Ultra Runners


50k Training (Read 370 times)


    Hey guys and gals,

    I signed up for a 50k trail race, which is at the end of October.  Here is a link to the race: http://www.phdispatch.com/FireontheMountain50K.html#Awards  I don't know what the elevation change is like, but I am going to check out the course this weekend.


    This group looked like the best place for me to find some training advice.  I'm doing about 50 mpw right now, but am planning on getting up to 70-80 and hovering around there for a while.  I'll be doing a couple 5k road races and some unattached cross country races before the 50k, so I'll be trying to keep in touch with my speed a bit while I build up my long runs.  My PR's for 5k, 10k and 1/2 marathon are 16:00, 33:50, and 1:15:45.  Is there any way to estimate 50k pace in order to use it in training?


    As far as long runs go, how high do you guys normally go for a 50k?  And would you recommend back-to-back long runs?  I was thinking of getting up to 25-28 miles, and doing 10 the next day sometimes.  Should I do a long run every weekend or every other?


    I'm sorry for asking so many questions, but my longest race to date was a half marathon, so I have no idea how to train for this one.  I bought Relentless Forward Progress, and it should be arriving any day now.


    If you guys have any other advice for a first timer that I didn't ask about, feel free to share it.


      First off, I know nothing about this race or those trails, so take what I'm about to say with a grain of salt.


      Secondly, I am The World's Worst Trail Runner, so take what I'm about to say with a grain of salt.




      Try to distance yourself from the idea of "my road race times are X, so can I use that for training paces and predictions of my 50k time?"  The answer is... for lots of us, at least... trail running is a different animal.  Try to get yourself out there and on terrain similar to the race and learn how that goes.


      But meanwhile, if you are doing some road miles, absolutely keep that mix of easy running and some-pep-in-your-step stuff that got you to where you are.


      Long runs.  Hmmm.  See, this also comes down to how challenging the course is.  If it is bad ass hard, part of the goodness of the long run will be "time on your feet".  If it isn't super duper hard, really it won't be THAT much different from marathon training.  Keep your mpw as high as you can and maybe extend your long runs a bit from a marathon training plan (instead of 22, do 25 or so), etc.  But if it is technical, it's really more about learning how to spend a long time in motion. 


      Here's what I mean.  My fastest 50k is about 4:25.  My slowest? 7:45. I was in basically the same shape for both races... but the second one was dastardly hard.  It also turns out that it was one of those 33 mile 50ks.  Which, BTW, I looked at the website for your race... it says 32.1.


      Would doing a 10 miler the day after a long run be goodness?  Oh sure.  So would the reverse.


      Good luck. 


        Estimating road race times is fairly easy using many of the pace predictors out there.  Estimating trail race times is much different, it mainly depends on the terrain.  If you can do a shorter race on similar terrain/elevation you may be able to do a similar predictor based on your trail race time though.


        You can probably get by training for a 50K the same as a marathon, only tweak your long run up to 24-26 miles, i.e. add 2-4 miles to a few of your regular long runs.  I think there is a trade off between long runs and speed training.  If you go too long every weekend, you may not have the same quality speed training during the week.  YMMV.  Some people can pull this off, others can't


          Many runner like back to back long runs - I do not understand the concept of learning to run tired.  I do long runs to stress my endocrin system - So I would rather do 1 really long run than back back.


          That being said - I have never run a 50k - But I like the 50 mile race.  I found that solid marathon training works fine for a 50 mile race as long as you pace smartly.  If it is a flat road 50k - I would just train like a marathon.  If it is a really hilly technical trail it could take you 4 hours - So I would do some 3 hour runs.


          Just my opinion.

          7/20/17 #247 Comeback #19 ... 10/8 - Glacial Trail 50M




            I appreciate all the advice so far.  I'm most likely going to check out the course this weekend, so I'll be able to check out the terrain and elevation of it.  And yeah, I noticed too that my race is a bit long.  I guess that'll just make my 50k PR a bit softer.


            I have about 18 weeks until the race, and my most recent long run was about 14-15 miles.  Any advice on how to progress until race day with the long runs?

            Jeff F

            Free Beer

              Okay, my first attempt at advice on this forum.  If you are well trained for a marathon you can run a 50K, as long as you have done some trail running.  I attempted my first 50K last summer after about 8-9 marathons and some trail races.  It is doable.  If you don't have at least a couple of marathons under your belt, I would attempt to get at least 3-4  20+ milers under your belt before attempting the 50K. Just realize ultras are more about nutirition and hydration and less about pace.  Good luck and have fun!