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50 miler goal but history of injury

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50 miler goal but history of injury

Post  Julie on Wed Jun 05, 2013 8:08 pm

I have been increasingly interested in getting into ultras. I ran a 50K but I know there's a big difference between 50K and 50 miles. But I am wondering how wise it is for me to even think about training for this distance when I've gotten injured on Pfitzinger 55/18 marathon training. I think it was probably the speedwork and a few anatomical things with my knees that I've been to PT for and have exercises that will hopefully ward off injury my next training cycle. Anyway, when I read about some of your training and see the high mileage it somewhat intimidates me because I don't see how I can run more than 60 miles/week without injury. Also, I'm fairly slow (Pr 4:11 for marathon) and would love to get faster before I run even longer since it will just be that much more time out on the trail if I keep up my slowness. So, I guess I'm just looking for some advice on what I should tackle. If I do the 50 miler it will be in several years, nothing too soon and I definitely need time to train and also mentally prepare.
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Re: 50 miler goal but history of injury

Post  Jerry on Wed Jun 05, 2013 11:03 pm

Easy, just don't do it. Marathoner is good enough title for me. lol!
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Re: 50 miler goal but history of injury

Post  Julie on Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:35 am

@Jerry wrote:Easy, just don't do it. Marathoner is good enough title for me. lol!
I'm thinking you're right. Thanks Jerry!
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Re: 50 miler goal but history of injury

Post  Mark B on Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:00 am

For most of us, speedwork - or anything remotely speedy - isn't necessary in getting ready for a 50-miler. It's all about gradually building up the miles and getting used to spending hours on your feet moving. You don't necessarily go fast - and sometimes, you're walking - but that's what it takes to prepare.

One upside is that you may also end up building a huge aerobic base that you can leverage with speedwork later to bring that marathon PR down.

There are lots of different approaches to preparing for a 50-miler out there. Not all of them demand insane numbers of miles.

The question you may want to consider now is whether you want to commit to going long, or getting faster. Either is fine, but it's good to make a conscious decision - even if only to give you something to second-guess later. Wink

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Re: 50 miler goal but history of injury

Post  Nick Morris on Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:15 am

@Mark B wrote:For most of us, speedwork - or anything remotely speedy - isn't necessary in getting ready for a 50-miler. It's all about gradually building up the miles and getting used to spending hours on your feet moving. You don't necessarily go fast - and sometimes, you're walking - but that's what it takes to prepare.

One upside is that you may also end up building a huge aerobic base that you can leverage with speedwork later to bring that marathon PR down.

There are lots of different approaches to preparing for a 50-miler out there. Not all of them demand insane numbers of miles.

The question you may want to consider now is whether you want to commit to going long, or getting faster. Either is fine, but it's good to make a conscious decision - even if only to give you something to second-guess later. Wink


+1 It is really hard to get faster and build up miles (those two are normally a recipe for injury). The gradual build up is the way to go and from that your shorter distances will get faster on their own.
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Re: 50 miler goal but history of injury

Post  Julie on Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:19 am

Thanks Mark. I really feel like my strength is in distance. My running group calls me the Energizer bunny because I do just hang on pretty well as long as I can get in a comfortable pace. Something about having a race long enough to need to change shoes in the middle has always appealed to me, then again, I'm strange. I have the Relentless Forward Progress book and those plans didn't seem horribly high mileage, I just don't want to end up hurting myself or just doing the bare minimum for a ultra and end up feeling more terrible than I should that whole time from undertraining.
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Re: 50 miler goal but history of injury

Post  Mark B on Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:32 am

@Julie wrote:Thanks Mark. I really feel like my strength is in distance. My running group calls me the Energizer bunny because I do just hang on pretty well as long as I can get in a comfortable pace. Something about having a race long enough to need to change shoes in the middle has always appealed to me, then again, I'm strange. I have the Relentless Forward Progress book and those plans didn't seem horribly high mileage, I just don't want to end up hurting myself or just doing the bare minimum for a ultra and end up feeling more terrible than I should that whole time from undertraining.

I hear ya. I think it all depends on what you want out of the event. You can race it, run it, or survive it. Most training plans I've seen tend to focus on getting you ready to run it. The people who do the crazy miles tend to be the ones hoping to race it.

