I will be running my first 50k this year and so how better to pre-empt that with a link to a very relevant article. I will actually be running my first marathon a couple of weeks before the 50 so I ‘should’ be in pristine shape. Famous last words… If you’re in the same boat or are just looking to scan over some additional pointers, this will do the trick.
Ultrarunning isn’t about seeing how fast you can go, but how far you can go.
Check out this introductory guide to ultra-running and a beginner’s training plan to tackling a 50K.
Crossing the finishing line of a marathon is the completion of a journey well beyond the 26.2 miles of the race.
The successful completion of the marathon brings with it a heady mix of exhilaration, exhaustion and relief. Not to mention trashed hamstrings, quads and calves. Yet inevitably in the wake of the personal victory and after the pain has receded into a distorted memory it’s time to figure out what’s next.
For some, the next goal will be to go faster—to break a time goal or to qualify for Boston. For others the goal will just be to package the love for running with a love for traveling and do that next marathon in Dublin or on the Great Wall of China. For some, one is enough.
But for others, a special breed, the next challenge is about going farther. It’s time to take the journey into what is not just the next distance, but also the next world: ultrarunning. The 50K (roughly 31 miles) is the “shortest” standard distance you’ll find when you push beyond the limits of the marathon. This guide is aimed at training you to go the distance and, perhaps, give you a taste of, one day, going even farther and training for a 50- or 100-mile race.
We asked veteran ultrarunning coach Sean Meissner for the essential advice he would give to a runner wanting to take on the challenge of a first 50K. Meissner, who is based in Spokane, Wash., knows what he’s talking about. Not only does he have more than 100 ultra-distance race finishes to his name—including consecutive victories (2010 and 2011) at the Desert RATS 148-mile stage race between Fruita, Colo., and Moab, Utah—he has also been coaching beginning ultrarunners for more than a decade.
The following plan assumes you have a solid marathon or two (or more) under your belt and the critical experience and base-building that comes with it.
“I think a 16-week build-up would be about perfect for the marathoner looking to complete their first 50K,” Meissner says.