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The Coastal Challenge. Photo credit: RunUltra.

Everything you need to know to run a 50km ultra


Last updated: 22-Aug-18

By Alice Morrison

As part of our ongoing work to bring you the best ultra training articles, kit, nutrition and motivation help that we can, we at RunUltra have commissioned a complete “pack” to help you run a 50km ultra. It is a distance that a lot of people start with, so it can also be used as a guide to how to run your first ultra. Alice Morrison puts it together.

Training Plan

A very good place to start. Although every person is different and you should bear this in mind while reading the plan, we all need to begin somewhere. Justin Bateman, runner and coach has devised a fantastic, practical and solid plan to get you through that 50km. He gives you a week by week timetable as well as overall advice.

Cross Training

We all need to do some cross training for our mental as well as physical health! Seriously, though, strengthening and core work as well as stretching will stand you in tremendous stead as you start increasing your distances. Trying to keep injury free is the bane of every runner and we have a whole series of articles to help you with that.

Using the bike, the pool and the gym are all really good ways to keep it fresh and keep it going.

Yoga for runners (stretching and strengthening). Three sets of routines from 10 minutes to half an hour:

  1. Hip openers and stretchers
  2. Hips and hamstrings
  3. Restoration and relaxation

Core strengthening. Two sets of routines for abs, back and legs:

  1. Leg and core strength
  2. Abs and obliques


Nutrition is the other absolutely key part of your regime as you move up through the miles. Diana Green, runner, nutritionist and chef, has compiled the total guide to managing your OWN diet. She includes the calculations you need to work out what is right for your weight/age/gender/goals. She also has examples to help you through it including menus to balance protein, carbohydrates and fats within the context of the training plan set out by Justin above. She has included a whole series of easy and delicious recipes. As she says, “I will never sacrifice taste for a few calories!”

Psychology of running

That is the body taken care of, now for the head. It is a cliché but totally true that your ultra will be won and lost by your brain not your legs. We have gathered a series of pieces to try and get you straight, from getting your mojo in shape, and a little bit of motivation to the all important race plan.

  1. Find your Mojo
  2. Running motivation
  3. Race management

Choosing your races

I am guessing that you actually did this first. But if you didn’t or even if you fancy doing some more or just doing a bit of fantasy shopping, here is our list of the Top 10 ultras for beginners which include a lot of 50km races. Choosing races is always the best part of the process, except for finishing them of course!

Some top tips

Everyone loves top tips. We have lots of them on the site and here are a couple to whet your appetite:

  1. Ten quick tips to help you go the distance
  2. Ten top tips to make you a better climber

You know you can do it. Consistency helps but if you start to flag, don’t worry, every mile you have already run will always be with you. Remember, we always want to hear your feedback and stories so please feel free to comment or to get in touch and tell us your story! Luke Jarmey is your man for that and he is on [email protected]

Good luck! Run like the WIND….

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