5 Ultra Marathon Workouts to challenge your mind: The Wicked Trail

The following 5 ultra marathon workouts are not for the faint of heart. They’re not for people who are new to fitness (although, scale accordingly and give them a try! Why not?). These workouts are designed for those who live unrealistic and have an uncommon desire to pursue challenge. Choose one and use it as a weekly dose of challenge; any strong training program will incorporate much more than these. Glute and hip isolation, ankle stability, and posterior chain strength, along with other facets of endurance training, cannot be neglected. There 5 ultra marathon workouts push your body and your mind. Train your mind to Go Further by pushing your body Farther.

Good luck…

Consult a doctor before beginning any ultra marathon exercise program. Wicked Trail Running is not responsible for injury, death, hurt feelings, or excessive laundry. We will take credit for your mental growth and physical progress.
Enjoy…

[Maybe check out “Comfort Is A Lie” before trying these workouts]

Ultra Marathon Workout #1: Trunks

Equipment: squat rack with barbell

Warmup

  • 60s high-knees in place
  • 30 slow, controlled body-weight squats
  • 60s high-knees in place
  • 20 cross-body leg swings each side

⚔ Ensure legs are warm and ready for high volume exercise. The high-knees should elevate your heart rate and get some sweat dripping. Strength and endurance come into play in Trunks. My first two ultra marathons saw my quads and glutes go down in flames; this is one of my remedies. Keep good form and don’t force reps late in the session. ⚔

@mountainteep on Instagram during one of his regular mountain runs. Click the picture to check out his adventures and training!

100 squats @95lbs-135lbs in as few sets as possible

Use good form and take your time. Which is harder: 100 miles running or 100 weighted squats? Probably whichever one you’re currently doing. Start with a weight you can outright do 30 reps with and build from there.

5 minute hand plank

This is the real kick in the teeth. Get off those elbows and up on your hands; your shoulders are feeling neglected You might not think you used your core on those squats and it’s not like you’ll use your legs on these planks, right? Incorrect. Start small and build to 5 minutes.

STRETCH

Please stretch after this. Not for us; we already waived liability (see above). Do it for you legs and whatever much-easier workout you have planned for tomorrow. Hit the quads and glutes hard here. We recommend at least 30 minutes.

@ultracrazyjill on Instagram posing along a gnarly trail. Click the picture to check out her ultrarunning adventures!

Ultra Marathon Workout #2: Washboard

Equipment: a good attitude

Warmup

  • 60s high-knees in place
  • 30 slow, controlled body-weight squats
  • 60s high-knees in place
  • 50 2-count trunk twists
  • 1 minute hand plank

⚔ Ensure legs are warm and your core is ready for high volume exercise. The high-knees should engage your lower abs and hip flexors, elevate your heart rate, and get some sweat dripping. Really feel the stretch in the trunk twists; don’t just go through the motions. The most torn up muscle for me following my first 100 mile race was my hip flexors. They haunted me from mile 70 onward. Strengthen them with Washboard, but also stretch them more than you think is necessary. Strength in endurance is undone by stiff and immobile muscles

Some Core to Get Those Abs Popping. Summer is only 0-12 months away. The trails are calling.

100 four-count flutter kicks [minimal rest between exercises]

90 lying leg levers (“hi-ya there hip flexors!”)

80 two-count mountain climbers

70 V-Ups

60 second side planks each side

50 pushups

40 four-count flutter kicks

30 lying leg levers

20 two-count lying windshield wipers

10 eight-count bodybuilders

STRETCH

Don’t skip the core stretch after this. The front of your torso needs stretched just like the legs, back, shoulder, and chest do. Focus on the hip flexors, abdominals, and quads. At least 30 minutes.

Ultra Marathon Workout #3: Secret Weapon

Equipment: running shoes (Altra Men’s Escalante Running Shoe from Amazon, anyone?) and a local hill of at least 400 meters

Warmup

  • Simple mobility to warm up ankles, hips, knees, and the surrounding muscle tissue
  • 2-4 miles at an easy jogging pace with short bursts of speed in the final 25% of the distance

⚔ Ensure legs are warm and you’ve developed a decent sweat. This Secret Weapon is a great way to finish a running session and prepare for the hills of a trail or mountain ultra marathon. Downhill running is a skill and ought to be practiced on fatigued legs; use the uphills to build endurance and persistence.

