Mountain-Ultra Training Plan 

by Coach Sandi Nypaver and Coach Sage Canaday

Plan Details

Distance: 50K to 50 miles

Goal: PR

Weekly Volume Max: 64-84 miles / 103-135km

Experience Level: Experienced

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About This Plan

Is This Plan for You?

This plan is for more experienced ultra runners who normally place in the top half of the results in ultras. This is an advanced mountain-ultra plan for “Sky Running” style races with big vertical gain and loss and lots of steep hills/mountains. If you really need/want to work on hill running it could also be used for races like Quad Rock or Mountain Masochist (moderate amount of vertical gain/loss with easier terrain). It tops out at 64-84 miles per week (103-135km/week). This will include challenging workouts to give you the best possible chance to reach your goals in mountain ultras from 50km to 50-miles (80km).

For this plan we suggest that you have already been running 45-62 miles per week (72-100km/week) for a couple of weeks and have previously peaked at at least 62-75 miles per week (100-120km/week) or more while training for past races. If you haven’t run a single week over 62 miles (100km) per week in your running career yet, we highly recommend that you take several months (or even a year) to build up your mileage base so you are consistently averaging at least 55 to 65 miles (about 100km) per week on a regular basis without any serious injury before starting this training program. It is also highly recommended that you’ve done some trail races and/or have run up and down mountains. 

What’s Included:

A 16-week calendar grid chart with everyday specifically detailed with a training workout. The plan progresses with periodized phases to build your fitness, speed and strength so that you peak for your goal race in 16 weeks time. For every hill workout there is a treadmill option.

 The Higher Running Training Plan Guide covers everything you need to know to train intelligently and race your best. We’re very thorough so all your questions will be answered. Topics covered include:

  • Pre-run warm-up (video and written workout)
  • Core strength workout (video and written workout)
  • Terms and types of workouts (heart rate, pace, and effort guidance)
  • Pacing
  • What to do if you get sick or injured
  • What to do if you want to add in a “training race” from 5ks to ultras
  • Elevation gain and loss formula, how to include hills and mountains in your training, and other mountain specific guidance
  • Cross-training
  • Race day planning with worksheet
  • How to make the training plan work for your personal schedule
  • How to get the most out of your training plan
  • Post-race advice

Also included is the Key Training Zone Intensity Chart that visually defines key workout efforts.

Mountain-Ultra Training Plan

Why our plans are different

This plan is derived from the theories and practices of the most legendary distance running coaches and exercise scientists from around the world: Arthur Lydiard, Jack Daniels, Renato Canova, and Peter Pfitzinger to name a few. Unlike other “cookie-cutter” training plans that just list mileage and a general pace, this Higher Running plan gives you essential specifics on how to do workouts at the right intensity for the most beneficial training stimuli. Furthermore, it does not follow a strict 7-day cycle (like most competitor’s plans), because at Higher Running we believe some workouts take longer to recover from and adapt to. Therefore sometimes recovery running days are extended and shortened appropriately to give you an ideal boost in fitness. Most other plans do not take this kind of periodization into consideration. Our Higher Running guideline gives you the information you need to make the plan more specific to your needs and the race you’re training for.

We realize that great coaching is both a science and an art – and we’ve used this philosophy (as well as knowledge gained from our own careers as runners) along with experience from coaching many others, to create a plan that emphasizes consistent, smart progression: A true Higher Running™ experience!

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