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What's the difference between a 50k and a marathon? (Read 189 times)

happylily


    And don't tell me about 8k. Big grin I mean, what are the differences in the way you race each one? How much slower would a 50k be? How much more hydration and fueling? What should my LRs be like previous to race day?

     

    I ran a marathon in June of 2012 in Niagara-on-the-Lake and I was thinking about going back this year. But looking at the website, I was reminded that they also have a 50k and a 100k. Forget the 100k... But what about the 50k? Do I need any kind of special ttraining for that or would just slowing the pace a bit be good enough to last an extra 8k? By the end of June, I will have done a marathon in April and one in May. I'll most likely have no speed left in me at that moment, but will my 26.2 milers serve in any way as some sort of training for an adequate 50k?

    PRs: Boston Marathon, 3:27, April 15th 2013

            Cornwall Half-Marathon, 1:35, April 27th 2013

    4 years racing, 15 marathons, 15 BQs     

    LRB


    Dreamer

      None of us over here would say the difference is 8k, we would say about 5 miles.  Tongue

       

      My goodness, looking at racing an ultra are ya?  I obviously have no clue, but would guess there would be an adjustment in pace, like 20 seconds or so slower per mile than your best marathon average pace per mile.  So maybe 8:30 ish?

      MRT: This too shall pass I made it!


      Bad Ass

        I'll let you know in 20 days....

         

        I think you have to run it a bit slower but not by much.  I would say 15sec per mile slower or thereabouts.

        Damaris, Marathon Maniac, Ultra Runner

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        "The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."

        xor


          My 50k PR is 3 1/2 hours faster than my 50k PW.  I ran them about two months apart, in the same basic shape.  The difference?  The courses.

           

          If you are talking road 50k versus run-of-the-mill road marathon, approach the training the exact same way.  Honestly.  On race day, be more conservative in pacing.  Eat a little more.

           

          But if you are getting onto the trails, where most 50ks reside, stuff gets fuzzy.  Really depends on the course.  You still would approach it like marathon training with the caveat that you want to spend as much time on similar trails as you can.  And on race day, avoid getting sucked out into the conga line on the single track with people who are faster than you.  That's bad.

           

          Edit: comparing my 50k PR with my marathon PR at that same time (since improved), it looks like I ran the 50k about 12 minutes slower than trying to run the whole enchilada at PR MP.  Which, by definition unless that marathon PR was soft, would have been highly unlikely.

           

          One final note: if you are getting onto the trails, please realize that most trail races are NOT exact-to-the-stated-distance and usually a bit long.  The main reason my PW is so much slower than my PR was because the course was a rat bastard.  But oh by the way, it was also 34 miles long.

           


          Trail Monster

            A road 50k? Go 20-30 seconds per mile slower and take in more fuel during the race. My 50k time was 7:05 when my marathon time was 5:49 if that gives you any idea of the difference. I'm sure it would be much better now but I haven't run a 50k in the last 3 or so years. I prefer the 50 milers and 100k's. Wink

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              oops.  Double post.

              Short term goal: 17:59 5K

              Mid term goal:  2:54:59 marathon

              Long term goal: To say I've been a runner half my life.  (I started running at age 45).

                A lot depends on the type of race.  I have done one 50K but it was a trail race with over 10,000 feet of elevation change so you spent a lot of time walking.  Moreover, you either need a handheld or a backpack or, as I did, spend about 5 minutes at every aid station guzzling fluids.  I lost probably 30 minutes doing that and think it was a mistake on my part.  I would train a lot differently for a very hilly 50K than I would for a marathon.  However, if it was a relatively flat 50K on something like a rail trail, I would just do marathon training and be prepared to run essentially my easy pace.

                 

                BTW, my marathon PR is 3:08 while my time on that 50K would have been about 6:00 if I and several others hadn't missed a turn and added about an 45 minutes to our time.

                Short term goal: 17:59 5K

                Mid term goal:  2:54:59 marathon

                Long term goal: To say I've been a runner half my life.  (I started running at age 45).

                  +1 to srlopez's comments. It's the course that affects time, with distance being only one factor - and the distance may be approximate, at best.

                   

                  Check about hills, footing, type of trail or road, aid stations (if any). Some ultras have aid every few miles, but some may have 38mi between stations (obviously not in 50k). Some are smorgasbords, but more likely in a 50k, they will be more minimal. Find an elevation profile, if you can. Loop, out/back or is it point-to-point with you being responsible for getting back to your car.

                   

                  Your marathons will work as basic training. If your 50k is a much different type of course than your marathons, then you may need to add some specific training.

                   

                  PS: My 50k really was 8k added to a marathon. The marathon (loop) had about 3500ft of uphill. So there was no difference in the way I normally train except for the presence of aid stations and some dilapidated road (ouch).

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


                  Muddling through

                    From what I remember of the area, and it's been 10-12 years since I've been there, the course is on a paved trail along the Niagara River from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Niagara Falls and back. Most of the course will be very flat but I remember a few short, moderately steep for flatlanders hills. All the races run on the same course so the 50K will just extend a little bit further before the turn-around. The only difference for happylily will be the increase in distance.

