Up the long run or increase the next-day run?

Which have people found better?

1 to 20 of 28 messages
18/11/2011 at 13:19

I'm training for my first Ultra, just a 50K. I've been basically following the "Run for the Toad" plan, which increases the long run distance one week, then increases the length of the back-to-back (next day) run the next week, then increases the longest run again, so it peaks at 24.85 miles/15.5 Miles. An alternative plan I looked at (ultraladies) maxed the next day run at 10 miles and increases the long run progressively instead, peaking with two weeks of 26M / 10M (with a 10 / 10 weekend in between).

Any recommendations which pattern to follow - stop increasing the second run at 10 miles and keep increasing the long run each time, or the alternating pattern? I'm presently at week five in the RftT schedule and in the middle of a week which will be approx. 0 - 5 - 7.5 - 5 - 0 - 14 - 10, with the longest run taking me about 2 hrs 10 (may be 0 -5 - 7.5 - 5 - 0 - 3.1 - 14 - 10 because I might parkrun this week).


18/11/2011 at 14:07

To be honest, I really can't see the need for a back to back of that magnitude, afterall, you are only 8k beyond a marathon and the risks of injury are quite high if not used to that sort of thing

A 50K is (usually) easily achievable off a marathon programme with a couple of extra weeks of 20mile plus long runs and some sensible practice on pacing and nutrition

Would also advocate hill practice where you can 

Edited: 18/11/2011 at 14:09
18/11/2011 at 14:11

Or put another way

Plenty of people doing 100milers would be doing that B2B as a maximum

18/11/2011 at 15:00

So, top out the second weekend long run at 10 miles, and just keep increasing the long run (with some lower-mileage weeks to reduce the overtraining risks)? That would be easier logistically, as it means I could either run the long run on Saturday by myself then 10 miles with the club on Sunday, or do the club run then keep going to whatever time/distance i'm aiming for on a Sunday, followed by a 10 mile run on a Monday by taking a two-hour lunch break.

That would give me a basic pattern of 0 - 5 - 7.5 - 5 - 0 - Long - 10  (with variations to allow for occasional parkruns, days when I'm at meetings and can't run, etc.). I could also increase the midweek longish run later if my legs are feeling okay or try for some hill repeats.

Club runs do tend to incorporate hills (Croydon - okay, only suburban hills, not Lake District type hills, but a fair amount of up and down). Also I'm planning to start taking some of my long runs further out onto hillier trails (which should also be more scenic).

18/11/2011 at 15:10

So you are probably maxing out at 50miles a week which really is a significant amount of running

You should be in a good place

Also remember to have a couple of back to back rest days - I am a huge fan of these - especially if you have done some longish back to backs

seren nos    pirate
18/11/2011 at 15:20
I love the back to back long runs and used them for my marathon training this tear and it really made a difference......
i tended to keep the second run to a max of 10 maybe 12..........

I was also flexible with the schedule....i always said say 8 to 12 miles and then i could see how i felt and i could vary the routes......I didn't ever go running around the block a few times just to make an exact 10 which is what some people end up doing just to stick to a schedule
18/11/2011 at 15:36
I just survived a 50k (my first ultra) race on marathon training (not all that high mileage- about 40 miles/ wk at peak), then the marathon itself, 2 weeks rest, one back- to back weekend of 17/11miles, then taper. I was slow, but it was fine.
18/11/2011 at 17:13
veggieboy wrote (see)

To be honest, I really can't see the need for a back to back of that magnitude, afterall, you are only 8k beyond a marathon and the risks of injury are quite high if not used to that sort of thing

A 50K is (usually) easily achievable off a marathon programme with a couple of extra weeks of 20mile plus long runs and some sensible practice on pacing and nutrition

thats what im planning on doing, like you have said VB, its only another 8k so my ultra is going to be based on the back of mara training..and using the mara training ti work out nutrition along the way and recovery methods.

like seren, if the schedule says 12 and i fancy doing another route which only makes 11.5 , im not going to fret over 0.5 of a mile-running around a housing estate just to make up half a mile isnt my idea of a nice run

18/11/2011 at 17:49

Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm going straight from half-marathon to 50K, for various reasons including, strange though it may seem, avoiding overtraining - by encouraging me to concentrate on stamina, not try to go for speed at the same time as upping the distance, so it's a bit of a leap into the unknown.

