Ultramarathon Training Plan

Louise at the Highland Fling

Before the d33 Ultra this year I was sitting having breakfast before the start of the race and got chatting to a few fellow runners who were enjoying their pre race meal. After the race I found out that one of the runners names was Louise, aka on Twitter as @goodonskis

We added each other on social media and began chatting about my blog, Louise sent over a copy of her training plan for the d33 and I was so impressed with it I decided to put it up on the blog, so here it is……

Week Mon Tues Weds Thurs Fri Sat Sun  
1 Rest 3 6 3 4 10 10  
2 Rest 6 3 7 4 7.5 12.5  
3 Rest 7 4 6 5 10 15  
4 Rest 3 6 4 3 10 10  
5 Rest 4 7 3 4 Rest 15  
6 5 6 Rest 6 6 12 20  
7 Rest 4 7 3 4 8 25  
8 Rest 3 6 5 6 10 Rest  
9 Rest 3 3 4 3 6 30  
10 Rest Rest Rest Rest 6 10 10  
11 Rest 4 4 4 Rest RACE Rest!  

Below are some of Louise’s tips as well…..

D33 Training Notes

  • This training plan is based on my ability after 3 years consistent running. Though I’ve never run a marathon in a competitive race, only the distance a few times.
  • Training plan is based on building, base, strength, and speed then race preparation.
  • Weekly increase of a suggested roughly 10% of total mileage
  • Always have one rest day per week
  • Weeks 5 and 8 must be light weeks
  • Weeks 5 and 9 return to base building weeks 2 and 6 total distances
  • Taper off on weeks 10 / 11
  • All days (except rest days) include 427 sit-ups in the morning (200 sit-ups iPhone app top level)
  • All days (except rest and very long run) at least 20 minutes swim afterwards for core strength building.
  • All distances recorded above are in miles
  • Supplements include, Multi-Vit/Mineral Mix, Fish Oil (Omega 3), GPLC  and CoQ10 (Carnitine)

Notes and Tips

 Stick to the plan man, you may wish and think you can do longer earlier on, but you’ll just burn out and the longer runs become strained.

  • Your old ‘home run’ should be the run you extend for longer runs, finish all runs with your home run, and mentally it helps. Finish at the same place and add the extra miles on at the beginning increasing over time for your long run.
  • Increase the speed gradually over the weeks on your shorter week day runs.
  • Start off the long runs earlier in the training plan at a slow pace, especially if you’re in the Ultra to finish not improving your time, telling yourself this is about quality not speed and NOT picking up any injuries.
  • If you need a ‘pick me up’ use essential oils on the wrist or really nice hand cream. A sniff along the way helps.
  • If you are starting to flag, imagine a cord running through the top of your head being pulled up, straighten up and carry on.
  • Tell yourself to calm down when you get a little wobble or panic, that and tell yourself off and carry on, no one is going to come and rescue you.
  • Finishing Week 3 is a mental milestone; the last run is a tough one. 15 miles will now become your mid-distance after Week 3.
  • Invest in an iPod, Nike Plus is brilliant and explore www.podomatic.com and get the best music podcasts, change them every few runs for fresh music. I love the long deep house / dance podcasts. It saves getting bored of your playlists and time putting them together.
  • Rest days become a bit weird after a while, you feel all unoccupied! Use the time wisely, fuel up and take a really nice long hot bath.
  • If there is one, join the Facebook event /group for your event, you’ll get all the pre-race banter, the training highs and lows of fellow runners and link up with folks you’re bound to meet on the day.
  • Keep your personalised training plan on a wall calendar and mark off the days.
  • Recruit all your friends / work colleagues in reminding you want you have to run that day. They’ll always check on you in the morning.
  • Plan your week ahead thinking of time, work commitments, daylight and location if you have to alter your normal routine, keep a bag packed in the car with your kit, you may have to squeeze your run in during work.
  • Keep your toenails jagged free and short, nothing worse than a tincy tiny jagged edge causing you to look like your feet have been massacred after about 10 miles.
  • Week 6 start to introduce your refueling strategy on your long runs, try different gels, beans, bars, shots and water.
  • The long distance is about being mentally fit as well as physically fit, remember how much better you feel after your run when other parts of your life are causing you stress, imagine how awesome you’ll feel if your starting point is completely stress free, you’ll feel amazing! Thinking in a more positive frame of mind from the outset of your run with help power through the miles.
  • Never underestimate the importance of good running socks, I prefer Hilly Blister Free and ‘marathon fresh’.
  • Practice running with a mobile phone before hand if you don’t usually.
  • Little things are going to really bug you on runs 15m + think of everything that might bug you, laces for example – tape them up!
  • Hydration really does work, after years of convincing myself I don’t need to carry a drink, I’ve discovered a sip every few miles does really help. I love Zero sports tablets and powerade zero. If you hate to carry water, I found a great little sports running belt from Nike with 4 little bottles, front and back pocket. I find having 4 different drinks to give you something new to look forward to helps and keep the bottles even-sided so you feel the weight is evenly distributed.
  • The power carb sachets and running jelly beans are the only things that work for me.
  • Runners who drop litter, as in their wrappers from sports bars and gels are not true runners, it is disrespectful and just plain rude and uncaring. No matter how sticky or gooey put your wrapper back in your wee pocket.
  • Train in all weathers, you just don’t know what the conditions are going to be like on the day.
  • You will start to become much more relaxed after week 9, you’ve put in the effort, you can sit back a little and be proud of your commitment. Knowing you have prepared all you can is a massive boost and you can look forward to your run.
  • Blueberries, porridge, vanilla yoghurt and seeds are my new best friends and make perfect evening snack the night before a long run.
  • Finishing week 10 and my 30 mile run was awesome, it felt really really good, because I stuck to the plan J
  • Last week, 3 days to go, am very very excited and eating really sensibly, lots of healthy carbs and protein.
  • Don’t ignore your morning routine, if it helps you then keep it too on the race day. I have coffee in bed and listen to music after stretches and situps.
  • Don’t buy and wear brand new shoes to work in the two weeks before your race, you might get a blister! Ouch!