@toughtraining on Instagram exploring Australia after a Spartan Race. Click the picture to check out one of the toughest endurance training-centric profiles we know of!

Find a hill near you of at least 1/4 mile. If you cannot do this, refer to workout #1, Trunks

The distance of your hill does not matter. Adpat to the distance. Its YOUR Secret Weapon, use its entirety.

Summit hill at 85% effort. Return to bottom, letting yourself go. Develop a downhill rythm and let your quads absorb the impact.

Rest 2 minutes

Repeat 3X

100 four-count lunges, standing in place (400 total steps)

Rest 2 minutes

Summit hill at 85% effort. Return to bottom, letting yourself go. Develop a downhill rythm and let your quads absorb the impact.

Rest 2 minutes

Repeat 3X

STRETCH

Really take your time and work on your ankle and hip recovery, not forgetting to show the quads a lot of love, after this run. Pay attention to your body but recognize the difference between injury and extreme mental fatigue. We recommend at least one hour of stretching the lower body after this training session.

@gym_meets_trail on Instagram during the Kodiak 50K! Click the picture to check out his ultra marathon/fitness Instagram profile!

Ultra Marathon Workout #4: Super Murph

Equipment: pull-up bar and a great attitude

Warmup

  • Simple mobility to warm up ankles, hips, knees, and the surrounding muscle tissue
  • 2-4 miles at an easy jogging pace with short bursts of speed in the final 25% of the distance
  • 50 two-count trunk twists
  • 50 arm circles in each direction

⚔ Ensure legs and upper body are warm and you’ve developed a decent sweat. This is going to be something else…Super Murph simply requires grit. It is long, arduous, and multiple muscle groups are used throughout the session. The second one mile run is a good taste of ‘mile 80.’

Our take on the Murph:

For time:

1 mile run

100 4ct lunges

100 pull-ups

200 situps (US Navy Standard, no foot hold)

200 pushups

300 four-count flutter kicks

300 body-weight squats

1 mile run

STRETCH

Stretch a lot. More than that. Take your time and really focus on recovery here. This is a great way to ruin the rest of your week, so make sure you’re hydrating and fueling well. We recommend at least 1 hour of stretching after this Super Murph.

Ultra Marathon Workout #5: Trunks, The Sequel

Equipment: 25lbs weight

Warmup

  • 60s high-knees in place
  • 30 slow, controlled body-weight squats
  • 60s high-knees in place
  • 20 cross-body leg swings each side

⚔ Ensure legs are warm and ready for high volume exercise. The high-knees should elevate your heart rate and get some sweat dripping. One of my favorite exercises for building a strong core and legs is lunges. This takes lunges down the endurance route and throws in a heavy dose of hip flexor work. Another great option is simply 100 four-count lunges with no break. Build those tree trunks.

@mountainteep on Instagram demonstrating an improvised core workout while out mountain running. Click the picture to check out his adventures and training!

50 four-count lunges @25lbs

Stand in place. Keep your knees over your ankles and use strong, solid form. No weak knees or shifting around. Hold the weight at chest-level.

50 two-count Russian Twists @25lbs

Feet elevated, ankles uncrossed. Full torso twist with weight, barely tap the ground. Legs kick in opposite direction of weight-tap. Full range of motion here.

50 four-count lunges @25lbs

Stand in place. Keep your knees over your ankles and use strong, solid form. No weak knees or shifting around. Hold the weight at chest-level.

STRETCH

This is another great way to ruin the rest of your week, so make sure you’re hydrating and fueling well along with at least 1 hour of stretching after this session.

