Ultra Training – This Is New.


Ultra marathons are any distance above 26.2 (marathon distance), but most runners consider an ultra starts at 50k or 31.07 miles. I’m no expert and i’m not running 31 miles for MS with any particular time goal. I just want to have a good time, not injure myself and finish. PS- Thank you so much to the many awesome people that have already donated! It makes me extremely thankful and proud to call you my friends.

First I did a little research about how to train for an ultra. Hint: it’s not the same as a marathon. Big change #1: You have to get used to running on tired legs. Hence the double weekend long run.

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I do a normal long run on Saturday and a shorter run Sunday. Eventually the goal is to have your weekend runs equal the distance of the ultra. I need to build up to two back-to-back 15 milers OR something like a 20 miler + a 10 miler. I was surprised at how I’ve been afraid of the 2nd run more than the first. The 4-5-6 miler has been terrifying after a 15+ long run, but each 2nd run has felt better and better. Maybe it’s a mental thing since I’m running a short distance?

Also, I like having an off day before and after long runs, so during the week i’m running Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, which gives me Friday and Monday off. Those three back to back running days again, help with more cumulative leg fatigue.

Second you have to strength train. Just because the mileage is creeping up (44 this week!) it’s no excuse not to strength train legs. It keeps the hips and glutes strong and i haven’t had any IT band issues since December. I contribute that to lifting heavy. I try my best to strength train 2-3x week, one heavier leg day, one lighter or body weight day. And i do arms/abs every time no matter what. You can’t swing your arms by your sides for hours running without a strong upper body.

Third, you need to fuel like a pro. Plan your routes around water fountains, take money or a debit card in case you need to grab food/drinks. Or do the opposite of what i’ve been procrastinating and buy a hydration pack already. And take more food than you think you’ll want. Last Saturday’s long run I finally was able to get down 3 gels (one more than usual) and it was the reason I had the energy to finish.

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new Pro Compression socks! Love them

Last, take the recovery seriously. During the week I have ONE day off from working legs in either a run or strength session. Which means I have to spend extra time stretching, foam rolling, wearing compression gear, sleep & nutrition. I’m on top of having a protein smoothie immediately after a workout. <—this was a big change with a noticeable recovery time difference. I also walk a LOT. I stopped adding it to my weekly workouts log because I couldn’t get track of how often i’m out with LE. The additional walking miles are keeping my legs fresh and working the other muscles running doesn’t.

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typical evening meal. Burger with avocado & greens, brussel sprouts YUM!

One note I found very interesting about ultra training is not to forgo speed work altogether! You still want to keep the fast twitch muscle fibers firing. June was all about mileage building which i good about and July will be about tossing in some speed to prep for the August ultra. Someone asked me why I want to do this in August. It’s my birthday! And why not?? Plus i’m hoping all this heat and humidity training will translate to some fast times this fall once the ultra is over. 🙂

Last Week

Monday: 20min upper body

Tuesday: 7.5m easy 9:02/pace, 45min legs (backsquats 45-110lbs, bosu ball burpees, situps)

Wednesday: 8.1m tempo 7:53/pace

Thursday: 5m easy 9:45/pace

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 17.5m long 9:23/pace

Sunday: 6m easy 8:51/pace

Total Miles: 44.1

Who’s training for a fall race? When does your plan start?

How did your long run go last weekend?

Author: She's Going the Distance


15 thoughts on “Ultra Training – This Is New.

  1. I love doing double-weekend runs, haven’t done any lately since Lisa isn’t doing weekend shifts but they are really great for building up that fatigue. And you are right about mixing up the exercises – and also the pacing between easy, normal and speed work … everything helps to build you up to handle this stuff.

    I think I mentioned that pretty much every race I wanted to do coincides with some event between the two boys … oh well, there are other years, and higher priorities for me than racing 🙂

    I have never hung my arm out for the GPS in my car, but I have sat it outside while getting layered up before a run 🙂

    As for the pics – as I said on you FB/IG dual run pic, you look awesome, the total body work you’ve been doing has been paying off.

    And I have to laugh about those socks – I have a picture of a late 70s trip we took down south, stopping in Washington DC on the way … my brother has nearly identical ‘tube socks’ on (he was ~15-16) … they were out of fashion a few years later.

  2. That’s interesting that you found that walking a lot helped strengthen different muscles in your legs. That’s something I should take into consideration now that I’m walking a million miles a week in Boston. I need to find a way to keep up strength training now that I’m not doing CorePower. I have such a hard time picking up a weight but at least we do some bodyweight exercises at NP which helps.

  3. Back to back long runs are the absolute key to ultra training! Keep it up!

  4. Great week and that burger looks amazing! I am training for Chicago right now, and just finished Week 3 of the 18 week plan. I am following the Higdon Intermediate 1 plan which has pace runs on Saturday followed by long runs on Sunday. I hope that running on fatigued legs really does help prepare me for the marathon!

  5. Ugh I need to start doing back to back weekend runs and get my life together for marathon training. I do bodyweight stuff at NP but it’s hard to balance running and hitting the gym!


    • i’ve never done the back to back weekend runs, so new to me! And it is tough, it helps that I work in a gym, but i still have to prioritize my schedule around it and some weeks i can strength train 3x..sometimes it’s only 1. i do what i can.

  6. Very interesting, and it sounds like you are doing great! Do you know the date of the ultra yet? I like the idea of doing one heavy lifting day and another body weight day. I have felt a little lost with how to schedule my strength training but that seems to make sense. I also think walking helps but most of the time I struggle to fit it in!

    • Probably gonna do the run on Saturday August 13th! And yes scheduling strength workouts around or on running days are difficult. I just try and get the most out of those workouts and hope I can recover quickly. I do the heavier workout monday or tuesday, that way when i get to the speed workout on thursday and the long runs on the weekend i’m not dealing with soreness. If you have any questions with how to do your scheduling just email me! i’ll totally help

  7. We are running a very similar schedule right now – T, W, TH, S, S. The plan I had put together for me started in May and this past weekend my runs were 16 and 10. I’m finding the biggest challenge is that I don’t have a weekend morning to lounge around and drink coffee for hours (or recover from a night out). Soon, I will have weeks where I run Friday as well and that is probably going to be tough. I don’t do any strength training and I know it would probably help but I don’t really know what to do. And I just throw the Garmin in the dashboard when I am driving somewhere to start my run.

  8. Nice work! Those back to back long runs are key. My husband did his first 50 miler last fall and his favorite thing to eat during the race were ice-cold coke and potato chips and some pb&j. Ultrarunners are weird!

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