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Pace for 50-Miler

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Pace for 50-Miler

Post  Vivian on Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:52 pm

I am thinking about signing up for the JFK-50, my first ultra. At what pace should training runs be run when training for a 50-miler? Normally, when training for a marathon, I'll run long runs 10%-20% slower than MP (MP =8:20). Also, what kind of pace should I expect to run on the flat portion of the race? I know it's hard to predict as it's my first ultra, but I'd like a ballpark figure so I can gauge whether I'm running too fast or not. The AT portion, I'll run or walk as slowly as need be.
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Re: Pace for 50-Miler

Post  Chris M on Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:12 pm

Paging Dr. Schuey. Dr. Schuey, please pick up the white courtesy phone.
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Re: Pace for 50-Miler

Post  Schuey on Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:21 pm

Vivian first off let say cool deal that you are thinking about running JFK this coming fall! As you already from seeing me after the race it was by far one of the coolest things I have done!

As for JFK and I'm sure Kevin will chime in because he has run the course so many times but let me start by saying that it really is like no other race in the sense of how the course is laid out. Which if you like we could talk more over the phone and emails about if you like.

As for your question about running your long runs and at what pace I would say that the 10%-20% rule can work for some of those runs but there is no doubt that others you want to be looking to spend a lot of time on your feet not just running but also doing some walking. I think that the main goal is to find out what your rhythm/pace can be for 50 miles. One thing that I learn last year at JFK was that how efficient a lot of the runners were. That had a system of how and when they would speed up, slow down or walk and for how long and start to run again.

That is something that I will work more on this year as I get ready for JFK. Also another big lesson I learned is that you are not going to run a great time or feel good if you push it through the mountains! This was my biggest mistake last year, oh yeah I remember coming off the mountain and feeling great and say really that was not that bad! I'm now ready to tackle this 26 mile of pretty flat part of the course and then deal with the last 8 miles of rolling hills. Well it didn't workout that way about mile 30 I had realized how much energy and how thrashed my quads were from pushing it to hard in the mountains. LESSON LEARNED WON'T MAKE THAT MISTAKE AGAIN. Funny thing about that is that Kevin warned me about that but like a man running like a nut I didn't yield to his advice. Also remember that with in the first 5 miles you will gain something like 1700ft. elevation and it will not feel that until later. Also another thing to consider is that the "AT" is not some smooth easy trail to run on.

Can I just say that other then the sure beauty that you get to look at while on the "AT" (example the sun coming up) it is really really tough to run. It is pretty much all rocks and boulders and on top of it is all covered by leafs. Not only that the leafs are slick so footing can be very tricky at times and it takes a lot of focus. So again this will beat you up some and also once of the mountain (which I must add the switchbacks coming off are just crazy! But fun!!!) it becomes even more of a mental challenge to stay focus because of the easy trail that you now run for about a marathon.

So depending on how your run and handle the mountain, I believe this will decide on what pace you can run that long stretch of the flat part of the course. My plan was to hit high 7's to low 8's. I was hitting the 7's for awhile but then it slipped to a lot of mid 8's for a long time and then I had to cut that down to a 9:00 minute pace. Again this was due to few different factors 1. being my training 2. being naive 3. NOT RUNNING THE MOUNTAIN SMART!!!

I have a completely different approach that I'm taking for this race this coming fall! JFK is my goal race this year and my goal is to shave off the at least 45 minutes and break the 7hr mark. Which I think would be a great start in the right direction for my Ultra running career.

As for what time to expect it is tough to say. If I put the training in that I should have I truly believe that I could have down it last year around 7:10 to 7:20 because it is that tough and due to mistakes running that course the first time but also due to it being the first time to run 50 miles ( must add the JFK is actually 50.20 miles) yes the extra .20 makes a difference after a long day.

Also now knowing what I already know about JFK and running 50 miles I think the best idea is to not have a set goal time. Rather I think that you should base your day off how your training went and what you feel are capable of doing. If you really take the first 20 miles really conservative I see no reason why you could not push the 22 miles and then dig deep for the finally 8. Remember even though the trail along the river is flat you are still running on a dirty trail that will take up energy. I noticed a big difference in my pace once of the trail and back on the road for the last 8 miles. My pace dropped back down to the 8:xx range or maybe that was because I knew I only had 8 miles to go!! HaHa

Bottom line is that the course has a lot of challenges and depending on what you do from the start will decided what happens next. So I would say that if I had to do it over again I would be much much more conservative over the first half of the race and then check on how I felt and then start to hammer it.

