16-week 50-mile ultra-marathon training schedule

Schedule key

Warm-up/cool-down

Ease in to workouts to warm up your body. The cool-down is an ideal time to stretch.

Easy/recovery runs

They should feel relaxed, allowing you to breathe easy and hold a conversation – 5-6 on your Perceived exertion scale.

Long pace

Between your marathon race pace and one to two minutes per mile slower, depending on your goals. They are faster than easy runs and slower than tempo runs.

Tempo runs

These are controlled discomfort – ‘comfortably hard’, 8 out of 10 on your perceived exertion scale, or the pace you could sustain for an hour. You can utter a few words at a time.

Fast

Fast, but not all-out pace – 8.5 to 9 on your perceived exertion scale.

Back-to-back long runs

These Saturday-Sunday runs are introduced in the second half of the schedule and are a key endurance-building workout.

Strength and conditioning (S&C)

Do a circuit comprising the three exercise in this article, plus three others of your choice. Body-weight exercises are best for keeping things balanced – box jumps, burpees, side planks, chin-ups, triceps dips and press-ups are good options.

Do three sets of 10-15 reps for one circuit; add circuits as your strength and fitness increases.

Specificity

Train in the type of conditions you will expect in the race: if it is a trail race, for example, try to do at least half of your runs off-road.


50-MILE ULTRA-MARATHON SCHEDULE


WEEK 1

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 35 mins easy

Wednesday: 6-8 miles easy

Thursday: S&C

Friday: 60 mins easy, with 10 mins faster within the run

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 8 miles at long pace


WEEK 2

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 35 mins easy

Wednesday: 15 mins easy, 10 x 2 mins fast with 1-min jog recovery, 15 mins easy

Thursday: 1 mile easy, 6 miles at long pace, 1 mile easy

Friday: S&C

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 10 miles – middle 8 at long pace, first and last mile easy


WEEK 3

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 60 mins easy

Wednesday: 15 mins easy, 7 x 1 min fast with 75-sec recoveries, 15 mins easy

Thursday: S&C

Friday: 5 mins easy, 35 mins at long pace, 5 mins easy

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 12 miles at long pace


WEEK 4

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 35 mins tempo

Wednesday: 10 mins easy, 15 mins tempo, 3 mins easy, 25 mins long pace, 10 mins easy

Thursday: S&C

Friday: 6 miles at long pace

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 15 miles; 5 mins easy, slowly increase pace to run the majority at long pace, end with a few mins easy


WEEK 5

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: AM 35 mins easy, PM 35 mins tempo

Wednesday: 15 mins easy, 5 x 5 mins fast with 90-sec recoveries, 10 mins easy

Thursday: 60 mins easy

Friday: S&C

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Half marathon or 13-mile time trial, faster than long pace, below tempo pace


WEEK 6

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 35 mins easy

Wednesday: 15 mins easy, 1/3/5/5/3/1 fast efforts with 1-min recoveries, 15 mins easy

Thursday: S&C

Friday: 35 mins easy

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 18 miles at long pace


WEEK 7

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: S&C

Wednesday: 60 mins easy

Thursday: 10 mins easy, 6 x 2 mins fast with 1-min easy recoveries, 3 mins easy,10 mins tempo, 10 mins easy. Build speed in the legs

Friday: 35 mins easy

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 18 miles at long pace


WEEK 8

Monday: 35 mins easy

Tuesday: 10 mins easy. 8 miles at long pace, 10 mins easy

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 10 mins easy, 4 x (8 mins tempo, 3 mins easy), 10 mins easy

Friday: S&C

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 22 miles at long pace


WEEK 9

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 45 mins easy

Wednesday: 10 mins easy, 3 x (1 mile at tempo with 2 mins easy recoveries), 10 mins easy

Thursday: S&C

Friday: 40 mins easy

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Half marathon. Push the pace


WEEK 10

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 45 mins easy

Wednesday: 10 mins easy, 7x1 mile slightly faster than long pace with 2 mins easy recoveries, 10 mins easy

Thursday: S&C

Friday: 75 mins easy

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 20 miles First and last 5 miles easy, middle 10 miles at marathon pace


WEEK 11

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: AM 35 mins easy, PM 35 mins tempo

Wednesday: 15 mins easy, 30 mins tempo, 5 mins easy, 20 mins tempo, 10 mins easy

Thursday: Rest

Friday: S&C

Saturday: Parkrun or 5K race. Push yourself, then do 20-25 mins cool-down

Sunday: Run for 3:30, long pace. Practise nutrition, water and/or sports drink


WEEK 12

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 50 mins easy

Thursday: 35 mins easy

Friday: S&C

Saturday: 12 miles easy

Sunday: 12 mile hilly run, long pace


WEEK 13

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 80 mins easy

Wednesday: 80 mins long pace

Thursday: Rest

Friday: S&C

Saturday: 15 miles long pace, include hills and practice eating on this run

Sunday: 15 miles at long pace, flatter route


WEEK 14

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: S&C

Wednesday: 90 mins at long pace (refuel during and after – tough weekend ahead)

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 10 miles easy pace, include hills. Recover and refuel

Sunday: 32 miles easy pace. Remember to eat and walk section if you need to


WEEK 15

Monday: Rest and stretch

Tuesday: Rest and stretch. Eat and hydrate well

Wednesday: 4 miles easy (recovery run)

Thursday: 8 miles easy, include hills

Friday: Rest and stretch. Eat and hydrate well

Saturday: S&C

Sunday: 10 miles easy, include hills


WEEK 16

Monday: Rest and stretch. Eat and hydrate well

Tuesday: Rest and stretch. Eat and hydrate well

Wednesday: Rest and stretch. Eat and hydrate well

Thursday: Walk or jog 10 mins

Friday: Rest and stretch. Eat and hydrate well

Saturday: Rest and stretch. Eat and hydrate well

Sunday: Ultra-marathon race. Enjoy the experience!