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Training for a 50 Miler

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Training for a 50 Miler

Post  Ben Z on Thu Jan 03, 2013 9:12 pm

Anyone have any helpful advice on how best to train for a 50 miler?

My thoughts are that I should:


  • Run as many miles as I can handle each week while staying healthy
  • Try to double as many days as possible with a second, easy 3-6 mile run
  • Every other week do a Saturday long run and then a second, longer Sunday run
  • Keep 1-2 speed (or hill) based workouts in the plan
  • Build to a 50 mile weekend (e.g., 20 miler on Saturday, 30 miler on Sunday)
  • Do 1-2 gym-based workouts each week (e.g., core routine, weights, etc.)
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Re: Training for a 50 Miler

Post  Mike MacLellan on Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:06 pm

Here's a combination of what I learned during my 50mi training and from other ultra runners.

Yes to the back-to-back. If you can handle it weekly, do it weekly. If not, don't.
Yes to the 20/30 goal.
Yes to the core workouts. I met a guy who did an hour of core (front/obliques/back) 3x a week.
Yes to hills. At least weekly. Learn to power-hike them. You will be more efficient power-hiking anything over 9-10% grade anyway, and you can do it just as fast as you can run it. And learn to run downhill up to 15%. Fast. It's all about relaxing.

Crosstrain, if you'd like. Most ultrarunners (sub-professional, but still doing things like WS100) cycle on top of their running.
The double days aren't really necessary, to be honest. Once you get into your training, you'll see how much those weekend back-to-back longs take out of you, and you'll want to spend the rest of your time recovering. And doing that hill workout.
Run by time.
Learn to eat while you run. Learn what your body needs, what it can handle, and what it can't. This is crucial.
Lastly, hike during your base. Your longest day out (early on, mostly hiking, wear a pack if you want; later, running) should be 2/3 the TIME you plan to complete the 50 in. So if you're targeting a 7hr finish, do a ~5hr hike and a ~5hr run at some point.
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Re: Training for a 50 Miler

Post  wrichman on Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:29 pm

Here's my rambling advice -
Which 50? Terrain and surface really makes a difference in training. Are you running to finish or running to race? That can also change your training plans.
Run as much as possible without getting injured.
Do some long runs on the type of terrain you'll be running if possible.
Back to Back long runs are great if you can do them without getting injured. Doing a 30/20 is great esp. if you can do it within 24 hours. Like do the 30 if the afternoon/evening and 20 in the morning.
Speaking of avoiding injuries, do you have strong hips and core? That can make a big difference in avoiding injuries and late race fatigue. I have exercises called "Hips of Death" if you want. I swear by them 2x/week. pictures and instructions.
I prefer to do one run of 34-36 miles mostly for metal reasons (no B2B on that weekend). Do your long runs slow - or do long runs by time. Make your longest long run 2/3rds of the time you'll be running the 50. Example, my long run for marathon pace is around 8:30s.....for back to backs and 25+ mile training runs my pace is more like anywhere from 8:45-9:15.
If there's hills, practice power walking hills/running and alternate.
Practice eating and nutrition during your long runs.
Use lots of vaseline...everywhere....I mean EVERYWHERE on really long runs. You don't want to not be able to sit down later because it stings so much Wink
Get Bryon Powell's book "Relentless Forward Progress" ultra bible. There's training schedules in it, but I add more miles onto them.
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Re: Training for a 50 Miler

Post  Mike MacLellan on Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:14 am

wrichman wrote:
Use lots of vaseline...everywhere....I mean EVERYWHERE on really long runs. You don't want to not be able to sit down later because it stings so much Wink

I totally forgot this one. Yeah, I was pretty greasy before every long run I did. Definitely become friends with Vaseline.

Also, sunscreen.

Also, consider a running vest/CamelBak.

