Can you run a 50 mile ultra without training?
No….and this movie is going to show you exactly why!
This Run Lift Mom Podcast Episode is an interview with Jennifer McMahon and Kara Wilson, stars of the Road to 50 Miles documentary. Enjoy!
What is an Ultramarathon?
An ultramarathon is defined as anything beyond 26.2. Jennifer and Kara chose the American River 50 miler as relative newbies to running. So, why jump straight to ultra?
Well, part peer pressure and part intrigue.
I spoke with them in my interview about how the training strengthened their confidence and affected their friendship.
2:00 how did Jen find running? 4:00 how did Kara begin running? 5:30 defining ultramarathon 6:00 Why AR50 8:30 on aid stations and camaraderie on course 11:00 friend and family support 13:45 importance of training for the terrain 15:30 trail versus road running 17:30 cut offs, feat of looming DNF 19:00 friendship after training for 50 miles 22:00 where to find the movie
Connect with these runners:
This documentary is available on Vimeo for less than the cost of a latte:
Read more about how the movie, which has an all female film & production crew:
Stay up to date on all things movie, running, and life with Jennifer and Kara:
How do you pack for an ultra, anyway?
If you listen ed to this episode, you must be at least considering it, right? Let’s go go from your head to your toes here in terms of what you’d need:
On your Head
This will be weather dependent, but in cool or cold temperatures, layering is best. That may mean layering 2-3 bondi bands (not an affiliate link- just my go to!) under a single fleece hat versus the heaviest hat you can find.
If it will be sunny out or raining, a hat with a bill is your best bet to protect from the elements.
If you have long hair, lather some cream detangler in your hair. If it’s long enough, consider a braid which is less likely to knot.
Extra hair elastics on your wrist can double as makeshift ties for opened packages of food or bow biters in your laces.
Most ultramarathons begin early and end late, so you’ll need a headlamp to navigate the course. This is a requirement as important as your bib at most races and not optional!
On your Body
A rule of thumb in running, not just ultramarathons, is to dress 10-15 degrees warmer than what the weather says.
As in, less clothing. If it says 50, dress for 60-65.
The best strategy, no matter the season, is to layer. I like vests, light jackets, and elastic waist pants for this. Depending on the position of my drop bag (more info on that below), I’ll take them off there.
Otherwise, I’ll choose old gear I don’t mind throwing away. If you go this route, make sure you choose functional, moisture wicking, non chafing gear. That old cotton long sleeve tee is not a great option for throwaway clothes because you will perform in it.
A belt for your bib is a great idea since you’ll likely be undergoing multiple outfit changes. You aren’t going to want to mess with safety pins at mile 30!
What about Feet?
Feet: this is your biggest concern; ot becomes larger as the distance gets longer.
Your feet will give out before your legs do in an ultramarathon.
Protect from blisters by utilizing body glide in between your toes. A good pair of socks will go a long way; remember to pack multiple pairs.
You’ll choose the shoes appropriate for your terrain. 9 times out of 10, they will be trail shoes which have a harder sole and grip for the many rocks & roots you’ll be running through.
Gaiters (not the reptile) are thin, moisture wicking sleeves designed to fit around your ankle so rocks, mud, or twigs don’t fly up and into your shoes.
What’s a Drop Bag?
All of your extra items will be in a drop bag. Unlike most shorter distance races; ultramarathons allow you to check a supply bag they will leave for you on designated parts of the course.
Fuel? Extra shoes or headlamps? Toothbrush and toothpaste? Tylenol? Laters of clothes? Extra phone or headphones if allowed (real talk: usually they aren’t!)?
There’s a comfort in knowing you will have these things and you don’t need to “mule” them yourself.
If I missed something, I hope you’ll let me know so I can update this post!