My 50k training plan.
I have made no secret about just how, well, little I actually ran to train for my first 50k. While I still did a HUGE amount of running (there was was a freaking marathon as a training run!), it was actually on the low end for training for an ultra distance race. So how did I make it work?
Easy. (or not so easy): plenty of other cardio, strength, and yoga sessions added in. As to be expected, my highest mileage running week of the training cycle was week 13 when I ran my marathon. Week 10 came close. In addition to the running mileage I counted the walking mileage every week of my training cycle, as I did enough walking (with enough elevation gain) that it wasn't insignificant.
Most of my training weeks weren't perfect. Ideally they would go something like week 11: 3 strength sessions (two on my own, one barre class), 3 runs, one swim and one yoga class. There were also almost daily PT exercises and 5 days of walking that weren't on this training schedule because those I threw in basically whenever I could. Most of the weeks random stuff got in the way of the set plan and I just had to adjust and move on.
When I sat down to make this plan I started with the first 50k training plan from competitor.com. I chose this plan because a friend used it for her first 50k and liked it. Okay, good enough for me! I also knew I would alter it a bunch, so it honestly didn't matter all that much what plan I started with. The staple of each week was the long run, which I followed pretty closely on the competitor plan. Now that I look closely at it, that long run is about all I had left of the original plan!
Ideally my weekday mileage would equal my long run mileage, but that just didn't work for most of the weeks of the plan, though I came sort of close if I count my walks and runs. The strength training was essential, as was the yoga. Towards the end of the training it became clear I needed more yoga, so on my next plan I will likely have to replace one strength session with one yoga session.
Judging by how good I felt at the start and at the finish of my first 50k, I would give my hacked together plan an A+. Of course, while I didn't run a conventional amount of miles each week, this plan was not easy. It was often exhausting and time-consuming. Week ten held about 14 hours of training. That doesn't even factor in any travel times to the trails!
Each runner is different, and while the plan I made wouldn't work for everyone, it worked very well for me. Lower miles and higher amounts of other supplemental activities produced a strong and healthy body. The twice monthly chiropractic appointments didn't hurt, either!
Anyways, it makes me chuckle when I see plans that claim to be the minimum one would need to simply finish their first 50k and they include a ton more running than my plan. While I am brand-spankin'-new to the ultrarunning scene, I now know that you can train, become strong and stay healthy on minimal mileage.