When you are training for an ultramarathon, you should regularly include long runs in your training sessions. There are some easy tips to make sure you are getting the most out of your sessions.
Jeff Campbell, prolific trail running champion, with titles like The North Face 50km and King of the Hills, under his belt, and Nikki Han, the first women to finish the 298km Hong Kong Four Trails Ultra Challenge, shared their advice for long training sessions.
When long runs aren’t an option, you can replicate their volume with back-to-back training sessions too.
Check out the long run video below.
1. Easy pace, this isn’t a race
Han’s first point was not to worry about pace, particularly if you are a beginner. Long training sessions are about getting used to spending time on your feet, not about pushing your heart rate. You may even consider planning your training session by time – three to four hours, rather than distance.
2. Test your gear
Campbell said you should use your long run to test your gear. So, wear all the kit you’ll be using during the race to see if any of it rubs or chafes after a few hours. Check your nutrition too by eating what you’ll eat on the day and see if it sits comfortably in your stomach.
3. Replicate the race
Try and make the training session as close to the race as possible. “If the 100km course has around 4,500 metres of elevation with lots of stairs, a 33km long run should have over 1,500 metres with lots of stairs,” Campbell said. Han said you can replicate race conditions by training by yourself. If you are training on the course, then head out for the long run at the same time of day as you’ll be racing that section, Han suggested.
4. Once a week
Campbell said you should have a long run once a week. “From a training perspective, a three- to four-hour long run will generally give you all the physiological adaptations. You don’t need to run a 100km in training for a 100km race.”