A week in the life of an ultra marathoner

I have had a few messages on Instagram (@martha_runs) about what my weekly training schedule looks like and what I eat now that I am training for an ultra marathon.

So, I thought I would share this week’s plan with you (total mileage: 56 miles):

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Morning gym gym 3 miles gym 8 miles 20 miles
Evening 6 miles REST 10k race 7 miles 6 miles

As you can probably see, the focus is on spending as much time on my feet as possible. My legs need to get used to running fatigued.  It is not about running fast and if I feel the need to walk, I will.

This is the part of my training plan where I will also start testing my kit and nutrition strategies.

What I wear

My outfit generally depends on the weather. If I am doing a short run, I’ll wear whatever comes out of the wardrobe first (i’m particularly attracted to bright and patterned leggings). If i’m going on a long run, I try to wear something light, dry wick and breathable. I made the mistake of wearing a black t-shirt with long leggings at the London Marathon and I suffered from heat stroke at mile 7. Silly girl. I should have worn a vest and capri’s. I read somewhere once that you should dress as though it is 5 degrees warmer than it is.

I am generally  bit of a hot mess when I run, and not in a good way. So I always wear a sweatband and put a packet of tissues in my Spibelt.

I struggle with shorts as, like many women, I have wobbly thighs that chafe after about 10k (let’s be real, we can’t all have the thigh gap). I am desperate to find a pair of attractive shorts that are *just* the right length for the Ultra. Not too long that they’re down to my knees, but not too short that they make my raw chicken thighs rub.  It’ll be mid July and, I expect, very warm. I’ll let you know if I find any!

I am a heavy overpronator so I can’t get away with minimalist shoes on long distances. I have five different pairs depending on the type of run. I wear my Supernova Boosts for long distances, Ultra Boosts or Ultra Boosts ST for mid distances, Glide Boosts for 5ks and 10ks and Energy Boosts for track or 5k races.  It is safe to say I am a bit of a shoe addict. Don’t look in my cupboard under the stairs. Or judge me.

What I eat

The day before a big run, I always make sure I am properly hydrated. I have always drank between 2-3 litres of water a day so I try to have an extra glass or two in the evening. I try not to eat big meals the night before a big run as I don’t find it settles very well on my stomach. Instead, I try to have my main meal at lunch time which will consist of pasta, rice or some other white carb dish. I try to limit fruit and veg and creamy sauces too.

Before my long runs, I tend to eat a bowl of porridge and half a banana. Sometimes I try to force down half a bagel with peanut butter instead of the banana. More recently, I have been trialling rice pudding due to the high carb content. I haven’t tried it enough to have an opinion on it so i’ll have to keep going and provide another update. It’s very gloopy and sweet though!

When I was marathon training I used a combination of Nakd bars, Shot Bloks and the Torq gels (pictured). Even though it’s harder to eat on the run, I do favour eating real food as it sits so much better on your stomach and you don’t feel like you’re completely full of artificial ingredients.  I’ll be trying malt loaf, homemade flapjack and other brands of energy bars (like Trek, Tribe, Kind etc) on my long runs so i’ll see how that goes.


When I finish a long run, the last thing I am thinking about is how to properly recover. Usually, I’m leaning over feeling dizzy or craving a big glass of something fizzy (which I never have because I don’t drink caffeine or fizzy drinks anymore).

What I *try* to do is this:

  • Eat or drink something high in protein within 15-20 mins
  • Do some static stretches (i’ll do a separate blog post on my dynamic warm up stretches -v- my static post run stretches)
  • Foam roller my quads, hamstrings, calves, hips, glutes, ITB and adductors
  • Have an epsom salt bath (and if it has been a really taxing run, I throw in a Lush Bath Bomb to celebrate)
  • Drinks lots of water
  • Once a month, have a sports massage (and try to convince other half to do it in between)

Everyone is different. All of these things just work for me.