This is a 50K Ultra Marathon Training Plan for beginners or anyone whats to make sure they get to the start line with confidence and the finish line with a smile.
A 50K Ultramarathon is a significant milestone for any runner. Still, it can be daunting for a first-timer. It’s achievable with the right approach, consistent pace, and dedication.
With a marathon under your belt, the exhilaration, relief, and muscle fatigue raise the gnawing question: “What’s next?” Ultrarunning presents the ultimate endurance challenge for runners seeking to push their limits.
What is Ultra Running? How far is 50k, and how many miles is a 50k?
The answer is straightforward: 50k is equivalent to 31 miles. Now for the next question: would you like to run that far?
If yes, then let’s continue.
Why do you want to run your first ultramarathon?
What’s driving you to take on the 50k distance?
Everyone has their own drive as to why they decide to train for an ultramarathon. Have you run a marathon before? Or another trail race? Is the openness of the ultrarunning world appealing to you? You can test yourself. See what you are capable of.
The First Step is WHY?
When I decide to run a 50k, my motivation and drive are mostly to get out of my comfort zone.
So, let’s find your motivation, your driving point–what is it for you? In any case, you’ll inspire your family, friends, and the people around you and make them really proud…so that’s a starting point.
Our Ultrarunning guide is tailor-made for determined runners. It prepares them for the 50K (approx. 31 miles) distance, providing tips to boost stamina and inspiring them to push even further. Brace yourself for the ultimate test of endurance: be it the infamous 50- or 100-mile races. Get ready to challenge yourself!
Embarking on a 50K training journey can be both challenging and rewarding. To complete your first 50K, take the leap with a 16-week build-up if you’re an experienced ultramarathoner.
Endurance sports are far from a one-size-fits-all approach. As you increase your running distance, learn to run while tired, and adapt to your running partner’s nutritional needs, remember that your success depends solely on you.
Prescribed long runs, ranging from 10 to 26 miles, should be spaced out every six to 10 days.
Since most 50K trail races require specific terrain adherence, trail runners should search for comparably demanding routes to train. Trail runners should improve their aerobic capacity, strength, and mental endurance and ease back on ultimate speed in ultra runs.
If this is your first 50k, choose a race that’s comfortable for you.
There are so many types of 50 km races. Find a race that fits your personal running style. There are so many ultra and half marathons too to choose from. There is likely an event near you that can fit your running style.
Hilly courses. Advantages – Hilly is that there is variety and a change of pace. The downside is that you are going to be slower.
Check out the details on the race website to get the details on the event. Most events have a race bible.
It would be helpful if you did much of your training where your race will occur. If you are doing a trail 50K, you should be doing trail runs.
If it is a road 50k, train on the road. Get as many runs done on similar or specific terrain for the best results as possible.
How to Pick the Best Ultras for Beginners
Your first ultra will be hard. Picking a race with little elevation change and nicely packed dirt will make it easier.
My first ultra was the Pemberton Trail 50k. As races go, starting your first ultra close to home is best.
It makes the logistics more manageable and allows you to run on familiar trails without worrying about hotel rooms, temperature changes, and travel.
What to Look For in Your First Ultra?
Elevation Gain – pick races with less than 3000 feet of elevation gain.
Runnability: Check out other runners’ race reports or the trail yourself. Note how easy the technical terrain really is to run on.
Temperature: Pick an event that won’t be uncomfortably hot or cold.
Race Support – Another race report item. How much support did the race directors have on the course? Look at how many aid stations are on the course and what food each aid station include.
Training Program for Your First Ultra Marathon
Look no further! It’s important to note that before jumping into the plan, you should read the entire post. Doing so will help you assess if you’re prepared to begin training, enable you to take your own schedule into account, and provide a detailed overview of all the scheduled workouts.
Designed specifically for runners with a solid running base but new to the ultra and ultramarathon distances, this plan has been crafted to help you cross the finish line. Regardless of your training or athletic experience level at ultra distances, this plan can help you achieve your 50K goals.
Suppose you are interested in starting this plan. In that case, it is recommended that you have a long-running history – a minimum of 1 year of consistent running without any significant injuries or issues.
