Preparing for your first Ultra Marathon

Here are our top 10 tips to help you prepare for your first ultra-marathon:

  1. Please don't worry, you're not alone. Everyone has a first ultra-marathon, even the pros. Entering and preparing for an ultra-marathon can seem to be a daunting prospect but you've made the best possible start, by reading our Top 10 Tips… hopefully these tips, learned from experience, will help you go from ultra-novice to ultra-marathoner.
  2. The best preparation for an ultra-marathon is simply time on your feet. This does not have to be running. A long walk at the weekend, walking to work instead of the bus or train and limiting your time sitting down will all help you prepare. Measure your training walks/runs not in distance but in time.
  3. Many ultra-marathons will require you to take certain items with you (e.g. foil blanket, first aid kit and head torch). You are likely to need something to carry these in along with your food and drink, so on your training runs/walks use your intended race-day kit. Getting used to using your equipment and getting used to the weight of your pack will all help you on the day of your challenge.
  4. As well as testing your kit, test your food and drink. Whilst training, learn what your body craves during a long run/walk. You will no doubt crave salt and savoury items as well as sweet, so don't fill up your pack entirely with jelly babies and gels. Everyone is different, but my personal preference was always peanut butter sandwiches and BabyBels - this is not an advertisement ;)
  5. If you can, check out parts of the route as part of your training. This will help build your confidence as you will know which sections are approaching and that you have completed them before.
  6. A support team can provide a much needed boost to morale when the going's tough. Let your friends know when you're likely to be a certain parts of the course and use real time tracking so they can see your exact location to make it easier for them to support you.
  7. Entering your first ultra-marathon doesn't have to be 100km or 100 miles, Build up your distance, learn from shorter events and this will all help your prepare you for your "A race"
  8. Music can motivate and podcasts can entertain. Prepare what you will listen to. Please be aware that some events do not allow earphones and you will need to press pause when crossing roads/listening to instructions from marshals.
  9. Planning your finish, is just as important as planning your training. How will you get home? Get back to your car? Who is meeting you? Will you be able to drive? What are you likely to want to eat? Whether it is arranging to meet friends at the finish line, a restaurant booking, a hotel stay locally - these plans will all make your post-event celebrations much more enjoyable.
  10. Congrats! You've just completed your first ultra-marathon :) Now you're hooked, which events will you enter next?

13 Valleys Ultra is an epic ultra marathon event in the stunning landscape of the Lake District National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Be the first to take on the 13 Valleys Ultra and take your place on the start line.


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