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What next - Ultra (50mi) or lots of marathons? (Read 1415 times)

    I've been trying to get hold of a good book about training for a first ultra.  I read a decent one over the weekend, but got to the end without it having anything specific to a 50mi, it was all about 100mi (NO THANK YOU) and a 50k.  I've mentally signed up for a 50k in August and because I've done 4 marathons already, it shouldn't require much difference in my training.

     

    I'm not looking for an 'I think' response, but rather some feedback from those who have done it.  My last marathon was a 3:34 and I'm shooting for a 3:28 in Boston this April.  I don't bonk anymore, but I also wouldn't say that I find the distance easy-peasy either. 

     

    Should I be at the point where I could do a marathon a month, for example, ie the distance being no big deal before I consider training for a 50mi?  Maybe the training required is far longer than I have available, I'm really not sure.  My mindset is that I should do more marathons (not PR in them, but just run them) before I attempt a longer distance and that I've not got anywhere near enough time on my feet.  It's hard to find races posted this early, but it looks like there's Boston in April, some veteran one in Sept, KC in Oct and the Gobbler Grind in Nov. 

     

    The other aspect is that I want to stick to road races as that's what I know, so it does limit the number of events I can do every year without travelling.


    Queen of 3rd Place

      I had done a few marathons (around 6 or 7) when I was talked into doing a 50-miler, the American River 50, just this last April. It went fine, actually I had a great time! I live in a flat area, so the most important thing I did was to start trail running, most of my long runs were on trail with as much or more elevation change than the actual race, and I also regularly ran the local cross-county course. I added a medium-long run (10 or 12 mi) the day before my usual long run, and upped my weekly mileage just a little. I experimented with eating solid foods on long runs. My final long run for the training cycle was the Bataan Memorial Death March marathon, which runs a bit like a trail run. I think many people try to get a 50K in prior to doing 50 mi.  I ran the race with a friend, and we were able to support each other when we each had little low moments. Finally, although I didn't have a particular time goal, I did study the course elevation chart and had a pacing strategy to match the terrain changes. Go for it!

      Ex runner

        I've been trying to get hold of a good book about training for a first ultra.  I read a decent one over the weekend, but got to the end without it having anything specific to a 50mi, it was all about 100mi (NO THANK YOU) and a 50k.  I've mentally signed up for a 50k in August and because I've done 4 marathons already, it shouldn't require much difference in my training.

         

        I'm not looking for an 'I think' response, but rather some feedback from those who have done it.  My last marathon was a 3:34 and I'm shooting for a 3:28 in Boston this April.  I don't bonk anymore, but I also wouldn't say that I find the distance easy-peasy either. 

         

        Should I be at the point where I could do a marathon a month, for example, ie the distance being no big deal before I consider training for a 50mi?  Maybe the training required is far longer than I have available, I'm really not sure.  My mindset is that I should do more marathons (not PR in them, but just run them) before I attempt a longer distance and that I've not got anywhere near enough time on my feet.  It's hard to find races posted this early, but it looks like there's Boston in April, some veteran one in Sept, KC in Oct and the Gobbler Grind in Nov. 

         

        The other aspect is that I want to stick to road races as that's what I know, so it does limit the number of events I can do every year without travelling.

         

         

         Train just like you would for a marathon though I'd do a mid long run the day before your long run. No real need to run marathon distance before the 50 either.  I just ran a 40 mile run a month or so ago and I think my longest run was like 16 miles and that was a few months before. Right now I'm training for a 50 mile race at the end of March 

        Your toughness is made up of equal parts persistence and experience. You don't so much outrun your opponents as outlast and outsmart them, and the toughest opponent of all is the one inside your head." - Joe Henderson


        Consistently Slow

             I just ran a 40 mile run a month or so ago and I think my longest run was like 16 miles and that was a few months before. Right now I'm training for a 50 mile race at the end of March 

           You average 218 miles a month. With a high of 315. I will probably not hit 300 miles when I get ready to do a 100 miler.

