Training for 24h Uphill race (2 man relay)

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  • #30851

    Hi guys,

    I’ve been following UA guides for my previous ultra races 50k – 80m with good success. I’m currently before my next event, 24 hours race up and down a mountain. Single loop is 12k long with 900m of elevation. Uphill parts are very steep, not runable. Downhill is steady and runable. This is winter race so mostly on hard pack snow and maybe some icy section.

    I did this race 3 times as individual racer. Next year, I’m signed up for 2 man relay. Which seems more intense but with time for recovery in comparison to individual race.

    My question is how should I approach or change my training for this specific event. Race should go like this: 1h of intense climb up, 30m downhill run, 90m rest (wait for 2nd guy to finish his loop) then repeat.


Posted In: Mountain Running

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    Anonymous on #30889


    These kinds of relays are more intense than doing the thing by yourself. If the race is 24 hours you might each race 8 times. That’s 8 times 90min of near max effort. I think you’ll need to include a good bit of uphill intensity and down hill fast running as well. I’d build a base for both the up and down with our ME progression as explained near the end of this article. Everyone who uses this say’s their legs are bullet proof.

    The main thing to keep in mind is that the relay with it’s rests will completely alter the character of this race from an Ultra event to 8 x 90min hard efforts. For this you need a big base but to race fast you need intensity. It needs more complex training than a normal ultra race.


    briguy on #30932

    I’ve done a fair amount of relays and while I have nothing to offer Scott’s always-awesome advice on training, I can suggest you figure out your nutrition for this event way in advance too.

    Nutrition for a relay is far more complicated than a regular ultra due to the intensities you’ll endure. Most people can tolerate more varieties of food when running at ultra-pace than they can at the 10K-to-Half-marathon effort they will be running in relays. And yet it’s crucial you keep your strength up nutrition-wise all the same. So my suggestion is to figure out what you can tolerate food-wise at intense paces…like your meals you use before your Z3-Z5 training sessions in training.

    You’ll also want to figure out how to get adequate rest/recovery in quick fashion too. 90 minutes isn’t much for sleeping but if you can get even 15-20min in naps that will help tremendously in how you feel.

    gtom on #30940

    Thank you guys for your thoughts.

    Nutrition and rest. The closest to 24 hours relay which I’ve done was an event in spring this year. Some 24h challenge, run 10k every 3 hours. I’ll take it as starting point for my race plan nutrition and adjust during race specific training days.

    Training wise, would you recommend following Mike Foote’s BIG VERT plan? I used it to prepare for several races in the past. Yet these were all ultra races not relays. Would you recommend some modification to this plan maybe?

    Thanks again for your time and advise!


    gtom on #37293

    Couple months later and my 2 man relay event is in the books. We finished on 6th place! (There was very stacked field as the event was also winter national sky-running championships).

    I tried to approach the training as best I could following UA training methods and Mike Foot’s BigVert plan. I was surprised that my lap times didn’t change that much over the course of the race. 90 minute laps and I was getting slower by 1 minute on each lap. I don’t know if that’s good pacing strategy or if I could dig deeper at the start and slow down more over time… anyway those couple minutes would not get us higher in the ranks. 🙂

    It was really fast race (just like Scott suggested) no slogging, completely different to ultra events I’ve done before. I think big base, high volume of low intensity was the key. I did 5 – 10% of high intensity sessions. I think bigger base also played a role in faster recovery from the race itself.

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