50 mile ultra in 6 weeks

Any tips for building endurance in the last few weeks?

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15/12/2011 at 22:36
My 2nd Ultra is 6 weeks away, Frostbite 50, my training has so far been OK although Oct / Nov ended up as pretty busy with Half Marathons and 10k races as a result I feel my endurance is probably not where I would like it to be. I just wondered what tips people have to put a little more pep in my legs in the last few weeks? As things stand the plan is to up my weekly mileage from:

50 miles over 5 sessions 5 - 10 - 5 - 10 - 20

to 70 miles over 5 sessions 10 - 10 - 10 - 15 - 25

with perhaps a couple of weeks at

80 miles over 5 sessions 10 - 10 - 10 - 20 - 30

Any tips, thoughts suggestion and ideas very welcome.

16/12/2011 at 06:53

Do you not plan to taper prior to the event?

Forgive me for asking the obvious but what advantage do you see in increasing the mileage with so little time left.  You already have good quality miles in your legs with the races (and presumably faster paced running to prepare you for those races) , you have a good base of weekly miles and you have already done an ultra.

I assume that you are doing the 2 long runs as back to back efforts over the weekend so, if you have the time I can definitely see the benefit of doing a 20 then a longer run, maybe 25 miles, back to back but then I think I would be tempted to cut out one of the 10 milers. Therefore stay at 65-70 miles rather than pushing to get to 80mpw just for the sake of it.

Frostbite 50 - great name for a race. Just like some of the American/Canadian ones - Rocky Raccoon, Bad Ass 50 etc

WiB
16/12/2011 at 09:48

Personally I wouldn't increase your mileage too much now, the racing will have helped out and with only 6 weeks to go you shoudl be well on your way to being fit for it. Look at getting some back to back long runs in but also I wouldn't neglect the shorter faster stuff as well to keep you sharp.

My favourite name for an ultra is "The Big Dog Backyard Ultra". I like the concept of it, if they ran one in the UK I would be right there!

WiB
16/12/2011 at 10:34
Go for some loooong walks over christmas - spending 6 hours or so on your feet will help.
16/12/2011 at 17:37

Agree great name! I think its official title is Yorkshire Ultra (its an adventurehub race) but as it heads out on a coastal path to the North Yorks moors in late Jan Frosbite fits nicely.

Johnny Bike - Will taper from about 10 days out so perhaps 5 training weeks to ultra would have been a more accurate thread description

Johnny Bike - I guess a subsection of my question was do people see much benefit in increasing miles with such a short time to the race? I think, as I am a tad nervous, I am looking at the taking some confidence from the number of miles put in.  I think a focus on the back to back is probably the more sensible approach.

Nick L - Given the likely terrain hitting some loooong walks in the hills is a great suggestion - thanks.

Given I have a couple of weeks off over Xmas would anyone consider sticking to the curent 5 -10 -5 weekday morning runs supplemented with some afternoon speed sessions?

17/12/2011 at 16:38

Hi Alistair, as you know from another thread, I'm doing this race too.  I've managed to get in a couple of 20-milers and 22 yesterday (along with some 17 and 18-milers, I'm hoping to get maybe 25 in next week and then another one first week of Jan (as soon as kids back at school) and then I'll be tapering it back down. I haven't managed to get many back-to-backs in as it's a juggle here on the home front but am ticking over about 50+ mpw with a long run, a 10-12 miler and then a couple of 6-8 milers at steady pace and a tempo run of about 6 miles with my club if I get down there.  You will be fine, don't be tempted to cram it in.  Not going out to fast will help massively and I'm just hoping it'll be a fine winters day so I can enjoy the scenery as I trot round and stomp up the hills.

As usual, I will go into the race knowing I've probably done the bare minimum on training front and will have my fingers and toes crossed!

17/12/2011 at 20:23
This will also be my first Ultra. I am following the Hanson Brothers marathon training plan for this. ie one speed/power session then rest day and 5 days of back to back running fitting in around 45 miles in 5 days. I feel like this plan has really improved by base fitness and leg strength. Quite a few people I know rate not running to far for training, in an ideal world I would have time for several 4 hour easy sessions in the hills every week, but the reality is I don't so for me the Hanson plan seems to be helping me get fitter and stronger.

I ran the first 30 miles of the FB 50 a couple of weeks ago as a test run for the plan it seemed to be working ok (does that count as a 50 km ultra ) My recent training not been quite as good but taking time off over Christmas to try and get my training back on track.

Been listening to a lot of podcasts about Ultra running and a lot of them seem to suggest that being mentally prepared is almost as important as the physical.

