50 mile Ultramarathon Training Plan & Guide
A 50 mile Ultramarathon is a commitment to yourself; is not only challenging on the body and the mind. It takes consistency and dedication to your training and a lot of time out of your schedule to get there. You’ll find yourself faced with opportunities to participate in other hobbies and actives instead of staying on track. Finishing an Ultra is different for everyone but at the end you’ll feel a wave of accomplishment wash over you. For most of us, one thing is certain, the journey its self will feel more important and rewarding than the competition.
Is this guide for you?
For safety reasons, this is NOT a couch to Ultramarathon guide. It is a guide for regular runners that have experience in endurance training along with an interest in tackling a 50 mile race. Having a solid running base along with the physical experience of training will give you the best chances for success in completing your race and training cycles injury free.
- Do you feel comfortable running long runs over 20 miles?
- Are you regularly running 35-40 miles a week injury free?
If you answered yes to these, or are very close, then you have a solid running base and this program is for you. If you’re not there yet, I recommend building up to these prerequisites before following the program.
This program slowly and safely builds over 24 weeks with a taper every 3-4 weeks. Tapering allows your mind and body to recover and rebuild. This program finishes off with a 3 week taper ensuring you are reseted, recovered and ready for race day.
Hills & Speed Work– are strength building runs; adapt the legs to ascending and descending hills.
Regular Run– done at an easy pace, about 60% exertion, also known as a conversational pace.
Long Run– an easy effort pace. This is a great time to practice and play around with your nutrition, hydration, and shoes etc.
Back to Back Long Run– can be brutal but its a good way to practice listening to your body. *LISTEN TO YOUR BODY* These runs help your legs adapt to fatigue. If you’re feeling tired from a weeks worth of training forget about the time and focus on the miles. Run #2 can be taken slowly, integrate walks and breaks as needed.
Active Recovery Day- exercise that require light effort. Movements that lets the legs rest from running. No plyometrics. Yoga and stretching would be best; other examples are swimming, or biking. We want to encourage blood flow, stimulate healing and cardiovascular endurance with low impact.
Rest Day- pivotal in any training program. It allows the body to repair muscles and other systems. This allows you to keep training safely and makes your runs feel stronger.
Cross Training– is highly recommended but at the bottom of the priority list. Prioritize your milage and recovery before integrating cross training or strength training into your regiment. It is not included in this plan but feel free to integrated it as needed. Strength training and cross training can focus more on upper body and core movements to compliment running
This guide keeps safety in mind and give you some leeway if you slack off in the beginning. If you’re a seasoned runner feel free to start the program at a later week but don’t neglect the taper weeks. It is possible for seasoned endurance runners to prepare for a 50 mile run safely in as little as 16 weeks. I’m a big fan of playing it safe and giving your mind a chance to adapt to the new routine as well as your body.
Mileage includes warm up and cool downs. Adjust the days to fit into your schedule but try to maintain the same pattern of rest, run, speed/hill, run, rest, long run, and back to back long run. You’ll notice for the second long run it is prescribed in time instead of milage. The overall weekly milage is based on a 10:00/mile pace, don’t worry if your over all milage changes because your mile run is faster or slower than that. Instead on the back to back long run focus on the prescribed time. This will allow you to listen to your body better- run harder on good days, slower on tougher days.
|1||REST||6||4 (speed)||6||REST||10-12||1 hour||34|
|2||REST||6||4 (hills)||6||REST||12-14||1 hour 10 mins||37|
|3||REST||6||5 (speed)||7||REST||14-16||1 hour 10 mins||41|
|4||REST||4||3||5||REST||10||Active Recovery||22 + AR|
|5||REST||7||5 (hills)||7||REST||16-18||1 hour 20 mins||45|
|6||REST||7||6 (speed)||7||REST||16-18||1 hour 20 mins||46|
|7||REST||7||6 (hills)||7||REST||18-20||1 hour 30 mins||49|
|8||REST||5||3||5||REST||12||Active Recovery||25 + AR|
|9||REST||8||6 (speed)||8||REST||22||1 hour 45 mins||54|
|10||REST||10||6 (hills)||8||REST||12||2 hours||58|
|11||REST||8||6 (speed)||8||REST||24||1 hour 45 mins||56|
|12||REST||6||4||6||REST||14||Active Recovery||28+ AR|
|13||REST||10||6 (hills)||8||REST||22||2 hours||58|
|14||REST||12||6 (speed)||10||REST||14||2.5 hours||57|
|15||REST||10||7 (hills)||8||REST||26||2 hours||63|
|16||REST||7||4||7||REST||14||Active Recovery||32+ AR|
|18||REST||12||8||10||REST||24||1 hour 45 mins||64|
|19||REST||8||4||8||REST||14||Active Recovery||34+ AR|
|24||REST||4||REST||30 mins||REST||RACE DAY||57|
Good luck and happy running!
This blog post is a recap of key points from multiple sources listed below & personal experience: