I am an aspiring first time Ultra runner wanting to run a 50 miler next spring. My goal is to due the Ice Age Trail 50 in May 2010, (assuming they are running it). I've just completed my 10th marathon and trained between 60-70 mpw for the last 3 marathons I completed, so I feel like I have some idea of how my body reacts to higher mileage. I've been browsing around trying to find a schedule to use for my upcoming training and have found that they vary quite a bit.
Some of the Ultra schedules out there are time based, which don't make sense to me, since someone who runs a 7:30 average pace is going to run quite a few more miles than someone running a 10 minute pace in the same 4 hours. Some have you run back to back long runs, i.e. 20 one day, 30 the next, which others have you running 10 - 20 mid week and 30 on the weekend claim to yield the same result.
I'm not expecting to win any races, but do want to shoot for under 8 hours if that is realistic for a first time ultra runner. (2:57 is my current marathon PR.) Can any of you experienced ultra runners share thoughts or suggestions for training? I have a lot of questions like, how long should you taper? What is the weekly mileage you should run? How many consecutive weeks of high mileage before a cutback week? How much should you cut back on that week?
I personally don't like the time based training plans either preferring distance. The important thing to remember is that you have to break your training into 4 distinct disciplines, Tempo, Hill, Interval and Long. The Tempo run is all about your speedwork, the Hill for stamina, the easy to recover and the Long to teach your body to burn calories slower.
You know all this from your marathon workouts but the important feature is to never skimp on your Long run....your speed can come during the race.
I dislike training schedules that require timed runs preferring distance as my basis. Doing so allows me to plan a route, have an objective and return still feeling as though I have achieved something.
You are probably up to your neck in plans but I have found this resource really useful as they have pulled together some of the better ones. I have been trawling through them myself tonight as I am seeing if there are some multi-stage based ones
Jerry A runners blog-updated daily
You'll ruin your knees!
My first thought is that if you have a marathon schedule that works for you, why not just ramp it up a bit? My next thought is that if you have not been running on trails regularly, you should find trails that come close to the terrain in the target race and plan most of your long runs there. There are many paths to success in ultras, but all of the successful ones will include managing your calorie intake and that is one of the primary long run goals, whether you do back to back or not.
Best of luck to you,
MTA: if you can find some shorter trail races (up to 50K) in the weeks/months leading up to your goal 50, I'd suggest you enter some of them to help build your trail awareness... I often use shorter races to help prepare for a goal race and this really helps keep me motivated/identify where my plans are not cutting it!
again, best of luck...
""...the truth that someday, you will go for your last run. But not today—today you got to run." - Matt Crownover (after Western States)
You can hire me to coach you! I train/coach by distance and more specifically heart rate (if you're into that, if not-not a problem) I use an online training web site to post workouts and keep track of what you actually do. We can keep in touch through email, phone or have some clients who send me messages through Facebook! I'm RRCA certified and a personal trainer and like my clients to resistance train as well. I've completed several road and trail marathons and have completed more ultra events including my second 100 miler last month.
Think about it and let me know,
Thanks for the advice everyone! I"m definitely going to try to find a 50k trail run in the spring although there aren't many in the midwest where I live. I'm thinking about just upping my weekly milage to around 85-90 mpw with a 16-18 midweek run and a 30 mile max weekend run. Other than that, hills, tempo, and maybe doing some runs on snow covered trails to simulate technical terrain would be my main strategic changes. Despite the warnings, I would still like to do faster interval training and shorter races to keep what little speed I have. I figure if I start messing with this early, I have a lot of time to make mistakes (and hopefully correct them).
I'm late to this party, but your ideas all sound good to me. You're already a fast marathoner (among the ultrarunners I know), so I think that one challenge for you will be finding your ultra pace.
Speed my steps along your path, according to your will.
Leslie Living and Running Behind the Redwood Curtain -------------
Trail Runner Nation
Thanks Leslie! I don't blatently plug myself alot here because I figure most of the regulars already know I'm a coach. However, it's been a while and for the new folks and any others who poke around here, here is my web site in which I put a link to my blog as well. The blog is a work in progress and I already have some new ideas for it but haven't made the time to change it. I've posted some race reports from earlier this year and hope to add to it on a more regular basis.
Kelly's Coaching web site
I ran Ice Age 50 Miler 2008 -
Sub 8:00 is definately possible, but it is a trail race. It is only a moderately difficult trail race, but you will be walking a lof of the steeper hills (up) and 1 or 2 steep downs.
I do not think you need a lot more miles.
To me there are 1 of 2 ways to add long runs
1) Back to back longer runs on the weekend - Maybe 20/20 - not my way
2) Just do your normal marathon training and add 1 long run every 4 weeks. I mean in the 26-35 mile range. Run it slower and practice taking in calories.
I train for the 24 hour race and I will run 1 50k and 1 40-50 mile run every 4-5 weeks when in training. On a very rare occassion I feel so good the next day I will do another 20 miles, but usually its just 1 long run.
My 1st 50 miler was off marathon training only and I was fine - But I run @ 100 MPW
The pacing of a 50 miler is much tougher than a marathon - It should feel effortless, or at least really easy, for the 1st 30-40 miles
Retired 1/1/13 ... 12/1/16 return to Gallowalking ... Running is beautiful and forgiving, it will always take you back with no questions asked.
Ice age is a great race - I would not over think or over stress about moving from marathon to 50 miles - If you get into the 70-80 MPW range and do a longer run every 3-4 weeks you will be fine - For you it will all come down to the pacing and patience.
If a coach appeals to you - It never hurts to try something new
I am not coachable
I also would not give up speed work - Even when I base train and try and load miles - I do 1x a week. I usually try and fit 2x speed work in. I just have no room for hero workouts - That's for the race.