           

           

          I  have not done the 50miler. Knee problem. Had to cancel 12/10 race(50mile).  Train for time on feet. Do a 6 hour run Two I did 50K races for training.Two -50K's and a marathon in 3 weeks. I will reach 200 miles for the year. There is a 12HR race on 01/14 I would like to run but I am sort of committed to a marathon on the same day with a friend.

          Run until the trail runs out.

          2014***1500 miles 09/28/14

          50miler 13:26:18

          Race Less Train More

           

          Ana Trason  "Living Her Life"

          "The Marble in The Groove"

           

          unsolicited chatter

          http://bkclay.blogspot.com/


          uncontrollable

            I am also thinking of doing a 50 at 'some' point.  Haven't began reading or researching approaches yet.  Interested to see what feedback you get!  I bet you'll have a great time!

            peace

            xor


              Run "lots of" (subjective) marathons to train for a 50m.

               

              Ok then.

               

              I'm a little stumped by this: "It's hard to find races posted this early"

               

              Where are you looking?

               


              Feeling the growl again

                Marathons and ultras are completely different sports.  I would not equate what you can do in a marathon to an ultra, UNLESS you were just trying to finish the marathon and it was tough for you.

                 

                The pace between marathon and ultra is very different.  The energy systems used are very different (unless you are running 4.5-5hr marathons).  You don't need to check any boxes in the marathon, necessarily, before doing an ultra.  You certainly don't need to be doing 1 per month or anything like that.

                 

                The abuse you will take RACING a marathon is very different from what you experience in an ultra.  I have run a lot of marathons, both well-trained and under-trained, and done well for whatever shape I was in.  The leg abuse from a well-run race destroys me, trained or not, it takes me 2 full weeks to resume anything resembling a real running schedule.  I attempted 1 50-miler (at sub-7 pace).  I was under-trained and quit around 37 miles with a knee issue....my legs weren't the least bit sore the next day.

                "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                 


                Blaine Moore (MM#2867)

                  50k and marathon are pretty close - as long as you are running similar terrain, there shouldn't be much to surprise you (going from a road marathon to a trail marathon or vice versa might have some surprises though.)

                   

                  As mentioned above, for 50 miles, it's a different type of sport and takes a different type of mindset. If you think you're ready to start training for a 50 then that means you probably are - running a lot of marathons is one way to get yourself to that point, but it's hardly necessary.

                   

                  The biggest difference training wise that I'd recommend is getting in some back to back long runs once or twice a month leading up to the race. My first 50 miler the longest I ever ran was 24 miles (2 days after a 21 miler which was 2 days after a 20 miler). For the second one, I did run a marathon a few weeks before.  Both worked out pretty well. 

                   

                  The big key is learning to run slow. Which is relative.  It should feel slower than what you're used to running. If you can force yourself to do that on command, you can probably run a 50. If you can't, but you don't mind some pain, then you might be ready. If neither apply, I recommend sticking to marathons and 50ks another year.

                  Run to Win
                  24 Marathons, 17 Ultras, 16 States (Full List)



                    Where to look for races: http://www.ultrarunning.com/calendar.html

                    Pick the time frame you are looking for, insert "50mi" for distance/ time, select = 1 for surface (or <= 2 if you'd consider easy dirt roads).

                    Click the search button, and you should get a list of races in US fitting those requirements. you can fill in any other descriptors you want, but you might limit the search to too few.

                     

                    As long as you stick to similar terrain and logistics, the biggest difference for a 50-mi is probably going to be time on feet and strategies for hydration, electrolytes, and fuel. And most likely you'll test that on long runs or b2b long runs. Some people use long runs only (maybe 8 hr), some use b2b (6hr/4hr or whatever), and people like Matt Carpenter may not run more than 3ish hrs in a long run, but run 14+ hr in a week - on mountain trails, at elevation.

