I have seen dozens of athletes fail to improve because they are relying on an N of 1 to guide them. Ultrarunning coaches routinely regurgitate their personal training for their athletes. And runners who coach themselves tend to insert too much of their own bias into the process. Others ask their peers what they have done, relying on small likelihood that the N of 1 will also work for them.
Mistake 2: Too Much Focus on Volume
Ultramarathons are long, sometimes taking a day or even two to complete. Athletes often look at the prospect of locomoting for hours on end and feel overwhelmed, thinking, “If I’m going to be out there forever, I better run and hike in training as much as possible.” They make the classic sacrifice of substituting more volume in place of intensity. They train low and slow, and they do it all the time. While this type of training does produce limited benefits for the ultramarathon athlete, it carries significant risk, and the point of diminishing returns is reached quickly. Quite simply, you run more miles but don’t get enough out of them.