Ultramarathon Training Plans
100km Training Plan
The following is our 6 month training plan for a 100km ultra-marathon:
The training plan is designed to be customised to suit your requirements and lifestyle.
TIME ON YOUR FEET
This is paramount – more important than speed or miles. It’s also the biggest commitment you’ll have to give for your 100km preparation. Your body has to get used to being on your feet for hours on end, so it holds up well come race day. There’s no set plan here, but doing a few runs that are 50% of your planned 100km time is recommended. This can mean committing serious chunks of your life (weekends) to running.
BODY STRENGTHENING FOR 100KM
An 100km run is all about endurance, and muscular strength makes you an endurance animal. Many runners can get by with marathon-length runs by doing only running training. But once you are on your legs for several hours at a time, having some core strength really helps you keep your form and fuels your endurance. Remember – your whole body is active while running, not just your legs. I highly recommend doing cross training a couple of times per week, focussing on the upper body. If you only have time for one cross-training session, focus on your legs with lunges, squats and stretching – your body will thank you when you’re 10hrs into the race.
Just like marathon prep, you should be factoring in one long, slow run every weekend. As a minimum, you want to have completed at least one 50km before your 100km. If you are taking things seriously, you want to have covered 70-80km once, and done several 50kms.
Another worthwhile training technique is back-to-backs. This is running two long runs on consecutive days. This technique gets your body used to running on tired legs.
TAPERING FOR A 100KM
Tapering is the age-old marathon training technique of letting your training peak 4 weeks before your race and gradually backing off. It’s a nice rule of thumb that means you’ve given yourself plenty of time for preparation. Tapering minimises the risk of injury prior to the race and means you should arrive at the start line in the best possible condition. However, you’ll often find that it’s harder to apply such a rigid structure to ultra-marathon training. Many seasoned ultra-runners barely taper at all – they might just relax a bit more in the week leading up to the event.
Your taper length should therefore be determined by how well conditioned you body is. If you’ve only been distance running for a few months, it is worth having a 2-4 week taper before your 100km. This means doing your longest training run in the weeks before the race, then gradually reducing the level of training as race day approaches.