Ultrarunning: 50 Miler Training Tips

July 4, 2011

This article is part of Endurance Planet’s ultrarunning article series. If you have questions, comments or feedback about “50 Miler Training Tips”, please leave it below in the comments section…

Training for a 50 miler is never easy.

And part of the difficulty is that sometimes books and even veteran ultra runners give out conflicting ideas as to how to train for a race of such considerable distance. Granted this situation, there are still some common basics to follow when devising your very own training program.

Get all pertinent information about the race.

Obtain the specifics of the ultramarathon you’re planning to participate in. Bear in mind that each race has its unique conditions i.e. race course, weather, and distance per aid station. Knowing what these are will help you replicate the projected conditions so that you can train accordingly.

Incorporate long runs in your training regimen.

Long runs are crucial in building up strength and endurance. But you shouldn’t just go ahead and push your body to accomplish long runs. Increase your mileage steadily over a period of four months. And be careful when intensifying your training and implement no more than 10% increase every week. This gradual increase will help you adapt better to the regimen. It will minimize injuries as well.

Include fast walks in your training.

Fast walks are an integral part of ultramarathons. Practice long walking strides on the treadmill daily. Then exercise walking on a variety of terrains such as long dirt trail hills or rolling mud-spattered landscapes. Familiarizing yourself with such varied and difficult conditions is crucial so that you’ll get to tackle just about any type of environment during the race.

Practice eating and drinking while performing the training.

Typical footraces won’t require you to eat and drink while you’re running. But this isn’t the case with ultramarathons. You’ll need to do these while you’re shuffling along. Of course, there are aid stations. But if you’ll be running competitively, you’ll want to minimize such stops to cover much distance. And while you’re at it, practice running while carrying your water canteens and food supply too.

Rest adequately before the major event.

Allot a month before the ultramarathon for rest. Such is vital so that your body gets the recovery it needs. You don’t need to stop your training altogether. Just discontinue the long runs and replace it with six- to eight-mile weekly runs instead.

Listen to your body.

Understand that training programs will vary from athlete to athlete. What works for one won’t necessarily apply to you. So make sure to listen to your body. If you feel too tired for the day, then allow yourself some rest. If you have added bursts of energy on different occasions, then by all means extend your training.

Share the experience.

You might also want to consider preparing with fellow ultra runners. Sharing your experiences with like-minded individuals will help boost your morale and widen your knowledge of the sport.


Do you have questions about training for the 50 miler, or what you’ve read so far? Do you have any ultrarunning pointers of your own to add? Please leave your feedback, comments and questions below, and we promise we’ll respond.

Comments (2)

  • John Price); says:

    Almost all the points listed were for those whose only interest in running a 50 miler would be to finish. It is extreamely narrow in it's points. A lot of this is really not appropriate for someone wanting to actually race a 50.
    First a 50 can an often be run in it's entirety. Unless you are talking about a tough mountain trail run, a properly trained runner will NOT need to run much if at all. Also tapering for a full month is a recipe for failure. If you need to taper this much you did something major wrong in your training, IE overtrained drastically.

  • dvd ripper says:

    Hi, just stumbled on your page from reddit. It’s not an article I would typically read, but I loved your perspective on it. Thanks for making a blog post worth reading!

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