/ speed work advice for ultra training
I'm after a bit of advice on the amount and timing of a speed work program in the run up to my first 100+ mile ultra next may (devon coast to coast 112 miles)
Small background info is i used to run a lot 5-6 years ago and have completed a couple of 100k races and done ironman triathlon. I broke my ankle 3 years ago and stopped running until this year in may when I got the bug again
By the end of september I will have completed a 16 week base fitness training stint which so far is going extremely well considering i have been out of the game for so long . I have been averaging 50 miles a week and the body is holding up well.
I have been doing a proper long run out on the moors on the actual race course every 2 weeks ish and am already running the kind of pace i need to in the race over distances of 30-40 miles so that element is also going well
The problem is that i am pretty slow so I think I am having to work too hard to sustain that race pace for much longer than half distance I would guess at this present time
hence the need for speed !!
Basically I have 7 available months for training , october to april , i am planning a careful taper in may for 3 weeks before the race
So how should I go about using that 7 months ??
I was thinking of following a marathon training plan for 12 weeks to try and get my time over the 26 back down to a respectable number, with 1 very long run on the race course thrown in every month which i would actually count as a rest week so that would total 15 weeks of the 28 weeks available
If you think this is an ok idea when would you do it , at the start or closer to the race ?
Could i just extend this stategy all the way through to the race ? or do i need to go back to base fitness training again afterwards and up the weekly mileage
Any ideas and advice is welcomed , i am super psyched for training so happy to take all ideas on board
If we need to talk numbers then ATM i'm running a 4 hour marathon having previously done 3.22 and I am aiming to average about 4mph moving time on the race with an hour or 2 of pit stops so looking at finishing in under 30 hours ideally if all goes well
The advice I've always followed and it seems to make sense is to do your speedwork early in the training phases to build up a strong base and get fast early. Then as the event approaches move more towards specificity - so longer, slower runs on the the type of terrain you'll be on.
I still chuck in hill repeats from time to time as I figure they can't hurt. I've got an ultra on Saturday so we'll see if any of this blows up in my face!
Unless you've raced that distance (112 miles is a long long way obviously) I really wouldn't be getting hung up on pace. Finishing will be an achievement.
Good luck anyway on Devon C2C - I did the Jurassic Coast 100 last year and it was (type 2) fun racing in that part of the world.
Great stuff i will do the speed plan next month then
it will make a nice change from what i have been doing as well
I hear you on the pace thing but i really like to use that target as an overall motivation and visualisation goal plus I'm not sure I'll be able to stay awake longer than that ha ha
Good luck with your latest race i hope it goes well
I read your Jurassic coast race report a while ago and it was a good read and inspiring although the race does sound brutal ha ha
I'd ignore the pace you need. It's about the capillary development, additional mitochondria and other physiological changes brings you.
I'd train for say a marathon half way through, get fitter, get that time down and then move on to a phase for the ultra.
Do you have any strength work in your training? As an S&C coach the biggest thing I see with endurance athletes is that they are too weak and some studies are now showing that this holds back their power production within a performance setting.
if I were designing your training I’d certainly have some strength within your training. Something to consider for the next one maybe as adding it now may lead to too much soreness and affect the rest of your training!
> Do you have any strength work in your training? As an S&C coach the biggest thing I see with endurance athletes is that they are too weak and some studies are now showing that this holds back their power production within a performance setting.
> if I were designing your training I’d certainly have some strength within your training. Something to consider for the next one maybe as adding it now may lead to too much soreness and affect the rest of your training!
I'd genuinely be interested in any recommendations for strength work for ultra runners you might be able to point to online.
I've been running ultras for 10 years, and have never done any strength work apart from the odd plank during post run stretching. I think that running mostly mountain trails means that there's a constant variation in the stresses on the body which helps, but I'm definitely suffering from strength imbalances which manifest themselves in pain/injury from time to time.
After my final race of the season I want to start incorporating strength work in the off season.
A guess but surely the most natural thing would be to do some long hill walks - I would guess using two trekking poles - with a decently heavy rucksack?
That should logically work out roughly the same sorts of muscles that might help for an ultra. Fun with it.
I wouldnt add weight... the human body weighs enough, its just an injury risk.
Check re poles and the race. They are banned in some races.
I think all my running at the moment is strength based as I'm so weak having done nothing of account for a few years
Also I'm roughly 11kg heavier than what I will be on race day so that is making all training hard work 😂😂
I've been doing 6-13mile hill circuits round the local area which has been really hurting? But no specific exercises as such
I can do pistol squats but not many in a row
Good advice and confirmation on speed work which will help me actually get into it over the coming months thanks
I've got the Daniels running formula book which I used when I last trained for a marathon and whilst my best time is very average it is something to aspire to get back to
Losing the weight will definitely help
I’d also be interested in a good strength training program for running ultras.
just finished my first season of trail running in Austria, and want to use the off season, and ski touring to build strength before starting training again.
Dont really know where where to start, and think I would really benefit from some strength training.
There’s a chapter in Training for the Uphill Athlete on the importance and endurance benefits that come from strength training. It also contains an initial strength test and suggested exercise routine.
I don’t have my copy to hand so can’t quote directly. You might find something useful on the topic on their website.
Haven't read it in a while but might be worth a look
I’ll look into both of those suggestions. Cheers
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