Do I need to go for a walk-run strategy at this distance (I know I need to do that for 50M, but do I need to for 50K, where my long runs are intended to reach 24-26 miles), and if so, when do I start? I'm okay running for two hours or so at present.

18/11/2011 at 20:29
Hi cragchick, okay, that sounds like a sensible strategy. I'm rather looking forward to reaching the point where I'm heading off on a three or four hour run through the countryside!
Edited: 18/11/2011 at 20:30
18/11/2011 at 20:34
Debra ive only done 2 HMs but am now aiming for mara and ultra. i too was going to jump straight into ultra but thought id get at least one mara in first just to get an idea of my times...im having to conserve energy by learning to walk up the inclines using them to refuel and jog the downs..this really worked last weekend and i was comfy fo the whole run...i am really enjoying my long runs too Debra. a lot of people tht have asked how far i run have said' oh my god thats so far, you must dread those training runs'...but its the opposite, for me they are the ones i look forward to
18/11/2011 at 21:35

Just thought I would throw this in to the pot re back to backs (B2B).

I am a great beliver in b2bs, my training plans are always planned around my b2bs.

However do be careful when using this method as it can easily lead to over training if you are not used to this method. I built this method up over a period of 2 years, and had no injury troubles in this period.

For a 50K as stated previous, I would not bother with b2bs as there is little benifit to be gained. To be fair its only 5 and a bit miles more than a marathon so a good marathon schedule should be sufficent to see you through (a different ball game if you wish to contend with the lead pack however)

For 50 mile plus Ultras then the benifit of b2bs start to show there true benifit.

The main reason for them is to train your body to run on tired legs.

 I like to mix my b2bs up, there is the usual long run followed by a shorter run the next day, there is the 2 long runs of equal distance.

Or one of my favourites is the short fast 10k / half mara  paced run  in the evening, followed by the long run in the morning this is a very good way of testing your body on tired legs.

Ultimatley what ever method you use dont forget the rest days this are just as important as the long runs...

19/11/2011 at 11:00
thank you bret runner, that is really helpful advice. i will remember all of that hopefully..if i get to a 50miler...the advice about long-short and then 2 of equal distance is a good one too...as is the HM and then long the following a.m...gratefully recieved
19/11/2011 at 14:32

Thanks for all the advice, which I have taken on board. I enjoyed a nice short parkrun this morning in lovely weather (not very fast today - but then I have been training for distance rather than speed). Long run (2 hrs or so) with the club tomorrow morning and hopefully (work permitting) a 7-8 mile run nice and gently on Monday (with a rest onTuesday).

Yes, I will remember the rest days, absolutely. I'm keeping at least two days a week as rest days, sometimes three.

19/11/2011 at 17:53


 Sounds good to me

As far as rest days are concerned, even when training for a 100miler, I never run on more than 4 days a week, although at least 2 of those are double run days

25/11/2011 at 22:41
B2B's form the core of my training plans for anything over 50milers, and stood me in good stead for my 100miler in April this year. I aim to do 2/3rds of Sat's distance on the Sundya run e.g Sat 21mi, Sun 14mi, but this is what works for me, there isn't a one size fits all plan. Main thing is build gradually and have fun.
Happy Running.
19/12/2011 at 14:11

I trained for a 50 mile hilly ultra in the Lakes last year and only did one B2B.  I am prone to injury so have to avoid running on consecutive days.  However I was going out to the Chilterns and covering  26-30 miles most weekends.  My B2B was 5 weeks before the ultra when I ran the course, 33 first day and 17 second day - and there was a lot more walking involved for the second day!

On the day of the ultra I felt great and got round no problem.  So this proves that B2B runs are not necessary for anything up to 50 miles if you just want to get round.

Having said this I am a middle of the pack finisher so if you are hoping to finish higher up the leaderboard then maybe B2B would be a good idea!

13/12/2012 at 18:05


Just come across this thread and I'm in a similar situation that you were (although I've done 5 road marathons). I know you've moven on some-what now so i'm interested to hear how you would now answer your own original question

13/12/2012 at 18:11
What event are you training for? I did my first 50k last yr, had done 4 previous marathons. My training wasn't that much different than my marathon training apart from a couple of longer runs. Also trained on similar terrain to the race.
13/12/2012 at 18:19


It's the Endurancelife CTS.

I've done 5 road marathons and very happy with my schedule for that, but have noticed that on many 50K schedules they work on easy day/hard day with more of a focus on the B2Bs

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