Here's the plan that I'm (mostly) using: http://www.trailrunevents.com/ul/schedule-50m.asp You might like it. (Thanks to Kevin for the suggestion!) We'll find out in about five weeks how well the approach worked for me.
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Re: 50 miler goal but history of injury

Post  Jerry on Thu Jun 06, 2013 11:37 am

Jerry has a theory why ultra is not cool, but it's adult content ... lol!
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Re: 50 miler goal but history of injury

Post  Julie on Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:01 pm

@Mark B wrote:
@Julie wrote:Thanks Mark. I really feel like my strength is in distance. My running group calls me the Energizer bunny because I do just hang on pretty well as long as I can get in a comfortable pace. Something about having a race long enough to need to change shoes in the middle has always appealed to me, then again, I'm strange. I have the Relentless Forward Progress book and those plans didn't seem horribly high mileage, I just don't want to end up hurting myself or just doing the bare minimum for a ultra and end up feeling more terrible than I should that whole time from undertraining.

I hear ya. I think it all depends on what you want out of the event. You can race it, run it, or survive it. Most training plans I've seen tend to focus on getting you ready to run it. The people who do the crazy miles tend to be the ones hoping to race it.

Here's the plan that I'm (mostly) using: http://www.trailrunevents.com/ul/schedule-50m.asp You might like it. (Thanks to Kevin for the suggestion!) We'll find out in about five weeks how well the approach worked for me.

Thanks Mark. I'll bookmark that link. It seems fairly manageable. I don't want to just survive and I am definitely not competitive but if I can finish feeling mostly alive that is really what I want, at least a notch above survival. I just don't want to be second guessing myself all during the race either because I know the mental aspect is so important. I'm eagerly await your race report!!
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Re: 50 miler goal but history of injury

Post  Mark B on Thu Jun 06, 2013 3:39 pm

@Julie wrote:"... if I can finish feeling mostly alive that is really what I want, at least a notch above survival."

Well said! Very Happy
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Re: 50 miler goal but history of injury

Post  wrichman on Thu Jun 06, 2013 11:37 pm

Many people run 50 mile races on 50 mpw of running. You don't have to go fast - ultras are slower pace in general anyway. I say go for it!
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Re: 50 miler goal but history of injury

Post  Schuey on Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:26 am

If the goal is to finish all you have to do is run,train and be consistent!! Julie let me tell the biggest thing about running 50 or longer really comes done to "Mental Toughness". There are things that start to happen after 35 miles or so that are hard to explain but that is when the battle starts. You will be able to handle the pain of your legs because it is the same pain and hurt as a marathon but it is your mind that will give you the biggest fight. No matter how well your trained you will feel it in the end and anyone can train there body to run 50 miles but the people that succeed have the ability to have "Minds of Steal" to be able to over come the emotional roll coaster. If you believe you have the "Mental Toughness" then just training like you do for a marathon will work just fine.
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Re: 50 miler goal but history of injury

Post  Jeff F on Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:33 am

@Schuey wrote:If the goal is to finish all you have to do is run,train and be consistent!! Julie let me tell the biggest thing about running 50 or longer really comes done to "Mental Toughness". There are things that start to happen after 35 miles or so that are hard to explain but that is when the battle starts. You will be able to handle the pain of your legs because it is the same pain and hurt as a marathon but it is your mind that will give you the biggest fight. No matter how well your trained you will feel it in the end and anyone can train there body to run 50 miles but the people that succeed have the ability to have "Minds of Steal" to be able to over come the emotional roll coaster. If you believe you have the "Mental Toughness" then just training like you do for a marathon will work just fine.

+1 Schuey is correct. From mile 30-40 my legs just felt like I had run a marathon but didn't get worse. At 40 it all became a mental issue. I did my 50 miler basically on marathon training. I ran 3 marathons; in March, April and May and then the 50 miler in June. I did no speed work and didn't race the marathons but looked at them as long training races. You can do it.
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Re: 50 miler goal but history of injury

Post  wrichman on Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:11 pm

@Jeff F wrote:
@Schuey wrote:If the goal is to finish all you have to do is run,train and be consistent!! Julie let me tell the biggest thing about running 50 or longer really comes done to "Mental Toughness". There are things that start to happen after 35 miles or so that are hard to explain but that is when the battle starts. You will be able to handle the pain of your legs because it is the same pain and hurt as a marathon but it is your mind that will give you the biggest fight. No matter how well your trained you will feel it in the end and anyone can train there body to run 50 miles but the people that succeed have the ability to have "Minds of Steal" to be able to over come the emotional roll coaster. If you believe you have the "Mental Toughness" then just training like you do for a marathon will work just fine.