How will you know if you are going the right pace, for the AT part you should feel more than easy, I mean more easy then when you start a marathon. It is a long day out there and you will find that not only will it be a challenge physically but even more so mentally. I ran through every emotion that one could go through on that course. The mental aspect was one of the biggest challenges during the day , when you hit a rough patch during JFK it is more like 2 to 5 miles and then you find yourself snapping out of it. For me I also found that my cardio was feeling really good and I wanted to go but my quads were starting really feel thrashed by mile 40.

Again I will be posting in my blog more about the things I felt I did wrong last year and what I need to work on this year and that should be able to help you with you pursuit in training for JFK. Plus Kevin will be a big help I know he is going for a big PR their this year also.

I can tell you this I will run the mountains smarter because you need to because that is were you can make or break your day. Other then that I plan on going for broke and being very aggressive once I'm off the mountain this year. I will try to fine tune myself for this race and distance and become one step closer to to finding the secret recipe.

Oh one more thing if you can entry some 50k races I think that would help also with having that course support and others to run with on those 30 mile runs.
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Re: Pace for 50-Miler

Post  wrichman on Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:30 pm

Vivian - you want to do longer training runs around the pace you'll be running the actual race. You'll also want to incorporate some running/walking on hills if possible. So running flats and walking up the hills, running down the hills. Do you have access to a hilly trail to do some long runs on?

Example of pace - I'm training for 2 marathons and the Ice Age 50 mile race. My longer long runs (training specific to the 50) are around 9 min. pace, while my planned marathon pace is 7:45-7:50. I don't worry too much about the pace - it's more about the time on your feet. 4 and 5 hr. runs. Ideally you'll want one long run that 2/3rds of your total planned race time. So if you plan on finishing in say, 10 hrs, then you'll want a training run of 6-7 hrs. Do you have a training plan for the 50? Also, if you do plan on JFK make sure you send in your application as soon as it's available (sometime in May - gotta check the website) They only accept mail-in apps. I'm planning on running JFK as well, and so are a bunch of my running friends. I have one friend who's run it the past 8 years - so I'll be getting so JFK specific advice from her.
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Re: Pace for 50-Miler

Post  Schuey on Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:41 pm

May 1st is the first day for anyone who meets these standards:

Standard A
men marathon: 3:45 50k 4:40 50 mile 9:30
women marathon: 4:15 50k 5:25 50 mile 10:30

Even though they have a B and C standard the race will close before then. Last year it was closed before the end of the week of Standard A. Plus with this year being the 50th running you will want to send in your app on May 1st. There is no online signup it is done old fashion and they won't post the application online until May 1st.

Also Kevin can shed more light on this but there could be a chance that this year may be the last time the race is run on the AT. Also I do believe that they are still trying to get the permit for this year for the field size.

http://www.jfk50mile.org/

http://www.jfk50mile.org/Registration/Default.aspx
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Re: Pace for 50-Miler

Post  Admin on Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:23 pm

I have not run farther than 50km, but if I were planning my first 50 mile run I would be telling myself this: There is no pace, only time and distance. I would train in segments that approximate the distance between aid stations and work on nutrition/hydration (that seems to be a big difference between marathons and 50 milers). If you don't learn to fuel properly, you can crash really hard... and from what I have been told if you don't practice it you won't want to eat on race day, and that is a HUGE mistake!

I think it's incredibly exciting! 50 miles is HUGE! I hope you post more about it here and let us know about your training... it should be an amazing experience...

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Re: Pace for 50-Miler

Post  Schuey on Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:44 pm

@Mr MattM wrote:I have not run farther than 50km, but if I were planning my first 50 mile run I would be telling myself this: There is no pace, only time and distance. I would train in segments that approximate the distance between aid stations and work on nutrition/hydration (that seems to be a big difference between marathons and 50 milers). If you don't learn to fuel properly, you can crash really hard... and from what I have been told if you don't practice it you won't want to eat on race day, and that is a HUGE mistake!

I think it's incredibly exciting! 50 miles is HUGE! I hope you post more about it here and let us know about your training... it should be an amazing experience...

No doubt I practiced all my eating habits while training and it paid off huge on race day. Since I didn't run 50 miles in a training run, I also learned that my eating and drinking habits changed late in the race and I started taking food and soda from the aid stations to give me that little boost plus it gave my stomach a break from all the other stuff like gels and protein drinks. That is another huge thing to remember you might want to find a protein supplement to take to help with the muscles. Other then gels I also used Hammer Perpetum drink and solids and for more protein along the way eat their recovery bars that have 20g of protein.


Another note I training one thing I did early on and will do again for my whole training was the back to back long runs with the first one being a high intensity 20 to 25 miler and then running a slower 28 to 32 miler the next day on tired legs. That really helps gets your legs (body) and mind use to what it really feels like to run on tried legs. I will also be adding in this cycle the back to back to back long runs.