Also, bring toilet paper. Just trust me on this one.
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Re: Training for a 50 Miler

Post  Mark B on Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:19 am

All great advice, if a little slippery. Wink
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Re: Training for a 50 Miler

Post  Julie on Fri Jan 04, 2013 10:15 am

I haven't run a 50M yet but I do have the Relentless Forward Progress book and it was very straightforward. I think you've gotten some good advice and I'm eager to hear how training goes.
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Re: Training for a 50 Miler

Post  Jeff F on Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:01 pm

wrichman wrote:Here's my rambling advice -
Which 50? Terrain and surface really makes a difference in training. Are you running to finish or running to race? That can also change your training plans.
Run as much as possible without getting injured.
Do some long runs on the type of terrain you'll be running if possible.
Back to Back long runs are great if you can do them without getting injured. Doing a 30/20 is great esp. if you can do it within 24 hours. Like do the 30 if the afternoon/evening and 20 in the morning.
Speaking of avoiding injuries, do you have strong hips and core? That can make a big difference in avoiding injuries and late race fatigue. I have exercises called "Hips of Death" if you want. I swear by them 2x/week. pictures and instructions.
I prefer to do one run of 34-36 miles mostly for metal reasons (no B2B on that weekend). Do your long runs slow - or do long runs by time. Make your longest long run 2/3rds of the time you'll be running the 50. Example, my long run for marathon pace is around 8:30s.....for back to backs and 25+ mile training runs my pace is more like anywhere from 8:45-9:15.
If there's hills, practice power walking hills/running and alternate.
Practice eating and nutrition during your long runs.
Use lots of vaseline...everywhere....I mean EVERYWHERE on really long runs. You don't want to not be able to sit down later because it stings so much Wink
Get Bryon Powell's book "Relentless Forward Progress" ultra bible. There's training schedules in it, but I add more miles onto them.

Listen to her, she is an excellent ultra runner
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Re: Training for a 50 Miler

Post  Diego on Fri Jan 04, 2013 3:59 pm

Ben,

You'll be on your feet for 4.5-5 hours very soon for the Mountain Mist 50k. I don't think you'll have any trouble with 50 miles, unless it's the same nasty terrain.

I'll echo what Whitney said and you'll need to also figure out a way to consume 250-400 kcal per hour. I hear chicken noodle soup works well (in the right container).
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Re: Training for a 50 Miler

Post  Mark B on Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:38 pm

I'd love to see your "Hips of Death" workout, too, Wendy.
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Re: Training for a 50 Miler

Post  Jerry on Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:41 pm

While we are on the hip topic, does running on trail improve hip strength? That's how I feel, but what do I know?
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Re: Training for a 50 Miler

Post  wrichman on Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:07 pm

Mark B wrote:I'd love to see your "Hips of Death" workout, too, Wendy.

sure thing, Mike Wink
I can't figure out how to upload a word doc. so if you email me I'll send them to you:

Whitter22@aol.com
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Re: Training for a 50 Miler

Post  Mike MacLellan on Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:11 pm

wrichman wrote:
Mark B wrote:I'd love to see your "Hips of Death" workout, too, Wendy.

sure thing, Mike Wink
I can't figure out how to upload a word doc. so if you email me I'll send them to you:

Whitter22@aol.com

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Re: Training for a 50 Miler

Post  Mark B on Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:11 pm

Jerry wrote:While we are on the hip topic, does running on trail improve hip strength? That's how I feel, but what do I know?

From my relatively limited experience, I'd say yes. When I started running trails, I was sore in all sorts of interesting places. Very Happy
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Re: Training for a 50 Miler

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:00 pm

Whitney - I'm never planning on running 50 miles all at one time (only in one week), but I would love the hips of death workout, so I am emailing you as well.
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Re: Training for a 50 Miler

Post  KBFitz on Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:04 pm

Ben Z wrote:Anyone have any helpful advice on how best to train for a 50 miler?
Follow a proper plan. Here is what Ultraladies suggest as a bare minimum for a novice.
http://www.trailrunevents.com/ul/schedule-50m.asp
Hal had a Comrades plan on his web site. But it's been removed. There are plenty of others.
Depends upon your strengths and weaknesses.
You're certainly not a novice.
Slow down.
Forget about doubles. Go longer.
Follow a proper plan.
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Re: Training for a 50 Miler

Post  Ben Z on Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:02 am

Thanks for all the feedback. Training for the 50 starts after Mountain Mist!

