Tag Archives: long run

Long Run For 100km Trail Race: Training

How to approach the long run for 100km trail race.

There’s an important concept we need to get our heads around. The speed we race a 100km race is relatively slow.

Compared to your 5km or half marathon speed, 100km is run significantly slower. This needs to be remembered when we are setting up our long run training.

How Long Is Long For 100km?

By following some principles we can get to an optimal long run distance.

Long is relative. It begins with a distance near the edge of what you can comfortably run. This could be 10km or it could be 40km. It depends on your training history and current fitness.

If you are looking at taking 16 weeks to train for a 100km race I recommend being comfortable at 25km.

You want to be able to build up to a peak of at least 40km or 4 hours. This will ensure you develop the physiology to go really long. The magic happens after 3 hours.

Referring back to 16 Weeks to 100km Training Plan, you want this peak run to be reached by 12 weeks. We start reducing the length of the long run after this.

Is it worth going longer?

The short answer is… maybe

That maybe depends on your ability to handle the extra distance. If you can handle, absorb and adapt to the extra distance then go for it.

However, any of the following will rule out going further:

  • Carrying an injury
  • Still feeling fatigued beyond 2 days after a long run
  • Recent long runs have a dramatic slow down in their second half
  • You struggle to perform the other key runs

Some runners may benefit from 1 to 4 long runs pushed out to 50km or 5-6 hours. Don’t under estimate the impact these runs have. Make sure you get in some sleep, eat well and focus on recovery afterward.

How Fast For The Long Run?

This is specific for a 100km ultra marathon. When training for shorter distances, it will be a different answer.

Now we get back to the concept that the speed we race a 100km race is relatively slow.

Be realistic. How fast will you really average over a 100km race?

Write the answer down.

Most of your long runs should be around this pace.

Take aiming  for under 12 hours to win the beer stein at Surf Coast Century. Giving 10 minutes buffer, 11hr 50min is a pace of 7:06/km or 11:21/mile. Most people in this chasing this time should be capable of a road marathon under 3hr 40min (5:12/km, 8:20/mile). In this example you want to make sure you are very comfortable at around 7:06/km over similar terrain to the race.

Is There Benefit To Going Faster?

You need to earn going faster.

To do so will require the following

  • At least 2 runs of 4 hours or more
  • Those runs must be completed at around 100km race pace
  • You need to feel comfortable in these runs
  • There is no big slow down towards the end

Going faster is best reserved for the peak phase of training. There are a few ways to approach this:

  • Start at usual pace then gradually and continuously increase the speed over the last 30-60min of run.
  • Start at usual pace then towards the end add 3-4 intervals of 10-20 minutes about 1 minute per kilometre faster than race pace. Take 10 minutes back at usual pace between intervals.
  • Negative split the long run with first half at usual pace and second half 15-20 seconds per kilometre faster.

These options look easier on paper. The pacing discipline required is hard.

Do you have the discipline to get the most from your long run?

When You Have A System That Works: Mess With It

When you have a system that’s working why not mess with it?


One day hard followed by two days easy has been working well for me lately. In fact it seems to be the gold standard for progressing my running. This training block I’ve decided to mess with that. I’m not sure if it’s impatience, the drive to get more out of myself, or simply a bad tendency to fit in more. Is it a mistake, or will it raise my fitness to the next level?


The Format That Works


  1. Easy
  2. Easy
  3. VO2max Intervals
  4. Easy
  5. Easy
  6. Long Run
  7. Easy
  8. Easy
  9. Hill Repeats

New Format


  1. Easy
  2. Easy
  3. Anaerobic Threshold (Continuous) 10km
  4. Anaerobic Tolerance: 12 x 300-100m, 1min recovery
  5. Easy
  6. Long Run
  7. Easy
  8. Easy
  9. Anaerobic Threshold Intervals 4-6 x 2000m / 1000m float


In the new format, day 3 is not crazy hard. It would be better to think of this run as a medium effort. The continuous threshold run is still a solid effort. I’m hoping it doesn’t suck anything out of my legs for the following day. I often feel a bit quicker the day after some faster running, as long as it doesn’t leave my legs wasted. It may give me a little extra kick for the tolerance intervals.


The 300m tolerance intervals are meant to be at about 1500m race pace. That’s a speed I haven’t run at for a long time. That will leave me sore the next day.


Now I’ve I’ve added a little extra faster running and taken away an easy day. All before my long run. This is the day of truth. When training for ultra marathons you need to nail the long run. If this wrecks my long run it isn’t worth doing. On the other hand, if I can also hit my targets in the long run then I expect some big benefits.


First Time Through


The easy days were exactly as they should be…. easy.


The first key was the 10km at just under my anaerobic threshold. All on feel over an undulating course. The intensity felt right. I felt quite fast during the run. However, once I downloaded the data, turns out I was a lot slower than I felt or expected.


That dampened how good I was feeling about the run. Still I shouldn’t complain. It was only one aspect that wasn’t up to what I expected. I’ll be curious to see how the repeat of this run goes next week.


Anaerobic Tolerance


Next day I hit the athletics track. The goal was to run 12 x 300m at 1500m race pace with 1 rest in between. I got through 7 of them right on target. How good does it feel to run fast?


