Training for 100 milers

One of our athletes recently posed us a question about training for hundred+ mile events and we wanted to share our answers to shed some light on our training philosophy.


What’s more important for ultra-endurance (100+ miler)? Improving VO2 max, lactate/anaerobic threshold (assuming mental aspect, ergonomics and good nutrition are constants)? I’m just curious about your thoughts.


I believe for ultra-endurance there are three main critical things that we need to train:

  1. Exercise economy. You take soooo many steps, every one must be as efficient as possible. Lots of ways to tackle this though.
  2. AEROBIC threshold. The more you push into your limited glycogen reserves, the more limited you are in your range. The higher your aerobic threshold, the less you use glycogen.
  3. Injury susceptibility. Untrained athletes can handle a much lower training load because of injury. A proper trianing plan should prepare you for higher loads and actually result in decreased susceptibility to injury.


I like Eric’s comment in here. I think given that 100’s are so unique, if the mental component is not in place it’s nearly impossible for someone to complete. You mention that as all things being equal but it deserves attention. Outside of that component, I find that simply having the muscular endurance, which can only be acquired through training and training consistently and with decent mileage, goes a long ways towards Eric’s first point, economy. My first 100 was a horribly painful experience because I lacked the muscular endurance to keep an efficient stride throughout the event. My biggest gains in 100’s I believe, have been made in simply conditioning my body over time to be stronger and hence to keep form throughout the entire race.

Regardless of the event or distance, we can help you train and prepare to compete at your strongest. Check out our coaching services page for more info!

Ultra-Marathon Plans

Our training plans pull from both our expertise in mountain and ultra racing and are designed both for the first time ultra runner as well as experienced runners looking to take on a new goal.

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