Training Schedule - Relentless Forward Progress

Hi, I am looking at training for a crack at a couple of Ultra's next year. Hopefully the Glasgow-Edinburgh Double Marathon and Lochalsh Dirty30. As with everything, the more places you look, the more information/advice you find. I have been reading Relentless Forward Progress and am considering using the training schedule detailed for 24 week, 50 mile a week training for 40mile -100km. Can anyone advise me if this is a reasonable training plan or suggest one that is perhaps considered better? I am training for the Inverness Baxters marathon in September so after a few weeks recovery I plan starting. An ultra schedule. I'm not concerned about speed next year, rather just to build up to the distance and gain some experience. Thanks Sanders


  • Alex I haven't seen the programme you mean but the author of the book is Bryon Powell of the irunfar website, very knowledgeable guy indeed. The key with any programme is that it fits in with your life, if you're not likely to follow it it simply won't work.
  • Yeah, it's the Bryon Powell book. The plan, is pretty similar to my marathon schedule which I have found works in well with my life. I hadn't looked at it that way before. Thanks for that.
  • In which case go for it, some find programmes suit their personality and there's a lot to be said for knowing what you need to do every day, a decent structure. Personally I tend to try to cover between 60 and 80 miles per week and how I get there's is down to how I feel on the day, if I'm feeling good I might mix in some hills/speed but if I'm to feeling great ill head for home.

    When you up your mileage listen to your ody, don't be afraid to in a run if you're just not in shape for it no matter what the schedule says
  • DazDaz ✭✭✭

    I felt it was a little light in training volume, a get-me-round programme if you like.  The taper seemed particularly light - you could follow it and do a little xtrainer (light turbo/bikes and swims between sessions).  Final 10 days can be followed anyway.

    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  • I'll also be doing hillwalking in addition to the running. Do you feel more miles are needed or will cross training provide the same benefits? Cheers
  • I sort of semi followed this.   What do you recommend then Daz

  • DazDaz ✭✭✭

    Yes hill-walking would be a good idea - some decent hills and/or weighted will work the upper leg muscles.  If like you me you dont have local hills then incorporate weighted lunges and squats into the core/balance/resistance work.  That was another thing the book missed out I believe (been a few months since I've read it) - gym programming.  But don't get me wrong, I thought it was really informative, enjoyed reading it and picking up tips.

    For volume/mileage just look at Mon-Fri.  Mon and Fri rest days and Tue-Thu generally around 4-7miles in length.  I personally don't think that is enough.  As an ultra runner it takes a couple of miles to warm the legs up.  With a short WD of say 800m-1M you've not got a lot left for (in the books case) tempo or interval sessions.

    IMO I'd have a longer Tue and Thu.  Perhaps make one of them a double run day of 2 x 7-10miles.  One done AM after light breakfast and the other before dinner so you have plenty of rest between but can run the 2nd session on slightly fatugued legs, but with better form.  You also get to fuel up and get some electrolytes on board should it be a warm day.

    Wed a light run (as stated in the book for distance which seems to be around 4-5miles) or do some xtrainer - long swim or 30-60mins spin.  I'd also do some gym work on maybe Mon or Fri and Wed.

    For the weekend you could do the long run at a light pace on Sat (or even the hike) and a longer but shorter run on Sun.  The mileage in the book is ok for this, although Id have a 25/10 or light 25/15 weekend off an easier week..

    If you look at last 3 weeks taper, do you really think the mileage on those days is enough for a 40-60mile run race?  Like I said if get-me-around or solid result then fine, especially if you've trained hard up to that point.  But if you want optimal then perhaps a few more miles.

    Just my opinion..



    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  • Daz, thanks for that. Your comments are something I'll definately need to have a good think about. The extra volume during the week is definitely something I'll take on board. Thanks again.

  • DazDaz ✭✭✭

    If you think about it these training programmes are very much templated and 'safe' to cover age/sex/shapes and size!  If you want to optimise then you have to adapt based on your own criteria.

    Compare these templates to a book like Advanced Marathon Running - for a similar weekly volume they have you running a lot more....for a shorter distance race.

    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  • Thanks for that Daz.   Much appreciated.   The book helped me get around Northants and will for NDW but the midweek milage I did think was low,


    So you think?

    Tues     2 X 8 miles am and pm

    Weds    6 miles easy

    Thurs    12 miles inc 8@tempo?


  • loulabellloulabell ✭✭✭

    i think relentless is a good book and one to refer back to but agree with Daz in that  the mon/fri off and  2 mid weeks of 4-7 is not much..the weekend runs are the only decent doesnt give you a lot of total. i would say that is the minimum for an avergae marathon schedule -not an ultra. i guess they are covering the base runs required for the 'get round' scenario and its the individuals choice to adapt it depening on your ability and level of running. im reading it for second time, its pretty informative and i like it.image

  • DazDaz ✭✭✭


    That would be a tough week (one to build to perhaps).  You have to intercahnge weeks, eg do the 2 x 8-10miles (double-day) one week and the 12miles with 8mile tempo on another.  You have slightly easier sessions around them.  