Repeat number 8 was where the concept of anaerobic tolerance explained itself. It hurt and it was slow. More important to keep the speed up here. The remaining 4 repeats were dropped down to 200m. I was just able to hold onto 1500m race pace in these.


Next day I was sore.


But the day after that… still sore.


Long Run


Hmm, not so sure how the long run will go. I’ll give a go anyway. So out I went. At first I wondered how the 40km would unfold. Luckily I see found myself caught up in the act of running. I allowed myself to relax and resist holding back. My running felt good. Even easier than my last few long runs. I definitely had sore spots, but they weren’t a problem.


This feeling good got me to 36km faster than I have been in so long. The drop off over the final 4km was quite brutal. I still finished 5 minutes quicker than last week’s 40km. This became the first run I’ve done that gives me confidence I can hit my race goals this year. Better than the doubts I’ve taken out of most key runs.


Maybe it was a good to take my training and mess with it.


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Sometimes there’s a mismatch between how you feel, what you expect and the outcome. 🤯 This morning’s #run was 10km at just under anaerobic threshold. All on feel over an undulating course. The intensity felt right. I felt quite fast during the run. However, once I downloaded the data, turns out I was a lot slower than I felt or expected. 🐌 That dampened how good I was feeling about the run. Still I shouldn’t complain. It was only one aspect that wasn’t up to what I expected. 🏃🏼 ______________________________ #anaerobic #threshold #temporun #at #10km #runningalive #expectations #runbeforework #melbournerunners #keeptraining #buildthehouse #anaerobicthreshold #morningrun #runnerclick #running_highlight #runnerscommunity #runnerschat #pursuitwithpurpose

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How do structure your training?



Training Balance: Going Fast and Far

I can shuffle out some long distances. The pace won’t get me anywhere near my goals. This brings me to the classic dilemma of most runners:

How do you balance going fast with going far?


Going Fast


My first attempt at 3 x 1000m repeats was a struggle. There wasn’t snap in my stride that I look for at the faster paces. It had been a long time since I really tried to run this fast. The running felt forced. I managed to just get within the pace range I was aiming for. It was the start I should expect.


The next week I wanted to add an extra repeat. As if 1000m repeats at between 3-5km race pace aren’t hard enough, the heat was on this day. 35 degrees Celsius was the highlight of the day. I thought I could handle it by taking the recoveries extra easy.


I couldn’t handle it.


The heat and intensity was overwhelming. All energy seemed to suck out of my body. I was disappointed. Deep down I knew it was a big ask. I struggled through 3 repeats. Each one slower than the previous. The 4th just wasn’t going to happen. To salvage some ego and get a better training stimulus I took a good rest in the shade, poured plenty of water over myself and ran a few angry 200m efforts.

In the 3rd week I felt redeemed. Not being able to finish 4 repeats last time,  why not try for 5?


Five it was. All on target. It is a good feeling being able to do more. Improvement in running is never a straight line.


Going Far


That’s only one part of the going faster challenge. Pushing up my VO2max pace is needed, but it certainly isn’t enough to reach my goals. I need to be able to run long. After all, that is basic concept of ultra marathons. The problem is I’ve given myself the goal of running ultra marathons on the fast side. This is where I am struggling.


What pace should the long run be?


Search the internet and you can find plenty of different guides and formulae to tell you how fast to run the long run. Unfortunately they are often gross generalisations or don’t take your fitness and goals into account. Is there an exact answer?


For myself there isn’t. I see the long run as an ever evolving tool to use. There are many different ways to approach it. It isn’t always just about time on your feet. I can do time on feet at very slow paces for ages. That may work for some goals, but it certainly won’t get me down to 4:27/km or faster for an ultra marathon.


Super slow is also very different to fast running. Slow running takes out the glutes and hamstrings a lot. That leaves those muscles under trained for when you try to race long at faster speeds. The solution appears to be simple. Run faster on the long runs. I wish it was that easy.


Training Balance


How much faster? How far? What’s the cost versus benefit?


To find a starting I point I plugged in some numbers through a variety of resources. Taking in some race times, looking through my Strava history and plugging the numbers into some pace predictors. Shooting back at me was the suggestion my long run pace should be about 5:30/km. It didn’t sound unreasonable. Let’s see if I can hold it for 30km.


Turns out I couldn’t. Not even close. I finished with my tail between my legs at under 27km


Trying for a slower 30km the next week worked a bit better.  I fell right off the pace beyond 27km. A lesson my faster long run pace was a lot slower than I wanted.


This wasn’t working for getting the length of the long run up. Third time around my approach was to focus more on kilometres rather than pace. In fact I ignored my pace. I made sure my stride felt like running and was removed from the slow, ultra marathon shuffle. As an added bonus I go to follow the coast line along the George Bass Coastal Trail for this run. Some slightly tougher terrain than my recent runs, but an awesome location to run. It helped get me through.



The balance point is moving in the right direction. I am getting a little faster. Just small gains over the weeks should add up to some substantial improvement. The difficulty will be in handling sustaining the speeds I want over long distances. When I first set the goal of running further than a marathon at the Wings For Life World Run, I knew it was going to be very challenging. I didn’t appreciate how far away I was when I set the goal.

Let’s see if I can reach it.


Training Balance going far and fast