+1 Schuey is correct. From mile 30-40 my legs just felt like I had run a marathon but didn't get worse. At 40 it all became a mental issue. I did my 50 miler basically on marathon training. I ran 3 marathons; in March, April and May and then the 50 miler in June. I did no speed work and didn't race the marathons but looked at them as long training races. You can do it.


Totally agree. It's a mental game. Get mentally prepared that there will be some really tough parts, but you will get though them and they will pass. Be ready to embrace the suck!
I think about the distance in sections depending upon the course and try not to think too far ahead. Also, once I hit mile 25.1, I tell myself I have less than half way to go. Then I mentally count down at certain points and think of it in time rather than miles. 20 miles left - about 3-3 1/2 hours (depending upon the course). Starting at miles 35ish is when I start giving myself some tough love. "You worked so hard all day, don't let yourself down now." i.e. don't blow it. By mile 45 I try and forget about the previous 45 miles no matter how bad I'm feeling and I tell myself I'm just out for a 5 (4, 3, etc.) mile training run.

Just my two cents.
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Re: 50 miler goal but history of injury

Post  Julie on Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:47 pm

Thanks Schuey, Jeff and Whitney. I think I can stay mentally tough as long as I know I trained for it well. I tend to be pretty good about staying focused during marathons One of my friends just told me about a spring 50 miler in KS I'd like to look into.

http://www.psychowyco.com/id1.html I think it's a 40 miler, actually. Free State Trail Run is I bet what she was talking about. It looks quite trail-y.
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Re: 50 miler goal but history of injury

Post  Jim Lentz on Wed Jun 12, 2013 11:39 am

What has worked best for me in preparing for a 50 miler is to do 4 long runs a week. My peak week typically consists of:

Monday - 15
Tuesday - Recovery
Wednesday - 10
Thursday - Recovery
Friday - 15
Saturday - 20 or more (35.2 was the most ever)
Sunday Recovery

I have never been injured with all of the mileage as there are 3 recovery days. I had my second fastest marathon using this plan training for a 50 miler 3 weeks after the marathon. I never planned to race the marathon.
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Re: 50 miler goal but history of injury

Post  Julie on Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:43 pm

Thanks Jim. That sounds like a lot of early mornings! But I am looking at the Heartland 50 in KS and it's a fall race so at least I wouldn't need to worry about training in the winter and I think I might do a trail 50K next fall to prep for it (50K 2014, 50 mi 2015) as far as I can plan that far in advance...I understand things change all the time.
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Re: 50 miler goal but history of injury

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Wed Jun 12, 2013 3:20 pm

No advice but I say go for it girl. I'm here for moral support
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Re: 50 miler goal but history of injury

Post  Julie on Wed Jun 12, 2013 5:08 pm

Thanks Michele! Maybe I can talk you into the 50K next fall since you still need NE Very Happy
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Re: 50 miler goal but history of injury

Post  charles.moman on Thu Jun 13, 2013 7:26 am

Compared to me, you are not slow at all. It is all relative.
The typical advice for ultras is to go out slow and slow down.
Except for elite runners and really good runners, everyone does some walking in ultras - everyone.
That is a tough pill to swallow for the average marathoner who sees walking in a marathon as a failure.

So in training, you need to do as suggested in Powell's RFP book and do a walking session each week.
If you don't, then at the race you will find that you use muscles in a different way and can get cramps or newfound pains.
And another typical bit of advice is to test out what foods/drinks work for you on very long runs.
If you don't eat in a 50 or 100 miler, you will not finish.
Find out what does not upset your stomach - I find that fresh fruit works very well for me besides Gu gels, honey waffles and energy beans.

For the Indiana Trail 100, I used the RFP training plan that tops out at 50 miles or so.
As mentioned before, mental toughness is a major major major key issue to success in ultras.
I had a recent breakthrough in that area and now I am MUCH better at pushing through and not letting the voices make me stop.
Also, I could care less if I am DFL in races - someone has to be last! 
For me, it has become a badge of honor, I stayed out there the longest and persevered when things got tough.
I don't go to a race planning on a DFL, but it certainly does not bother me if it happens.
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Re: 50 miler goal but history of injury

Post  Julie on Thu Jun 13, 2013 12:38 pm

Thanks Charles. I definitely am not worried about my place or time. I tied for last at a small 10K once, it was kind of fun but a lady and I figured out we were last so we just finished together and weren't even all that slow....

I'll probably start a blog when I actually get training so I can get more feedback from you all. I look forward to the running.  Oh and yes on the food stuff. I can't do GU and keep experimenting with my long run fuel.  I don't mind walking and take walk breaks for my long runs.
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