Dr Will O'ConnorAll plans by this Coach
Can I run an ultramarathon on only 3 days a week? YES you can.
Not every aspiring ultra runner has unlimited time to train. The six months three-four day a week plan will set you up for success without needing to give up your life.
The three most important aspects of training for an ultramarathon are;
Time on your feet
Running under fatigue
To make your ultramarathon experience an enjoyable one, you need first to understand it is a journey. There will be injury, there will be missed training, there will be crappy runs, and there will be self-doubt. This is all part of training for and running an ultramarathon.
What is your ultimate goal, and why?
First set out your goal. For most people, this is going to be a combination of a time-based goal (i.e. sub 10hrs) and a personal fulfilment goal (i.e. I want to complete a 50km). This is essentially your motivation. You still need to figure out your why. Maybe you want to test yourself mentally, maybe you want some added motivation to train. Whatever it is, make sure you know why your training as this will help you enjoy the journey and not get bogged down in training.
The final 12 weeks is where the REAL training begins.
The final 12 weeks is a combination of extra long runs, hills and some speed work. Speed work? For an ultramarathon? YES! Speed isn’t so much about making you a faster runner as it is making you a more efficient runner. If you only run slow, you’ll begin to limit your range of motion and as a result not develop your running muscles to the fullest.
If you can practise running <5min/km for 1-5min then running 8min/km is going to feel a lot easier. And it needs to feel easy because you’re going to be doing it for most of the day!
Unless otherwise stated, run EASY. You’re not trying to break a new world record, so your pace is almost irrelevant. Time is what we are interested in. There are so many factors that can influence your pace that it’s best used only as a reference point.
Utilise walking. Regardless of your ability level, you will end up walking in an ultramarathon so you might as well start with a walking plan. Hills are an obvious one. The general rule of thumb is ‘if you can’t see the top, walk’.
Test everything. Your long run is an excellent opportunity to test out your nutrition, hydration and equipment. For each of your long runs, you should be using the same equipment and nutrition you plan to use on race day. It’s better to find out in training that you can’t stomach slated caramel gels after 5hrs of running than in a race.
Don’t be afraid to rest if you’re tired and always seek advice on injuries and niggles. Getting to the start line is more important than completing a full week of training!
The training plan outlined here is the best case scenario, so don't be too attached to the day-to-day if you wanted to do a race on the same weekend as a scheduled long run that is fine. As long as you can follow the overall structure of the plan to the best of your abilities, you'll still get to the start line in your best shape.
If you would like to have a one-on-one consultation with me, I can tailor the programme to your life commitments and goals.
Thanks for purchasing the programme and I hope you enjoy it!
All the best,
Will O'Connor PhD
Professional Coach & Sports Scientist
How it Works
Training Plan Sample Week
Average Weekly Breakdown
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Training Load By Week
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- Heart Rate Monitor
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