How to train for a 53-mile ultra: The Hoka Highland Fling

Originally posted on Runner’s World

Can an average runner take on 53-miles in the Scottish highlands? We put our Online News Ed Rhalou to the test.

Rhalou Allerhand

As an average runner with fairly good endurance and just the right amount of madness, I’ve been harbouring a secret desire to advance to ultra running for a while now. Having run one official 28-mile ultra marathon and a few DIY extreme distance runs I do have an inkling of what I’m letting myself in for, but I have yet to dip my toe in the 50+ mile whirlpool.

After reading an article in the October 2014 issue of Runner’s World UK featuring a 50-mile training plan, I’ve decided it’s time to stop daydreaming and take the plunge. The article in question includes a seemingly straightforward training plan that breaks 50 miles down into bite size chunks and makes it sound doable.

The Highland Fling

I’ve since signed up to my first proper ultra marathon, the Hoka Highland Fling. A 53-mile unsupported trail race set over the Southern part of the West Highland Way in Scotland, the fling is not for the faint-hearted. But having heard excellent things about the race from die-hard ultra friends, it feels like the perfect ultra to cut my teeth on.

Make a plan

It’s easy to sign up to a race and read a training plan, but actually stepping outside the door to start training for 53 miles is a whole different ballgame. But reluctant to opt for my usual wing it approach (largely because the chance of me actually dying out there is rather high) I realise, perhaps for the first time in my running career, I have to take my training seriously. To that end, I will be following the training plan to a T and speaking to as many long distance experts as I can get my hands on.

Follow my journey

Over the coming weeks I’ll be blogging regularly for Runner’s World and sharing my training schedule, race preparation and the highs and lows of taking on an ultra marathon. From finding adequate trails down south that match the Scottish mountains to nutrition, kit and mindset, I’ll be covering everything it takes to get a city girl from 0-53 miles. Keep your eye out for upcoming blogs and follow my journey on Twitter@Rhalou.



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