Running further and further

Just like ToF you’ll need to gradually increase the distance you’re covering each week by approx. 10% The magical 10% is suggested as it’s enough of a bump to challenge you, but not too much to overwhelm or cause injury!

Let’s say you start with a weekly total of 20 miles, the next week this will be a total of 22 miles, then 24.2 and so on, and right up until you hit your target distance total.

How you divide this is entirely up to you and also depends on what your ultimate goal is.



Here's an example:

I plan to run the Ochil Ultra in September, which is 50 miles in one day. As I have been injured and off my feet for a few months I’ll be starting out slow with a total distance of 5 miles to start. Adding 10% to this every week until I get up to around the 40-mile mark. This is ON TOP OF cross-training and usual activities like dog walking.

As I have limited time and not a predictable schedule, I’ll need to do lots of planning to see whether I can do 5 miles in 1 go (week 1) or 2 runs of 2.5. Ideally my schedule would allow a log run of 5 miles at the weekend, with cross-training Tuesday, tempo/interval training Thursday and possibly a zone 2 training run Monday.

This is fine for a running programme, but once you start to get over the half marathon mark, the time you’ll need to allow might start to overtake your life and prevent you from enjoying the weekends with your family and friends!

It’s not very practical to say ‘right I’m going to up my long runs every week until I hit the 45=0-mile mark’ as you’re NEVER going to do that. SO how do you actually prepare for an endurance distance run?


Firstly - use other races!

As part of my training I plan to do 1 half marathon, 1 full marathon and 1 (smaller) ultra of 37 miles these are evenly spaced in the run up to the Ochil Ultra so should help prepare me and gives me milestones to hit the relevant total distances I need in my training plan.

Secondly – do back to back training runs

How will it feel to run when you don’t want to, or your body is about to give up? You cannot prepare for this without doing it. And yet, unless you DNF you’ll need to break through this with a high distance run. Accept you’re going to hurt. And back to back training runs is a way to get close to this.

Do a long run one evening, then another one first thing the following morning. An example could be to do 10 miles Friday evening and 10 miles first thing Saturday morning. Record how it felt, make notes on what you ate and when to help you to understand how your body ad fuelling works for you.

Zone 2 training

THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING! You must encourage your muscles to develop thicker muscle fibres. And the only way to do this is by going slow. If you have a way to measure heart rate on the go (like a Fitbit or Garmin type tracker) then set it to tell you when you’re between 60% and 70% of your heart rate.

You can work this out by figuring out your heart rate max (you’ll need your resting heart rate for the following calculation):

206.9 – (0.67xage) = Heart Rate Max (HRM)

Target heart rate = HRM – Resting Heart Rate (RHR) x desired heart rate (60%) + RHR

Do this for 60% and 70% to give you two figures!

Or you can visit:

But this will be a ‘quick and dirty method’ using 220 minus your age and possibly not taking into account your RHR.


What's it all about?

What is Zone 2 training all about?

This is a way of training your muscles to work longer and harder than they are used to. We use your heart rate to monitor how effective it is – as your blood pumps harder to get the blood going to your muscles. At first you may find that the pace feels ridiculously slow and that the tiniest little hill will shoot your heart rate up and cause you to drop to a walk.

THIS IS OK in fact it’s totally normal!

Do not panic! Enjoy the fact that you get to walk on a training run and soak up the scenery.

The more you do zone 2 training runs, the more your muscles will develop and allow you to go further. Your heart rate will adjust, it’ll go down in beats per minute, meaning your speed will no longer be at a snail’s pace whilst keeping your heart rate in the correct zone.

Think of it as building an endurance base or foundation for the distance you want your body to go. Zone 2 training comes highly recommended by Ultra runners such as Rich Roll (Badwater winner and author) – see my little graphic where the vertical axis is distance and the horizontal one is endurance. The more zone 2 training sessions you fit in the higher your distance can be.

It’s recommended that 60-75% of your training should be in zone 2. So, you should consider adding zone 2 training to the end/beginning of your tempo/interval runs. AND if you’re not fussed about times part of your long run as well!

This article explains the science behind it waaaay more than I ever could!

Hope this has cleared a few bits up about distance and endurance.