Ultra Races—The New Frontier
We see a lot of runners at Accelerated Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation. They have the typical injuries and concerns that arise from pounding their joints and extending their muscles well beyond the bounds of normal fatigue.
Newer to this expanding group is the ‘ultra runner.’ By technical definition, this is anyone who goes beyond the classic 26.2-mile marathon distance. According to ultrarunning.com, like most extreme sports, ultra running has experienced a strong growth in participation in recent years. In 2011, there were nearly 52,000 ultras completed in North America, a growth of 12% over the previous year, and triple the number only ten years ago.
Contrary to popular belief, there are many in the ultra running community who contend that they actually have a lower injury rate than other (recreational) runners. There are many potential reasons for this. For example, it is possible that the less experienced runners are more erratic in their training, tend to train on harder surfaces (asphalt and concrete as opposed to dirt trails), and fail to build a slow and steady base to allow their bodies to adapt to the activity.
This is not to say that ultra runners—or any runners—can completely avoid injuries, or at least the risk of them. However, there is tremendous appeal to those who participate in ultra running events. While it is assumed that the enormous preparation necessary to do so is physical conditioning, some point out that there are other equally if not greater challenges.
Thomas Hofsetter, CEO of Points Group, a business consulting and marketing company, is set to take part in his second 24-hour run. It is the 2013 Stroehmann Back on My Feet 20in24 Challenge that takes place on July 20-21 around the 8.4-mile Schuylkill River running loop in Philadelphia. While it can be done as a multi-runner relay, the event also includes what it calls the Lone Ranger Ultra-Marathon. The Lone Ranger is one of the largest urban ultra-marathons with more than 300 people who test their mental toughness to see how many 8.4-mile loops they can run in 24 hours.
Hofstetter points out that outside the physical preparation for this event, which he did last year, there is the mental preparation. “I read so much about how to be prepared for this event, but in the end, a huge challenge was the mental fatigue, and how to fight it. Assuming you have the physical conditioning, I consider the mental aspect to be over 50% of the effort.”
At Accelerated Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation, we understand both the physical and the mental aspect of treatment. We have a deep understanding of personal health and fitness goals. From manual therapy to massage, our experts will help get you to the finish line!