Although this does not have to involve intense training, long-distance running, or participating in any races, you must be comfortable in your running stride and capable of running at least 10-12 miles.
If you plan to participate in a trail 50K (as many do), having some experience in trail running is crucial. Although road runners can always make the transition, consider that pacing on a trail can differ considerably from the same pace on the road. You may require at least a month to adapt to the distance on the trails before embarking on this plan.
Not Ready for a 50k UltraMarathon Training?
If you still need to build fitness to run 10-12 miles comfortably, work up to this before starting this beginner road marathon or ultramarathon training plan.
For example, you could use our 8-week half marathon training plan to build up to the 12-mile distance and then segue that into this full-strength interval training plan the first week afterward.
Here is helpful information regarding the schedule, types of training runs you’ll complete, and guidelines for pacing.
BEGINNER 50K PLAN
How about training for your first total race distance ultra or ultramarathon? With this beginner’s 50 K training plan, you can expand your running base and get ready to tackle this challenge in over 4 months. You’ll love checking this 31-mile-long race (about 5 miles longer than a marathon) off your bucket list!
ANATOMY OF RUNS IN YOUR TRAINING PLAN
The 5 runs per week are broken into several types – here are descriptions and pacing details for each:
Easy runs – These occur twice weekly and are meant for your base. They are leisurely pace should be done at a comfortable, conversational pace.
Long runs – These are one of the most essential parts of your 50K trail training plan. The long run trains your body for the distance and time on your feet for a 50k.
Take your time warming up for the long run. Ideally, you would shoot for a negative split on your long runs.
Recovery runs – Once a week, you should have an effortless recovery run after your long run. These are meant to promote active healing.
Cross Training: Adding strength training helps many ultra runners avoid injury during the training process.
Rest Days and Recovery: Rest days are a great day to focus on recovery. Adding in more foam rolling or getting a massage is totally fine.
Hills/Speed – These occur once a week. They are designed to challenge you. They include:
Hilly runs: These should be done on a hilly trail or, if training for a road 50K, a hilly road route.
Hill repeats: Hill training should be done where there is a large hill that you can plan to use. These may be easier logistically on the road.
Tempo: These runs include a portion at a comfortable pace, then a timed segment in the middle where you should run around 30 seconds slower than your 5K pace.
Speed intervals: These runs include a distance that should be done at a comfortable rate, with several best-effort speed intervals couched in throughout.
Free16-week, 50k training program for your first ultra marathon:
The sample program is broken down, each a four-week training block.
- Weeks 1-4
- Start with three easy weekly training runs, each lasting 30-45 minutes.
- Add a fourth training run, a tempo run, once per week. Tempo runs should be at a pace that is challenging but not too fast.
- Rest on Sundays.
- Weeks 5-8
- You can increase the mileage of your easy runs to 45-60 minutes.
- Increase the frequency of your tempo runs to twice per week.
- Add a fifth run, a hill workout, once per week. Hill workouts should consist of running up and down a hill at a challenging pace.
- Rest on Sundays.
- Weeks 9-12
- Increase the mileage of your easy runs to 60-90 minutes.
- Increase the frequency of your tempo runs to three times per week.
- Add a sixth run, a long run, once per week. Long runs should gradually increase in distance, up to 16 miles.
- Rest on Sundays.
- Weeks 13-16
- Taper your training by gradually decreasing the mileage of your runs.
- Continue to do tempo runs and long runs but at a reduced pace.
- Rest on Sundays.
Cross Training for an Ultra
Cross-training is a great way to prevent injuries, improve overall fitness, and increase speed and endurance. Here are some cross-training activities that are particularly beneficial for ultra marathon training:
- Swimming: Swimming is a low-impact activity that strengthens muscles and improves cardiovascular health. It can also help to prevent injuries by taking some of the stress from your joints.
- Cycling: Cycling is another low-impact activity that is great for improving your cardiovascular health and endurance. It can also help to improve your pedaling efficiency, which can be beneficial for running uphill.
- Strength Training: Strength training prevents muscle imbalances from doing one thing all the time.
- Indoor rowing: Indoor rowing is a great way to improve cardiovascular health and endurance. It is also a low-impact activity that can help to prevent injuries.
