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Training for a baby ultra (50K), which is better one long run or back to back? (Read 369 times)

    Okay, I'm signed up for a 50K on May 17th and training for it.

     

    I've worked up a training plan off of my Hanson Marathon plan from last spring and essentially the only thing I did different was cut out my speed and strength intervals and added some miles to my easy run the day after my long run.  I'm trying to get as many miles in off pavement as I can, but I have limited access to single track trails around here, I'm also trying to mix in as many hills as I can.

     

    Reading a few articles, some folks suggest that the critical training for an ultra is to have an extra long run in the mix.  I was really happy with my performance on my marathon last year with the Hanson plan without those extra long runs but high weekly volume.  A few other articles I read discussed doing back to back long runs instead of one.

     

    I realize that a 50K is just barely more than a marathon and not much of an ultra, but I was curious if any here have experience with either of these theories.

     

    Right now my plan peaks with an 18 mile long run followed the next day by a 12 mile long run.  Would it be better to have something along the lines of a 24 mile long run followed by a 6 mile easy day after it?

     

    Time on feet is going to be longer with the trail runs than a road race, but this particular trail run shouldn't be a whole lot worse, looks like decent trails without too much elevation gain and loss.  I know you aren't supposed to set time goals for this type of thing, but I would like to get in under 6 hours and ideally would like to average under 10:00 pace.

     

    So, anyone have an opinion on the need for the one real long run in training vs. some more moderate back to back runs?

     

    Thanks, Nathan

    Age: 46 Weight: 208 Height: 6'2" (Goal weight 195)

    Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09; HM 1:43:26; 10K 44:51; 5K 21:27

      I have nothing to offer you except as I was scanning the titles, I saw "Training for a baby ultra (5K), and I thought this race naming inflation thing was really getting out of hand.

       

      Good luck on your first ultra.  As far as I'm concerned, anything longer than a marathon is an ultra, so don't belittle it! Smile

      Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject.

        One of the runners I know did fairly well on his first 50k off of marathon training and after the marathon did a couple of  20 + 10/12 runs (20 sat, 10/12 sun, total weekly mileage around 45-50).  With a marathon time on 4:16, he finished the 50k (on a flattish greenway trail) in something like 5:01, so the 50K was actually a bit faster.

          Regular marathon training schedules and upping your long run to 24-26 miles should work fine.  Depending on whether this is on trails, hilly, etc. you may want to do some course specific training, e.g. hill work, long runs on trails, etc.   You don't need to do back to back for a 50K.

            I did fine in my first 50K last year by running 45-50 mpw with a long run of 20+ every weekend 2.5 months prior to the race.  All the long runs were on trails.  It's key to do the long runs on trail.  One thing I quickly found was my body held up so much better training for an Ultra on the trails then it does for road marathons.  20 mile road training kills me.  25 miles on the trails and I'm up and running the next day and the body feels great.


            Best Present Ever

              I've run 2 trail 50ks.  Both times, I ran around 50 miles a week, with a long run of 16-20 miles on Saturday followed by an 8-12 mile run on Sunday.   I made sure that at least one of those was on trails and tried to get on trails at least once during the week.  Most of my long runs were closer to 18 miles.

                Thanks for the input everyone.

                 

                One thing I thought of reading everyone's replies was that there is no reason that I couldn't do both and include at least one of the longer runs in there with other weeks with decently long back to back runs.

                 

                I tweaked my training plan up to a 20 miler for the long run and added a couple of 18 milers in there.  I may go back and get a 22 miler worked in as well.  I'm for sure going to work in at least one trail run a week, but not sure what I'm going to do for a long run on trails.  I run around 1/2 my miles on gravel roads, but that's not the same as running on a trail.  The longest trail run around here is about 5 miles, I guess I can just run several loops to get in a long run on trails.

                Age: 46 Weight: 208 Height: 6'2" (Goal weight 195)

                Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09; HM 1:43:26; 10K 44:51; 5K 21:27

                jamezilla


                Follower of Forrest

                  I would vote for trying to nail one run in the 25 mile + range (on similar terrain to race day).  This would be a test run where you try out your nutrition plan, gear, etc...a dress rehearsal.  The distance of a 50k isn't much farther than a marathon, but it sounds like you are talking "trail 50k" which could mean much more time on your feet and a larger onus on fueling yourself for the extra hours.

                   

                  PS - both the Ultra Runners and Trailer Trash user groups have accomplished contributors that don't necessarily follow the main forum

                  6/21 - Manitou's Revenge 54mi

                   

                  A man may never run the same trail twice for it is not the same trail and he is not the same man


                   

                  SillyC


                    Thanks for the input everyone.

