50 Mile Race - Training Plan

There are few things I like more than to sit down with my pencil and sketch out a training plan on my computer (the lead marks on my screen are really hard to clean off).  I love to set a goal, plan for it, and leave some room for fun things that present themselves on the way.

I guess my "A" race this year would be the Lost Boys 50 Mile Trail Run organized by my friends Kara, Paul and Jeremy.  Being slightly sadistic, they have created a beautiful, challenging 50 mile point to point trail run that is almost entirely contained in the Anza-Borrego Desert and Cuyamaca Rancho State Parks.  The course has nearly 10,000 feet of elevation gain and includes desert washes, canyons, alpine valleys and even a dry waterfall ascent, all of which I am pretty pumped about.

Pics of the Lost Boys 50 course (courtesy of Kara and Jeremy Scarbrough)

Lost Boys 50 Miler Elevation Profile (courtesy of the Marquis de Sade)

I have never run 50 miles, so setting out a training plan is basically an experiment and I wanted to share it because a) it keeps me accountable, b) someone might learn from it, or adapt it for their needs and most importantly c) someone much smarter and more experienced than myself will look at it and say you're on the right track, or are you kidding me? followed by some (hopefully) constructive criticism.  A few words about my plan:
  • I generally don't respond well to super-high mileage, no 100-mile weeks, I top out at a 64-mile week in training
  • I don't schedule days off, but I do take days off if my body tells me I need them, or if life gets in the way.
  • That being said, the long run (Saturday) and the strength run (Wednesday) are my two quality workouts and I will do pretty much anything to get these in during the week.
  • 90% of my running is done on hilly trails
  • A =  easy, flat, recovery pace
  • B = strength, hill repeats, or pushing the pace on a hilly run
  • C = long run, starting easy, and finishing faster
  • Cross-training days consist of core work and an easy spin on the bike, a swim, or rock climbing
My training plan - click  to read if you don't have Superman vision
I am constantly tinkering with the plan and when races that look like they are too much fun to pass up present themselves, I am obliged to enter...I'm a sucker that way.  So, when I heard about the Harding Hustle 30K this coming Saturday, I jumped at the chance to climb nine miles up a mountain, turn around and come back down.  I am planning to take the race slow, meaning a slow start, trying to maintain a good easy pace to the top, then easy on the knees downhill and probably sprint to the finish to avoid getting beat by some 14 year old cross country star.

Another fun elevation profile

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