But to finish and experience your first 50 miler and for JKF just because the course is tough, it doesn't look it when you look at charts or the course flyby but trust me and ask Kevin it is tough and offers a lot of different challenges throughout the day. I would think doing some back to back long runs would get you well prepared. doing 18 one day and then 24 next.

Also agree with Matt like I said earlier I really won't worry about pace especially on this course. If it was 100% flat and done on roads I would say you could pick a pace and get into a rhythm but this race just doesn't offer that. You have roads, mountain running over rocks, tree roots, slipper leafs, soft dirt trail and then rolling road hills. It true is a beast and lots of fun, I guess this is the reason I'm moving more to 50 milers and trail running because each course offers it's own unique challenge vs to just running a flat even road.
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Re: Pace for 50-Miler

Post  Vivian on Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:59 am

Thanks for all the great advice. I have the A standard time so I'll be sure to register first thing on May 1. I will have to get used to the fact that I can't worry about pace, but need to train to the specifics of the course, get time on my feet, and nail down the nutrition aspect. I've run 14 marathons and it seems like I have to learn all over again how to train. I will have to try out the protein supplements as I have only ever taken gels in races and easily get nauseous.

I have the book by Byron Powell, "Relentless Forward Progress," and I plan on using that training plan, the one for up to 70 miles per week. Would it be a good idea to add some mileage to that plan (particularly to the long runs) as I already run 60-70 miles a week and log 20-23 milers most weeks?
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Re: Pace for 50-Miler

Post  Jeff F on Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:54 pm

Vivian, you have already received some great advice. You can complete a 50 miler with your current training plan, it all depends upon what your goal is. I ran my first (and probably last 50 miler last June). My training included training for and running three marathons; one trail marathon in March and two road marathons in April). I then did my long runs in May on a trail to simulate the course of the 50 miler. One key for ultras is the right combination of running and walking (only the very elite ultra runners will run an entire 50 miler), along with fueling and hydration. You need to practice the walking during your long runs, and you need to figure out what you are going to eat and drink. I am fortunate that my stomach can handle certain gels so my fueling plan was a gel every 45 minutes and to eat whatever looked good at the aid stations. Most ultra aid stations will have a combination of fruit, pretzels, cookies, boiled potatoes, etc. I forced myself at each aid station to grab something. For fueling I carried a handheld and drank water consistently along the way. My stomach cannot handle Gatorade so I use S-tabs to replace the electrolytes. It was a hot and humid day for my 50 miler so I took a tab about every 30 minutes.

Regarding pace I trained at a pace a little slower than my LSD pace training for marathons. Because I did alot of my miles on trails this was pretty easy to do, pace is not the issue but time on your feet as others have mentioned. For the actual race I started out at around 10:00 pace (you may be a little faster than me but I think our marathon PRs are similar) and walked the uphills. That worked until about mile 30 and then I ran when I could. My theory if it hurts to run try walking, if it hurts just as bad to walk, then run. For my 50 miler from around mile 25 until 40 I felt about the same, like I had finished a marathon. During this stretch my average pace was around 12:00-12:30. After 40 when I realized I would make it to 50, I mentally lost my focus and slowed down.

Good luck and keep us informed on your training.
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Re: Pace for 50-Miler

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:21 pm

I have no advice, Vivian - since the farthest I've run is a 50K on an easy trail. I can say, wow, very cool, and that I might hitch a ride with Schuey & Lisa & little Schuey as they will be driving almost by my (new) door in Cleveland on the way. I can then be crew and even run with people if necessary.
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Re: Pace for 50-Miler

Post  Vivian on Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:54 pm

I'm glad I posted this because if Whitney is running 9 pace for her 50-mile specific long runs, then I was planning to run them way too fast for my fitness. 9 pace is my "easy" pace and I'm no where as fast she is. Jeff, I don't know what your times are but if you ran your 50-miler starting at 10 pace then I have a lot of reevaluating to do. My most recent marathon, NYCM, was 3:44:02. I will try to take everyone's advice and take walking breaks and run a lot slower. I also plan to run on some mountain trails but I won't be able to make that every week so can I substitute stadium steps? The high school track is one mile from my house and I can run up and down the bleachers.

