domingo, abril 2, 2023

Dash-Based mostly, Hill, and Predictor Exercises for Ultramarathon Coaching – iRunFar


The fourth and final class of exercises — we’ve already coated endurance-, stamina-, and speed-based exercises in previous articles of this column — is sprint-based coaching. These exercises improve the physique’s capability to run very quick when the muscle tissues are inundated with lactic acid and enhance working financial system by creating the coordination between the muscle tissues and the nervous system.

Zach Miller Sprint - 2022 UTMB

Zach Miller sprinting to the end on the 2022 UTMB. Photograph: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Dash-Based mostly Exercises

The Exercises

Lactic acid tolerance periods carry out your internal sprinter by instructing your physique to recruit extra muscle fibers and turn out to be accustomed to that burning sensation within the muscle tissues throughout all-out working. These quick intervals final between 30 seconds and a minute and are run at an effort you may maintain for 2 to 6 minutes. The restoration between repeats is comparatively lengthy — roughly two to 5 instances the size of the onerous working.

Neuromuscular strides are a lot shorter than lactic acid tolerance intervals. Lasting between 10 and 30 seconds, they educate us fast leg turnover with out constructing lactic acid within the muscle tissues. Recuperate absolutely after every stride. The tempo is quick however not all out. In reality, it’s best to really feel no leg burning or be out of breath. The only real objective is to give attention to correct working kind. Begin on delicate, even, and flat terrain, and after a number of profitable weeks, start so as to add mild rolling hills to enhance your uphill and downhill working kind and leg turnover.


Lactic acid-clearing exercises will not be essential for the ultrarunner. It’s uncommon that we’re in conditions the place we should lean on the tape. Nonetheless, neuromuscular coaching is essential to environment friendly working. A stride exercise of six to eight strides of 15 to twenty seconds every a few times every week proper after your straightforward or restoration runs will remind your physique of what correct kind ought to really feel like with no hydration pack, water bottle, or waist pack throwing you off kilter. Strides will really feel refreshing and recharge the legs a day or two after a future.

Geoff Burns and Nao Kazami sprint finish - 2018 IAU 100k World Championships

The USA’s Geoff Burns beating Japan’s Nao Kazami to the road in a dash end whereas Italy’s Giorgio Calcaterra additionally approaches. These three males took fifth, sixth, and seventh on the 2018 IAU 100k World Championships. Photograph: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Uphill Exercises

Whether or not your race course is flat or mountainous, hill exercises are paramount. Hill work is among the greatest all-around exercises. The center and lungs are challenged, leg muscle tissues are strengthened, turnover is improved, and, relying on the size of the hill, the power to tolerate lactic acid accumulation and stamina is developed. If executed correctly, these low-impact exercises will go away you huffing and puffing, however your possibilities of harm are comparatively low.

The Exercises

1. Brief Hill Repeats

To enhance your VO2 max, discover a hill with a slope (6% to fifteen%) that takes 30 to 90 seconds to ascend. Run up at an effort equal to your 5-kilometer race tempo for 60- to 90-second hills or barely sooner for 30- to 45-second repeats. Deal with good kind with highly effective pushoff and robust arm swing. Slowly jog down the hill to get better. Begin with 4 to six repeats and construct as much as 12 to 14 reps.

2. Lengthy Hill Repeats

Discover a hill with a medium slope (6% to 10%) that takes 90 seconds to 3 minutes to ascend. Run up at an effort equal to your 10k to half-marathon race tempo. Once more, give attention to good kind with highly effective pushoff and robust arm swing. Slowly jog down the hill to get better. Begin with 3 to 4 repeats and construct as much as 10 to 12 reps. This exercise will enhance lactate threshold.

3. Lengthy Rolling Hill Run

Throughout a protracted, hilly run, strategy every incline as a problem. Whatever the measurement, surge at 5k to marathon race effort to the highest. Recuperate on the following downhill and flat terrain. Regulate your tempo and energy relying on the size and slope of every climb. This exercise won’t solely enhance your stamina however will even increase your confidence as your lengthy runs develop in size.

4. Mountain Climbs

Discover a path or highway that ascends for a number of miles and ideally positive factors between 300 to 1,000 ft per mile. Full a complete of half-hour to 2 hours of uphill working and onerous mountaineering, steadily rising your depth as you strategy the highest of the climb. If no native paths match this description, duplicate the climb on a treadmill or run repeats on a shorter hill. Trekking poles can be utilized throughout this exercise.

