Hey there, Don't forget to log in and join the conversation Log in


General discussion
RunUltra forums > General discussion > 50 miles Ultra marathon in 6 month View modes: 
User avatar
braveluke - 12/10/2017 10:40:58
50 miles Ultra marathon in 6 month
Hi guys, I'm Luke. I'm beginner runner as I've just begun my running activities since August.
I'll have my second half marathon on 10/29/2017. From this day to April, We have a contest called Vietnam Jungle Marathon.
I decided to take part in 70 kilometers distance...
Howerver, I don't have any training plan. I even know that it's hard to complete but I really want to train for this.
Please help me.

User avatar
Advanced member
Advanced member
lukejarmey - 12/10/2017 22:28:15
RE:50 miles Ultra marathon in 6 month
Hi Luke,

Great that you're giving an ultra a go. Vietnam Jungle Marathon sounds very cool.

Give this is a read: https://www.runultra.co.uk/Training/February-2016/Everything-you-need-to-know-to-run-a-50km-ultra

It says 50km, but can easily be applied to a 50 mile race as well.

This training article might also be interesting: https://www.runultra.co.uk/Training/April-2017/20-Things-You-Need-To-Know-to-transition-from-mara

Hope that helps


RunUltra Community Manager

User avatar
globalgamble - 05/01/2018 15:11:30
RE:50 miles Ultra marathon in 6 month
So many different training plans out there! I read a ton of them and made mine up as I went along.

When running was just a cross-train sport for me, I averaged 20 miles a week. Those miles didn't include any long-runs. When I moved to a colder climate and couldn't spend as many hours on my main sport, tennis, I decided to focus on my running. Instead of training to be faster at shorter distances ( 5K&10K), I decided I would start training longer, slower, running (LSD). I started off by just signing up for a half-marathon. Since I was already pretty conditioned, I didn't find it hard to throw in a long-run on the weekend. I started with a 7 miler then built up to a 18 miler long run. I didn't pay attention to a specific build-up plan, I listened to my body. If I was out and feeling it, I would just keep going!

A few weeks before the half was scheduled to take place, I signed up for a 12-hour ultra-marathon. For years while I was just a short distance runner, I'd read many books written by ultra-runners. I don't have to list them all off here, but of course everyone in Ultra knows who Dean is, but there are several other ultra-runners that have written great books. My point being, you read enough of these stories you start to do their runs in your head. Even though I had just built up to an 18-mile long run physically, mentally I felt like I had run dozens of ultras through the stories of these great runners. That said, you still have to put in the work to build miles. Imagine just rolling out of beds and going from a being a 5K runner one week and a 50-miler the next!

As I mentioned, I read a ton of articles on training. I basically took the advice that kept repeating through articles and plugged it into my plan. Especially advice on hydration, fuel, gear, and other logistics. Like, your shoe change.. plan for swelling in your feet so if you change shoes mid-race (I recommend doing this) have a change of shoe that is about a half-size bigger than your normal size. You can trial this during your long runs leading up to the event. Trial everything! Many articles will give specific gear recommendations to bring with on race-day. Those gear recommendations are good during your planning stage, by the time race-day rolls around you will know exactly what gear you need.

As soon as I decided to sign up for the ultra, the first piece of advice I decided to train was running on tiered legs. Many say that is what the back-back long-runs are for, but being a single mom w/2 kids, I didn't have time for 2 long runs in a week. So, what I did for the first 40 days of my “ultra” training was run a minimum 5K/daily with a long run on the weekends of up to 8 miles. During this time, I was also still playing tennis twice a week and working with a trainer in the gym twice a week. All the time, I was experimenting with hydration, gels, what clothes wicked and taking care of my feet. At the end of this post, I will put my key reading recommendations for training for an ultra and one of them will focus solely on feet.

The timing of ending my 40 days of running coincided with a planned 5 week vacation. Life gets in the way with our training, that is another thing you have to accept or are coming to terms with. During those 5 weeks, I didn't get much running in. My miles dropped to more like 15-20 per week, with my longest run being 10K. I continued to do my resistance training with bands and my own weight, but I wasn't formally in any gym environment. I did a fair amount of kayaking during that time, but I was pretty much in vacation mode. Since we live overseas our time in the US is rare and I would have felt selfish busting away every day for a run or disappearing for half-days on end for long runs. I just did what I could. So if you find yourself in a similar situation during your training, just let life happen and get back to it as soon as you can!

