50-Mile Running Training Plan

So in about 2 months I’ll be running the 50-Mile Buffalo Run on Antelope Island. To better prepare, I’ve switched to using Hal Koerner’s 50-Mile training plan — lasting a grueling 16 weeks — as my loose guide which has become very challenging both from an effort and time commitment standpoint. This is my first time to follow a a regimented training plan (my typical “training” just consisted of my running as long as felt like, whenever I felt like it!) and, like some fellow ultra-marathon redditors have mentioned, I have mixed opinions.

The pros of following this training plan are:

  • Uses the power of guilt as a motivating factor (have you kept up with what you are suppose to keep up with?)
  • The back-to-back long runs help you experience what it’s like to run on tired legs
  • Running 50 miles (or more) requires putting in a hefty amount of miles per week; this training plan helps you schedule it as best as humanly possible

The cons of following the plan is:

  • Like one redditor mentioned, I think it is extremely difficult to keep up with 60-70 miles per week and not get injured. Most of my more recent miles come in the form of trail running in snow. One false move and you can easily turn an ankle leaving you out an indeterminate amount of time in recovery (which, of course, happened to me)
  • Needs more hills. A lot more hills. I feel like 5 miles of uphill is comparable to a half marathon of flat running. Additionally, most long distance trail races encompasses a lot of elevation, so having hill training is crucial
  • More rest days after back-to-back long runs. I feel like one day is hardly enough recovery time after running up to 50 miles (Week 12) in two outings.

I must admit that after following the plan thus far, I am in the best shape I have ever been prior to a race. I’ve grown accustomed to the daily 6 to 10 mile weekday runs — enough that it isn’t much effort to accomplish anymore. The second of the long runs are still killer and I’m relatively weak on the uphills, but I feel that I can close that effort gap before race day in a few months. Will keep you posted!

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