Really looking forward to the race day, almost hoping ground is frozen as the section in the fells was very muddy.
17/12/2011 at 21:13
Cragchick / Tim I look forward to seeing you both there; it helps to know I am not the only one juggling priorities to fit the miles in, I don't know why but I had a picture in my mind of the other runners all methodically ticking off each session from their highly organised plan!

Whilst this is my second ultra it looks somewhat more challenging than my first (40 miles on easy trails starting up in the Peak District finishing down in Derby) so had just let a touch of anxiety get in - have now dismissed that!

Tim - How were the first 30? How easy is it to follow the route? As for does it count as an Utra? I think the Americans call a self supported Ultra a Fat Ass so by their measure you have at least bagged your first Fat Ass!
18/12/2011 at 10:49

Ha ha, ticking of miles in the schedule ... I am constantly crossing out and rejuggling mine on a weekly basis. It only takes one child to be off school sick or me to be called into work at the last minute and the whole week comes tumbling down!!

Definitely agree about the mental thing. It is amazing what the mind can tell the body to do, if the mind is not strong then it doesn't matter how fit you are!

I too am hoping for more of the frozen stuff than the mud, although I ran in my trail shoes round my local forest on Friday to cover 22 miles and boy did my legs hurt at the end from the pounding on frozen ground. Had forgotten about that! But legs felt fine yesterday. 

Fat Ass - love it! Haven't managed one of those yet. This will be my 6th ultra race.

18/12/2011 at 12:45
Also loving being a fat ass Great title

The course is fab. I really enjoyed the run along to Robin Hoods bay and then also enjoyed the run into the moors which are very scenic. The climbs were not quite as bad I was expecting although I think running back along the coastal route could make the last 10 miles pretty tough as it undulates quite a lot.

By the 30 mile point you have covered all the points on the course and are on you way back to Whitby. The instructions and maps are great. My friend and I made one or two mistakes but given that there was no marshals or signs up is not bad at all.

I did the run in my Salomon speedcross and they were great even on the muddy bits. I am hoping to get up there in early Jan for a 20 mile run to re run the Moor section so will report back on the conditions.

A friend and I are both doing this as our first Ultra so also looking forward to meeting everyone on race day. Whilst Ultra are competitive I am liking that people are more sociable on these smaller Ultra events
18/12/2011 at 14:22

My account of that 30 mile training with Tim are somewhat different lol

As Tim says the trail along the Cleveland way from Whitby down to approx 4 miles below Robins Hood Bay is fantastic......The Cliff Tops are exposed and your running is broken by lots of steps that take you up and down different bits of cliff......There are also lots of stiles in this area....Very good under foot though and the scenery is amazing......From Robin Hoods Bay there is 4 or 5 miles cycle track which is fantastic to run on and you can make really good time on here. Only issue here is that it is made up of really tiny grains of grit that were a nightmare to get rid of even after came off that track....Bought some Innov8 sock/gaiters for a tenner for race day as drove me nuts and was still trying to get rid of grit hours later (blister risk) ....

The initial run inland was ok but once you cross the A171 Whitby to Scarborough Road the fun and games sets in.....The first major pain was the run by the beck that occurs about half a mile after crossing the A171....The track is easy to navigage but was very muddy, very narrow and slippy and full of roots. There is the potential to end your race here, particularly if you push on (will explain this later)

Once out of the beck area its pretty easy running through fields and farm tracks until you get to the moor....The long "trail" over the moor was unreal....I have always run roads so am a newbie on trails but this next few miles were not about running lol......The mud was at times ankle deep, the "trail" was absolutely appalling and was more about leaping from one dry island to another.....Tim would undoubtedly have run this whole section but it is a undoubtedly THE toughest part of the race. You will run this section twice (as start of the return section is on this bit) but on the way out it is a long steady climb over a few miles....The mud, difficult terrain and having to concentrate on every step made this an energy sapping section. Again after this there is some much easier areas as you go round the "loop" before you turn back for the 20 miles home.

18/12/2011 at 14:23

While my account differs from Tims it pretty much reflects the difference between our relative experience on trails....My major problem was caused by a pair of Nike Triax GTX "trail" shoes I had just bought. I use the road version of these trainers as wear orthotics and after years of trial and error finally settled on these......Problem is the trail shoe version are errrrrrrrr not actually trail shoes as such....Certainly a bit more rugged than the road shoes but certainly not adequate for this run......So as a newbie to trails (and somebody who has now been out injured for 4 weeks having twisted a cartlidge in my knee on the beck section) these are my tips and wish list for this race.