When cross-training, it is essential to focus on activities complementary to running. For example, swimming and cycling are low-impact activities that can help to improve your aerobic system and endurance. Strength training is essential for all runners, but it is especially important for ultra marathon runners.
Listening to your body and cross-training within your limits is also important. If you are feeling pain, stop immediately. Cross-training should be enjoyable and should not cause you any pain.
Here are some tips for cross-training for an ultra marathon:
- Please do not overdo it: Cross-training should be done in addition to your running, not instead of it. If you are new to cross-training, start slowly and gradually increase the time you spend cross-training each week.
- Variety is vital: Cross-training with various activities can help prevent boredom and injury. Try different activities and see what you enjoy the most.
- Listen to your body: If you are feeling pain, stop immediately. Cross-training should be enjoyable and should not cause you any pain.
Cross-training can improve your overall fitness and reduce your risk of injury. This will help you to train harder and achieve your goal of completing an ultra marathon.
How to Fuel for Your 50k Ultra Marathon
For runners, figuring out how to fuel for a race can be daunting, especially for ultra first-time runners. There are seemingly endless nutrition options, and everyone’s body reacts differently. Finding out what works for each individual takes practice, trial, and error.
We promote fat adaptation as a fueling strategy for ultras or any race. This means you train your body in the off-season to burn fat as your primary fuel source.
Next, you experiment with different fuels to determine what speed works best for you. This means some athletes will follow a full ketogenic diet; others may use several carbs.
When you start training and racing an ultra, the most important thing is nothing new on race day.
Race Day for Your First Ultra Marathon
Here is a race day guide for an ultra marathon:
- Arrive early at the race venue. This will give you time to check in, drop off your belongings, and find your way to the starting line.
- Eat a light breakfast or snack two hours before the race. Avoid anything heavy that can upset your stomach.
- Drink plenty of fluids in the days leading up to the race. This will help you stay hydrated and avoid cramps.
- Wear comfortable clothing and shoes that you have worn in training.
- Bring a small bag containing sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, and a first aid kit.
During the race
- Start off slowly and gradually increase your pace as you warm up.
- Listen to your body and take breaks when you need them.
- Stay hydrated by drinking fluids at every aid station.
- Eat small, frequent snacks to keep your energy levels up.
- Be mindful of your surroundings and watch out for other runners.
- Chat with your fellow runners, they can be your running partner for the race.
- Don’t give up! Keep pushing forward, and you will eventually reach the finish line.
- After the race, it is important to refuel and rehydrate. Eat a light meal and drink plenty of fluids.
- Get some rest and allow your body to recover.
- Be proud of yourself for completing the race!
Ultra Marathon Tips and Tricks for your 50k Race
- Train properly. Ensure you have a training plan that gradually increases your mileage and intensity.
- Listen to your body. Don’t push yourself too hard, especially in the race’s early stages.
- Stay hydrated and fueled. Drink plenty of fluids and consume fuel that you tested in training.
- Take breaks when you need them. Feel free to slow down or walk if you’re tired.
- Keep your cadence high.
- Have fun! Ultra marathons are a challenging but rewarding experience. Enjoy the journey and celebrate your accomplishments.
How long does it take to run a 50k?
A 3-month 50k training plan can work for some athletes who have a good base of fitness. From couch to 50k, it can take 6 months or more to train for.
How many miles is a 50k?
A 50k ultramarathon is 31.07 miles.
How do I train for a 50k Ultra?
Follow a training plan that has you running 8-9 hours per week with a long effort at least 7 hours long.
How many miles does an ultra runner run a week?
Running 50 miles or more is a good base for a solid ultra finish. Training 70 hours a week can lead to competitive success in ultra running.
What should I eat before a 50k race?
Eat food that you have tested in training. There is no right answer for every athlete. Some athletes eat hard-boiled eggs, while others eat a bagel with jelly. Stick to food that digests well for you.
Is 50k considered an ultra?
Any running distance longer than a marathon (26.2 miles) is considered an ultra.
Go for it if you want to train for an ultra. If you need accountability or your questions answered, please check out me. I’ve been helping athletes reach their endurance goals since 2008. Please check out my coaching plan.
Check out our 6 month 50k training plan and programme trail 50km.
20 week 50k training plan
more ultra marathon training programs