I’m sure several of you who stumble across this blog are relatively new to ultras and have some questions. I’ve shied away from offering advice in the past, however been in the sport long enough now that I can help out with some of the basics. The below questions are ones I’ve seen come up fairly regularly on Reddit.

So I just got done watching a documentary on the Barkley Marathons. Is this what ultras are all about?

Pretty much. Well, that and running through Death Valley in the summer.

It seems like in every photo an ultrarunner has a tattoo. Is this required?

Don’t be absurd. Gnarly beards are also acceptable.

Goggins claims you can run any distance with virtually no training as long as you want it bad enough. True?

For the top decile of the top 1%, sure. If you barely squeak into the top 1% though, you should probably consider doing some training.

Since I fall outside the top 1%, how many miles per week then should I be running?

More than you want, but not nearly as many as you think you must.

Why is women’s participation in the sport so low?

Race directors cap the number of ladies as it hurts the male self esteem to be beaten in a race. By hours.

Which GPS watch should I get: Garmin or Coros?

Ah, perhaps the biggest debate that rages through the ultra community. I suggest marching to the beat of your own drum and going with the Apple Watch.

Are ultras only held on trails?

Not always. Occasionally, a fire road or two will get added to a race course.

Why do people keep telling me they don’t even like to drive that far?

The only sane thing to do when someone starts talking crazy (i.e. running an ultra) is to talk crazy right back at them. Frankly, you started it.

Hit me up in the comments if I’ve missed any FAQ and I’ll add them in subsequent edits.