5 Ultra Marathon Workouts to challenge your mind: The Wicked Trail

The following 5 ultra marathon workouts are not for the faint of heart. They’re not for people who are new to fitness (although, scale accordingly and give them a try! Why not?). These workouts are designed for those who live unrealistic and have an uncommon desire to pursue challenge. Choose one and use it as a weekly dose of challenge; any strong training program will incorporate much more than these. Glute and hip isolation, ankle stability, and posterior chain strength, along with other facets of endurance training, cannot be neglected. There 5 ultra marathon workouts push your body and your mind. Train your mind to Go Further by pushing your body Farther.

Good luck…

Consult a doctor before beginning any ultra marathon exercise program. Wicked Trail Running is not responsible for injury, death, hurt feelings, or excessive laundry. We will take credit for your mental growth and physical progress.
Enjoy…

[Maybe check out “Comfort Is A Lie” before trying these workouts]

Ultra Marathon Workout #1: Trunks

Equipment: squat rack with barbell

Warmup

  • 60s high-knees in place
  • 30 slow, controlled body-weight squats
  • 60s high-knees in place
  • 20 cross-body leg swings each side

⚔ Ensure legs are warm and ready for high volume exercise. The high-knees should elevate your heart rate and get some sweat dripping. Strength and endurance come into play in Trunks. My first two ultra marathons saw my quads and glutes go down in flames; this is one of my remedies. Keep good form and don’t force reps late in the session. ⚔

@mountainteep on Instagram during one of his regular mountain runs. Click the picture to check out his adventures and training!

100 squats @95lbs-135lbs in as few sets as possible

Use good form and take your time. Which is harder: 100 miles running or 100 weighted squats? Probably whichever one you’re currently doing. Start with a weight you can outright do 30 reps with and build from there.

5 minute hand plank

This is the real kick in the teeth. Get off those elbows and up on your hands; your shoulders are feeling neglected You might not think you used your core on those squats and it’s not like you’ll use your legs on these planks, right? Incorrect. Start small and build to 5 minutes.

STRETCH

Please stretch after this. Not for us; we already waived liability (see above). Do it for you legs and whatever much-easier workout you have planned for tomorrow. Hit the quads and glutes hard here. We recommend at least 30 minutes.

Ultra Marathon Workout #2: Washboard

Equipment: a good attitude

Warmup

  • 60s high-knees in place
  • 30 slow, controlled body-weight squats
  • 60s high-knees in place
  • 50 2-count trunk twists
  • 1 minute hand plank

⚔ Ensure legs are warm and your core is ready for high volume exercise. The high-knees should engage your lower abs and hip flexors, elevate your heart rate, and get some sweat dripping. Really feel the stretch in the trunk twists; don’t just go through the motions. The most torn up muscle for me following my first 100 mile race was my hip flexors. They haunted me from mile 70 onward. Strengthen them with Washboard, but also stretch them more than you think is necessary. Strength in endurance is undone by stiff and immobile muscles

@ultracrazyjill on Instagram posing along a gnarly trail. Click the picture to check out her ultrarunning adventures!

Some Core to Get Those Abs Popping. Summer is only 0-12 months away. The trails are calling.

100 four-count flutter kicks [minimal rest between exercises]

90 lying leg levers (“hi-ya there hip flexors!”)

80 two-count mountain climbers

70 V-Ups

60 second side planks each side

50 pushups

40 four-count flutter kicks

30 lying leg levers

20 two-count lying windshield wipers

10 eight-count bodybuilders

STRETCH

Don’t skip the core stretch after this. The front of your torso needs stretched just like the legs, back, shoulder, and chest do. Focus on the hip flexors, abdominals, and quads. At least 30 minutes.

Ultra Marathon Workout #3: Secret Weapon

Equipment: running shoes (Altra Men’s Escalante Running Shoe from Amazon, anyone?) and a local hill of at least 400 meters

Warmup

  • Simple mobility to warm up ankles, hips, knees, and the surrounding muscle tissue
  • 2-4 miles at an easy jogging pace with short bursts of speed in the final 25% of the distance

⚔ Ensure legs are warm and you’ve developed a decent sweat. This Secret Weapon is a great way to finish a running session and prepare for the hills of a trail or mountain ultra marathon. Downhill running is a skill and ought to be practiced on fatigued legs; use the uphills to build endurance and persistence.