    The double run day is great - I used these in Ironman training and placed them on a Wed or Thu.  I'd run to and from work at low-mid tempo.  A good 3hrs for that day - which if done at the weekend would have tired me out.  But because you do them about 8+ hrs apart you get time to recharge glycogen, rest the muscles/cardio and get back to decent form in the second run.  Then at weekend was the long bike. 

    In the case of ultra training you could do similar ie a 2 x 8-10mile double run day at low-mid tempo on Wed.  Easy(er) session Thu, rest Fri and then you're good to go for a long run (run/walk?) on Sat and another faster run on Sun.

    Mix it up.  As loulabell says you can get away with 1 rest day a week.  If leg muscles are getting stiff and sore then introduce some light turbo/bike sessions or swims to break it up eg on a Wed sandwiched between 2 runs.  And on Mon Id say do a light run/bike/swim and a solid gym session working on form, with lots of core, balance and light weights (weighted squats, lunges, etc).

    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  • When you say low tempo is that steady state running?

  • loulabellloulabell ✭✭✭

    spen read between the lines and Daz is saying you can have a bacon sandwich...oh , sorry, i read it wrongimage.

    i used biking in between on odd days when  i was supposed to run  on mara shedule but had aches from new distances run.  was better than missing a run altogether so i didnt feel like i was losing fitness gained.

    am having really rubbish time getting training in for this  next event-i want to cryimage


  • I have to say, I do disagree slightly with Daz - not on his idea of good training, he's way in advance of anywhere i'll ever be - but more on what's physically possible if you're a working mum for example, or have a full time job, other interests etc...

    Don't get me wrong, I know the more you put in, the more you will achieve...but I also know that if I try to run more than 4 or 5 times a week I start to get injured - because I haven't been running for that long.

    I think it's a case of knowing what suits, and what you can make fit into your life - the best schedule in the world is the one you can stick to...and the one that suits your body, and where you are in your running.

    Daz is way in advance of me, so he can run high mileages, two sessions per day etc. I know that if I tried that I'd be knackered within a week...

    As you become more experienced, then your body builds up to being able to take on more, and achieve more. I can run further, longer and faster now than I could a year ago for example - and hopefully next year i'll be able to do a lot more... I have dreams of long ultras Lakeland 100 extra - whether I make them next year I don't know...

  • DazDaz ✭✭✭

    Agree, you need to tailor based on own circumstaces.  But I feel though that RFP templates are a little light in terms of mileage for someone attempting a 50mile trail ultra.  They really needed to provide a choice for the get-around athlete, 'developer' and advanced for starters, with a coder for those with restrictions, age, sex etc.  Makes it but more comlicated but hey. 

    Funny you should say that.  I was training more in a 9-5 office job (civil service) than I am now as a coach/FT athlete!  I am around 11.5hrs/week right now which isnt a lot considering 4hrs is on core/balance/weights, swim and bike.

    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  • Hi Daz


    Glad you saw where I was coming from - far be it from me to argue with your background LOL! I think Relentless is aimed at the beginner market - the people entering the ultra world from a lower spec. I also have "A Step Beyond" which is a lot more involved, and therefore aimed at those wanting to progress further.

    My first year of doing ultras has been a bit of a mess, life getting in the way of training mostly, but i'm hoping that winter training, with a good training partner pushing me to improve, will mean that I can take it more seriously next year. I still won't be looking to do anything other than get round - but i'd like to get round more comfortably, and on longer events...

    Interesting that you're training less now - don't you find though that your coaching role also assists with your training? Or is it a case of overseeing rather than working alongside? Also, how are you finding your results, and also your body status (injuries etc) now you're training for a lesser time? Is it that you've now tailored your training more accurately as you've learnt more for example?

  • A traning partner..... Now that would help/

  • DazDaz ✭✭✭

    Can you get your GF/wife to join you rocker? image

    My coaching is online and all triathletes.  However, I do occasionally meet for the odd session (those near to me).  I train at there spec pacing so not part of my plan.  Although always good to get a little time in.

    It's a bit difficult to compare.  I left work end March 2008.  I was up to a good standard in ironman (8:58 PB) and held that into 2011 where I had a heart problem (overused!).  I was already moving into Ultra running then anyway.  Been running Ultra since end 2010 - 7 races to date.

    So of course my weekly training will drop and hr or two as cycling and swimming doesn't take as much out of you as running.  BUT I've never been a big trainer anyway.  For my sub9 IM training I was on 14hrs/week average, whereas I'd here of my peers doing 20-30rs/week.  And as you say, I think the courses in PT and coaching has meant I can get a bit for quality in my training.....alrthough I always feel (now) very flat and its either racing ultra or recovering from it.  I don't really feel like I have a spring in my step anymore.....if you know what I mean(?)




    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  • Daz - just became singleimage LOL, and I know you're now going "oh bugger" but it's cool, my decision!

    I have got a training partner in mind anyway, I run with a local club, but they're not in the least ultra orientated, they don't even like leaving the road mostly! I need long runs, in the countryside...

    Do you think the lacking spring is down to concentrating on ultras - hence a slower pace? Just a thought?

  • DazDaz ✭✭✭

    Its old age lol!  Actually I've got achilles tendonitis on the left (since 2007).  But its a case of always recovering for races before the next comes along and the increase running.  I could get leg work in on the bike before but thats not spec to my racing now so its more of a filler/xtraining.

    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
Sign In or Register to comment.