707.  5️⃣ principles for ultra training (BLOG)

For the visually inclined, check this article out on youtube. 

🔥Are you the type of person to set goals?

🔥Would you consider setting a goal to start running? What about running a marathon, or even an ultra-marathon? 

➡️Whether it’s a 5k, a half marathon, a marathon, a 50K, or even a 100 mile ultra-marathon…

💯These principles have worked for me and I know at least one of them would work for you too. How many of these are you already doing❓

Summary of the 5 principles for running to incorporate into your training :

  1. Active rest day 1-3 miles 
  2. Speed work hill repeats or tempo runs 
  3. Long slow distance runs 15+ miles, if you go based on time, 3+ hours? 
  4. Cross training: strength / mobility/ yoga 
  5. Base miles: 4 – 14 miles 


🙋🏽‍♀️I recommend training blocks for the races that you sign up for. A training block could be up to 6 months, and training blocks/ races can build upon themselves. (ex: using a marathon training block to help get towards the goal of running a 50 mile ultra-marathon, etc)

💰And here’s a weekly template that I use, make it work for you. Movement, working out, health, fitness – whatever you want to call it – is my ‘drug’ – so I make the time to do cardio, strength, and some sort of yoga/ mobility flows every day. Maybe on average, 2 hours a day total. 

  • M: Rest and Push 
  • T: Hill and Pull
  • W: Base and Push
  • TH: LSD and yoga 
  • F: LSD and yoga 
  • S: Base and Pull 
  • S: Fun day 

Deep Dive

PS: If I only had four days to run, I’d do speed work, base miles, back to back long runs ideally a consecutive four days. 

  1. Active rest day 1-3 miles 

These could be walking miles, or a slow slow jog. I keep it light and spend more time on recovery type of cross training like yoga or mobility work. 

  1. Speed work hill repeats or tempo runs 

I’m a huge fan of hill repeats, they build the legs, build confidence, and increase speed. “Hills pay the bills” is a saying, and it’s true. 

With that in mind, I do a set amount of time for a workout – 30 – 60 minutes usually, and do hill repeats for that amount of time with a small warm up and cool down, usually a half mile jog. 

  1. Long slow distance runs 15+ miles, if you go based on time, 3+ hours? (back to back) 

These long runs are going to be where most of the gains are, ESPECIALLY on that second day since we’re going back to back. That second day is going to have you running on tired legs, and trust me – if you’re running a marathon or anything over that – you’re going to have tired legs. 

When I first started doing the back to back long runs, I’d run 15 miles on day 1, and on day 2 I was supposed to run 12 miles…. My legs would hurt so bad I’d end up only doing 3 or 4. In hindsight, I should’ve taken the miles a lot slower, power walking if I had too, for a set amount of time. Something I learned from running a one hundred and a two hundred mile race is that we can go a lot further then we think and running is mostly mental. 

  1. Cross training: strength / mobility/ yoga 

Running is the peanut butter, cross training is the jelly. It has to get done from my point of view.  Why? Because being strong is a natural human desire. There’s a whole slew of evidence and scientific research that show how beneficial exercise, yoga, and strength training is in general. We all know deep down that it’s good for us.

It’s just like directions. We start at point A, I take this way – you take a different way, but we both end up at point b. 

Or how 2 + 2 = 4 and so does  5 – 1. 

For me; mainly do calisthenics, and body weight exercises. I through in weights here and there, sometimes not for a few months, sometimes once or twice a week. The reason I adopted a calisthenic workout philosophy is that it can be done ANYWHERE, just like running. We can bang a set of pushup’s out anywhere, or sit-ups, same with squats. The pull up can be done in creative places too: a tree branch, a bridge, the corner of a roof, or a basketball hoop support beam. 

Yoga and mobility are other, minimal equipment style practices – we just need a semi-open space to move around – maybe a yoga mat. (seeing a pattern here with adopting a minimal equipment workout approach?) 

Yoga is flexibility, how much are muscles can extend – like touching your toes…. 

Mobility has to do with joint range of motion, ex: deep squat. These two practices are similar, and some movements might have a mix of both elements – the difference lies in each discipline’s focus – increasing the range of motion within a joint, or increasing the elasticity of fascia? 

  1. Base miles: 4 – 14 miles 

These are great days to get more weekly miles. That’s simply what they are, not necessarily pushing the pedal to the metal, not running for a crazy amount of hours. 

Slow pace, just like the long runs, but shorter. 

What does a Training block look like? 

There’s the 10% rule, and the concept is to bump your weekly miles up no more than 10% each week during a training block. 

If you do 30 weekly miles, bump next week up to maybe 33 miles, then 36 miles, etc. As we become more aware / get to know our bodies, we can determine what mileage we want to start and peak at, and adjust this rule of thumb as needed. 

I’ve overran and gotten injured, and since following this principle – I’ve been able to be a lot more consistent with my training. 

Tweak it for you.

If this article about the 5 principles for ultra-marathon training provided you value in any way, shape, or form… 

Share it with a friend! 

And as always

If you have any questions, comments, or recommendations be sure to LMK in the comments below,


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