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How to train for an ultra-marathon or trail run in 19 months starting from scratch… or nearly!


This short article makes no claim to provide chapter and verse on athletic training but tells the story of a normal person, with a job and a family, who once decided to embark on the wonderful experience of running in the desert: the person I’m talking about is ME.

I should clarify that I did start from scratch but only in terms of this run, because I’ve always played sport during my life.

My first recommendation is to get in touch with a coach who’s personally taken part in this type of event and therefore knows how to calibrate your mileages. Above all he should be able to advise on how to prepare your backpack, clothing and meals if the race is to be self-sufficient in terms of food.

But if you decide to do everything yourself….


Choosing your shoes:

It may seem obvious but you’ll be spending many hours in these, and shoes that are fine for your best friend aren’t necessarily any good for you – so if you’re able to try them out properly all the better.


A gradual increase in mileage:

If your ultimate goal is to actually do the run then try not to get injured first. Then gradually increase your mileage per week/per month. I myself went from 60km a week in the first few months (which serve to accustom the muscle, tendon and bone structure) to 150-160km a week in the last two months.


Mimic the real running conditions as much as possible:

If you’ll be running with a backpack, get accustomed to it quickly by wearing it a little at first and then more and more frequently. If you’ll be running on sand, plan for at least one weekly session on that type of terrain and then increase the frequency month after month. During this type of event there are always plenty of unforeseen situations, and the less you leave to chance the better.


I’d say that the three points outlined above are the vital ones to consider. How to prepare your backpack and meals deserves its own separate chapter.


If you have any questions please feel free to contact me


[email protected]


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