I'm wait listed for the Lake Sonoma 50 but I should probably look at something with a bit less gain and loss. Although I do plan to spend a couple of weekends in Marin and Tahoe doing back-to-backs.
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Re: Training for a 50 Miler

Post  Ben Z on Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:23 am

KBFitz wrote:
Ben Z wrote:Anyone have any helpful advice on how best to train for a 50 miler?
Follow a proper plan. Here is what Ultraladies suggest as a bare minimum for a novice.
http://www.trailrunevents.com/ul/schedule-50m.asp
Hal had a Comrades plan on his web site. But it's been removed. There are plenty of others.
Depends upon your strengths and weaknesses.
You're certainly not a novice.
Slow down.
Forget about doubles. Go longer.
Follow a proper plan.

I would definitely adjust this plan. Two days off each week and a 4 mile day every week? I think I'm not prepared for how much these back-to-backs will take out of me.
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Re: Training for a 50 Miler

Post  T Miller on Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:26 am

Hey Ben, I know you don't have a specific race yet but do you have a time goal in mind for the 50?

I posted this in Mark's blog but I'll post it here just in case you haven't stumbled across it. This site appears to have lots of good ultra training advice. http://www.ultramarathonrunning.com/training/

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Re: Training for a 50 Miler

Post  Mike MacLellan on Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:35 pm

Ben Z wrote:
KBFitz wrote:
Ben Z wrote:Anyone have any helpful advice on how best to train for a 50 miler?
Follow a proper plan. Here is what Ultraladies suggest as a bare minimum for a novice.
http://www.trailrunevents.com/ul/schedule-50m.asp
Hal had a Comrades plan on his web site. But it's been removed. There are plenty of others.
Depends upon your strengths and weaknesses.
You're certainly not a novice.
Slow down.
Forget about doubles. Go longer.
Follow a proper plan.

I would definitely adjust this plan. Two days off each week and a 4 mile day every week? I think I'm not prepared for how much these back-to-backs will take out of me.

They take a lot, but you can still get a midweek long in there (16-20mi) if you recover (up to 1hr running, no doubles) on the other 4 days.

PS, if you're in Tahoe and want a running buddy, feel free to PM me.
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Re: Training for a 50 Miler

Post  Ben Z on Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:36 pm

T Miller wrote:Hey Ben, I know you don't have a specific race yet but do you have a time goal in mind for the 50?

I posted this in Mark's blog but I'll post it here just in case you haven't stumbled across it. This site appears to have lots of good ultra training advice. http://www.ultramarathonrunning.com/training/


Thanks Tim.

No time goals as I'm hoping to do a race with a fair amount of gain and loss. The goal will be to finish I suspect.
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Re: Training for a 50 Miler

Post  Ben Z on Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:42 pm

Mike MacLellan wrote:
PS, if you're in Tahoe and want a running buddy, feel free to PM me.

Are you in Davis or Tahoe area Mike?

I work 3-4 days per week in Concord now. But I'm likely going to be working mostly in Roseville/Sac soon.

We should definitely run Diablo and/or parts of the Tahoe rim soon.
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Re: Training for a 50 Miler

Post  Mike MacLellan on Thu Jan 10, 2013 5:00 pm

Ben Z wrote:
Mike MacLellan wrote:
PS, if you're in Tahoe and want a running buddy, feel free to PM me.

Are you in Davis or Tahoe area Mike?

I work 3-4 days per week in Concord now. But I'm likely going to be working mostly in Roseville/Sac soon.

We should definitely run Diablo and/or parts of the Tahoe rim soon.

I'm in Carmichael (halfway between Roseville and Sac) this year. I'm up for either - just give me a month or so to get some running legs back!
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Re: Training for a 50 Miler

Post  Ben Z on Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:05 am

One month begins now. Our move to Roseville is going to happen in the next 2-3 weeks. Lets do this!
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Re: Training for a 50 Miler

Post  Mike MacLellan on Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:37 am

Eep. I'll get on it.
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Re: Training for a 50 Miler

Post  Mark B on Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:39 pm

Mike MacLellan wrote:
wrichman wrote:
Mark B wrote:I'd love to see your "Hips of Death" workout, too, Wendy.

sure thing, Mike Wink
I can't figure out how to upload a word doc. so if you email me I'll send them to you:

Whitter22@aol.com


Derp! It just hit me, two hours in to a three-hour run. Sorry, Whitney! Embarassed

(It took me 24 days to get Mike's comment. Geez, am I slow on the uptake or what?)
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