Pacing a 50 miler

Looking for advice/info/experiences please

21 to 25 of 25 messages
12/09/2012 at 06:56
LOL! I know, I know. 33 miler was mostly flattish, mostly on road, and road running is pretty much all I do. Also a nice cold day. 40 miler was off road on a boggy muddy course, a boiling hot day, and up and down hills the whole way. I wore road shoes (d'oh, never again!) and slipped and sloshed about so much I pulled a muscle in my butt and was in some pain from about 13 miles. Nearly chucked or at the 28 mile checkpoint but decided I'd rather finish slowly and feebly than not finish at all. I have since purchased a pair of trail shoes and given myself many stern talkings to about proper preparation...
12/09/2012 at 08:31

IMO macmillan is handy for 'shorter' and comparable distances eg a 10km vs Half Mara, Half Mara vs Mara.  One thing you have to take into account for ultras is the surface, terrain, profile.  You mention it is flat, but presumably softer under foot.  Road marathons are painful, muscle soreness from pouning on pavement and tarmac.  On softer surfaces you'll be able to go a lot further without suffering the same soreness and fatigue.  Of course pacing can be affected by that change in surface as well as other factors eg gates, stiles, checkpoints/gear change, etc.

Personally Id say run it on feel.  Build through the first few miles so you dont set off with faster runners, then settle into a 'comfortable' pace.  You could add 30-60secs on your mara pace which you said was comfortable ie 10:30/M and see how that goes.  another thing you can do is take the HRM and just ensure you are at least 5bpm below your LT once up to speed.  That would ensure you dont get carried away.

I'd just go out and enjoy it, keep steady and take experience forward to the next race.  I think Ive done about 6 ultras now and still keep increasing effort and pace for each.  I wouldnt want to break early in an ultra.  



16/09/2012 at 15:55

Daz - thanks for your input. I usually run with HRM and on LSRs try to keep my HR round about 145-150. During marathons I try to keep it round about 155 and slow down if I catch myself going above 160 in the first 20 miles. I have no idea what my lactate threshold is though, and not sure how to find out apart from undergoing lab testing. IS there a simple way to figure it out other than just experimenting with what HR wrecks you before you finish?

Anyhoo, event over and I can now report miserable failure in that I didn't make it anywhere near 50 miles. Knee felt good as I'd rested it well and had it attended to by my physio so I was optimistic it might hold up. Unfortunately it started niggling after less than 10 miles and by 17 miles it was just bloody murder so I felt it would just be stupid to keep thrashing on just to prove a point to myself. Bah!

So while I didn't actually get on very well I still found what little distance I did manage to complete very useful. I had the target of 50 miles in my head right from the start so was thinking carefully about pacing and how long I could sustain a steady trot. Set off at 12+ min miles but that just felt ridiculous so I speeded up a bit. Just under 11 min miles felt like I might have been pushing it a bit and after a few miles I'd settled into a fairly steady 11:20-11:40 pace, which was what the McMillan calculator had suggested in the first place. Not sure what my HR was as I stupidly forgot the chest strap for my Garmin, but going by feel I'd say it was about 130ish.

Thanks everyone for the input and information. I'm looking forward to my next attempt at 50 miles. Got my eye on the Glasgow to Edinburgh next March/April. Just need to figure out what's up with my knee and get it sorted...

16/09/2012 at 19:37

Ah- I'm thinking of GE too- my times are: Mara- pb 3:56, ave about 4:10, 31 miles 6hr 5 mins, 41 miles 9hr 15 mins.

I have no idea what sort of time the double will take, I do know I set off to fast for the 41 miler- I was at marathon pace for most of 1st 10 miles, but came nearly last- resisting the temptation to go off too quick is a problem!

I think the cut off for GE is 13 hours, I think I might get a little too close for comfort, we'll see.

16/09/2012 at 20:06
Tricia, I marshalled at the G2E this year - the cutoff for the finish was actually 12 hours but wasn't too strictly enforced, with a few people finishing between 12 and 13 hours. No-one was removed from the race for being slow. Seemed like the cutoffs were more for safety after dark than anything else, and if people were still going steadily they'd be allowed to finish even if they were outside the cutoff times.

Hence the reason I've got my eye on it!

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