How to Run 50 Miles: Part I

I’ve never ran 50 miles in one go before, but will at the Copper Canyon Ultra a little over a month from now. The approach I’ve taken to building up to this race is very unconventional. Most running programs are linear in nature. With base miles building and long runs (bi-weekly) building up to a considerable sum every week, then a multi-week taper.

There are clear rules around not increasing long runs more than 10% each time, and in building up to a steady weekly mileage base (that can push 50-60+ miles per week for an ultra runner – with elite runners getting well over 100mpw).

I’m following a different approach because I have other things I chose to do with my time besides run, and I also want to avoid injury. The principles I’m following in my training include the following ideas that I’ve made up based on my own past experience doing marathons, Ironmans and a couple 50Ks:

  • Outcomes for endurance events are more due to mental, nutrition and pacing factors than they are of raw fitness. Therefore, focusing on training the non-fitness aspects will have material value on race day.
  • The limiter of speed in an endurance event is rarely aerobic fitness, it is usually muscular strength and power related (or mental strength related). Training strength and power (mental and physical) is therefore the key once you are reasonably fit aerobically.
  • Biomechanical efficiency is key, the lack of which can result in injury and/or inefficiency that throws any nutrition and racing plan out the window…the longer the event, the more important this become. Learning and using proper technique is critical.
  • If you are too tired from training to enjoy your life and all it has to offer, then you either aren’t training properly or don’t have your priorities in the right spot 🙂

###

Gotta run right now (to the Grand Opening of Shakti Redmond, woo hoo!) but will post next some more details of my specific training for the upcoming 50 miler.