                    2014 Goals: Run first trail ultra, first 100K, and see what I can do in a 24-Hour race

                    happylily


                      Great answers from everyone, very helpful. Thanks a lot! (and I even learned that 8k is 5 miles :-))

                       

                      wcrunner remembers the course well. It's an easy paved trail, relatively flat, except for 1.2 mile which goes up forever, it seems. But this year, it won't be so arduous for me (been training on hills more).

                       

                      I ran the marathon last year, just a few weeks after another marathon where I PRd, and I finished in 3:40. That's 8:24 pace. I think I could do a little better this year, if it's not too hot that day. To finish first female in the 50k, I'd have to run at 7:52 pace. Out of the question. For second place, I'd need 8:17 and for third, I'd need 8:25. I think I could shoot for 8:25 and hope for an AG award. Maybe? That would be about 25-30 secs slower than GMP. I'd rather not carry my own hydration, because I have not trained like with a backpack, and it's a small race, so there shouldn't be line-ups at the aid stations (which come every 5k).

                      PRs: Boston Marathon, 3:27, April 15th 2013

                              Cornwall Half-Marathon, 1:35, April 27th 2013

                      4 years racing, 15 marathons, 15 BQs     

                      fitfatboy


                      More cowbell!

                        The marathons would serve as great LR's for the 50K.  Last year I trained with a friend for the Green Jewel 50K in Cleveland, our LR's peaked out at about 24 miles, and I was able to finish in just under 5 hours.  The Green Jewel course is flat for about 22 miles, and then gets into some rolling hills at the end...nothing devastating.  I also ran a flat marathon a month later in 4:01.  So if this 50K is relatively flat, that might give you an idea on pacing.  A couple of differences nutritionally.  I ate more along the way on the 50K than a marathon.  The aid stations will probably have food and other non-conventional drinks (i.e. flat Coke or Mtn Dew) early on.  Reese's pieces and Mtn Dew every 5 miles worked great for me, while carrying water and Gatorade on my fuel belt.  I had more in the tank to push with at the end of that 50K than I have had with a marathon.  Also, if you are a sweater, it becomes more important to experiment with Enduralytes or some equivalent the farther you go.  I didn't have any Enduralytes during the 50K and was fighting quad cramps the last 5 miles.  I've never had cramping issues in a marathon.  Did a hilly 60K in 7:35 last September, used Enduralytes, no cramping.  Hope that helps!

                        STILL HAVING FUN!!!

                        happylily


                          Great info, fitfatboy, thanks!

                          PRs: Boston Marathon, 3:27, April 15th 2013

                                  Cornwall Half-Marathon, 1:35, April 27th 2013

                          4 years racing, 15 marathons, 15 BQs     

                          Venomized


                          Drink up moho's!!

                            50K and marathon training are nearly the same.  The key to either of them is long runs on similar terrain to the race course.

                             

                            The marathon (unless its a trail) is most likely a certified course.  The 50K is most likely not a certified course and the distance is approximate.  I ran HUFF 50K back in 2009 and it was actually about 53K but still billed as a 50K.  If you were 3K long in a marathon people would be bitching up a fit.

                            RedSparkle


                              50K and marathon training are nearly the same.  The key to either of them is long runs on similar terrain to the race course.

                              +1.

                               

                              Since the one you're looking at is paved, I suspect that you won't find the experience too drastically different.  You just need to prepare yourself mentally for the fact you'll be out there a bit longer.  I've only done one paved 50k (actually a 51k); it was a gradual uphill for 13 miles and the rest was a gradual downhill and flat--my average pace was about 45 seconds off of my marathon PR (but it's a single data point, so you shouldn't read too much into it).  Any marathons you do will serve as good "long runs" for the 50k.  I definitely don't recommend doing any runs longer than that; I'm highly doubtful there is any physiological benefit of it.  The biggest part of it is the mental element, but if you can get your mind to comprehend of 50k instead of 42k, you'll be fine; if you can't get your mind to comprehend this, you'll likely struggle a bit around the marathon point, but you'll get through it anyway. Smile

                               

                              Katrina

                              happylily


                                +1.

                                 

                                Since the one you're looking at is paved, I suspect that you won't find the experience too drastically different.  You just need to prepare yourself mentally for the fact you'll be out there a bit longer.  I've only done one paved 50k (actually a 51k); it was a gradual uphill for 13 miles and the rest was a gradual downhill and flat--my average pace was about 45 seconds off of my marathon PR (but it's a single data point, so you shouldn't read too much into it).  Any marathons you do will serve as good "long runs" for the 50k.  I definitely don't recommend doing any runs longer than that; I'm highly doubtful there is any physiological benefit of it.  The biggest part of it is the mental element, but if you can get your mind to comprehend of 50k instead of 42k, you'll be fine; if you can't get your mind to comprehend this, you'll likely struggle a bit around the marathon point, but you'll get through it anyway. Smile

                                 

                                Katrina

                                 

                                Thank you for sharing your experience, Katrina! Great info!

                                 

                                And Doug as well, thanks!

                                PRs: Boston Marathon, 3:27, April 15th 2013

                                        Cornwall Half-Marathon, 1:35, April 27th 2013

                                4 years racing, 15 marathons, 15 BQs     

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