Haha. That’s totally my goal too. Only 17 days to go………

  • So freakin’ excited for you! This will be a fun and life-changing journey, I’m sure. I hope you are able to dial the real-food running thing down. I wasn’t able to during my 50k training cycle, and I think I need a longer period of time to get that to work.

  • Woohoo! Welcome to the ultra world! I’ve been running ultras for the past 5 years and I adore it. A 50k really just needs marathon training to finish it, so you should be in great shape for that. If you ever have any questions, I’m happy to help!!

    • Erica House says:

      I spent some time reading some of your race recaps – you are a beast! My marathon pace is around 10:15-10:45 and the 50k course is ‘flat but challenging’; what do you think a good goal pace should be for me? I was thinking 11-12 but not sure if that’s realistic. I’d love to come in under 6 hours!

  • You are BRAVE for tackling an ultra marathon, way to go! The human body was made for running long distances, we’ve just gotten out of caveman mode and so it seems daunting. You’re awesome!

  • Congrats! I can’t wait to follow along!

  • Wish you had the wordpress like/star button that I could hit over and over again. This sounds AWESOME! I wish you the best in your training and racing! I would lovvve to run a 50k someday (says the girl who’s never ran more than a half marathon, but hey, it’s on my list!) but it will have to wait for the relatively distant future. I am not really training for anything right now, unfortunately. I had signed up for a fall marathon, my first, but now I have to work. I am a 2 sport college coach so 7 day work weeks are the norm and weekends are always booked with games or recruiting. My seasons parallel the fall and spring race seasons too perfectly, but I can’t wait toget something on the calendar. Maybe I can find something during winter break. Anyways – excited for you for the 50K! Go get it!

  • Jodi says:

    Yikes…and good luck! Will be great to follow your training!

  • Kim says:

    Good luck!! I like your plan and goals!!
    I actually just did (attempted) a 50 mile race this past Saturday – hopefully one day I will get it!!!

    • Erica House says:

      Ohhh the word ‘attempted’ scares me! What happened?

      • Kim says:

        I don’t fuel (never have) and I think that combined with the temps in the mid 80s caused me to be dehydrated and maybe have heat exhaustion – frustrating but I guess 33.73 was the end this race and hopefully my next attempt (there will be one) will go better).
        You can do it!!

        • Erica House says:

          Interesting! Any particular reason why you don’t use fuel on runs?

          • Kim says:

            Well, I’m super old school and 30 years ago when I started running people didn’t talk about fuel. In fact, the key was to make sure you hadn’t eaten anything before running. I guess I haven’t really adapted – it works for me until I get over 20-25 miles and then…..

          • Erica House says:

            For what it’s worth I think the advertising/marketing guru’s of ‘fuel’ companies have done a bang up job of convincing runners they have to eat wayyyy more than they actually need to on runs. I will bring a gu pack with me on anything over 12 miles but rarely use it unless I’m doing 14/15+. Even then I’d like to start transitioning into eating more whole foods on running and not just fueling my body with processed sugar.

  • Tina Muir says:

    WOw! How exciting Erica! Such a long way you have come! Will be following you along the way, and supporting your journey :)

  • Helen says:

    Wow, Erica! How exciting! Good luck! =)

  • I’m so excited for you! I really should do one where I actually train for it. Well I did in 2013 and that was an amazing race. Can’t wait to follow your training. part of me wants to come down there and run it with you. Make sure you take time to run on trails, not just road running to prepare. It’s a mix of distance, time and terrain. You need to know how you’ll do with all three.

  • OHMYGOD!! I just saw this post )seriously I suck at staying on top of blogs) How exciting!!! I’ve been tossing the idea of an ultra around in my head for a while now, but realized now is not the time . One day I’ll do it. I just plan on building up base mileage over the year and then…. maybe. hahaha.

    Anyways, I’m super stoked for you. It’s a challenge and a half (so I hear) but I know you can do it!! It’s going to be fun reading your progress throughout training.

    One of my favorite running bloggers had great detail on her training plan. She doesn’t blog anymore, but her old posts are still up and I like reading them for motivation and inspiration and ideas. http://www.runnersrambles.com/my-current-training/american-river-50

    • Erica House says:

      See, I think I have the opposite mentality as you. I feel like I want to do it now in case I start to ‘get out of’ running, or have babies, or something else that may come up over the next few years!

      I KNOW I will regret saying this but I really feel like its ‘only’ 5 more miles. How hard can it really be? Thanks for the blog link – will definitely check it out!



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