I trained for my mountain ultra-marathon, having only run a half marathon within the same year. I work full time, I live in a city, so how is it possible? Commitment, and training wherever you can, and you can do it.
Keep organised As time went on I got more and more meticulous at keeping a running calendar. One font colour for anticipated targets, and then I would record if I made my targets on the calendar. There are lots of good plans out there – I actually largely made my own with the help of my boyfriend who has considerable running and mountain experience. Making your own plan enables you to tailor a plan right for you and your fitness. Keep the goals realistic and do allow for ‘injury time’ – it won’t necessarily happen of course, but it means, like it was for me, that there can be time off to recover if necessary and still be race fit in time.
Every little helps – running up and down stairs, not standing on escalators – it all counts! If there is an opportunity to improve fitness, even if it’s just not taking the bus one day – then do it. I personally don’t think training is just for times when you put on your trainers. You can make your day-to-day more training efficient by just looking at what you do.
Time on your feet–a really helpful blog for me was how to run your first ultramarathon, which is a blog written buy a highly experienced runner, who I find cuts to the chase (as it were) with what is really essential for training well. I learnt from him that the importance is endurance for an endurance race (makes sense), but actually the hours on your feet when running proves to be the most helpful for training for a long distance race. So don’t get too down about hours on the trails and a low mileage – this all helps with training.
Go to the climbing wall- cheaper than a gym membership, and a great social activity with friends. An hour at the wall bouldering is a great way to improve core strength.
Run to/from work – if you can, do it!
Buy a skipping rope/do pilates at home – does not require a lot of time set apart and yet great for fitness and core strength.