5. Circuit Exercise

That is an energizing mixture of quick hill repeats and neuromuscular strides. Run onerous up the hill, jog for 30 to 45 seconds, run a 20- to 30-second stride on flat terrain, after which jog again right down to the underside of the hill to start the circuit once more. Optimally, it’s best to find yourself with 4 to six hills and 4 to six strides.


I counsel repeating these hill exercises a number of instances per season and monitoring your health development. Discover when you’re touring farther and sooner on the identical slope you began with earlier than. As a result of we don’t all have entry to optimum coaching grounds, we should work with what we’ve acquired. Bridge overpasses, parking garages, athletic fields, and treadmills will all do the trick if essential.

running uphill at sunrise in Colorado

Maggie Guterl making fast work of a hill in Durango, Colorado. Photograph: iRunFar/Eszter Horanyi

Downhill Exercises

To the unprepared runner, lengthy, steep descents can finish the bid for a race end or make it very troublesome to be cell afterward. Programming frequent downhill working periods into your coaching schedule will put together your quads for the beating they’ll tackle race day.

The Exercises

1. Brief Downhill Repeats

Discover a hill with a medium slope (6% to 10%) that takes 1 to 2 minutes to descend. It’s best to begin on softer surfaces, comparable to clean path, grass, or grime highway. Steer clear of rocky, technical trails for this exercise. Just like the uphill repeats, begin with 4 to six and work as much as 12 to 14 downhill repeats. Jog slowly or stroll again to the highest for restoration. It’s also possible to combine this kind of exercise right into a future.

2. Lengthy Downhill Descents

Lengthy downhill descents ought to final wherever from 1 / 4 mile to six miles. The extra sustained downhill there may be, the higher. The target is to make your legs uncomfortable in coaching to reduce race-day soreness. Schedule a protracted downhill session at the least as soon as each 10 to 14 days throughout peak coaching. Muscle reminiscence for this sort of work fades after roughly 2 to three weeks.


In case you’re new to downhill working, begin regularly with a number of quick downhill repeat exercises. Coaching your downhill muscle tissues too aggressively or racing with out correct preparation will prohibit you from having the ability to practice comfortably for weeks and should trigger harm.

Diederick Calkoen - Ring of Steall - 2018

Diederick Calkoen racing downhill on the Ring of Steall in 2018. Photograph: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Ultramarathon Predictor Exercises

One of many marathon’s hottest predictors of efficiency is the Yasso 800s Exercise. Full this exercise as described, and also you’ll have an concept of what you may obtain on race day. Predicting ultramarathon finishes are extra sophisticated because of every occasion’s explicit distance, terrain, climate, and the ups and downs you’ll really feel over such a protracted race. Nonetheless, working a costume rehearsal can present perception into how race day may unfold.


Carry out your costume rehearsal 4 to six weeks earlier than your objective race. Cowl roughly 30 to 60% of your course’s distance. Mimic as many race variables as doable, together with terrain, the tools and diet you’ll use, and race day pacing. Ideally, full this coaching run on the occasion’s course. Based mostly on the way you fare, extrapolate wise race-day objectives, rectify any tools in addition to dietary or pacing errors, and check them once more in the course of the remaining lengthy runs within the coaching cycle.

Name for Feedback

  • What sprint-based exercises do you embrace in your coaching? Do you do strides? How about temporary, all-out pushes?
  • How about hill exercises? What varieties of hill exercises are the best and hardest for you?
  • Depart a remark to share when you do costume rehearsals on your races, be it throughout a coaching race or an everyday run by yourself.


  • McMillan, Greg. “Working Physiology and the 4 Coaching Zones.” McMillan Working Grownup Camp. SpringHill Suites, Flagstaff, AZ. 11 Could 2012. Lecture.
  • McMillan, Greg. McMillan Working Firm’s On-line Teaching Common Coaching Data Packet. Flagstaff, AZ: McMillan Working Firm. Print.
  • Torrence, Ian. “Mastering Hills, Half II: Descents.” Working Instances Journal. Working Instances Journal. 16 July 2012.
  • Torrence, Ian. “Mastering Hills, Half I: Climbs.” Working Instances Journal. Working Instances Journal. 16 July 2012.


Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles