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Hal Higdon: Ultramarathon 50K

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Hal Higdon: Ultramarathon 50K


Hal Higdon

All plans by this Coach
4.35 (17)


26 Weeks

Plan Description

Hal Higdon: Ultramarathon 50K: Is 26 miles 385 yards too short for you? Would you like to move upwards in distance and become an ultramarathoner? A runner of ultras? Here is a training program to get you ready to race 50 kilometers (31.1 miles) That is only a half dozen more miles than the classic 26.2,, but those half dozen miles can be a struggle if you do not train properly. That is true for any race distance—even a 5K—but it is particularly true for an ultra.

How difficult is it to run a 50K race? I address that question in a chapter on Ultras in my book, Hal Higdon’s How to Train, quoting George Parrott, a coach with the Buffalo Chips running club in Sacramento, California. “Fifty kilometers is simply a marathon with a warmup.” Okay, George. We believe you. Now, what kind of training will get us to the finish line of a 50-K race?

Here's the plan: The first 18 weeks of this 50K training program offer a mirror image of my Intermediate 2 marathon training program. A half marathon Week 9, three 20-milers at peak training, then a three-week taper to 26.2 miles in Week 18. You do not necessarily need to “race” in Weeks 9 and 18, but using a race as a training run allows you to utilize support on the course not always available for a training run. After a brief recovery, you continue to train for eight more weeks to your climactic 50K in the 26th week of this program.

The progressive mileage build-up leading to your 50-K follows a logical pattern: a mile or two more each week, particularly for the key long runs. But wait: There is a pattern different from most of my programs for races 5K to 26.2 miles. In preparing you to race 50K, I often use time rather than distance to define many of the longer-distance workouts. And most of the long runs are coupled on the weekends with semi-long runs, sometimes done at race pace. This is a trick I learned from experienced ultramarathoners such as George Parrott. You don't need to do megamileage. You simply need to be smart about the mileage you do run, particularly the Saturday and Sunday workouts. Thus in Week 30 of the program, just before the taper begins, expect to run 30 miles on Sunday following a 2-hour run on Saturday. I know: Wow! But if you want to run an ultra, you need to learn to train like an ultramarathoner.

All will be revealed in the daily emails I will send you if you sign up for this 50-K ultramarathon training program. You can run 50K: Believe me!

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Training Plan Sample Week


Average Weekly Breakdown

Workouts Weekly Average Longest Workout
Run x5
05:01:00 05:00:00
Day Off x2
—— ——
Workouts Per Week Weekly Average Longest Workout
05:01:00 05:00:00
Day Off
—— ——

Training Load By Week

This plan works best with the following fitness devices:

Hal Higdon

Hal Higdon Communications

Hal Higdon is a Contributing Editor for Runner's World, that magazine's longest lasting writer, Hal's having contributed an article to RW's second issue in 1966. He also is the author of more than three dozen books, including Marathon: The Utimate Training Guide and the recently published Hal Higdon's Half Marathon Training and Run Fast (3rd edition).

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