If someone would like to be a Ultra Runner from zero, for how long would have to train for the body to get in perfect shape of an 80k ultra race... 6 months? 1 year? 2-3 years?
- Anybody can ask a question
- Anybody can answer
- The best answers are voted up and rise to the top
There are going to be a few different questions that will somewhat dictate the time needed to train.
I have recommended this plan before, and the simple reason that I continue to do so is that it works. On many levels from recreational to highly competitive. 3-2-1. Take whatever distance is your longest achievable. For this example we will use a 10k run, and theoretically this is as far as you can currently run in one shot. To complete this run takes you 45 minutes. This would be the 1 of the 3-2-1. For the other runs, the 2 runs will be 30 minutes each, and the 3 runs will be 15 minutes each. Don't worry about pace too much, just run easy. Hard will come later, and as you get more fit, your pace will naturally increase of its own accord.
Structure it along the lines of short (15 min), medium (30 mins), short, medium, short, long (45 mins), day off. This gives you a starting point of about 33k or so for a week. You want to gradually build this up, usually a 5-10% increase in distance every couple weeks depending on training intensity, your own tolerance, things like that. This is where your own personal monitoring comes in, you should be able to feel if the last week left you beat up, or if you feel good enough to add a little extra training.
Initially you'll want to just concentrate on building up distance to where you could complete the 80k run. This may take a year, it may take 5, just depending on how you react to the training, and how much attention you pay to things like rest, recovery, nutrition, equipment, etc.
Once you are at the point where you can complete the distance, then you can start looking at adding in speedwork and other higher intensity workouts to be able to compete the race, rather than just complete it.
JohnP's answer is good.
To answer the question directly - probably 2 years would be safe - but it's kind of the wrong question.
Tim Knowles' book contains plans for a nice progression from no running at all through to finishing the ~90km Comrades Marathon. It starts by training for 10km, then a half, then the full marathon and then the ultra. Each stage is, from memory, about 4-6 months. That plan has be scientifically evaluated and shown to work pretty well and not have many injuries. Going faster than this is likely to cause problems.
I say that it's kind of the wrong question to ask. I believe people are ultrarunners because they enjoy running. They do it for a variety of reasons (and, if you were to dig deep enough, some of those reasons are about being able to brag) but they're more motivated by the joy of running and being part of that community.
So, instead of wondering how long it's going to take, I'd just get out there and start planning to run a 5km or 10km well.
Danish Extreme Runner Jacob Juul Hastrup trained his girlfriend for Atacama Crossing in Chile in 2006. The training took 6 months according to his book. Worth a read if you want to run yourself - though it is only in Danish.