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21st November 2023

Training for an Ultra Marathon

You've signed up for an ultra marathon and now you're looking for a training plan to get you to the finish line. Here's five ideas...

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If you’ve signed up for one of our 50K ultra marathons then you're probably beginning to think about your training approach. And if you're not, it’s a good time to start.

We recommend avoiding the ‘hope for the best’ training plan which many runners adopt. This typically involves doing a bit more running than normal and seeing what happens on race day - Don’t do this, you’ll regret it!

Rather than recommending a specific plan here are a few options that are out there. Everyone is different, so you may need to experiment with a few ideas before you find what works for you.


1. Get a coach

The most expensive option, but having an actual human running coach will give you tailored race plan, tons of advice and plenty of accountability.

Typically a coach will provide 1-on-1 monthly catch-ups to discuss progress, alongside setting up your training schedule via a website like Training Peaks.

There are some fantastic coaches out there that provide specific trail and ultra marathon plans. Here are a few that we can recommend:

Mountain Strong Coaching - https://www.mountainstrong-coaching.com/
Marcus Scotney - https://www.marcusscotney.com/coaching/
Harry Jones - https://www.harryruns.com/coaching
Allie Bailey - https://www.alliebailey.co.uk/
Robbie Simpson - https://www.hiddenpeakrunning.com/


2. Albon App

Created by Jon and Henriette Albon, the Albon App is my current training solution and I’ve really enjoyed using it for the last year.

After adding your upcoming races and specifying your commitment level, the app will generate a specific plan of attack for that race, all based on their own extremely successful training approaches.

There is flexibility in the weekly sessions which keeps things fresh and interesting. Plus, Jon and Henriette put plenty of useful video content out there and are always happy to answer your questions on their community forum within the app.

https://www.albon.app/


3. Use an ready made plan

There are plenty of one-size-fits-all plans that are a great way to provide structure and accountability to your training.

Typically, these are 16-week training blocks that plan out your runs and increase volume/intensity at a steady rate throughout.

If you use one of these then our advice is to treat it as a guide rather than than a fixed schedule. It can be really difficult fitting a static plan into your no doubt busy life and sometimes you’ll need to skip a session to avoid overdoing it.

Freetrail - https://freetrail.com/training-plans/
Ben Parkes - https://benparkes.com/collections/ultra-plans
Hal Higdon - https://www.halhigdon.com/training-programs/more-training/ultramarathon-50k/


4. Focus on your strength training

Many of us are great at getting out the door for a run, but neglect everything else. Longer trail races require leg strength, not just to get you up those hills but to ensure you can deal with the stress and additional volume you will be doing.

Regular strength training will help you maintain good running form on the trails, prevent injury and make you stronger going up and downhill.

If you are not sure where to start, i’d recommend following a tutorial via YouTube.

Sally McRae - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymjibUQgodo
Jeff Pelletier - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iM9z6cp0Dx0
Tinman Elite - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAn4iVrU7RQ

If you’ve got a specific weakness you need to work on, check out Jesse Fuller’s Instagram, it’s packed full with great advice and workout suggestions.

https://www.instagram.com/fullerrunsfar


5. Don't forget your nutrition!

No ultra marathon plan is complete without a nutrition strategy. This is something that will fluctuate from runner to runner, so it's important do plenty of research and experimentation throughout your training.

Once you know what works you can make an informed decisions on how to approach your race day nutrition.

Zuzana Nemeckova, ultra runner and friend of Runaway Racing has some great advice on her website, along with offering 1-to-1 sessions.

https://www.ontracknutritionist.com/


That's plenty of ideas to get you started. If you’ve got any questions, feel free to send me a message via hello@runawayracing.com and don't forget to check out our events if your are new to Runaway Racing.

Runaway Racing Trig Point Illustration

Our trail running races

Chiltern Ridge Half Marathon 21.2km - 16th June 2024
Dunstable Downs Half Marathon 21.2km - 14th July 2024
Suffolk Coastal Path 50K 50km - 14th September 2024
North Chilterns 50K 50km - 13th October 2024
Chiltern Ridge Winter 50K 50km - 16th November 2024
Chiltern Hills Invitational 10km - 8th December 2024
Chiltern Ridge Ultra 50K 50km - 5th April 2025
Chiltern Hills 100K 100k - 26th April 2025
Tewinbury Trail 10K 10km - 8th June 2025
Hughenden Trail 10K 10K - 19th July 2025
Greensand Country 50K 50km - TBC

Past results & photos

Not sure which race to choose, check out our past event results and photos.

Results & photos

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