8 Weeks Till My First Ultra!


I’ve been a runner for 16 years. A marathoner for 5. And all this time, I have yet to dip into the welcoming world of ultramarathons. Until now!
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Here I am, 8 weeks out from my first 50k and I am excit-ervous.

All year long, I’ve been maintaining a decent base. Nothing to write home about, maybe 20-30 mile weeks, but the streak lives :) Everyday in 2014 has been graced by a run – from 1 mile down the block and back, in my PJs, at 11 o’clock at night; to running loops around our hotel floor in Ecuador; to 2:30hr trail runs on the weekends – I’ve been lucky to run everyday.

As fall approaches (yaaayyyy!), I knew I wanted to register for another marathon this year.

About 4 weeks ago, when I was inviting my brother out for the Silver Falls marathon, he somehow convinced Weez and I to register for the 50k instead. You ultra runners are hilarious like that. “Oh, come on, it’s only JUST another bazzilion miles…”

So anyhoo, he roped us in, and here we are. 8 short, SHORT weeks away from 50K.

We’ve been inching our long runs up every weekend – starting from 90 tempo minutes around town to 2hrs on trails (funny, how those can be almost the same mileage) to this past week of 2:30hrs – we’re creeping to the 16-20 mile LR zone.

But honestly, we’re kind of just wingin’ it.

Ultra runner friends: Do you have a recommended 50k training plan? Any advice on back-to-backs or max distance to hit? Can I ramp up into the 50K or should we spend a week or two tapering?

Looking forward to quality miles over the next 8 weeks!

Cheers to eating healthy, living well, and happy hours spent on single tracks!

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Heidi Nicole says:

    Yay! So excited about all of this…and excited for you! You loved the marathon, you’ll love the 50K even more. Seriously, just think of it as a chance to spend more time on incredible trails!

    In my [very inexperienced] opinion you can go into the 50K with training that is almost identical to a marathon, maybe topping out your long run at 24-26 miles? But definitely, definitely, definitely give yourself two weeks of taper. If I learned anything this summer it’s that rest is important, even if it feels weird on paper…

    1. Erin Fortin says:

      Thanks for the advice! Yikes… we’re only at ~16ish miles right now, so you still think a push to a 24 miler in 6 weeks (so we can spend the last 2 tapering), will be ok? (I wish we had a few more weeks prep!)

  2. CultFit says:

    Keep up the great work!

  3. Sam says:

    It’s not that much different than a marathon that you’re racing as far as the endurance training required. The more miles the better, but 24-26 in training is probably enough. 31 is a lot more than 26 mentally, but physically it won’t be that much different.

  4. Holly @ Run With Holly says:

    I’m late here, but it’s still before the race, so hopefully can offer a little advice. As mentioned above, distances are similar to marathon training… I think 24-26 miles should be plenty. Personally, I’ve gone up to 27-28 miles in 50K training runs, mostly because to get out off the trails and back to a bus stop – and this was usually on super easy runs where I took some short walk breaks (basically, fun trail exploration + time on feet, not exactly all running). Either way should be fine; just balance intensity with pace.

    I didn’t do many back-to-backs (maybe 1 or 2 at most?), because to me, they seemed like asking for injury. For longer ultras (50 miles +), I think they’re important for practice running on tired legs; but you actually come very close to your 50K race distance in training (much less so for 50 milers training), so for me, the potential cost isn’t worth the benefit. If I went out the next day, it was usually a shorter (3-5 mile) effort, just to shake my legs out, loosen things up, and prepare me for a solid stretching session. Alternatively – do a long run day, followed by a hiking day. This will give you time on feet, variety, and be a bit less taxing than another run.

    Most of all – enjoy the training. Reading about fall trail ultras makes me DEFINITELY miss the Sept-Nov running season!! So give those leaves some extra lovin’ for me!! :)

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