Michele, I would love to see you at the race and have your support! It will make up for not being able to see you at NYC. And of course I can't wait to see the Schuey's and their baby.
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Re: Pace for 50-Miler

Post  Vivian on Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:49 pm

Schuey, to answer your question about the use of the AT, I read the Parks Service will continue to allow it on the trail as long as they do not increase the number of runners above 1000. They let in 1200 to allow for attrition but that's it.
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Re: Pace for 50-Miler

Post  T Miller on Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:27 am

That's awesome Vivian. Wendy and I just completed a 60k and we're planning to do a 50 miler next spring. I don't know a whole lot about training for ultra's yet so this is a very interesting thread. It sounds like you've received some very good advice already. I just have a couple things to add.

Accel gel has protein and it happens to be my gel of choice. Unfortunately I didn't have any available for my 60k.

Be smart out there. I kept telling myself to start slow and finish strong. I ended up starting too fast and finishing very slow. Legs were just screaming over the last few miles.

I found the fruits much easier to consume at the aid stations than the pretzels and m&m and other things. Their moisture made them much easier to swallow. Of course, I probably didn't take enough time at the aid stations. I just grabbed a hand full and a drink and ate while I walked until I was ready to run again.

Anyway, best of luck.

We would love to run this race but it isn't going to work with our marathon plans this year.
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Re: Pace for 50-Miler

Post  Schuey on Fri Mar 16, 2012 10:45 am

@T Miller wrote: I found the fruits much easier to consume at the aid stations than the pretzels and m&m and other things. Their moisture made them much easier to swallow. Of course, I probably didn't take enough time at the aid stations. I just grabbed a hand full and a drink and ate while I walked until I was ready to run again.

Anyway, best of luck.

We would love to run this race but it isn't going to work with our marathon plans this year.


Yeah i liked the taste of the fruit also during my 50 miler, the oranges seemed to give me a bursted and tasted good. Also I loved eating the PBJ's and would scoop a hand full of gummy bears. If I didn't want all the GB's or PBJ I would just spit out what I couldn't swallow or handle anymore while I was running. Yeah I know I have no manners than again who really does at 40 miles and further?
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Re: Pace for 50-Miler

Post  Schuey on Fri Mar 16, 2012 10:47 am

@Vivian wrote:Schuey, to answer your question about the use of the AT, I read the Parks Service will continue to allow it on the trail as long as they do not increase the number of runners above 1000. They let in 1200 to allow for attrition but that's it.

Thanks for that update Vivian. I'm sure Kevin will have some more information to pass our way about this. I talked to him a couple of weeks ago.

Cool can't wait to see you this fall and yes as long as Michele feels she can put up with the Schuey's see is more than welcome to hitch a ride with us to Maryland and back! Smile
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Re: Pace for 50-Miler

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Fri Mar 16, 2012 10:48 am

Good news is that I've crewed runners training (in DV) for Badwater - so I'm a pro (NOT).
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Re: Pace for 50-Miler

Post  Schuey on Fri Mar 16, 2012 11:07 am

@Michele "1L" Keane wrote:Good news is that I've crewed runners training (in DV) for Badwater - so I'm a pro (NOT).

You do know that Badwater is on my radar? So now that your daughter is way maybe you might consider a trip to Death Valley to do some pacing? I told Dave-O he needs to come and pace also.

Speaking of the pacing I didn't want to say to Vivian that he you offer to pace her for a part of it that she should take you up on that offer. One of the biggest lefts that I had was the 12 miles that Kevin and I ran together. He really didn't pace me it was more like run at the pace I wanted but the point is that in that long of a race it was a huge left to be running and talking with a good friend. Especially at the time he ran with me it was miles 26 to 38. It's amazing the emotions that can hit you at any given point during a 50 mile race and again the conversations that Kevin I had during that 12 mile part of my run is a moment that I will always cherish and remember as a highlight of my 1st 50 miler.
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Re: Pace for 50-Miler

Post  Dave-O on Fri Mar 16, 2012 11:17 am

Does "relentless forward motion" count as a "pace?" Cool

Seriously, good luck with this. I have no interest in anything over 26.2, but I love following others doing so.
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Re: Pace for 50-Miler

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:28 pm

@Schuey wrote:
@Michele "1L" Keane wrote:Good news is that I've crewed runners training (in DV) for Badwater - so I'm a pro (NOT).

You do know that Badwater is on my radar? So now that your daughter is way maybe you might consider a trip to Death Valley to do some pacing? I told Dave-O he needs to come and pace also.

Speaking of the pacing I didn't want to say to Vivian that he you offer to pace her for a part of it that she should take you up on that offer. One of the biggest lefts that I had was the 12 miles that Kevin and I ran together. He really didn't pace me it was more like run at the pace I wanted but the point is that in that long of a race it was a huge left to be running and talking with a good friend. Especially at the time he ran with me it was miles 26 to 38. It's amazing the emotions that can hit you at any given point during a 50 mile race and again the conversations that Kevin I had during that 12 mile part of my run is a moment that I will always cherish and remember as a highlight of my 1st 50 miler.

