When it comes down to it, training for a 50k is not all that different from training for a marathon. Sure, it’s 5 more miles than a marathon, and every step past the 26.2 mile mark will be into uncharted territory, but it’s only 5 miles, right? Right, someone please tell me that when I am at mile 28 on Saturday. Then run fast because I will probably attempt to punch you in the face.
Here’s a course description from the North Face Endurance Challenge website:
An ideal course layout for elite speedsters and those taking their first strides in the world of trail ultrarunning, the Endurance Challenge Madison course is run-able from start to finish, provided that you’ve trained hard enough. Located 60 miles east/southeast of Madison, in the southern reaches of picturesque Kettle Moraine State Park, a large portion of the course takes place on the renowned Ice Age Trail.
There are not an abundance of ultramarathon training plans floating around out there, but there are a couple I found online which I used to loosely base my long runs on. For this race, since my goal is not to finish fast, but to finish without dying and finish strong (the latter may be pushing it), I made my focus on running lots and lots of miles. My weekly mileage peaked out around 60 miles, which is actually quite a bit for me. My Saturday long run peaked at 26 miles, three weeks out from the race, followed by a 20 and a 10 the two weekends after that. I generally ran 5-6 days a week, swam 1-2 days, and biked once on Sundays, usually 35-60 miles.
Being that this is a trail race, the key thing I did during training was to get out on the trails. Makes sense, right? Once a week, usually Wednesday, I headed out to Lapham Peak and ran 10-15 miles on the brutally hilly trails out there. My pace on these runs was very slow (think 10 min/mile range), but it got my legs used to running on lots of hills and uneven terrain. I am pretty sure hopeful that Saturday’s course is a bit less hilly/steep than Lapham Peak, or you may find me keeled over in the woods come nightfall.
Last year I ran the half-marathon at this event:
Last year the event was in late October, it was chilly but beautiful! I plan on trying to get lots of sleep tonight to rest up. I feel ready and I’m excited to take on the challenge. T minus two days!