1. Pray the temps on the moor are VERY cold. The mud was an absolute nightmare. When we were there it was mild and wet and it created a lot of issues...Would be great if the moor area was frozen

 2. Trail shoes are a must. I suspect my injury occured because of me unwittingly having inadequate footwear.

3. I originally had a plan to run 20 mins, walk 5 mins......My plan now is to walk the more difficult and technical sections such as the beck and long moor stretch....There are some really fast areas on this race and it seems madness to be walking any of those then trying to run a section where the running is so technical, treacherous and energy sapping.

4. The wind/waterproofs are non optional, wind not a huge issue until you get onto the moor but once you are up there it is pretty brutal even on a nice day.

Despite the injury we ran 32 miles that day and having never run trails I have to say this course has me converted to trails.....It is hard, stunning and brutal and I am praying that i can get back to running in the next 10 days so that I have some chance of making race day

18/12/2011 at 14:36

I'm pleased to hear this race will incorporate all the 'character and challenge' I experienced on the Northumberland ultra then. This lot certainly like to make sure we get our monies worth of adventure. Good tip re the grit - I was contemplating some Inov8 trainer gaiters and now I am absolutely going to order some. My usual rule is run the flats and downs (unless so steep you are going to kill yourself trying!!) and walk any ups, no matter how gentle the incline + there are the inevitable walking bits were terrain makes you do this. This is where hardened fell-runners have an upper hand I think. I run trails a lot but don't get on the really gnarly stuff as often as I like so tend to be more cautious on some stuff. 

Like you say, will be good to put names and faces together. Have flights booked, B&B booked, now just need to stay injury free and free of nasty primary and pre-school germs for the next six weeks - ha ha!!

18/12/2011 at 14:38
Have to say, am very grateful for these route descriptions - real life experiences will just add to the route cards etc they send out as there is no way I can recce it.  In fact, question, have you had detailed route descriptions yet? I haven't and just wondered if I'd missed something somewhere?
18/12/2011 at 15:21
Cragchick got the detailed route cards by email a few weeks ago. Tim / Phil great to get a flavour for the route / terrain have just broken the bank on waterproofs, gaiters etc so now you know how to spot me, I'll be the chap for whom the phrase all the gear and no idea fits nicely. As I changed my mind and bought NB MT101's as my choice of ride instead of the more cushioned / structured shoe I thought sensible for the event I am hoping for the softer side of firm. Training wise not a bad week with 63 miles knocked off, would have been more but yesterdays long trail run in my new rides somewhat twanged my Achilles tendon so settled for half running rations and a portion of stretches for today. Next job book a B and B.
GKD
18/12/2011 at 16:11
I really fancied this one last year but couldn't due to injury, tempted again but it's a long way to drive for a run about on the moors. Craigchick  I think you said you were flying up, where from?
GKD
18/12/2011 at 16:35

Sounds very tough and very tempting, maybe put it on the list for next year - ie 2013!

Cragchick will be flying down!

18/12/2011 at 22:14

Thank you Elspeth   Lirish - I'm flying Inverness to Manchester. Hubby works in Manchester during the week so his car is parked at Manch over wknd, so will hopefully collect his car and drive across to Whitby from there. Only bu**er is that there is no redeye flight on a Fri morning so not leaving here until 6pm on Fri eve - oh how I like to cut things fine!!!! Am hoping B&B will be appreciative of late arrivals.

55 miles clocked for me this week, most I've clocked in a week ever I think (except for weeks when I've done an ultra race!).

Look after those twanging achilles. Snow running has been giving mine a small hammering but fingers crossed holding out so far ...

23/12/2011 at 00:19

55 miles in a week? In my dreams just now ha ha......After the Frostbite 50 recce injury 3 weeks ago I am now upto a tentative 3 mile jog.....Yep, 4 weeks to a 50 mile ultra race day and I am currently capable of 3 whole miles lol.......Drastic (ok miraculous) recovery required within 2 week or its game over for me Im afraid.

If I do have to drop out have got my eye on the Hardmoors 55 in March.....It covers the first 55 miles of the Cleveland way and again looks a fantastic run round North Yorkshire. At the moment this is the more realistic option but dont want to give up the FB50 till I have to

23/12/2011 at 22:28
oooh no Phil, hope you make miraculous recovery BUT there are many other races out there ... I did the Northumberland Ultra with an absolute stinking cold, sensible option would have been not to do it as I could barely get enough air into my lungs to run - thankfully there was so much uphill and bog and rain that running was not an option for much of the route anyway Was glad I did it but hindsight said it was not a good idea really!!
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