50 Miler Training Recap

Since I never posted a formal training plan at the start of my training for the Stone Mill 50, and a few people have requested a recap of my training, I've decided to put it all out there on the interwebz.

Disclaimer: I am not a running coach (though I do plan to become certified soon!) I developed a plan based on various sources and my prior marathon and 50k training experience. 

Training Resources

I used the following helpful resources to aid me in developing a 50 miler training plan:

This book is essential for ultrarunners, whether you are a novice or experienced in the sport. Powell, also the editor of iRunfar.com goes into nutrition, hydration, blisters, injuries and even has ready-made training plans in the book. I mainly used the 50 mile per week training plan included in this book.


This website is not just for ladies! I referenced this plan frequently, especially for long runs and tapering advice.


I followed this less closely, but it was still helpful to use as a resource.
Myself
This is often the most overlooked resource when runners create training plans. I know from training for many long races that my body and social life cannot handle super high mileage, thus, I opted for low/mid mileage training. Additionally, I checked in with my body while training to make sure I wasn't overdoing it, and took extra rest days when necessary.


Weekly Schedule

The goal was to follow the following weekly schedule, but I often changed days around depending on my social plans: 

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Easy 6-7
Wednesday:  7+
Thursday: Easy 5-7
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Short Long (10-12)
Sunday: Long Long (16+) - TRAILS

*The major difference between 50 Miler training and 26.2/50K training is the back-to-back weekend long runs.*

Sometimes I ended up running back to back long runs on Friday/Saturday since I have every other Friday off from work. I always tried to get to the trails for my long-long run every week, but since I live in a city this was not always possible. 

The Plan 

For the past year, I've been tracking runs using a Google Doc training template courtesy of fellow Oiselle teammate, SarahOUaL. Here is a snapshot of my plan, and below that I included a link to the template if you'd like to use it yourself. 
The grey line is the planned mileage per day/week. The line below is the actual runs completed, and below that is details about the run. The orange boxes are my ACTUAL weekly mileages. Additionally, you will see that sometimes I use time instead of miles for long runs. This is helpful in training for trail ultras, since it is often said that "time on feet" is more important that miles. I also included my summer ultimate frisbee games on the plan, which I counted as cross training.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Week
Week guide rest+stretch Easy Hills Easy Rest Long Trail Long trail
1 8-Jul GAME 6 6 rest GAME 13 30
4 6 5.5 rest rest 10 4.5 30
4 6 5.5 10 4.5
2 15-Jul GAME GAME GAME 13 35
4 rest 5 10 12.5 31.5
4 Game rest 5 game 10 12.5
3 22-Jul rest GAME GAME rest 10 Frisbee Frisbee 25
5.7 5.2 rest 10.1 Wildwood Wildwood 21
5.7 5.2 rest 10.1 Wildwood Wildwood 21 mi+ 4 days frisbee
4 29-Jul GAME GAME 6 move vacation vacation vacation 35
4 rest 6 10
4 6 vacation vacation
5 5-Aug rest rest rest 8 16 FEST 40
3.5 rest 5 6.3 15.2 30
3.5 + game 5 6.3 15.2 road run
6 12-Aug 5 5 5 5 rest 5 rest 30
6.6 6.5 13.1
6.6 Folk Fest Folk Fest Folk Fest 6.5 Folk Fest Folk Fest
7 19-Aug 3.25 hours 45
6 6 rest Phillies game 14.6 rest 6.4 33
6 6 14.6 6.4
8 26-Aug 6 3.75 hours 8 rest 40
5 6 rest 4 15.5 8 rest 38.5
5 lunch, hot 6 4 15.5 8
9 2-Sep 6 7 5 rest 2 hours 2 hours rest 45
6 8 6 5 rest rest 13.1 38.1
6 8 6 5 rest 13.1
10 9-Sep 20 (4.5 hours) 2.5 hours 50
6 rest 6 rest 20 12 rest 44
6 rest 6 rest 4.5 hours, 20 miles 12 miles road rest
11 16-Sep 14 8 40
6 rest 6 rest rest 16 12 40
6 rest 6 rest rest 16 road 12 road
12 23-Sep rest or 3 easy Vermont 50k 50
rest 8 rest 5 rest rest 31 44
8 5 31
13 30-Sep 3 hours 12 35
rest rest 4 bike 6 rest 12 22
4 17 mile bike ride 6 12
14 7-Oct rest 3 hours rest 50
6 rest 6 8 5 rest 18 43
6 6 inc. 10 hill repeats & 20 stairs 8 5 + 15 mins stairs & abs 18
15 14-Oct rest 6 10 55
rest 6.7 9 rest 6 12.3 20 54
6.7 easy + arms & abs 5+4+ yoga rest 6 12.3 20
16 21-Oct rest 7 6 rest 5 hours trail 60
7 5 rest 18 rest rest 30
7 @ 8:45 5 @ 9:06 rest 4 hours
17 28-Oct 7 5 6 rest 5 10 rest 36
7 5 rest 5 rest 11 28
7 5 5 11
18 4-Nov 5 rest 5 rest 3 10 20
4 6 10 20
4 6 10
19 11-Nov 4 3 2 Stone Mill 50 59
4 3 50 57
4 fast 3 easy

[Click here for SarahOUaL's training template]
As you can see, the whole plan was very flexible. I used this plan as more of a "guide" than a strict schedule. If you compare the grey boxes to the orange, you will see that I didn't hit my goal mileages very often. I stressed about that while training, but in the end, I still finished the race in 12 hours, 11 minutes feeling pretty strong.

If I had to change anything about this training season, I would definitely have run a higher average weekly mileage and more back to back long runs. Additionally, I would have done more strength training and core work, which is something I always tend to neglect in my training.  I also would have liked to hit my last peak week of 60 miles (week 16)  instead of only running 30 miles, but life gets in the way sometimes.

I'd recommend building a very strong base for at least 6 months prior to attempting a 50 miler. I trained for a 50K in Spring 2013, during which I actually logged more miles than while training for this 50 miler (I had more time to train in the spring.) I also highly recommend building a 50K race into your training program as a long training run, about 4 weeks out from the 50 miler if you can find one. 
Ultimately, 50 miler training is not something to be taken lightly. It will require more time and energy than typical marathon training, especially on weekends. However, as evidenced by my Stone Mill training and results,  you can still finish a 50 miler on relatively "low" mileage (by ultra standards.) If you are looking to run a "fast" 50 miler, you can still use the training resources I provided above the plan, and increase the mileage as necessary.

I hope this is helpful for all those looking to run their first 50 miler soon! If you have any questions, please shoot me an email at trailsandcocktails@gmail.com!

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