Interval Training for Ultramarathon Runners - What an online running coach thinks!

January 30, 2023
3 minutes
Nick Hancock

Interval Training for ultramarathons - what an Online running Coach thinks!!

Surely, intervals are for marathoners? Right?

Wrong! As an ultrarunner training for a 100-mile ultramarathon, you know that endurance is key. The ability to sustain physical activity over anextended period of time is crucial for completing a race of this distance. But,how do you train for such a demanding event? One effective method is interval training, and an online running coach can help you incorporate it into your training plan.


I always say, "if you want to be a plodder, then go out and plod!". But, if you want to get to the end of your ultramarathon and in the shower sooner, then you need to incorporate intervals and speedwork!

What is interval training?

Interval training is a type of training that involves alternating periods of hard-intensity running with recovery periods. This type of training can help your body adapt to the demands of running for long distances, which is essential for ultrarunning. It can also help you improve your overall endurance, speed, and mental toughness.


One of the key benefits of interval training for ultrarunners is improved endurance. By challenging your body to work harder for short periods of time, followed by recovery periods, you can improve yourability to sustain physical activity over an extended period of time. This iscrucial for ultrarunning, where you need to be able to keep a steady pace for multiple hours, often in challenging conditions.


An example of interval training for ultrarunners could be a workout consisting of several repeats of a one-mile hard effort followed by one-mile recovery jogs. This type of workout can help you improve your ability to run at faster speeds for longer periods of time and also practice the changing demands of pace during such a long race, which can be beneficial during a 50km to 100-mile ultramarathon. This type of workout can be challenging and an online running coach, like yours truly, can help you to adjust the intensity and frequency of your intervals based on your fitness level.


Another example of interval training is Fartlek training (I still can't help but giggle!). This type of training is an unstructured type of interval training, where you can vary your pace and intensity during the run. This can help you to improve your ability to manage the varying terrain and conditions you will meet during an ultramarathon. An online running coach can help you to design a Fartlek training plan that will target your specific needs... I personally like using a session created by the great coach, Waldemar Gerschler!


Interval training can also help you increase your running speed. By training at faster speeds, you can improve your overall running economy and efficiency, which can help you maintain a faster pace during the race. An online running coach can help you to incorporate speed work into your training plan, and also to monitor your progress and adjust your training as needed. One of the biggest things to get right, is the right amopunt of intensity, for the right amount of time, at the right time during your training! Too high intesnity and volume at the same time can leave you burntout or injured... not enough, and you could be doing the work for no benefit!


Finally, interval training can help you develop the mental toughness needed to complete a 100-mile ultramarathon. By pushing yourself to your limits during training, you can learn how to push through "pain" and discomfort during the race, which can be a key factor in finishing the race. An online running coach can help you to develop a positive mindset, and also to set and achieve realistic goals during your training. Something like progression runs (read this article to see a session I love to give my athletes) are great for building mental toughness!

And of course, hills are a staple in most ultramarathoner's training plans. Give this one a try by reading this article


In conclusion, interval training can be an effective tool for ultrarunners training for a 100-mile ultramarathon. It can help you improve your endurance, speed, and mental toughness. An online running coach can helpyou to incorporate interval training into your training plan, check yourprogress, and adjust your training as needed. With the right training plan and the support, you will be able to achieve your goalof completing a 100-mile ultramarathon.

And, of course, should you wish to explore working with an online running coach, then make an enquiry and let's discuss how we can work together!

You can also read this previous article on interval training:

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