Training for a 50K?

Written by Lyndsey Owens on  at

Training on the trail with Enthusiastic Training Partner

I love running. Running distances for fun, like on a Sunday- all day. I know this is not the norm because I only know a few people that get as excited as me when I ask if they want to go- and I mean I can count them on one hand.

It was a Saturday this past January. I had just returned from some morning skiing when my phone rings. It’s my friend Allison (she is counted on that one hand mentioned above). “Where are you? It is registration day and the 30k already sold out in 5 minutes.” she says. I reply “What? Oh better get on it” . So my race begins, at a computer, six months before the physical start line. There I was feverishly pecking away my information with credit card in hand. The result? Allison has the last spot in the Big Horn Wild and Scenic 50k and me close behind landing first on the wait list.

A few weeks later I am explaining my predicament to Mike Foote, accomplished mountain runner on The North Face Ultra Running Team and Race Director for the Rut 50k & 12K at Big Sky Resort. “You’re first on the wait list? Oh don’t worry, you will get in. You better start training.” Foote says. He was right. In April I got my confirmation, I was in!

Training….uhhh….Training for a 50k, I like running, but I am no expert on actually training for 31.6 miles. I sought out the internet for some advice.

“The 50K schedule alternates between hard weeks and easy weeks to allow recovery and help prevent overuse injuries that may occur from ramping up mileage too quickly. Rest is essential.”
http://www.trailrunevents.com/ul/schedule-50k.asp

“….there is no one-size-fits-all approach to a foray into ultra-running. Adapting to increased mileage, developing the ability to run while fatigued and experimenting with different nutrition and hydration needs are all very individual endeavors.”
http://running.competitor.com/2012/11/training/going-longer-how-to-train-for-your-first-50k_61887

I like that it is subjective to the person and I think I can work with this. Rest is something I have failed at in the past especially during the taper. I have definitely experimented with the ability to run while fatigued and with different nutrition and hydration, not that it was a success. With all that in mind I put together this checklist on what I essentially needed in my training:

1. Time
2. Enthusiastic and Willing Training Partners
3. Hydration
4. Nutrition

Time, where does it go? This was my biggest challenge. Trying to find the time to log all the miles. I found that I had to juggle priorities to hit the numbers. As always, I would have liked more time in the day to run more.

Training partners. As I mentioned before there are a limited number of people I can call and say “What are you doing on Saturday? Want to run all day?” or “Meet me at 6 am for a trail run?” and get a “Yes, I’d love to” response. A good partner is essential and will keep me motivated and it’s always more fun to share the experience, especially in Big Sky, Montana and the greater Yellowstone ecosystem where the views alone are awe-inspiring. Another thing in our world today is “there’s an app for that” and guess what? There is an app for training! I found my iPhone app Runmeter to be an effective training partner for only $1.99. It logs my distance, time, pace and elevation. This app assisted tremendously by connecting my “how I feel today” to some hard numbers. Runmeter talks to me while I run, updating me on my distance, time and pace…I liked that a lot too. I have had many conversations with fellow runners and everyone seems to have an app that they like and use- that’s great.

Hydration, managing this is essential. More miles equals more water, hydrating pre-run is ultra-important and I have learned to drain my hydration pack (a Nathan pack) before the downhill to avoid back pain later. Have you ever heard of ancient medicine like Aruveda? I have tried it- Aruveydic practitioner Callie Stolz (www.santoshabigsky.com) introduced me to this rehydration therapy: a warm cup of water with fresh lemon in the morning. It’s a delicious way to start the day and I do think it has worked for me.

Nutrition, eating the right foods at the right time is important. I am still figuring this one out. Through much trial and error I have found what works for me and what does not. I have also learned to play it safe on race week with my diet. My husband and I have moved toward a plant based diet. We have kept our diet clean with organics and local when possible (sometimes hard to do, but worth it). I have found an Aruveyda approach to eating has been beneficial for me. Good websites like www.joyfulbelly.com and seeking advice from a professional- Aruveydic practitioner (Callie Stolz) provided more understanding on nutrition and digestion.

After all I hope all my training will make the day more fun, because for me that is really what it is all about. This Saturday, June 15 is the day I have been working for over the past 6 months. I am a little nervous, but mostly excited to spend most of the daylight running, because I love it. Wish me luck or better yet join me wherever you are by running a few miles on Saturday.

Looking for your next trail race? Big Sky Resort is hosting The Rut 50k and 12k September 14, 2013. Run the Rut- sign up today. There is limited availability and spots are going quickly. Oh and I recommend you start training!

-Lyndsey

Mile 20

I am still smiling at mile 20. After a down pour and lightning.

allison

Enthusiastic running partner- Allison looking fast on an all day training run.

Snow

Enthusiastic running partners found snow! Sometimes you got to grin and bear it.

Apps are fun! More App StuffRunmeter

Look what my app can do! Runmeter logs all the important stats.