I think I can run Vivian's pace, so if I make it, I'd be glad to keep her company for a few miles. I'm running NYC though, so it would depend on my recovery and how treacherous the trail is.
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Re: Pace for 50-Miler

Post  wrichman on Fri Mar 16, 2012 6:47 pm

@Michele "1L" Keane wrote:
@Schuey wrote:
@Michele "1L" Keane wrote:Good news is that I've crewed runners training (in DV) for Badwater - so I'm a pro (NOT).

You do know that Badwater is on my radar? So now that your daughter is way maybe you might consider a trip to Death Valley to do some pacing? I told Dave-O he needs to come and pace also.

Speaking of the pacing I didn't want to say to Vivian that he you offer to pace her for a part of it that she should take you up on that offer. One of the biggest lefts that I had was the 12 miles that Kevin and I ran together. He really didn't pace me it was more like run at the pace I wanted but the point is that in that long of a race it was a huge left to be running and talking with a good friend. Especially at the time he ran with me it was miles 26 to 38. It's amazing the emotions that can hit you at any given point during a 50 mile race and again the conversations that Kevin I had during that 12 mile part of my run is a moment that I will always cherish and remember as a highlight of my 1st 50 miler.

I think I can run Vivian's pace, so if I make it, I'd be glad to keep her company for a few miles. I'm running NYC though, so it would depend on my recovery and how treacherous the trail is.

Vivian - I'm not planning on my overall mile pace to be 9's - that's just the running pace I've been doing b/c here in Chicago we don't have those things called "hills". I only ran a little over 9 min. pace for my 1st 50 b/c it was a flat road 50 in Chicago. Next weekend I will get a better idea of my overall pace I'll be running IAT 50 b/c I'm going up to the IAT to do a 32-36 mile run next Sat.

I'm running NYC too Michelle. If I can do the whole 50, you can do some Smile
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Re: Pace for 50-Miler

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Sat Mar 17, 2012 4:14 pm

@wrichman wrote:
@Michele "1L" Keane wrote:
@Schuey wrote:
@Michele "1L" Keane wrote:Good news is that I've crewed runners training (in DV) for Badwater - so I'm a pro (NOT).

You do know that Badwater is on my radar? So now that your daughter is way maybe you might consider a trip to Death Valley to do some pacing? I told Dave-O he needs to come and pace also.

Speaking of the pacing I didn't want to say to Vivian that he you offer to pace her for a part of it that she should take you up on that offer. One of the biggest lefts that I had was the 12 miles that Kevin and I ran together. He really didn't pace me it was more like run at the pace I wanted but the point is that in that long of a race it was a huge left to be running and talking with a good friend. Especially at the time he ran with me it was miles 26 to 38. It's amazing the emotions that can hit you at any given point during a 50 mile race and again the conversations that Kevin I had during that 12 mile part of my run is a moment that I will always cherish and remember as a highlight of my 1st 50 miler.

I think I can run Vivian's pace, so if I make it, I'd be glad to keep her company for a few miles. I'm running NYC though, so it would depend on my recovery and how treacherous the trail is.

Vivian - I'm not planning on my overall mile pace to be 9's - that's just the running pace I've been doing b/c here in Chicago we don't have those things called "hills". I only ran a little over 9 min. pace for my 1st 50 b/c it was a flat road 50 in Chicago. Next weekend I will get a better idea of my overall pace I'll be running IAT 50 b/c I'm going up to the IAT to do a 32-36 mile run next Sat.

I'm running NYC too Michelle. If I can do the whole 50, you can do some Smile

Got 19 yrs on you, girl Wink
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Re: Pace for 50-Miler

Post  Mike MacLellan on Sat Mar 17, 2012 4:19 pm

Off-topic: Schuey, you're not asking the California native to pace in DV? I'm so hurt... No
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Re: Pace for 50-Miler

Post  Schuey on Sat Mar 17, 2012 6:32 pm

@Mike MacLellan wrote:Off-topic: Schuey, you're not asking the California native to pace in DV? I'm so hurt... No

Don'y you worry young buck your on that list and the WS list!
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Re: Pace for 50-Miler

Post  Jerry on Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:08 pm

Jerry is going 2 run a 50 miles 2.

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Re: Pace for 50-Miler

Post  KBFitz on Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:57 pm

I'm going to bump this thread so my next two posts are contiguous above the fold (on the next page).


Last edited by KBFitz on Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:18 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : contiguity)
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Re: Pace for 50-Miler

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