Posts Tagged With: 50 miles

The “plan”

11 miles in the snow today!

This is the tentative training schedule. I say tentative because I am fairly undisciplined, and I also like trying new things. This plan is based off one I found online (dirtyrunning) that appealed to me. First because I tried the high mileage thing two years ago and burned out in September and this plan is relatively low mileage plan. Second, I found that a decade ago, if I concentrated on my long weekend runs and only got out once or twice during the week I had a bit of success, so I’m trying to regain the conditioning minus the burnout.

Tentative is the catchword here, not to give me an out on days I don’t want to run, but to give me options to do other things and not be a slave to training. The fact that I like looking for obscure fun trail races which cannot necessarily be scheduled according to my mileage “needs” and the need to be flexible for other events, sports, and kids requires my schedule to be tentative. Understand that I do this for fun; not for speed, not for glory, not for prizes. So here are the basics:

Mondays are core days. My sister teaches a Pilates class Mondays and Fridays at the YMCA directly across the street from where I work. Her classes are brutal and I have never enjoyed them (the two I went to). But, as I get older, I find that I’m losing a bit of core strength that is essential for negotiating technical single track, particularly technical downhills which I pride myself on being somewhat of an expert at doing. So I’m “committing” to once a week core building.

Wednesdays are the “Strength” running workouts. These are supposed to be 45 minutes to one hour runs pushing the uphills, or fartleks, or tempo runs. I know I said I’m not about speed, glory, or prizes, but these runs are essential for strength in the long run. Even if I’m not running an uphill 30 or 40 miles into a 50 miler, I still need the strength to summit. I also understand that running uphills uses different muscles than power-walking uphills, which is my strategy in ultra events, but I have a plan to build those muscles as well. The object for these “Strength” runs is to focus on the muscle groups the weekend long runs, and recovery runs don’t address; it is all a part of the balanced approach to ultras.

This is where the tentativeness of this schedule comes into play. Fleet Feet / Yellowjacket Racing in Rochester hosts a “SnowCheap” race series. These are six runs on Wednesday nights between 3 – 4 miles, on snowshoes. Depending on whether or not I enjoy the snowshoe race (I have zero experience in snowshoes) this upcoming Saturday and whether or not my kids’ schedules comply, I may find myself entering a few of these races and pushing hard. The key is getting out and working hard.

Weekends are dedicated to time on the feet. Primarily, the long run is done on Saturdays with a recovery run on Sundays. There are a couple of back to back long runs within the schedule and a few 50k/6hr organized events thrown in for “fun”. Even though the word ‘Easy’ follows many of the distance or time plans, ‘easy’ is relative. The intention here is to run slow; to simulate a 50 mile race in pace and strategy. This means going out slooooow, power-walking the hills, recovery on the flats, and gently pushing the downhills (really allowing gravity to do the work while concentrating on foot placement).

Note: there are a few ‘rest’ days on some of the weekends; they are either the day before or after an organized event. More than likely they will include a 2 mile slooooow jog just to keep loose and/or recover.

This leaves all of those 5 mile easy runs on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. These runs are ‘optional’ so long as activity happens on at least two of the three days. One of the other events that‘s been on my radar for the past two years is a triathlon but I can’t swim. Okay, I can dog paddle and thrash in the water and could probably do an Olympic distance, but would be too trashed to do the bike or run afterward. That said I might explore swim lessons at the YMCA on one of these ‘5 mile easy’ days, and when the weather gets warmer, hop on the bike on another one of these days.


Slow /recovery– 9-10 minute miles

Slooooow – 10 – 13 minute miles

Strength – tops out at 7:30 – 8 minute miles in fartlek or tempo runs.

This is it in grid form:

Click to see googledoc

Click to see googledoc

Next Up: Upstate NY, training in winter.

Categories: Running | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The 50 Miler

Never do anything half-way; that has been how I approach many passions in my life, whether it’s music or running. The issue I have is not whether or not to throw myself into an event whole heartedly, it’s the discipline of preparing for it. Sure I’ll run that 50 miler, oh, you mean I should train for it?

A perfect example of this is two years ago I decided to run the Finger Lakes 50. I had signed up for it three months in advance and did very limited training. My training consisted of a couple of half-marathons and a couple of long training runs with the Oven Door Runners, ODR. On 4th of July weekend my wife, Amy, and I headed down to the Finger Lakes National Forest at 3 AM to make the 6 AM start. The plan was that Amy would go to town, Ithaca NY, for shopping and relaxing, I would run 50 miles, anticipating an 11.5 hour finish and call Amy to let her know to pick me up. Two problems occurred. First I was in no shape to run 50 miles and when I finished 50k in 7:18 (12 minutes before the cut-off for the 50 miler) I knew my day was done and dropped. Second, there is no cell phone reception in the Forest. Oh well, it was a nice long day.

A decade ago I was running strong, completing many ultras including: Bull Run Run in 2001, and 2002 both less than 11 hours. I won the KISS 50 miler (although I should mention that Monica Schultz’ 50 mile split on her way to a 100 mile finish, was two minutes ahead of my 50 mile finish. I DNF’d at 87 miles at MMT and finished 10th at Haliburton 100. Then I blew out my Achilles tendon at a 12 hour asphalt race (completing over 100k), and have struggled ever since to be consistent in training.

Massanutten Visitor

For the past ten years I have had this nagging annoyance in the back of my mind, ‘I have unfinished business at Massanutten’. At MMT 100, if you make it past 50 miles (Bird Knob) but DNF you become an ‘Official Visitor’ and are given a piece of the trail stating as much. You go on the VHTRC rolls until you come back and finish. The big annoyance of all of this is that MMT is the only 100 mile qualifier for Hardrock 100 in the east. I know I will never qualify for Boston, but Hardrock is a possibility. So this year I decided to see if I could get myself back to MMT shape in the next few years (2014?).

Did I mention I don’t do anything half way? I decided my start to this adventure would be to commit to at least two 50 milers. The first being the inaugural Cayuga Trails 50 on June 8th, followed in 4 weeks by the Finger Lakes Fifties. On the way there I am considering the Cast a Shadow 6 hr Snowshow race, the BPAC 6 hour, and the Highland Forest 1-2-3. Following the Finger Lakes Fifties is the possibility of the Can Lake 50, and Virgil Crest 50, or 100, closing the season with the Mendon Trail Runs (50k) which is almost literally in my back yard.

My intention with this blog is to post weekly updates regarding training, to help me stay consistent, and to get feedback from other runners.

Coming up:

The tentative training schedule

Categories: Running | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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