How does training for a 90km run look like?

We have to start by saying that on Saturday 10th of October, at approximately between 10am to 10:30am, Manuel and I where crossing the finish line of the Chicago marathon. Manuel was finishing his second marathon ever and I was qualifying to the Boston marathon 2017. Neither Manuel, nor me knew by then that in just two and a half months we where going to be out in the desert attempting to run 90 km, more than two times of what we had ran that day...

That being said, from July until the Chicago marathon we strictly followed a training designed for running a marathon at a fast and steady pace that would, in my case, help me qualify for the Boston marathon, and in Manuel`s case, help him achieve a personal record. And once we had finished the marathon, and not more than two weeks later, when the crazy idea of running 90km in the desert surged, we followed a structurally similar training with an increment in long distances over the weekends out in the woods and mountains at high altitude.

Juan Manuel García, a wonderful human and head coach of the Juanson Running crew, with more than 25 years of experience, was the man in charge of getting us fit for both, Chicago and then, the big expedition. More or less, the structure of his trainings look like this:



Warm-up: 2 km jogg & routine of 9 leg activation exercises.

Bootcamp: circuit of different legs, arms and core strength exercises.


Urban long run: from 16 km to 21 km at a steady pace ranging from 4:00 min x km to 4:35 min x km. City routs with uphills, downhills and flat.


Warm-up: 2 km jogg & routine of 9 leg activation exercises.

Speed & rythm intervals: From 4 to 8 2 km circuit laps, at a high intensity pace. Sometimes focusing on uphills.


Outdoors trail long run: from 18km to 32km at a steady fast pace. We usually got out to Nevado de Toluca, El Valle del Conejo, La Pila, Desierto de los Leones  & Iztaccihuatl.

Mondays, Fridays and Sundays:

Resting or other complementary activities like yoga, swimming, bicycle, climbing days.


With every passing week, the next one gets harder, faster and stronger up to one point, which is like 2 to 3 weeks before whatever challenge lays ahead.

The most fun trainings, the ones that best feed our spirit and energy,  and I would say the ones that help us out the most for ultra distances, are without question the outdoors trail long runs at high altitud. Like when we go to Nevado de Toluca which is at about 4000 mts above sea level. 

Never having ever ran 90km in our lives before, we where shocked once finished how strong we actually where. The recovery was fast. Like crack addicts, we where already fantasising about running more the next day, but never without the proper training which will naturally only get more demanding.

Post written by Mauricio Díaz Arellano

Photos by: Daniel Almazán Klinckwort

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