After I got back from vacation I had about 7 weeks before my ultra. I used that time to build time on feet and pacing. I was not in the mindset of smashing the run, I just wanted to see what my baseline would be. I set 3 goals, a minimum, realistic, and wishful mileage goal. This piece of advice was also repeated through many articles I read :) Once you set those goals, you should train for the distance you set as your realistic goal. Once I had my goals set, I started experimenting with pacing on my long runs. Your race is different than what I trained for, it appears you have a set route. I was training for a 12-hour race. I focused on LSD training because I had no finish line, just a clock. I factored in aide-station and gear changes. My realistic goal was 4 miles an hour which would settle me at 48 miles, and anything beyond that was gravy for a sprinter turned endurance runner!

I don't know what your plan to deal with the boredom is, but if you are considering podcasts or music you will need to train that. Maybe earphones aren't even allowed for your race? Best check it if you run with them! I know that I deal best with the boredom by listening to music. My race was super boring b/c it was a 1200 meter loop in a park. Granted at the 6-hour mark we turned around and ran the opposite direction, but otherwise it was me and the loop! I have to say the locals came out and cheered everyone on which was amazing, but still 12 hours in a loop is pretty darn boring! I knew my phone would run out of battery so I wore and extra fuel belt for the 2nd half with just a battery pack zipped into it. ( I of course trained wearing both fuel belts. )

The last 6 week-ends leading up to the race was when I really started adding time on feet. The stat that seemed to repeat was to do your longest training run at 60% of the total time on feet and/or mileage for the real race. I set my sights to do my longest training run at 7 hours, but I actually did 8. I did it at my gym that has a 900m jogging loop and I crewed myself with a cooler full of the drinks I would bring to the race, and the snacks that I would also bring to the race. I chose not to rely on the race aide-stations. One of my junkie Iron Men friends told me to base my energy and hydration plan on what I would bring to the race, and I liked that advice. It made for more stuff to travel with b/c my race was a destination race, but it made at least hydration and energy consumption predictable. The more that you can predict on race-day the better your will do. It's because not only have you tested it on your body, but your brain knows it works. Showing up on race day knowing I had already accomplished 8 hours on my feet (just keep moving forward) was all I needed to push through the rest. Funny enough on the aide-station topic, I noticed coca-cola started showing up as the day wore on. Mind you there were actually people that had started running the day before (48hr) and others that were going for 12 beyond my race, so a coca-cola spike was just what we needed as the hours wore on. If you read these utlra junkie books, you will read about them mentioning runners and coca-cola. I read about it, but couldn’t imagine myself actually wanting to drink coca-cola on a run. At hour 10, I broke down and deviated from my strict race prep plan and had a glass of cola. Oh my, coca-cola never tasted so good! That’s about the only thing I deviated from in terms of what I ingested on race day and what I trained to ingest on race day!

I think it's also worth noting, I was getting a massage on at least a bi-weekly basis those last 6 weeks leading up to the race. I’m lucky I live someplace where a weekly massage is affordable. Not only affordable, but my masseuse is qualified to give solid sport massages. If you can afford to throw in regular massages you will have a higher chance of staving off injury in training and it's just an awesome thing to look forward to after those long runs!

I ended up getting 42.6 miles (68K) in my 12 hours, 3 miles above my acceptable goal, and 5 miles short of my realistic. That said, on race day something happened I never could have trained for.. the onset of a urinary tract infection. I knew within the first few hours of the race that I was in trouble. It didn't take much to self-diagnose something was wrong. Running with the sensation of having to go to the bathroom and then finding very little relief, is not fun. I made the most of it though. There were pockets of time during that race when I was feeling strong and I took advantage of those times. There were other times when I knew I had to dial it back. One of my many mantras (you've got to have mantras) is " be patient enough for things to turn around", this is one of many mantras I picked up from "Nowhere Near First by Cory Reese". I used that mantra a lot! I tried to stick to my 4 mile/hr plan, but it wasn’t sustainable given the various levels of discomfort I hit during the race. Speaking of mantras, for the heck of it, I will put the longer list at the bottom of this thread since it's already beyond too long! Cory also says you have to have an action plan for when something goes wrong. Something went very wrong for me, but I dealt with it the best I could. On a healthier day, I know I could have crushed those 12 hours. The weather was perfect, the locals were out cheering, hydration and fuel plan were spot-on, my legs, heart, and lungs all felt great, I was mentally solid.. but ultimately my body had another plan for me. As uncomfortable as those 12 hours were, I never once entertained the idea of quitting. It was just, ok, let’s adjust things a bit and finish this thing. A mantra that I made up for my Iron Man friend before his first full-Iron, was FDNF … the F is an expletive in case you didn’t figure that out 

I’m looking for some 2018 races. Now I am trying intermit-fasting, back in the gym with a trainer working on core training, and back to my average 20 mile week. Since the weather is cold and long-runs are no fun on the treadmill, I’m focusing on getting lean and strong so I can try to crush a 5K PR in the spring. I would also like to do another ultra or at least a marathon in the fall. I also want that longer run to be a destination race, so I’m open to suggestions! I dig the loop ultras because you can easily crew yourself, at least up to 12-24 hours anyway. Trail run would be awesome, it’s on the bucket list for some future date!

