Our 100k Training Plan – Compete is an advanced plan designed for experienced runners looking to nail their 100k – whether it’s to compete against yourself or other runners.
The plan is 6 months long and is aimed at runners aiming to continuously run their 100km, and finish in 10 – 13 hours.
Once you go beyond marathon distance and stray into ultra territory, the training strategies and advice vary an incredible amount. This training plan was initially developed by pulling strategies from a few sources, and has been refined by myself and several other ultra-runners.
It’s now been downloaded over 20,000 times.
Here I’ve presented my rationale for the strategy provided.
The training plan is available for free in PDF and customizable Google Sheets format in both miles and kilometers.
100k Training Plan – Compete: Essential Info
Who Is It For?:
Our Compete training plans are designed for experienced runners who want to challenge themselves, set a new PR, and perform well competitively.
If you’re planning to race and gain a good position, this is the plan for you.
Our Compete plans feature the most intense training regimes – there are a lot of miles in there, different challenging workouts (speed-work), and typically only one rest day per week.
You should only attempt the Compete 100km training plan if you are starting from a solid running base, and have the time commitment and drive to really challenge yourself.
Find out other ultramarathon training plans – for different goals and ability levels – by clicking here.
Six months // 24 weeks.
How Many Days Per Week?:
The majority of this program features 6 days of training per week.
Training Breakdown: What Will Your Weekly Schedule Consist Of?
One day of speed work is included in this advanced 100k training schedule; this is to improve your base running speed and your running economy. Essential for a competitive runner!
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.
Hence the huge amount of miles included in this plan. This can mean committing serious chunks of your life (weekends) to running.
A 100km ultramarathon 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 once per week (more if you manage), 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.
Cross-training also improves your cardiovascular health and strengthens some of the muscles weakened through running, thereby reducing your chance of injury. Other recommended cross-training exercises include bodyweight exercises, light gym work, swimming, yoga, pilates, and cycling.
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 30+ mile run (50k) before your 100km.
This Compete 100k program features several 30+ milers, peaking out at 37 miles.
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. I’ve included a few at the weekends as the event nears, where you have a long run on Saturday and a follow-up shorter run on Sunday.
Tapering For 100k
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 minimizes 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.
Download The Training Plan Here
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Check Out The Premium Version of The ‘Compete’ 100k Training Plan . . .
We’ve teamed with TrainingPeaks to offer a premium version of the Compete 100k Training Plan:
Access the plan via the TrainingPeaks website and app, track your workouts in real-time against the plan, and get performance data analysis on your progress.
The most comprehensive plan you will find
I had run a couple of half marathons and was in reasonable shape coming into the plan and it was a good rise in intensity throughout. You need to want to do an event like this – I was getting up at 3am to get my long run in before kids weekend sport etc and this was hard. When you combine the plan with the online community through the Marathon Handbook FB page and website, you get complete support. Have used this plan with great success and now looking at upping the pace in the marathon space… GREAT JOB!
10 / 10 - Got my through my race!
This plan hit so well!
Well, I have been marathoning for almost 15 years and wanted to test something new out. I tried this plan because it looked completely different than any training method before. It didn’t make sense how the running peaked, and I got to the start line exhausted and sick, clearly under rested. The marathon had actually gone pretty smoothly until mile 17, when my ankle rolled and my ACL ripped. Had to quit the race and was upset with this training plan. However, free IS free. 6/10. Would not recommend
These running plans are AMAZING. I used it for 2 half marathons and I was so surprised at how I gained fitness, even though I was ill for 2 weeks and sustained a knee injury!
I completed the half marathon in 1h37 min 😃🤗
Thanx again team!
and it worked a charm!
Proven Training Plans by a UESCA-Certified Running Coach
Every one of our training plans has been developed by Thomas Watson, a UESCA-certified running coach.
Thomas is also a podium-finishing ultra-marathon runner and has dozens of marathons under his belt.
Each training plan has been road-tested by hundreds of runners, refined and improved, and is free to download and customize to suit your needs!