100 Mile Plan Endurance Run Pacing

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    I am currently on the Level 1 100 Mile plan with Pace targets. The Endurance runs are now over 2:30.

    There seems to be no guidance for how to adjust pace for these longer runs. The pace is still, for example, Zone 1 – 5 min. Zone 2 – 4:55. But the instructions also say to hike as needed. Naturally, due to exertion over time, if I run 8 min pace my HR will climb zones (I’m on a pace plan but just pointing that out) while the zone in the training plan doesn’t change.

    Could someone clarify the intended pacing? Should I be trying to run an 8 minute pace for 5 hours straight? Or should I hike? How do I incorporate fuel breaks? Do I keep the time running?


    Leyla Porteous

    So the assumption for those longer runs is that you will be running them over varied terrain and therefore will need to walk/hike sections in order to keep your effort in zone, and take nutrition breaks etc.

    Using a pace plan is great, but when it comes to those longer runs its important to use a combination of RPE (relative perceived effort) and average pace (relative to terrain) in order to keep the effort in Zone 2. This is why we often recommend athletes shift to training with power (with a
    Stryd pod) to account for the variations found from training with HR and Pace.

    You can decide if you want to pause your watch for nutrition breaks, but you should keep an eye on your total time training vs moving time. Total time is relevant to your nutrition and hydration plan, moving time is relevant to how long you actually spent training at the prescribed effort.


    I greatly appreciate your response but, sorry, I still don’t really know what to do with my pace. I’m not running on varied terrain. I also don’t have an “effort zone”. Just pace. I feel like you’re saying my pace will need to change. But according to the plan my pace for the 5 hour run should be the same as the pace for my 2 hour run.

    I felt like the plan was fantastic until this point. The Endurance runs don’t seem to adjust the pace based on the time. Running a half marathon in 1:30 does mean that for shorter runs my zone 2 (talk test) is around 8min/mi but that doesn’t mean I can or should run 5 hours at that pace.

    There are Zone X and Zone Y already. I think there needs to be a blend between Zone 1 and 2 for these longer runs.

    David Warden


    I’m answering this question based on your comment that your particular race/training environment will not have varied terrain.

    – Hiking comment does not apply to you in this case, no varied terrain
    – Don’t target an 8-minute mile for 5 hours, I believe the world record for 100 miles is right on about 8 minutes per mile
    – For your long training runs, here is the precise instruction: target the fastest pace you can maintain for the entire run (whether 2.5 or 5 hours) and still be able to recover in time for the next long run. For a 2.5 hour run, that’s probably low Zone 2 with no walking. For a 5-hour run, that’s probably mid-zone 1 with some walking.

    On race day, it’s the same strategy: target the fastest pace you can maintain for 100 miles. You’re probably thinking, “how the heck do I know that!” My reply is, “how the heck do we know that?” It’s going to be a different pace for every athlete based on experience, terrain, genetics, ability to recover, temperature, altitude, ability to go without sleep… Too many variables. The more Ultra events you do, the more you’ll know the right pace based on race-day conditions.

    For a typical athlete, selecting the slowest run they can maintain and walking every 10-30 minutes for a few minutes is the best race-day strategy. The trick is to go slow enough that you feel fantastic still at mile 50.

    Our plans will absolutely get you to the start line with enough fitness for a 100-mile event. The race strategy execution is up to you and will vary.

    You also may be thinking, “why would I not practice running my 100-mile pace in my long runs?” Our experience is that your 5-hour pace and 100-mile pace are going to be very, very close. Think of it as airspeed: a plane has a minimum velocity and you can’t go any slower to stay airborne. With 100-mile running, you can’t go much faster whether it’s 5 hours or 25 hours.



    This is exceptional advice. Thank you greatly for your help. It will be valuable through the remainder of this training plan and plans to come.

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