                     

                    One thing I thought of reading everyone's replies was that there is no reason that I couldn't do both and include at least one of the longer runs in there with other weeks with decently long back to back runs.

                     

                    I tweaked my training plan up to a 20 miler for the long run and added a couple of 18 milers in there.  I may go back and get a 22 miler worked in as well.  I'm for sure going to work in at least one trail run a week, but not sure what I'm going to do for a long run on trails.  I run around 1/2 my miles on gravel roads, but that's not the same as running on a trail.  The longest trail run around here is about 5 miles, I guess I can just run several loops to get in a long run on trails.

                     

                    Yes, yes, you really must do your long runs on trails, even if it means loops.  When I switched to doing my long runs on trails, my first several times out, I had a lot of fatigue in my hips, ankles, and glutes - basically, I needed to develop muscles to keep myself stable.  At nearly every trail marathon or 50k I run, I'll pass a road runner or two during the last couple of miles, and the runner is limping on a sprained ankle.

                     

                    Others have mentioned that the amount of extra time on the trail can be substantial enough that you may need to eat more than "5 miles" more from a marathon.  If you "hit the wall" at the three hour mark.... you might only be halfway done!  You can't just get through the rest of the race on spirit and determination.  You need to get through it on Oreos and M&Ms.  The nice thing about the "back to back" long runs is that they mimic this nicely.  If I've run 13 miles on Saturday and head out for 22 on Sunday,  that 22 miler feels substantially different than if I just ran 5 the day before.  I end up pretty depleted at about 5 or 6 miles in.  Those back to backs really help me with learning the nutrition part.

                      I know you didn't ask about this but I would not totally eliminate speedwork.


                      A Dance with Monkeys

                        eh, running is stupid.

                         

                        Train for a marathon. Run the 50k off that.


                        Queen of 3rd Place

                           

                          Yes, yes, you really must do your long runs on trails, 

                           

                           

                          +lots! Getting on trails really helped me on my first (and only) trail ultra. Running on trails is a different skill, to me it was like a different sport altogether. It was a footwork, balance, and posture learning experience. In terms of mileage, I started out with back-to-back longs, but switched to doing long runs on rugged trails up to about 21 or 22 mi. Of course plenty of running the rest of the week, but not more than normal marathon training.

                           

                          Another HUGE thing and the #1 advice I got here was learning what you like to eat on a trail run.What a surprise! I thought that gels or maybe PB&J sandwiches would be da bomb, ended up being grossed out by those, then discovering salami and cheese on rye with tons of mustard fit the bill. Who knew? I know another runner who can only tolerate turkey and avocado sandwiches. Then there's the boiled potato chunks dipped in salt crowd...to me that's just eww.

                           

                          I probably did 3 of these 20-ish trail runs and a bunch of other shorter (12-ish) trail runs, and then ran a 50 mile trail ultra without any problem, in fact I got a second wind around mile 40 (I'll admit the weather was great). This was coming from nothing but flat road running and a few marathons a year.

                           

                          Happy training and have fun.

                          Ex runner


                          HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

                            I doubt it is actually a necessity to do your long runs on trails. Just doing some running on trails would probably be helpful.

                            It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.

                            TripleBock


                              I ran well in my 1st ultra (50 miler) that I signed up for 2 weeks after a goal marathon.  Normal marathon training would be fine for a 50k.  Slower pacing a must.

                               

                              Given the choice, I always take one longer run over 2 back-toback sortof long runs.

                              I am fuller bodied than Dopplebock

                                Okay, the reason I decided to train for a 50K trail race this year was because I thought it would be easier than training for a marathon.

                                 

                                My thought process behind this was that if I was going to train for a marathon this spring, I would want to really try hard to go sub 3:30 and I knew that was going to take a lot of work so instead I would just run a 50K trail run and not worry about time.

                                 

                                Now, after surprising myself with a 1st place in my age group in my first trail race (a half marathon) and 2nd masters overall, I find myself looking at where I would finish the 50K trail race place wise.  If I could do a 10:00 pace I would be up near the front of the pack on the race I've signed up for.  I've even stalked a few finishing times on athlinks and compared their other race times to their time in the 50K trail race I'm signed up for and tried to extrapolate a time for me based on the added time it took them.

                                 

                                Now I'm looking at signing up for a trail marathon in late March to get in a long trail run to help me train for my 50K trail run.  My mileage is going to end up just as high as if I was training for a sub 3:30 marathon.

                                 

                                So much for spending less time training this year by just signing up for a 50K trail race.

                                Age: 46 Weight: 208 Height: 6'2" (Goal weight 195)

                                Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09; HM 1:43:26; 10K 44:51; 5K 21:27

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