@toughtraining on Instagram exploring Australia after a Spartan Race. Click the picture to check out one of the toughest endurance training-centric profiles we know of!

Find a hill near you of at least 1/4 mile. If you cannot do this, refer to workout #1, Trunks

The distance of your hill does not matter. Adpat to the distance. Its YOUR Secret Weapon, use its entirety.

Summit hill at 85% effort. Return to bottom, letting yourself go. Develop a downhill rythm and let your quads absorb the impact.

Rest 2 minutes

Repeat 3X

100 four-count lunges, standing in place (400 total steps)

Rest 2 minutes

Summit hill at 85% effort. Return to bottom, letting yourself go. Develop a downhill rythm and let your quads absorb the impact.

Rest 2 minutes

Repeat 3X

STRETCH

Really take your time and work on your ankle and hip recovery, not forgetting to show the quads a lot of love, after this run. Pay attention to your body but recognize the difference between injury and extreme mental fatigue. We recommend at least one hour of stretching the lower body after this training session.

Ultra Marathon Workout #4: Super Murph

Equipment: pull-up bar and a great attitude

Warmup

  • Simple mobility to warm up ankles, hips, knees, and the surrounding muscle tissue
  • 2-4 miles at an easy jogging pace with short bursts of speed in the final 25% of the distance
  • 50 two-count trunk twists
  • 50 arm circles in each direction

⚔ Ensure legs and upper body are warm and you’ve developed a decent sweat. This is going to be something else…Super Murph simply requires grit. It is long, arduous, and multiple muscle groups are used throughout the session. The second one mile run is a good taste of ‘mile 80.’

@gym_meets_trail on Instagram during the Kodiak 50K! Click the picture to check out his ultra marathon/fitness Instagram profile!

Our take on the Murph:

For time:

1 mile run

100 4ct lunges

100 pull-ups

200 situps (US Navy Standard, no foot hold)

200 pushups

300 four-count flutter kicks

300 body-weight squats

1 mile run

STRETCH

Stretch a lot. More than that. Take your time and really focus on recovery here. This is a great way to ruin the rest of your week, so make sure you’re hydrating and fueling well. We recommend at least 1 hour of stretching after this Super Murph.

Ultra Marathon Workout #5: Trunks, The Sequel

Equipment: 25lbs weight

Warmup

  • 60s high-knees in place
  • 30 slow, controlled body-weight squats
  • 60s high-knees in place
  • 20 cross-body leg swings each side

⚔ Ensure legs are warm and ready for high volume exercise. The high-knees should elevate your heart rate and get some sweat dripping. One of my favorite exercises for building a strong core and legs is lunges. This takes lunges down the endurance route and throws in a heavy dose of hip flexor work. Another great option is simply 100 four-count lunges with no break. Build those tree trunks.

@mountainteep on Instagram demonstrating an improvised core workout while out mountain running. Click the picture to check out his adventures and training!

50 four-count lunges @25lbs

Stand in place. Keep your knees over your ankles and use strong, solid form. No weak knees or shifting around. Hold the weight at chest-level.

50 two-count Russian Twists @25lbs

Feet elevated, ankles uncrossed. Full torso twist with weight, barely tap the ground. Legs kick in opposite direction of weight-tap. Full range of motion here.

50 four-count lunges @25lbs

Stand in place. Keep your knees over your ankles and use strong, solid form. No weak knees or shifting around. Hold the weight at chest-level.

STRETCH

This is another great way to ruin the rest of your week, so make sure you’re hydrating and fueling well along with at least 1 hour of stretching after this session.

Give these ultra marathon workouts a try. Tweak them, scale them, make them harder; it’s your Wicked Trail. They will test your training and your resolve, like a micro-ultra marathon. A little taste of the discomfort that lies ahead. 

Don’t be afraid of long, arduous workouts that don’t require your running shoes. Keep the trails and pavement primary, but acknowledge, with your training, the importance and strength and the fundamental idea of discomfort.

If you’re content with your training, start dosing challenge with workouts like these.

It’s all in your head.

Now go get after it.

