The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Best Ultra Marathon for Beginners

Ultra marathon

Stepping into the world of ultra marathons is thrilling, but finding the right race can be tough for beginners. An ultra marathon typically stretches beyond the classic 26.2-mile mark, offering a test of true endurance.

This guide provides essential tips on preparation and pinpoints factors to consider when selecting your first ultra marathon, ensuring an achievable challenge. Discover your perfect starting line here!

Key Takeaways

  • Ultra marathons are any race longer than 26.2 miles, often on trails with changing terrains and elevations.
  • Beginners should build a strong running base, then slowly increase mileage while practicing proper fueling and hydration.
  • When picking an ultra marathon, consider the location’s scenery, the terrain and elevation you’ll face, local weather conditions, and support available along the course.
  • Beginner – friendly races include the Ultra X 50 Scotland in scenic landscapes and Thames Path Challenge in London with flat terrain.
  • Ultravasan in Sweden, Innsbruck Alpine K42 in Austria’s Alps, and Ultra X 110 Morocco offer varied challenges for beginners ready to push their limits.

What is an Ultra Marathon?

An ultra marathon is any race longer than a traditional marathon distance of 26.2 miles, typically ranging from 50 kilometers to over 100 miles. These races often take place on varying terrains such as trails, mountains, or deserts and present unique challenges for runners.


Ultra marathons are races longer than a standard marathon, typically starting at 50 kilometers (31 miles). Some events stretch to 100 kilometers or even further. These long-distance running challenges push your endurance beyond the usual marathon length.

Each race has its unique distance, so always check the specifics before signing up.

Trail running adds an extra element to ultra races. Unlike road marathons, trails take you through varied landscapes and often involve climbing hills or mountains. Distances might seem tougher on trails due to changes in elevation and terrain types.

However, many beginner-friendly ultra marathons choose moderate trails that newcomers can handle with proper training.


Ultra marathons take place on diverse terrains, from rugged mountain trails to scenic coastal paths. The varied terrain adds an exciting challenge to the race, so be prepared for anything – dirt tracks, rocky paths, steep inclines, and descents.

It’s essential to train specifically for the type of terrain you’ll encounter during your chosen ultra marathon. Whether it’s a forest trail or a hilly route, practice running on similar terrain during your training sessions to build strength and confidence.

Remembering that each course presents its own unique challenges will help you prepare effectively as a beginner ultramarathon runner looking for guidance and tips!


Ultra marathons present various challenges for beginners, including long distances, rugged terrains, and unpredictable weather conditions. The physical and mental endurance required to complete an ultra marathon can be daunting for newcomers.

Keeping a steady pace, staying fueled and hydrated, and overcoming self-doubt are crucial challenges that new ultramarathon runners often face during their races.

Prepare yourself mentally and physically to conquer these obstacles by incorporating specific training methods into your routine. Building strength through cross-training, practicing on similar terrains as the race course, and acclimating your body to different weather conditions will help you tackle the challenges of your first ultra marathon with confidence.

How to Prepare for Your First Ultra Marathon

Prepare for your first ultra marathon by building a solid base, gradually increasing your mileage, and practicing proper fueling and hydration. These steps will help you build the strength and endurance necessary to tackle the challenges of an ultra marathon.

Build a base

Start by building a strong running base. This means gradually increasing your weekly mileage and getting comfortable with regular runs. Start with shorter distances and slowly work your way up, allowing your body to adapt to the demands of long-distance running.

Consistency is key here; aim for steady progress rather than pushing too hard too soon.

Focus on building a solid foundation of endurance before diving into specific ultra marathon training. This will help prevent injuries and prepare your body for the more intense aspects of ultra running.

Gradually increase mileage

Increase your mileage gradually as you train for your first ultra marathon. Begin with a comfortable distance and then add no more than 10% each week. Balancing increase with recovery prevents overuse injuries and builds endurance steadily.

Monitor how your body responds to the increased mileage, staying mindful of any signs of fatigue or strain.

As you gradually increase your mileage, focus on maintaining good form and pacing yourself. Incorporate regular rest days into your training schedule to allow for proper recovery from the intensified distances.

Practice proper fueling and hydration

Fueling and hydration are crucial for your ultra marathon. Consume a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to sustain energy. Stay hydrated by drinking water frequently during training and the race.

Avoid excessive intake of sugary or caffeinated drinks to prevent dehydration.

The right fueling strategy will optimize your performance. Plan your nutrition before, during, and after the race. Experiment with different foods during training to find what works best for you.

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing an Ultra Marathon

Consider important factors such as location, terrain and elevation, weather conditions, and support and aid stations when choosing the best ultra marathon for beginners. Read on to find out more about how these factors can make a difference in your first ultra running experience.


Consider the location of the ultra marathon. Look for races set in scenic and inspiring locations, such as trails through mountains, forests, or along rivers. These can enhance your experience and motivation during the grueling race.

Ensure that the location suits your fitness level and offers a supportive environment for beginners. Some beginner-friendly ultra marathons take place on relatively flat terrains with stunning views, providing an ideal setting for newcomers to ultrarunning while still offering a memorable challenge.

Terrain and elevation

Ultra marathons vary in terrain and elevation, including trails, mountains, deserts, and forests. The diverse topography adds excitement and challenge to the race. As a beginner, it’s essential to choose a race with terrain suitable for your skill level.

Look for races with moderate elevation gain and well-marked trails to build confidence as you tackle longer distances.

