no (really) long runs required for ultra? | 80/20 Endurance

no (really) long runs required for ultra?

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    i searched for a plan to run 100 miles and fond also this page and bought the level 3 100 miles plan. After skimming over it i was a little bit shocked over the “shortness” of the long runs… The longest run i 5 hours and there are no back to back runs with a higher amount of distance…

    I actually trained with the “the more the merrier” method and so it is for me somehow unimaginable that it can be working….

    Is here anybody who ran 100 miles with this plan?
    If yes: How did you feel during the competition? How long did it take?

    And more general: How can i run in an competition for 20 hours if i did’t trained it?


    Matt Fitzgerald

    Hi Alex,

    The Level 3 plan does contain back-to-back long runs. The individual long runs max out at 5 hours because there is no training effect beyond 5 hours, give or take. A run is only “training” if it stimulates a beneficial adaptive response in the body. Just because you’re on your feet longer than 5 hours doesn’t mean you’re getting anything out of it.

    Here’s an article that more fully explains why long runs over 5 hours are a waste of time:

    At What Point Do Long Runs Transition from Training to Punishment?


    Hi Matt,

    i found 2 2hour runs and 2 2.5hour runs in a row. Is this the back to back run you mentioned?
    I don’t know Rob Krar – maybe he is the solitary exception? There are other runners here they ran 100 miles with this plan?

    In your link is a paragraph where you wrote: “if you want to be at your best both physically and psychologically for a 100-miler, consider doing a 50-miler eight to twelve weeks before it.” I would planning 7 to 10 hours for the 50 miles, but this much more than the 5 hours in the plan…

    For me sounds the plan simply to too good to be true… So convinced me with reports about your success…


    David Warden

    The 100 Mile Level 3 plan has two 5 hour runs, multiple 4+ hour runs, and a back-to-back 3-hour in addition to the back-to-back 2.5-hour run.

    I hope that someone on the Forums will reply to your request. In the meantime, here are 20 testimonials and reviews of the 80/20 Ultra plans:

    – The 80/20 100-mile Level 3 plan has a perfect 5-start review with 4 users reporting.
    – We also have 5 of the top 10 highest reviewed Ultra plans on TrainingPeaks, the lowest 80/20 Ultra plan is rated 4.75 with an additional 12 users reviewing those plans.
    – Please also see our 4 direct testimonials on the Ultra plans at specifically Ben Wyld, Richard Sudworth, Ashish Gupta, and Tim Siegenbeek van Heukelom. The first 3 of these listed were so pleased with the results that they agreed to be the subject of our detailed athlete spotlight in our newsletter.

    Allow me to reverse the challenge: can you find another Ultra running plan author that can provide 20 positive Ultra plan reviews?

    I understand your request to have confirmed reports about the plans effectiveness. This is the most confirmation and testimonials we can provide at this time.



    Good afternoon,

    I stumbled across this post the other day; and with my 24 hour trail race last weekend I thought I would wait until after it to post.

    For context I have followed the 100 mile level 2 plan exclusively training for this event. My target for the 24 hour race was 100 miles (my longest run previous was 37 miles).

    The training plan set me up fantastic for the race. I never in training felt over-stretched and always had the energy to complete the sessions, be it in intervals or the long runs. I believe the plan really managed the intensity as to prevent the onset of injuries during the training cycle. Happy to answer any questions on how the training worked for me if you have more.

    The result – I hit 100 miles in 22hrs 14mins and placed 5th overall. I am extremely happy with my result and the training plan played into this result heavily (alongside a good race nutrition plan).

    Thanks you Matt, David and the team in helping me achieve my goal!

    David Warden


    Thanks so much for sharing your experience. It can really difficult to accept that you don’t need to run crazy long runs to run 100 miles. Your testimonial of a long run of 37 miles helps support that. Congratulations on your top 5 finish!


    Matt Fitzgerald

    Congratulations, James! We are proud to have played a supporting role in your accomplishment.


    I started the 80/20 100-mile Level 3 plan at the end of February.

    I’d tried a few weeks of the 10K plan from the book in Jan/Feb as my first experience of 80/20, to see what the runs were like.

    My event was the UK’s Lakeland 100 at the end of July. It’s a 105 mile loop of the English Lake District with about 21000ft of ascent & descent. Historically about 50% of starters drop-out ie. 50% finish; (though this year it was more like 35:65)

    In training I did the marathon distance once and 4 or 5 other runs of 21-25 miles.

    I did one race of 32 miles, 7 weeks before the event.

    This year I knocked 6 hours off my 2019 time, completed after following a different ultra plan.

    The 80/20 plan was much more achievable and overall my success in carrying out each was much better with 80/20 than with the alternative plan.

    It was much easier to stay motivated to train with 80/20 and therefore I had a lot more total mileage in my legs come race day.


    I should add that I did the Z1 & Z2 runs on heart rate and the Z3-5 on pace.

    So, because the plan specifies time not distance eg. 4 hours @ Z2, and most of my long runs were done on terrain similar to the race, I was therefore very slow, which is why the distances covered were relatively short.

    Also, I didn’t race the race so when I finished I felt quite comfortable and that I could easily have carried on.

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