Training Essentials for Ultrarunning with Coach Jason Koop

With distances that can push your mind and body to places you have never experienced, ultrarunning has its own set of rules for success. This week’s podcast has one of the foremost ultrarunning coaches out there – Jason Koop – to help you navigate your ultra training.

Even by “regular” runner standards, ultrarunners can seem extreme in the distances they push their minds and bodies to travel. But ultrarunning has seen an explosion of interest in recent years, and more and more runners are challenging themselves with races that are 50k, 50 miles, or even 100 miles and beyond. 

Given that many ultra distance races are held on trails that involve challenging terrain and elevation changes, preparation requires a different approach than simply extending your marathon training. Course specificity becomes an essential element, along with learning how to manage issues such as muscle soreness and gastrointestinal distress.

If you are new to the ultra world, know that preparing for a race requires a unique approach to training, an open mind and a sense of humor!  

This week’s guest on the podcast is a top ultrarunning coach and has written one of the most comprehensive manuals on ultra training that exists: Jason Koop. Jason has run some of the toughest ultras out there, including:

  • Badwater 135
  • Hardrock 100
  • Leadville Trail 100
  • Western States Endurance Run
  • Currently preparing for the Cocodona 250

As the Head Coach for Carmichael Training Systems Ultrarunning, Jason has managed over 100 coaches himself, and has been coaching for more than 20 years.

Jason just published the second edition of Training Essentials for Ultrarunning, an incredibly detailed and thorough book on preparing for ultras. At over 500 pages in length and with more than 400 scientific citations, it is unsurpassed in its breadth and its depth.

Coach Jason Koop on Ultrarunning Essentials

Perhaps one of the most unique challenges that ultrarunners face is the time on your feet required on race day. This means that there are often more unknowns than knowns as the races get longer. As Jason explains, training that has served runners well at shorter distances may actually backfire for ultras. Deprogramming is necessary to help reset your mental expectations for the ultra distance.

Jason and I dig into many of the most common training questions from both new and experienced ultrarunners. He shares his knowledge and detailed, science-based explanations on many aspects of ultra training, including:

  • Why there is no set distance for your longest long run, and why it is more important to create a dress rehearsal for race day
  • Common failure points in ultrarunning and how to address them
  • Why fitness is always your best preparation for a race, no matter how mountainous
  • Addressing the elements of the unknown in longer races, especially in races of 100k and beyond
  • Why staying in the moment may sound cliche, but it’s one of the best thing ultrarunners can learn how to do
  • The benefit of back to back long runs (hint: it’s not just about running on tired legs)

Jason is a wealth of knowledge on all things ultra, and this is a podcast you won’t want to miss!

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Thank You InsideTracker!


This episode is brought to you by InsideTracker, one of the most reputable blood testing companies in the world. They were founded in 2009 by aging, genetics, and biometrics scientists to help you analyze your body’s data and get a firm idea of how well you’re responding to training.

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