The Different Types of Run Training Sessions

Each week will be made up of a number of different types of running training sessions, each with a different outcome and all orientated around your goal event or race.


A large proportion of runs will be these types of sessions. The aim is to run at a very low Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) with the view to build up increased volume and distance.

You should be able to easily chat and be breathing easily.


The long run is the staple of any ultra training plan. Dependent on the goal or A race, the long run will vary from between 2 to 6 hours. Ideally conducted on similar terrain and conditions to race day. The long run is also a good opportunity to test out your kit and nutritional strategy.

Your RPE will be low…but don’t worry. This is science at work! You should be able to easily chat and be breathing easily throughout the session.

Intervals or Speed Work

Sometimes called repetitions. Alternating between fast running and a recovery period. As you progress the durations of the intervals will increase and the recovery may reduce.

The focus here is on the intensity of the fast interval and will have a very high RPE, designed to build speed reserve and improve pacing.


A large number of trail, mountain or ultra races occur on hilly or mountainous terrain. Conditioning the legs to both climbing and descending is key to a successful race. Hill repeats will build the strength required for the climbs come race day. Hill training will incorporate both running and hiking for practice.

Running hill repeats will have varied RPE, hiking hill repeats will focus on technique.


Tempo runs are used to practice running at your desired race day pace. Used to develop strength and endurance and improve your running economy.

Your breathing will be laboured and manageable whilst holding your pace for the duration of the session.

Race Specific

Race specific sessions will be used to test the terrain and conditions you will encounter on race day. This could include stairs, hills, fast finishes, and depleted runs (running with tired legs).

What could a typical training week look like?

Whilst every week will be different and based on your progress and your target race or event. Below is a potential week, in the race specific phase for a 100km Ultra. Don't get scared by some of the durations and sessions, you will be surprised how you will build up to, and beyond this example.

Week X

Race Specific Phase


Easy Run - 60 mins

Easy run, pace it so you can hold a conversation. Recovery from Saturday's long run.


Intervals - 60 mins

Warm up 10 mins

5 x 30 secs effort, 30 secs recovery

6 x 600M, 200M recovery

3 mins rest

6 x 600M, 200M recovery

Cool down to 60 mins.


Easy Run - 60 mins

As Monday


Stairs session (race specific)

Warm up 10 mins

4 x 5 mins stairs, 1 min recovery

3 mins rest

4 x 2 mins stairs 1 min recovery, increased RPE

Cool down to 60 mins

With weighted pack.


Easy Run - 60 mins

As Monday


Long Run - 4 hours

Long run, easy pace, focus on mental strategies and nutrition. Run with mandatory equipment for race.


Easy Run - 90 mins

Easy run, pace it so you can hold a conversation. Back up from long run on Saturday, getting used to running on tired legs.