Training for My First Ultra Marathon – 50 kilometers

I set a goal at the beginning of the month that was a bit optimistic, maybe doable, but I’ve already revised the goal and added another month to it so I don’t leap forward in my usual gung-ho style and hurt myself. I’d like to really ramp up my running over the next year and don’t need any major injuries.

I want to run my first Ultra-Marathon of 50 KM by the end of October.

Some Background

  • I played soccer from 7 years old until 18.
  • I raced (running) competively, bicycled competitively, and ran triathlons and biathlons competitively for a total of maybe 10 years after high school. I’m 48 years old now.
  • Until recently I hadn’t run past 15 miles. The other week I ran 16 miles and it felt great up until that point. Great, meaning I was able to keep going and push through the pain without too much trouble. At the sixteenth mile the soft tissue behind my knees hurt too much to continue.
  • How do I make myself run 15+ miles?
  • I don’t stretch. I need to stretch a bit because after 15 miles I think my legs were feeling much too tight.
  • I’ve done mostly short trail runs and step climbing sessions of 40 minutes to 2.5 hours over the past 10 years. Running started in earnest about 2 years ago after stopping riding my bike.

So, after listening to Sage Canaday’s video about periodization training I decided to go on a 9 day cycle, like he does. I’ll do a hard workout – quality workout he calls them – and then take 2 easy days, then another hard workout, 2 days, etc. I’ll do 3 difficult days during the 9 day cycle, and 5 days easy, possibly 4 easy depending how difficult my long run is to complete.

Here’s the breakdown for this week:

  • 9/16  – easy 6-7 miles
  • 9/17 – fast run up mountain trail for 700 meters elevation gain and 11.5 kilometers. This is a lactic acid threshold run for 90% of the run. Involves some power-hiking up steep sections.
  • 9/18 – easy 6-7 miles
  • 9/19 – easy 6-7 miles
  • 9/20 – lactate threshold / tempo run with 1 minute rests between 1.25 km laps around the park (flat – no elevation gain).
  • 9/21 – easy 6-7 miles
  • 9/22 – easy 6-7 miles
  • 9/23 – long run of 12-20 miles – depending how I feel.
  • 9/24 – rest, nothing
  • 9/25 – easy 5-6 miles
  • 9/26 – fast run up mountain trail like above.
  • Repeat, adding couple miles during each week to the easy runs to increase overall mileage.

We’ll see how this plan goes. Ideally I’ll remain uninjured and be able to complete my goal in late October of running my first 50 kilometer ultra-marathon. I’ll do this around our local park. It’s flat and will hopefully be a cool day!

Have YOU run an ultra yet? How did you go about ramping up training to help you get to 50 kilometers or more? Accepting advice…!

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