Ultra:5k Training – The Basics

Ultra:5k Training - Getting started

How do you train for five 5k races across 5 hours?

As with everything, it all depends!

What is your background, your recent training? How much training can you do? Is this going to be your ‘A’ race? How many races do you have this year? Do you have a time or pace target in mind? Have you taken part in the Ultra:5k before? Or maybe another endurance race? What factors may affect your ability to train?

Over the next three months I will be recording all of my training, explaining why I am doing what I am doing so that you can apply the principles within your own training context.

If you still feel overwhelmed and a bit lost then get in touch and I will help you create a plan that works for you. For free. 

Ultra:5k training basics

What is the Ultra:5k?

The Ultra:5k is an individual and team event where you run either 3 or 5 x 5k on the hour, every hour, for 3 or 5 hours. Not as simple as it may, at first, sound!

It is a wonderful event, and it is to my very great regret that I had holiday clashes that meant I missed the first two years. I have taken part every year since 2019 and hope to continue that streak.

For full information go to Ultra5k.co.uk

and if you like what you see, get back in touch with me for your exclusive discount code!

How to train for the Ultra:5k

What are the basics of Ultra:5k training?

The overall plan is not dissimilar to a half- marathon plan. The main changes are the longer runs are longer, and often runs are split so you run twice a day, very occasionally the runs will replicate Ultra:5k conditions of running every hour.


Depending on your (recent) training history your longest runs will be either be around 21km (choosing a half-marathon as a training race), or upwards of 30km. Your legs will then be better able to cope with the duration of the entire race. 


Your overall pace will, if you get it right, be slightly faster than your normal half marathon pace. Possibly even 10k pace. If it is close to your 5k pace then either your normal 5k is way slower than it could be, or something will almost certainly go wrong

Split Runs

As you will be resting in between each of your runs on the day it makes sense to replicate this throughout the training. Running on fatigued legs is harder than you might think. The trick is to fit it around your lifestyle. This could be an easy 3k before work, then a longer 8k in the evening, or perhaps run to parkrun, aiming to get there well before 9am so you have a break before running again. You might even have a coffee and a snack, then run home. That way your long run is covered too. 


Almost important as the running will be your ability to recover quickly and efficiently so you are ready for the next race. This will include what you eat and drink, how you will cool down, and how you will bring your heart rate down. 

My Training Diary

You will, perhaps, notice that My week starts with the weekend.


Bear with me…

For longer races the most important run is the long run. Yet a traditional Monday-Sunday plan will put that run last, at the end of the week. When life inevitably gets in the way it is those, most important, runs that have to give. By starting on a Saturday you give yourself the opportunity to ensure you complete those longest runs even when life has gotten in the way. It removes the complexity of trying to decide which runs to do, and which to skip.

  • Sat – parkrun, including a one mile best effort.
  • Sun – easy run = 8km. 5 x 800m at race pace
  • Mon – gym.
  • Tue – 10km. run 1 – easy 2km. run 2 – 8km with 5 x 800m at race pace.
  • Wed – gym
  • Thu – hill repeats. Maximal sprint efforts with a weighted vest
  • Friday – rest (maybe gym, but it’s my Dad’s 80th, so a super busy day)
There are not many rest days. I find that I perform best when I keep moving. 
Many workouts will be very easy. 

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