TRAINING PROGRAMME FOR THE OLD MUTUAL TWO OCEANS ULTRA MARATHON
By Dave Spence
n the Old Mutual Two oceans 56 km marathon programme the long run is the key ingredient. These runs are essential because they allow your body to adapt to the stresses of running the race distance. The actual covering of the distance is not the problem – most runners who can run 10 km in under 60 minutes should be able to walk/run a distance of 50 km – but it is a question of how much stress your body can take.
If you start off with a long run that is only moderately challenging and you gradually increase the time of the run, your body will adapt to running for longer and longer periods, while still being able to recover sufficiently for the next hard workout. The majority of marathon and ultra-marathon programmes measure long runs in distance covered. I prefer to specify the amount of time spent running. The body doesn’t know how far it’s running, but it understands effort for a given time.
The reason I don’t like running a known distance is because it encourages you to race a workout, either against your own standard or someone else. Nothing is more destructive than racing a long run. The pace to run is plus minutes 1 ½ minutes slower than your time trial race. You may check that occasionally. Resist the temptation to go faster. The main value of the long run in the Two Oceans training programme is to train your body to be more efficient at burning fat and sparing glycogen stores.
If you can teach your body to burn fat, rather than deplete glycogen stores to produce energy, you’re less likely to run out of fuel. But the faster you go on your long runs, the less likely it is that your body will learn to burn fat efficiently and the more likely it is that you will hit “the wall” come race day.
While it seems logical that your fast training should translate into fast races, it’s not true. Trust me on this one. Finally, by staying within the suggested pace for your long run, it will allow you adequate recovery for strength and speed sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays. One other important consideration is to make sure water is available every 15-30 minutes. Also now is the time to experiment with your energy drinks so your body gets used to the product you will use on race day. You’ll need to drink at every aid station on race day to maximise performance.
Commence program 22 weeks before The Old Mutual Two oceans Marathon
Week |
Mon |
Tues |
Wed |
Thurs |
Fri |
Sat |
Sun |
1 |
R |
5 k E |
8 k E |
T.T |
R |
RP or RC |
60 min |
2 |
R |
5 k E |
8 k E |
T.T |
R |
RP or RC |
80 min |
3 |
R |
5 k E |
10 k E |
T.T |
R |
RP or RC |
100 min |
4 |
R |
5 k E |
10 k E |
T.T |
R |
RP or RC |
60 min |
5 |
R |
H x 4 |
10 k E |
T.T |
R |
RP or RC |
115 min |
6 |
R |
H x 5 |
10 k E |
T.T |
R |
RP or RC |
2 Hrs |
7 |
R |
H x 6 |
10 k E |
T.T |
R |
RP or RC |
60 mins |
8 |
R |
H x 6 |
M10 – 12k |
T.T |
10 k E |
RP or RC |
2 Hrs |
9 |
R |
H x 8 |
M12 – 15 |
T.T |
10 E |
RP or RC |
2½ Hrs |
10 |
R |
H x 10 |
M12 – 15 |
T.T |
10 E |
RP or RC |
3 Hrs |
11 |
R |
10 E |
M12 – 15 |
T.T |
10 E |
RP or RC |
60 min |
12 |
R |
H x 12 |
M12 – 15 |
T.T |
10 E |
RP or RC |
3-3h30 m |
13 |
R |
H x 14 |
M12 – 15 |
T.T |
10 E |
RP or RC |
4 Hrs |
14 |
R |
H x 15 |
M12 – 15 |
T.T |
5 E |
RP or RC |
4-5 Hrs |
15 |
R |
10 E |
M12 – 15 |
T.T |
10 E |
RP or RC |
60 min |
16 |
R |
F x 8 |
M12 – 15 |
T.T |
10 E |
RP or RC |
4-5 Hrs |
17 |
R |
F x 10 |
M12 – 15 |
T.T |
R |
RP or RC |
2 Hrs |
18 |
R |
10 E |
M12 – 15 |
T.T |
10 E |
RP or RC |
4-5 Hrs |
19 |
R |
F x 12 |
M12 – 15 |
T.T |
10 E |
RP or RC |
3 Hrs |
20 |
R |
F x 15 |
M12 |
T.T |
10 E |
RP or RC |
2 ½ Hrs |
21 |
R |
F x 15 |
M10 |
T.T |
10 E |
RC |
1 ½ Hrs |
22 |
R |
Jog 20 mins |
Run 20-40 mins |
Jog 20 mins |
Jog 20 mins |
Race |
3-6 Beers |
TRAINING LEGEND
R |
= |
REST on Monday – you may walk and stretch |
H |
= |
HILLS – do a 4 km. Warm up then stretch. Try and find a hill + 300m long with 1:10 gradient. To establish your pace run the hill as hard as you can and then add 14 secs. To the time taken. This will give you your hill repeat time. Jog down recovery and 4 km. Warm down, e.g. H x 10 hill repeats |
M |
= |
MEDIUM RUN – run at anticipated race page + (15 sec.) per km |
T.T |
= |
TIME TRIAL – Always run 5-8 km. Time trial on Thursday. You go hard but never flat out. Use this to see your improvement from training. Always 2 km warm up and 2 km warm down. |
E |
= |
EASTY – Very easy jog pace |
RP or RC |
= |
Saturdays always 8-10 km at anticipated Race Pace or do Improvement Races. Races should never be too much faster than anticipated Race Pace. Every 3 weeks you can have an all-out race (no further than 21.1 km) |
LONG RUN |
= |
Sundays you always run to time, your pace should be + 1 ½ min per km slower than time trial pace. Check this occasionally. Try to do these runs over undulating courses to simulate Two Oceans Race. |
F |
= |
FARTLEK – 2 km warm up, stretch then 2 min hard at a pace faster than T.T. pace then 2 min jog. Do the number suggested. |