                     

                    An advantage of hilly trails over flat pavement is that they are easier on your body (unless you faceplant) and provide a greater diversity of muscle usage - some ups, some downs, rather than all flat.

                     

                    Training books on ultras and training schedules are something that's new to the scene in the last, maybe 5-6 yr or less. I haven't looked at many of them, but I suspect they suffer many of the limitations of cookie cutter programs for shorter races, but more so. Granted, most ultras tend to be on hilly trails and everything from smooth to technical, so there's a lot more variation in training needs for most ultra races. Specificity with respect to terrain and footing is key in many ultra races.

                     

                    A well-known journey runner once made the comment about doing a 50k being easier than racing a marathon. I believe he had his trainees do 50k then marathon, but I could be wrong. (don't have time to search for the sources at the moment)

                     

                    Have fun.

                     

                    PS: I've done a 50k, a 50mi, several non-race 38-mi runs, and no marathons. There's others here with more experience.  (Old, slow, but still moving)

                    "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog

                      Lots of good feedback here.  I've run numerous 50ks, but only one 50 miler.  I came w/in a month of my second this past year when I injured my foot.

                       

                      For me, the back-to-back long runs are key as they equate to time on your feet.  I do my longest on Saturday, followed up with a short LR on Sunday (just because weekends work best for me), and have one mid-week longish run of 10-12 miles.  My weekly running total never increased by more than 10% with my longest B2Bs about 3 weeks out from race day. 

                       

                      You might find some good info here.  Also, join the Ultra forum.  Lots of good, solid experienced ultra runners who are always more than willing to give advice.

                       

                      Good luck!

                      Leslie
                      Living and Running Behind the Redwood Curtain
                      -------------

                      2015 Wish List:

                      April 4 - Peterson Ridge Rumble (40m); June - A 50k somewhere; July 25 & 26 - Lake of Death 24 Hour; October 10 - Dick Collins Firetrails 50; January 2016 - Ordnance 100k (dream a little dream . . .)


                      "The farther you go outside, the farther you go inside." (Unknown)
                      Ultrarunnerpodcast

                      Trail Runner Nation

                      Fatozzi

                        As you can tell from the above posts, there are many strategies to train for a 50 miler.  The main factor that should affect how you train is whether you are focused on achieving a certain time or finishing.   With the right race day strategy and some practice fueling training to complete a 50 miler could be done with little more than marathon training.  If you are going out to achieve your best possible time though, being able to complete multiple b2b long runs or 50K distances will become more important. 

                         

                        Which method you use may depend on recovery, amount of time you have for a single long run vs b2b, and preference.  Also as fatozzig pointed out, there are a number of threads in the the ultra forum specific to training that cover everything from mileage and fueling to race day strategy. Or if you want you can look at my training plans for Ice Age Trail 50 this spring.  (warning, this is probably more mileage than you need to run and is still a WIP).

                         

                        For upcoming races, you may also want to check out http://ultrasignup.com


                        A Sweetheart

                           

                          The abuse you will take RACING a marathon is very different from what you experience in an ultra.  I have run a lot of marathons, both well-trained and under-trained, and done well for whatever shape I was in.  The leg abuse from a well-run race destroys me, trained or not, it takes me 2 full weeks to resume anything resembling a real running schedule.  I attempted 1 50-miler (at sub-7 pace).  I was under-trained and quit around 37 miles with a knee issue....my legs weren't the least bit sore the next day.

                           

                          I think this is also related to the running surface.  Running a road marathon I am incredibly sore the next day.  I was surprised to notice after my first couple of trail 50 milers that I was not hurting in the same way.   I found that I'm not hurting after the trail marathons, either, so I have to believe that it has to do with running on a forgiving surface.

                           

                          I also think that there is a lot less soreness from trail running because of the up and down nature of most courses.  Most road marathons (except for that idiot Monkey thing) pride themselves on being fast and flat courses.  There is no change in the muscles being used (or rested).