 Race Day is here!!!!

 Enjoy every minute, you have put it all the hard work, it’s now time for all systems go, go, go!!

  • Completed it! 5hrs 17 minutes, 85th Place and 11th in my category, I’m soo chuffed – off for a lie down and pamper.
  • Mile 28 nearly scuppered everything, it was so tough for the last 5 miles

If I was going to do it again… 

  • I think I might see how compression socks suit me.
  • My running belt for water / juice gave me huge welts and bruises, not doing that again.
  • Not drink so much coffee beforehand, including caffeine and sugar based sports drinks, I’d had enough to make me feel a bit sick.
  • I’d have trained more / longer, mile 28 onwards was a massive struggle, I very nearly threw the towel in on mile 28!
  • My sports bra even hurt after 30 miles! It was sore round the ribcage, must investigate more.
  • Picked my playlists a little better, the last two will be podcasts I shall never dare to listen to again.
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About Mark Cooper

My name is Mark Cooper, I am an ultra runner, motivational speaker, expedition consultant and public relations rookie. I help people achieve greatness in their lives. For bookings or more information you can email mark@runwithmark.com
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4 Responses to Ultramarathon Training Plan

  1. goodonskis says:

    Thanks Mark!!

    Seems like such a long time ago now! This really did give me an excellent base to build on for the rest of the season. I’m so pleased to say that as a direct result of having this good base, I’m now running the longer Ultras (55 milers) and (fingers crossed) no injuries! If anyone wants to use the plan you can easily build on the distances sticking to roughly the same formulas. I’m now doing 70 plus miles a week based on the same plan.

    My other tips, keep at it, you will grow in confidence with every race experience. Don’t be afraid to push yourself, especially if you have the plan man!

    Much respect to you Mark, good luck to you and everyone doing the West Highland Way this weekend x

    Louise Jones @goodonskis

  2. Just a little to point to add. (It’s along the lines of the sports bra bit).
    Recently in contact with an Ultra runner with groin/testicular pain. Decided after screening that his pain was caused by loose fitting underwear. Everything was swinging too much while he was running.

    The preventative treatment….Tighter pant, or maybe compression shorts.

    Sometimes it’s not the big things that stop you from reaching your full potential. In this case it was the little things.

  3. goodonskis says:

    Thanks, can I also add the picture of me here was taken by Denis Bell https://picasaweb.google.com/denisvwbell/HighlandFling110430 Thanks very much and full credits to Denis for the picture!

  4. caroline says:

    Can I add as a novice ultra runner that one of the huge turning points in my training was discovering chia seeds.
    I’ve never run a marathon and, after one try, never had one of those horrible gels…..chia seeds are really worth trying out. And no sticky packaging to discover in your pocket weeks later (tho I can testify that soggy chia seeds can produce the same effect in your pocket!!!)

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