When selecting an ultra marathon, consider the terrain that aligns with your training experience. Be mindful of the elevation changes along the route to ensure a manageable and enjoyable race experience.

Weather conditions

Consider the weather conditions when choosing an ultra marathon. Look for races with suitable weather for your comfort and performance. Ensure to train in similar weather conditions to prepare for the race day.

Evaluate the climate along the race route. Check for typical weather patterns and extremes during that time of year. Be aware of any special gear or precautions needed, such as sun protection or cold-weather clothing.

Support and aid stations

During an ultra marathon, aid stations provide essential support for runners. These stations offer water, energy gels, snacks, and sometimes medical assistance. It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the aid station locations before the race to plan your nutrition and hydration strategy accordingly.

At each aid station, take time to refuel and hydrate properly while focusing on any specific areas of discomfort or fatigue. Additionally, expressing gratitude to the volunteers staffing these stations can boost your morale during the race.

Top 5 Beginner-Friendly Ultra Marathons

Check out these top 5 ultra marathons that are perfect for beginners looking to challenge themselves and push their limits. Each race offers beginner-friendly terrain, stunning locations, and ample support to help you achieve your goals.

Ultra X 50 Scotland – 50km Trail Race, Scotland

Explore the breathtaking Scottish landscapes by taking on the Ultra X 50 Scotland. This 50km trail race offers a perfect blend of scenic beauty and challenging terrains, making it an ideal choice for beginners seeking an unforgettable ultra marathon experience.

The well-organized event provides ample support and aid stations along the route, allowing newcomers to focus on their run without worrying about logistics. Whether you’re drawn to the rugged trails or simply want to embrace the thrill of your first ultramarathon, this race promises an exhilarating adventure in one of Scotland’s most stunning locations.

Immerse yourself in a memorable running journey through Scotland’s picturesque trails with Ultra X 50. As a beginner-friendly ultra marathon, this event combines stunning natural scenery with just enough challenge to inspire and push you towards achieving your goals.

Thames Path Challenge – 50km, London, England

Explore the beautiful scenic route along the Thames River for the Thames Path Challenge – 50km in London, England. The flat terrain makes it perfect for beginners who want to experience their first ultra marathon.

Enjoy the picturesque views of iconic landmarks while testing your endurance.

With excellent support and aid stations along the way, you’ll have everything you need to keep going strong during this beginner-friendly race. Embrace the challenge and push your limits in this unforgettable running event through one of the most historic and stunning cities in Europe.

Ultravasan – 45km, Sweden

Ultravasan is a challenging 45km ultramarathon held in Sweden. The race takes place on varied terrain, including trails, forests, and open countryside. Runners will experience the beautiful landscapes of Sweden as they push through this demanding course.

With proper training and preparation, Ultravasan can be an exhilarating challenge for beginner ultramarathon runners.

As you consider your first ultra marathon, keep Ultravasan in mind for its scenic yet testing route that provides an exciting opportunity to take your running to the next level.

Innsbruck, Apline K42 – 46km, Austria

The Innsbruck, Alpine K42 is a 46km ultra marathon race set against the stunning backdrop of the Austrian Alps. This beginner-friendly trail race offers a mix of challenging terrain and breathtaking scenery, providing an ideal setting for newcomers to ultramarathons.

With well-marked trails and plenty of support along the route, runners can focus on their experience without feeling overwhelmed. The event’s manageable distance makes it a great choice for those looking to push themselves beyond traditional marathons.

If you’re seeking an introduction to ultra running in a picturesque location with moderate difficulty, the Innsbruck Alpine K42 could be your perfect match.

Ultra X 110 Morocco – 110km, Morocco

Explore the breathtaking landscapes of Morocco in the Ultra X 110, a challenging 110km ultra marathon. Run through stunning desert trails and experience the unique culture along the route.

With proper preparation and determination, this race offers an unforgettable adventure for beginner ultramarathon runners seeking a thrilling challenge amidst awe-inspiring scenery.

Take on the Ultra X 110 as your inaugural ultramarathon and push your limits while marveling at Morocco’s diverse terrain. The mesmerizing backdrop of this 110km test will immerse you in an unparalleled running experience, making it an exceptional choice for those looking to embark on their first ultra marathon adventure.


In conclusion, you now understand what an ultra marathon involves and how to prepare for your first one. You have learned the key factors to consider when choosing a beginner-friendly ultra marathon location.

The top 5 races provided offer great options for beginners to start their ultra running journey. By applying these strategies, you can efficiently train for and participate in a beginner-friendly ultra marathon that suits your preferences.

Take action and explore these recommended races with confidence in your preparation!


What is an ultramarathon for beginners?

An ultramarathon for beginners is a long-distance running event that’s newcomer-friendly and designed for those new to endurance races.

How can I find beginner-friendly ultra marathons?

Look for races labeled as beginner or newcomer-friendly, which offer tips for first-time ultramarathon runners and are suitable for newbies in trail running.

What should I know about training for ultramarathons?

Training for ultramarathons involves building your endurance with regular long runs, following a structured ultra-running guide, and practicing trail running if the race is off-road.

Can newcomers join any ultra-distance running events?

Newcomers should choose beginnerfriendly races that cater to their level of experience in distance running and provide guidance tailored to new ultramarathon runners.

Are there special tips or guides available for first-timers in ultra marathons?

Yes, there are ultimate guides offering ultra running tips specifically aimed at helping newcomers understand what training and preparation involve when racing in ultras.

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