                           

                          AussieGirl, rather than looking at a set distance, how about checking out a fixed time event?  They are held on tracks, roads, and trails.  A 12 hour race would give you the option of being able to race as long as you feel like it.  There is no requirement that you run the whole time, so if you go out there, run a 50k then decide that a longer distance isn't for you then you can stop racing.  You can also run 50 miles and keep going if you are feeling good.  Plus, loop courses are nice for beginners because you don't need a crew (truthfully, you never need a crew for any distance), and you don't have to figure out what you will be needing in your drop bag later in the race.  Put all the stuff you might need in one spot, and you will pass by it several times in the race. 

                          I want to do it because I want to do it.  -Amelia Earhart

                           

                          Tennessee Beer Mile Queen

                            I've been trying to get hold of a good book about training for a first ultra. 

                            I found Relentless Forward Progress by Bryon Powell (iRunFar.com guy) a really good read.

                             

                            Includes training plans plus perspective from a handful of runners.

                              wow...wow...I don't know where to start.  This is an endless amount of great information, thank you so much.

                               

                              I'm probably more in the mindset of getting a long run over with, so it will be a change to drop the pace purposefully and incorporate walking.  I guess I'm bored with the speed increases in a marathon, maybe I'm just getting to the point where I'm as fast as I'll ever get.  I do have a little bit of juice left in me, I think Boston will squeeze out every drop.  My current training plan (if I stick to it) incorporates things I've learned from the previous 4, so other than just added years on my feet I think I have a training program to get a good result.  I have seen the results of a couple of mid-week 10's, which ended up for me being a long run followed by a 10 (had to push the longest runs to Fri/Sat/Sun because of my schedule).  My most recent book suggested a mid-week 14, but timewise I can't do that.  Right now my schedule suggests a mid-week 10, a long run on Sat and a 10 on Sunday.  I'm also trying to do doubles and the running magazine I read yesterday solidified in my mind that this will help me. 

                               

                              I really can't respond to everyone, but every person has given me a wealth of great info, all of which I'll incorporate.  Thank you for the links to the races, I typically stick to marathonrunning.com or similar and active.com.  I had even tried some google searches.  The issue is that I don't have a trail nearby (it's paved) and don't have the desire to learn to run on a trail, so I'm trying to find road races.  I have super weak ankles, any kind of ankle roll and I hit the ground. 

                               

                              One more question, I'm a bit of a vitamin-I taker and I try not to because I think it's important to feel every ounce of discomfort when you're doing doubles.  Do any of you have any tricks of the trade to help you run on tired legs?  I don't have any lingering injuries that I need to worry about, I guess I'm asking about those compression things for your legs, and ice baths, anything you use that you couldn't do ultras, or more than a couple of marathons a year, without them. 

                                If you look at my running log from last year, you can get a good idea of how I trained for my first 50 miler, which was last March. Training started on Christmas eve with a 3 hour run.

                                 

                                Basically, I kept my weekly running all the same: 5 days of 7 miles each.

                                 

                                Then I did a long run schedule something like this:

                                3 hours

                                3.5 hours

                                4 hours

                                no long run

                                 

                                4 hours

                                4.5 hours

                                5 hours

                                no long run

                                 

                                5 hours

                                5.5 hours

                                5.5 hours

                                no long run

                                 

                                5 hours (really really really easy)

                                50 mile race

                                 

                                "Tricks" I used:

                                1. I'm a mileage guy but did all of these runs for time. Let the clock run when you're eating, changing clothes, etc.

                                2. The best run will be the second of the 3. That's why I did 5 hours the week before my 50.

                                3. Some people recommend doing back to back runs... 2.5 hours two days in a row. I'm more susceptible to injury and believe my way is a little safer because you don't have to run when you're stiff.

                                4. The real secret I was told: you will feel 100 times better if you can manage 2 five hour runs in training. I did better than that and was amazed how much I loved my 50 miler.

                                Go to http://certainintelligence.blogspot.com for my blog.

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