Ultra Marathon Training Plans

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The Best Way To Train For An Ultra Marathon

An ultra-marathon is any running event that’s longer than a standard marathon (26.2 miles). There is no single set distance, but ultra-marathon events commonly go up to 100km (62 miles) and are often on hilly or technical routes.

Top Training Tips For An Ultra Marathon

Training for an ultra-marathon is no different to training for other running events, in that you need to progress your training gradually over time. There are no shortcuts. You also need to include regular recovery periods, so that your body can adapt, enabling you to train consistently for many months.

Your training should be built around three key runs each week. The first is a long run, where you slowly increase the duration over a period of months, up to a maximum of 4 hours (depending on the distance of your target event). This run should be done at chatting pace, ideally over a series of laps, so you can take on energy drinks and snacks at the end of each lap.

Your second key run is also long, typically done in midweek, where you build up over several months to running a maximum of 2 hours. This run should ideally be done on terrain or gradients that are like your target event. You can do this one slightly quicker than you would on your other long run.

For your long runs, it’s always good to run in company, at least for some of it. It’s great motivation and it helps the miles fly by. Do your best to organize this if you can. Otherwise it can get tough at times.

The final key run is a speed or tempo session. These are not endurance sessions as such, but they do improve your running pace, which then enables you to run at a given pace for less effort. You can vary these types of workouts throughout the course of your training. For example, you could try a weekly tempo session such as 5 x 1 mile at 10-mile race pace, with 1-minute recoveries (plus a warm up and cool down).  After four weeks of that, you could progress it to 3 x 2 miles with 90 seconds recoveries.

Once you’ve done eight weeks of weekly tempo runs, move onto some speed work for the next eight weeks. For example, try doing 5 x 800m hard with 2 minute 30 second recoveries (plus warm up and cool down). Progress your workouts every four weeks to keep your training fresh, and to encourage your body to keep adapting.

Any other runs can be done at chatting pace, typically 35 to 75 minutes in duration. If possible, do some of your running on soft surfaces like grass or trails, to reduce the impact on your body. Always be mindful of avoiding injury – over half of all runners are injured every year. Your first goal is always to make the start-line of your target race.

We also make every fourth week an “active recovery week” where the training is half as much as normal. This gives your body a chance to adapt, reducing your chances of getting injured. We also build up your key workouts gradually, to ensure you improve at the optimal rate.

In our ultra-marathon training plans we include two 45-minute strength and conditioning sessions per week. These workouts can help improbe your strength and flexibility, leading to more efficient movement patterns and fewer injuries. We suggest you only do strength work in addition to at least three runs per week, rather than instead of them. However, strength work is an important ingredient when preparing for an ultra-marathon.

Using An Ultra Marathon Plan

Online training plans are for athletes who don’t feel the need for a personal coach, but who still want the structure and planning of an expertly-written training program. People who use training plans have been shown to be twice as likely to succeed in reaching their goals.

If you’re planning to do an Ultra Marathon, it helps if you’re already a runner, and you’ve already conquered some running events over shorter distances, such as a half marathon or marathon. If you’re starting from scratch, it’s a good idea to train for some shorter events first, before taking on the challenge of an Ultra. 

About Phil Mosley
About Phil Mosley

As an athlete and parent I know how challenging it can be to train effectively for endurance events. As a certified coach with over 20 years’ experience, I’ve found the biggest challenge to be balancing my client’s training with their lifestyle…

And that’s why I started MyProCoach - to offer the world’s most comprehensive range of online endurance sports training plans. All designed to help you enjoy the same success that my athletes and I have, while still making sure you have quality time available for your family, friends and career. And the results have been great - read 80+ detailed testimonials here.

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Premium, flexible plans

Research-backed plans for any experience-level that fit around your lifestyle. From leading endurance coach Phil Mosley.

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A flexible calendar, targeted training zones, trackable progress and so much more - on any device.

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On top of full help-centre & FAQ support (with videos), our coaches will quickly reply to any questions you have via email.

Our Ultra Marathon Training Plans (12-40 Weeks)​

MORE THAN JUST A TRAINING PLAN

We use Training Peaks to deliver your plan – the world’s most popular endurance coaching platform. Free to use, Training Peaks is an online calendar that lets you record, track and analyze your training sessions. 