Good luck my fellow junkie!

My timeline
January 2017 - signed up for half-marathon scheduled for mid-May 2017
Feb-mid-April 2017- built up miles, eventually long run at 18 miler
April 2017 - ran competitive 10Ks at the start and end of the month
May 2017 - ran my first half-marathon (2hr08) /signed up for the Sept. Ultra
Mid-May- End-June - 40 days continuous running, minimum 5K, longest runs at 8 miles, included cross-strength training in the gym and tennis training with rally coach 2-3 times per week... got those legs used to performing despite being fatigued!
July – vacayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy – ran between 10-15 miles per week.. did some random bike riding, kayaking, stand-up paddle, and mickey-mouse tennis with friends and family.
August - serious buildup of time on feet! I was not training tennis or doing much in the gym, I was focused on training time on feet and race planning (hydration, gear, etc.) I did my last long run 1 week before race day, the 8 hour loop at my gym. In retrospect, I should not have done that longest run one-week out of race day, but again life got in the way, I had guests in town the week before and I couldn't just disappear for a day to run!
My race was Sept. 23rd, started at 9am and finished at 9pm. (42.6 miles) - 100,021 step day per my fitbit.. i finished the race at like 93K steps, I had to walk out the addtional 7K steps.. no way I was getting that close to the elite 100K fit-***** badge and not nail it!
October 14 - I ran the Bucharest marathon (5hr10). I signed up at the last minute figuring I was still conditioned enough to finish. Not by any means a fast race, but I just wanted to finish it! My legs were still in LSD mode!

Recommended Books
BIBLES for anyone considering ULTRA sport
- The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing by Philip Maffetone ( MUST - MUST - MUST)
- Fixing Your Feet: Injury Prevention and Treatments for Athletes by John Vonhof

Good inspiration for those considering ULTRA sport
- "Nowhere Near First” by Cory Reese
- “Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness” by Scott Jurick
- “Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner” - by Dean Karnazes ( Dean has written several books and is by far the most commercially successful utlra-runner)

Cory's Mantras

- keep moving forward
- suffering becomes part of the journey
- focus on what's going right
- turn off the complaining in your head
- if something is worth doing, do it now
- be over prepared
- run the mile you're in ( top fave)
-You are not almost there, don't focus on future miles
- be patient enough to turn things around (top fave)
- imagine worst case scenario and have an action plan
- be willing to embrace suffering
- energy + effort spread evenly = a perfect race ( he makes an analogy to making a perfectly even peanut butter sandwich)
- smile ( fake it until you make, smiling releases endorphins, keeps us positive!)
- bank energy not time (top fave)
- use aid stations wisely, make a mental check list on approach, get in and out, be quick and purposeful
- recommendation for a book called Fixing your Feet, John Vonhof (probably more important for an ultra but i have my share of feet issues)
- take a step beyond the line of what is comfortable
- beware to compare

Dean’s Mantras
- Pain is the body’s way of ridding itself of weakness
- If it felt good, you didn’t push hard enough… It’s supposed to hurt like hell
- Any goal worth achieving involves an element of risk
- There is magic in misery
- Suffering is the sole origin of consciousness
- When you are going through hell, keep going (Winston Churchill)
- It’s a good hurt
- Recovery is overrated
- Heat is the runners enemy
- Sometimes you have to go through hell to get to heaven
- Baby steps
- Your legs can only carry you so far, running great distances is done with the head and the heart
- Pursuit of passion matters more than passion itself
- Immense yourself in something deeply with heartfelt intensity – continually improve – never give up – this is fulfillment, this is success
- Often we think we’re moving in the right direction only to learn that the rules have changed
- To most non-runners, running is at its best boring and at its worst terribly painful and senseless
- What am I running from? Who am I running for? Where am I running to?

Currently I am reading The Ultra Mindset: An Endurance Champion's 8 Core Principles for Success in Business, Sports, and Lifehaving just finished Finding Ultra. Born to Run is also another great read.


5 user(s) on-line: 0 registered and 5 guests