Do Ultramarathons Make You Slow?

I have long wanted to blog about this and even delayed writing it until I got more detailed answer from the elites. Since I wasn’t getting any answer except for a simple “Yes” or “No”,  I’ve decided to write this blog based on my own personal experience of being a runner who recently shifted to running ultramarathons.

fastLast year, my runs were all about speed. I aimed to work on my speed and run faster which I managed to um, somehow achieve. This year, I decided to give up speed for ultramarathons.
Yes, “give up” seems to be the best words to describe it. This is because I’ve noticed everytime I’d train for and actually run an ultramarathon, my speed would take the backseat.

Ultramarathons is more about endurance. Considering the long distance you’d have to cover, if you run fast, you’ll burn out too soon and that’s something you wouldn’t want to happen early on in the race.

It’s during my training runs that I noticed how the fast paces that used to be easy to maintain have now become difficult to even reach. 😦

Ultramarathons has made me a slow runner.

I share my opinion with most of my ultrarunner friends who all think it has made them slow, too.
There’s one triathlete who was advised by her coach to stop joining ultras as it would make her slow. I was also told by an ultrarunner friend that some of his team mates who frequently ran ultras as well, stopped for the meantime to concentrate on getting faster to be able to make it to the cut-off for a well known marathon race.

There are only two people so far that I’ve come across who don’t believe ultras can make you slow. One says that all you need is the right balance in training of speed and endurance. The other believes that ultras don’t make you slow, but it’s not being focused on the run that makes one slow, like by getting too sociable during ultras and making others pull you back.

I guess it’s really making a choice between being fast or choosing to be slow. You simply can’t get the best of both worlds. That is, unless you happen to be one of the rare gifted runners who can manage to run both the marathon and ultramarathon at an equally fast pace.


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