Ultra marathon Training Block 4

Welcome to the business end of training. Time to move beyond just getting fit, to getting race ready.

The four weeks of Block 3 went really well. Not every run was I hoped, but I had plenty of great runs. Better yet, I hit a new level of volume and consistency. I don’t aim for a target weekly mileage. Instead I focus on the individual runs and how they fit amongst the days before and after. The totals are a byproduct of that. I’m happy to say I covered at least 100km in each of those 4 weeks.



Following the Training Plan Overview the focus is:

  1. Emergency Services Games
  2. Increase Wings For Life race pace


Emergency Services Games


This has become an annual event for me. It is a collection of events to compete for the Victorian emergency services, police, fire, ambulance and the other services that make up trying to keep be people safe and well. It is a great to time to mix it up with work colleagues and not talk about work.


Instead we compete. The range of abilities varies a beginner in any chosen to sport all the way up to elite at times. I absolutely love it. Some friendly rivalry has developed over the years.


The first 2 weekends of this training block I’ll be racing. In the first week I’ll back off the volume. Let the legs absorb the previous 4 weeks of training. It won’t be a taper. Just part of the normal training cycle. Hopefully that eliminates the tightness and niggles starting to sneak in.


Between the 10km cross country and half marathon I throw in a long run. Likely 30km early in the week. The remainder will be dependant on how I pull up from the cross country.


Increase Wings For Life Race Pace


Racing over 10km and 21.1km in the first 2 weeks will contribute to this goal. In the last 2 weeks of this 4 week block I’ll get more specific.


I’ll extend the long run back out to 40km and try to hold the faster pace with a focus on trying to lift over the final kilometres.


The fast runs will now be targeting my race pace. These will be interval sessions, but quite different to the VO2max and anaerobic threshold intervals I performed over previous blocks. Time to move beyond just the feel and general intent of the run. It’s time to target specific paces over similar terrain to the race. This session becomes intense.


Intense Race Pace Intervals


On paper it looks easier than it is.

  • Warm up as usual.
  • Pick a speed 3% faster than race pace for the fast interval.
  • Pick a speed 3% slower than race pace for the slower interval.
  • Perform 8-10 repeats of 1km fast, with 1km slow.
  • On the last repeat end with the fast 1km and eliminate the slow.
  • Cool down as usual.

If targeting 4:25/km, a run with 8 repeats would look like this:

  • Warm up for about 20min.
  • 7 repeats of: 1km @ 4:17 / 1km @ 4:33.
  • On the 8th time, only run 1km @ 4:17.
  • Cool down for about 20min.

That would give a total of about 22km for the session with 15km at around race pace.


This session aims to develop the efficiency and feel for race pace. Importantly it will develop a better combination of fat and carbohydrate use. Running faster will stop that effect.


A Week In Block 4


  1. Long 40km
  2. Easy (40-60min)
  3. Easy (70-90min)
  4. Intense Race Pace Intervals
  5. Easy (70-90min)
  6. Intense Race Pace Intervals
  7. Easy (70-90min)


What’s your training plan at the moment?