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Run your first ULTRA



It’ll be easy. Like a brisk walk in the country with lots of cake.” These were the words ringing around my head as I set off from the umpteenth food station having already run the equivalent of a marathon. “Easy” is probably not the description I would use. But even as Salisbury Plain stretched out uninvitingly before me beneath leaden skies, I could kind of see what Women’s Running columnist and GB ultramarathon runner Damian Hall (@damo_hall) had meant.

“Once you’ve done a marathon, stepping up to ultra marathons is much easier than most people seem to think,” says Damian. “The secret is that you just go a little slower than your marathon pace – and make sure you keep eating. Hiking for spells is totally fine, too. Then you realise you can go on and on and on… indefinitely. I remember when 100 miles seemed like an impossible distance. Now it’s something I run two to three times a year.”

It was off the back of this convincing argument that I’d decided seven months earlier to enter the 33-mile Imber Ultra. Now with just over six miles of it remaining, my legs were tired and aching and, on a day punctuated by snow flurries, I was quite cold. But considering the distance I’d already covered and the amount that lay ahead, I didn’t doubt that I would finish.

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About Women’s Running

Get inspired with our November issue of Women’s Running. Read our exclusive interview with cover star Chrissie Wellington, who shares her journey from amateur athlete to becoming four-time World Ironman Champion. Turn to page 48 and you’ll discover how you too can take your running to the next level – find out how one woman approached her first ultra and get all the tips you’ll need to up your distance. Struggling to find time to run for half an hour a week, never mind train for an ultra? No problem. We’ve got some great time-efficient sessions for women with manic lives. If running is strictly off limits for you at the moment due to injury, try our three cross-training plans to keep you sane – and your fitness up – while you recover. And if speed is your focus this autumn, don’t miss our expert advice on getting faster, as we show you how to find your top gear. Enjoy all this, plus all of the usual kit picks, inspiration, recipes, workouts and more!