Ultra Marathon Training Tips
The 10 Best Ultra Marathon Training Tips Revealed
Many people have asked me for specific ultra marathon training tips and I'm more than happy to share my experiences.
In addition to answering those questions individually I have decided to offer you the ten ultimate training tips.
The idea here for you is to establish and develop as an ultrarunner. You'll find out about the most effective running workouts that really improve your stamina, speed and endurance.
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These ultra marathon training tips add to the bigger picture of becoming a successful ultra runner. Whether you're completely new to the sport or have already years of experience in ultrarunning, the tips will help you with even more helpful advice.
Due to the fact that training plans for specific ultramarathon races are a very individual matter, it's my advice to take the following ultra marathon training tips as general guidelines. They are not considered rules as such because it's still your choice after all, how many of these tips you're happy to realize and integrate into your daily routine.
My experience has shown me that there is a way to short cut years of wasting time on junk miles, worrying too much over the correct heart rates during every single run, overstating nutrition on runs up to ninety minutes and putting great focus on the mental aspects of ultrarunning.
After all, it's about 10% of raw talent that may enable you to be a successful ultrarunner.
What matters most is to learn to work hard when needs must, dig deep in order to become stronger by applying mental strategies tailored to your needs and figuring out which nutrition is ideal for you. Take a look at this particular ultra marathon training tip below.
Now it's time to explore ten ultra marathon training tips now and enjoy putting some or all of them (even better) into practice.
Tip #1: When I'm preparing for an ultra race, I split my running plan into 4-week blocks. These blocks consist of one 3-week block gradually increasing mileage and intensity for the first three weeks. The fourth week will typically be a recovery week decreasing intensity and mileage. After the recovery week you start with a 3-week block again.
Tip #2: There are three key running sessions that let you improve endurance and speed or both. Always maintain at least one long run per week of at least 105-120 minutes. Don't just shuffle along! Try and run slightly above your marathon pace. Stress your body gently and reap the benefits after a short period of time.
The tempo run is another staple session where you run for at least 45 minutes at a tempo that feels uncomfortable and gradually increase to two hours. This helps to build resistance and stamina which you'll need after hours into an ultra race. Interval runs are also an integral part. Do repeat miles or kilometres at fast speed 5-15 times. Recover between 3-5 minutes after each interval.
Tip #3: The remaining runs are run at a steadier and easier pace. Not just for peace of mind but mainly to allow the body to recover adequately. For these runs you can use your heart rate monitor to reassure yourself that the pace is really slow. Fitness is built during days of recovery and even more so during complete rest days when muscle tissue is being repaired and rebuilt.
Tip #4: Another ultra marathon training tip is to follow the 10% rule. If you've run 70 miles per week you reduce the mileage by about 7-10 miles with very little intensity during your recovery week. The same principle applies during the 3-week block. For example, run 50 miles the first week, 55 the second week and 60-62 in the third week. Increase either the intensity of your runs or the weekly mileage. Overdoing both intensity and mileage will lead to fatigue, overtraining and injuries in the long-term.
Tip #5: Diversify and put strong focus on alternative training especially during your off-season. This can be climbing to improve flexibility and core strength, cycling, spinning, nordic walking, cross-country skiing or swimming. I found that cycling benefits my running and as I can substitute running workouts on the bike.
Core and strength exercises are also of great importance. The stronger those muscles are the easier you flow into your running and the less fatigued you become during an ultramarathon. Another ultra marathon training tip coherent with alternative training is to skip aerobics classes and invest 20 minutes of your free time into these great low-impact exercises.
Tip #6: Follow the 75% rule. If you choose to run a 100-miler and plan to finish in around 35 hours, aim to train up to 26 hours. For my stage race in July this meant that I intended to be around 42 hours. My plan consisted of training blocks that included one week where I trained 30 hours. This included, running, nordics walking and cycling. The purpose is to train the body tired over seven consecutive days to further build muscle memory. Mentally, it's also less of a shock if you know what 30 hours of training feel like.
Tip #7: Run back-to-back sessions. You may want to run 20 miles on Saturday to be followed by a 15-mile run the next day. Or 15 miles and then 10 miles the next day depending on your current ability. If you train the body into a fatigued state you'll benefit more from the super-compensation as opposed to training full out once slowering recovery significantly.
Tip #8: As a post-workout treat, invest a few minutes into preparing a delicious fruit smoothie. Combine bananas, berries, dates, a little coconut oil or hemp seeds, water and celery, mix in a blender and enjoy this refreshing drink. Green smoothies provide an overload of vitamins and minerals which are easily absorbed and digested in the liquidized form. Exactly what your body needs after a great run. For more tips on recovery, also take a look at Tim van Orden's fabulous ebook.
Tip #9: Integrate and add more and more raw foods to your diet. They are simple, pure, easy-to-digest and full of all the vitamins and minerals you need. No supplements needed. The more greens and fresh fruits you eat the less you'll crave processed foods. Juicing and making smoothies are ideal options to double and triple your daily intake of vitamins and electrolytes.
Tip #10: Define new goals and follow the vision that you've established. This can mean a picture of you crossing the finish line or your partner cheering you on during an ultramarathon or meeting your ultrarunning friends at a race. Manifest your ideas and get creative by designing a vision board.
It's easy and helps you to prioritize and channel all the information you need. In addition to creating a vision board, you may want to take ten minutes a day to sit down in quiet corner and visualize yourself during the next race. How do you feel? What do you see? What can you hear? This technique also helps to manifest your dream into your unconsciousness.
Enjoy these ultra marathon training tips and find out what works for you.
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