HOW TO GET STARTED ULTRA-RUNNING
Roger Love talks to David Bone, a Hackney-based ultra-runner
David, a father-of-two, has run major events including the Spartathlon, a 153-mile run from the Acropolis in Athens to Sparta. Here, he gives some tips on how to get running. David coaches runners as part of the DazNbone training company.
How did you get into running? I grew up with an inspiring and sporty dad - and my family are very supportive of my sporting excesses. I love being a small part of the Victoria Park Harriers running club. If you want to kick start your fitness in a wonderfully supportive environment then do go to one of the club's joiners nights. The big shift for me was running my first ultra (Brighton to London). Many might know me for the HemiHelp 10km I've hosted over the past six years in Victoria Park, which has raised over £100k.
What is an ultra-race? Technically, it's a 50km or above run. However many endurance die-hards think that a 100 miler is the real thing.
What ultra races have you done? Half a dozen iconic ones globally and, of these, Spartathlon is easily the toughest one I've finished. I also ran around Tooting Bec running track for 24 hours non-stop as part of Run and Become Self-Transcendence series (finishing third with 138 miles covered).
What advice would you give to someone starting running for the first time? Find other runners who are at your level. Most running clubs are geared up for new runners and they will help you with starter runs and getting the best out of the club. Get along to any of the local Parkruns (5km) which do a brilliant job of catering for all ages and levels.
How do to train for a ultra-marathon, from beginner to first race? You need to take the rigour from a marathon plan and then look to add a parallel plan that helps you run further than 26 miles.
One great strategy is called ‘back to back’ running. Rather than going from 26 miles to 50 miles you break this mileage down into two runs that you complete in two straight days. For example, on a weekend, start off by running 10 miles on Saturday morning and on Sunday run 20 miles.
You will have run 30 miles over that period rather than trying to run 30 miles in one go. As you get more confident try increasing the second run. Remember that most ultra-runners employ a run-walk strategy to complete anything over 30 miles. So don't be afraid to break up a run with walking and nutrition breaks.
What do you think about when you are running? Everything and nothing! Sometimes I will load up my phone with a load of great podcasts but I prefer to listen to the world around me and, ideally, be surrounded by other runners.
Does it hurt? I think it's important to try and run pain free. It's not easy to run over 150 miles without a few aches and pains but you can still train well enough that even a major ultra can be completed with just fatigue. If you are experiencing any pain then do go and speak to a physio. Consider checking out the London School of Osteopathy on Cambridge Heath Road to get body alignment. Get the right running shoes, too.
David can be found here: daznboneultra.com/