Book of the Month:

Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds is a dive into the demons that plagued David Goggins -elite ultra endurance athlete and Navy SEAL- through his early life and an exploration of what it took for him to become a master of his own mind against all statistical odds. His tools for mental stimulation and growth are useful for anyone interested in venturing into endurance sports, becoming a better person, and mastering his or her mind. A must read!

Light 2 Light 50 Race Report: First Ultra Marathon Victory

Ultra marathon running isn't about winning, unless it is. Ultra marathon running is subjective; a person's journey through the darkness, down the Wicked Trail, is driven by his or her own passions, fears, and desires. This journey into pain is driven by his or her own...

Ultra Marathon Training: Crush Expectations

Most people running their first, or second, or third ultra marathon carry expectations into the race. They had training expectations; they planned the miles and hours they'd have to train, running and strengthening and stretching their way to ultra endurance. When...

Fasted Running Is Your Best Friend: 3 Reasons To Try It

For thirteen miles, I felt invincible. For the final three, I wasn't sure I'd finish. I felt like I did near the end of my first 100 mile race, although with much less lower body-body pain. It was an ultra marathon replication. I smiled during those long, arduous...

The Best Ultra Marathons: Is Yours On The List?

"What's the best ultra marathon?" Is it the most remote or adventurous like Marathon des Sables, the most challenging like Badwater or the H.U.R.T 100, or is it simply your first 100 miler, the one that breaks you into the world of ultra-endurance? Is it the race that...

Ultra Marathon DNF: Yes, You Failed. Yes, It’s Okay.

I was perusing some online ultramarathon running groups last weekend and came across a post about DNFs in ultrarunning. DNF stands for "Did Not Finish;" the participants name is not published and no belt buckle is awarded. The DNF is dreaded by many as hot-spots and...

UltraMarathon Pain Management: The Pain Cave

What is your perspective on ultramarathon running? Adventurous and exhilarating? Calming and therapeutic? Full of pain and suffering? Pain management has much to do with your perspective on running an ultramarathon. What is your perspective? Why do you run an...

share this post

Book of the Month:

Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds is a dive into the demons that plagued David Goggins -elite ultra endurance athlete and Navy SEAL- through his early life and an exploration of what it took for him to become a master of his own mind against all statistical odds. His tools for mental stimulation and growth are useful for anyone interested in venturing into endurance sports, becoming a better person, and mastering his or her mind. A must read!

Light 2 Light 50 Race Report: First Ultra Marathon Victory

Ultra marathon running isn't about winning, unless it is. Ultra marathon running is subjective; a person's journey through the darkness, down the Wicked Trail, is driven by his or her own passions, fears, and desires. This journey into pain is driven by his or her own...

Ultra Marathon Training: Crush Expectations

Most people running their first, or second, or third ultra marathon carry expectations into the race. They had training expectations; they planned the miles and hours they'd have to train, running and strengthening and stretching their way to ultra endurance. When...

Fasted Running Is Your Best Friend: 3 Reasons To Try It

For thirteen miles, I felt invincible. For the final three, I wasn't sure I'd finish. I felt like I did near the end of my first 100 mile race, although with much less lower body-body pain. It was an ultra marathon replication. I smiled during those long, arduous...

The Best Ultra Marathons: Is Yours On The List?

"What's the best ultra marathon?" Is it the most remote or adventurous like Marathon des Sables, the most challenging like Badwater or the H.U.R.T 100, or is it simply your first 100 miler, the one that breaks you into the world of ultra-endurance? Is it the race that...

Ultra Marathon DNF: Yes, You Failed. Yes, It’s Okay.

I was perusing some online ultramarathon running groups last weekend and came across a post about DNFs in ultrarunning. DNF stands for "Did Not Finish;" the participants name is not published and no belt buckle is awarded. The DNF is dreaded by many as hot-spots and...

UltraMarathon Pain Management: The Pain Cave

What is your perspective on ultramarathon running? Adventurous and exhilarating? Calming and therapeutic? Full of pain and suffering? Pain management has much to do with your perspective on running an ultramarathon. What is your perspective? Why do you run an...

share this post

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