When I talk to people who haven't been exposed to ultra running, or even marathons, one of the most common questions I get asked is “How on earth do you run that far?”. My answer has evolved over time, but the core part is “You just don't stop!”. Most people think that's a bit trite, but it really is that simple... And that hard!
Don't Stop means that you have trained sufficiently for the distance that you're running so that your body is physically capable of “going the distance”. Mostly this is fine – I reckon that anyone could run a marathon – physically, that is. It's just a question of how long it would take them but worst case I reckon anyone could walk that far as long as they just didn't stop. We'll blog more about training for the distance later!
Don't Stop also means that you fuel and refuel your body sufficiently. Fluid, nutrition, electrolytes, minerals – the body has to be able to keep going. Depending on the distance and person, this might mean just using the fuel stores in the body prior to the start. A fit, younger person, could probably run a marathon without refuelling other than fluids during the race, but probably beyond that, you need to be refuelling. There's a lot of discussion and views on this point but that might be a topic for another blog too!