It has a host of great features allowing you to get as in-depth as you like, including the ability to export your workouts to your training devices (Garmin, TrainerRoad etc) and follow them in real time. 

Training Peaks enables us to set you in-depth training plans in a way that other formats cannot. Phil Mosley is a Certified Coach and one of the best-selling coaches on the platform.

We want to provide an affordable and effective training solution, including email coach support for any questions you may have. As you can understand, some limits apply, like personalisation or analysis of your training, but for anything else relevant to your plan, we would love to help. We also give you full access to our online help centre, with videos and articles to help you train effectively.

Certainly! Our training plans allow you to easily swap a few days around each week to suit your availability. We give a few recommendations on how to best do this in our help centre.

Yes! Our training plans guide you up to your target “A” race, but it’s also good to include some “B or C” races along the way. Our help centre goes through the exact steps you should take to enable you to get full benefit, without detracting from your key focus.

BEGINNER

Perfect for your first Ultra Marathon
3-7 hrs per week, across 4-5 workouts
  • Premium, flexible plan
  • Intuitive tracking software
  • Help centre & FAQ support
  • Email access to coach
  • From just $2.72/week!

INTERMEDIATE

For seasoned runners
4-9 hrs per week, across 5-6 workouts
  • Premium, flexible plan
  • Intuitive tracking software
  • Help centre & FAQ support
  • Email access to coach
  • From just $2.72/week!

ADVANCED

Slash your race-times
6-10:30 hrs per week, across 6-8 workouts
  • Premium, flexible plan
  • Intuitive tracking software
  • Help centre & FAQ support
  • Email access to coach
  • From just $2.72/week!

Join Over 10,000 Successful Athletes

FEEDBACK FROM MY ULTRA MARATHON CLIENTS

I have just completed Sevilla Marathon in 3:31:07, even better than predicted. I wanted to say a HUGE thanks for putting together this plan that turned me from a slow turtle into a solid marathon runner! I am turning 48 in less than 2 months and this one is so far my marathon PB. You could not make me a better birthday gift!
Giordano Mastrocinque - Feb 2019
Thank you very much for your helpful response to all my questions.
Roy Bogue - Jan 2018
New PB at Abingdon Marathon by 7 mins today. Target was 3:15, result was 3:07:45! Nice way to finish the season, thanks! ​
Dr James White - Oct 2014

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Are you over 40 or need more recovery?

Our Masters training plans might be suitable for you. They are designed for athletes over 40 (although plenty of younger athletes love them too) – with workouts that are just as tough, but with more scheduled recovery days, and more strength and conditioning work.

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Ultra Marathon Running - Beginner Plans:

You should count back the weeks from your “A” target race-date – noting that you can still work in other, smaller races during your plan too. Generally, the longer the better – as this will give you more chance to gradually build up your training and fitness. The body responds best to constant progression with regular recovery periods, and that’s exactly what our training plans are designed to give you.

Further questions about choosing the right plan or using it? Our coaching team would be happy to help: info@myprocoach.net

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Ultra Marathon Running - Intermediate Plans:

You should count back the weeks from your “A” target race-date – noting that you can still work in other, smaller races during your plan too. Generally, the longer the better – as this will give you more chance to gradually build up your training and fitness. The body responds best to constant progression with regular recovery periods, and that’s exactly what our training plans are designed to give you.

Further questions about choosing the right plan or using it? Our coaching team would be happy to help: info@myprocoach.net

Preview or Buy Now!

CLICK A BUTTON BELOW TO BE DIRECTED TO THE TRAININGPEAKS™ ONLINE STORE

Ultra Marathon Running - Advanced Plans:

You should count back the weeks from your “A” target race-date – noting that you can still work in other, smaller races during your plan too. Generally, the longer the better – as this will give you more chance to gradually build up your training and fitness. The body responds best to constant progression with regular recovery periods, and that’s exactly what our training plans are designed to give you.

Further questions about choosing the right plan or using it? Our coaching team would be happy to help: info@myprocoach.net

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