How do you train for that?

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One of my latest ambitions is tackling a 50K trail race on about 10 weeks of training.  Most people’s first thought is, are you nuts?  The second is, how do you train for this?

My longest run has been 42kms which included some street and some trails.  I’ve done a 35km tempo run, yes tempo, and many 20-25K fartleks as well.  I’ve also done some track work but keeping the intensity in check.

The secret to training for an endurance event such as this is taxing the right energy systems to get the biggest bang for your (or my) buck.

Looking at the race and then working back, I guess what time I expect to finish in and then figure out what energy systems I’m going to rely on the most.  Since it is primarily a zone 1 effort (zone 1 meaning almost all fat burning), a lot of training has to be done at this level. 

You cannot expect to run your half marathon pace for a 50K.  Now for someone else their pace might be your half marathon pace!  But remember to only focus on you!

I would have liked to put in a lot more volume but on such short training time, I had to make some adaptations.  Here are some short cuts to keep relative volume down:

  • A zone 3-4 run can be regarded as 3 to 4 times the amount of time as compared to a zone 1 run. So this means a track workout can tax the body equally to a long run in terms of energy (work done).  Substituting these in twice a week will help keep overall time down.
  • I use cycling and swimming for added volume.  This also helps me keep wear and tear off my body.
  • With only 10 weeks of pure ‘ultra’ training, I have to rely on previous months and years of solid foundation. 

With the goal in mind to finish upright and keep logging miles through the winter, this 50K should be a lot of fun. 

Thanksgiving is today, so that means the muscles cells should be jammed with added fuel for the journey ahead!  See the results here (