Skip navigation

2374 Views 5 Replies Latest reply: Jul 23, 2010 4:43 AM by toms1234
toms1234 Rookie 6 posts since
Nov 12, 2007
Currently Being Moderated

Jul 5, 2010 12:11 PM

First Time Going Longer - Any Advice?

Hi all,


In two weeks I'll be running the Back On My Feet 20in24 race in Philadelphia.  Specifically, I'll be running the Lone Ranger variant of the race which will have me running as many 8.4 mile laps as possible in 24 hours.


I've been running for quite a while, and I've done 8 marathons (3:16 PR), so I feel pretty comfortable at longer distances, but I've never done anything longer than 26.2 miles.  For the 20in24 race, I'd like to complete 50 miles (I'm hesitant to call my attempt an ultra, because my plan of attack has me resting quite a bit).  I was hoping I could get some comments on my preparations so far, as well as any tips from some of the more experienced runners out there.


I was injured earlier in the spring, so unfortunately my training plan wasn't quite as long as I would've hoped.  I spent most of April and May coming back from an ankle injury and getting my base up enough so that I could at least comfortably run a half-marathon (I paced my sister to a 1:48 on a hot course with a few hills ...felt like I had plenty left at the end).


At the start of June, I really ramped up my mileage quite a bit.  I tried to concentrate on running shorter distances (~8 miles) often with shorter recoveries between runs.  Each week, I used Sunday as a "long day" where I would run 3 times within 12 hours.  I started that day out at 15 miles and built it up to 30 miles.  During the week (Mon-Fri), I would run twice a day.  I usually had a shorter run and a longer run ... the shorter run being 4-5 miles and the longer run ranging from 6-8 miles.  Saturdays I used as a cleanup day to get to any runs that I couldn't quite fit in during the week. 


My initial plan was to build for 2 weeks, then rest, then build for another week and taper, but towards the end of week 2, I felt like my legs were recovering well, and I was training at a pace slower than what I was used to, so I skipped the down week.  My weekly mileage progression went 65, 75, 85, 100.  I actually felt better at the end of the 85 and 100 mile weeks than I did at the end of the 65 and 75 mile weeks.  I'm now starting a taper where I'll run 60 miles this week (and cut to 1 run a day), and then 30 miles next week, which will lead me into the race that weekend.


For the race, I plan on running about a 10:00 / mile pace for the first few laps.  That will get me around in about 1:25, then I'll take a 35 minute break and get out there again.  I'll keep that going for as long as it feels comfortable (probably 3-4 laps I think), and then rest, run, and walk the remaining to get me up to the 50 miles.


I've got two concerns right now.  One is that the closest I've come to 50 miles in a day is the 30 miles I did over 12-hours.  I actually felt really good after that, and it didn't seem like another 20 over the next 12 hours would be a stretch at all.  I've been pretty much running on fatigued legs that last 4 weeks, but still, I'm not sure how much the extra mileage will affect me.  My hope is that with the breaks in between and the relatively slow pace, I'll be able to keep it going without too much issue.  Does that seem realistic?


My second concern is the heat.  We've been seeing close 100 degree days pretty regularly.  I've made sure to do at least one run each day outside, but I've taken to the treadmill in the evenings, and sometimes just to escape the heat.  The race does have an air-conditioned facility, so I will be able to take breaks (and showers even), in a cool environment, and I'll be bringing plenty of water and sports drink with me on every bit of each run.  Are there any other tips for running longer distances in heat like that?  I've never run with a running hat before, but I'm considering bringing one along to get some additional relief from the sun.


So is there any overall advice anyone can offer me?  Does 50 miles seem realistic for how I've prepared so far?  Does my run/rest strategy seem sound?  And any tips, tricks, or unexpected pitfalls to look out for on my first foray beyond 26 miles?



TomS -

  • AsphaltRunner Legend 302 posts since
    Nov 25, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Jul 6, 2010 11:14 AM (in response to toms1234)
    Re: First Time Going Longer - Any Advice?

    Take my advice with a grain of salt.  I am a newbie in ultra-running.  I have done a 50k, a 50 mile race (DNF at 35 miles due to dehydration), and a 12 hour race.  I am an experienced marathoner.  I ran 52 marathons in 52 weeks. I do not "train" or at least follow any type of program, my weekly mileage is erratic, and I do not taper.


    Let me state (for you to compare) that my best marathon time is 3:40 and my 12 hr race which I did in the cool of the night (8PM - 8AM), I was able to run 63 miles.  From Dec-Apr, I averaged 50mpw, in May (race was at the end of May) I averaged over 100mpw.  I did 100 miles the week prior of my race - no taper.  My longest run was 26.2 miles, except for the DNF (35 miles which I did in March).  You are faster than me and your training is comparable.  You should do something crazy like, shoot for 100 miles =)  If the course is not difficult (mostly flat), I really do see that as a realistic goal.  Your problem (and mine) is that we are inexperienced at running/moving for long periods of time.  So many things can go wrong - blisters, chafing, heat, hydration, fueling (eating), electrolyte balancing, etc.  I recommend bringing extra clothing like shoes, socks, shorts, shirts in case you need to change them out.  Also do you know what to do if you have hot spots on your foot - blister packs, tape, etc?  Moving for 24 hrs is a lot different than 26.2 miles.  I took electrolyte tabs for my 12 hr race - I highly recommend looking into it.  After failing victim to dehydration my advice on that track is to drink more than you think you need.  If you aren't peeing every 3-4 hrs you aren't drinking enough.  Also you need to eat real food.  You should have tried it in training - see what food you can eat while running.  When you are running for that long you need to consume a lot of calories, a lot of it should come from solid foods.  I can eat a lot of things: chips, pretzels, cookies, donuts, sandwiches (PBJ, cheese), candy, boiled potatoes, fruits. My 12hr race had BBQ, and that hamburger did not sit well with me... haha.  If it is hot I recomend wearing a hat (best with flaps), light long sleeve tech shirt, and a big cooler filled with ice =)


    As for race/pacing advice... just go out slow, maybe 9 min miles for you (adjust for terrain & weather), and expect to get slower as time goes on.  Do not hesitate to take breaks early on, either walking, eating, or quick rest breaks.  And I do recommend to start consuming calories early on.  I find it was hard for me to eat solid foods later in my 12 hr race.  My stomach didn't like it.  I took 1-2 salt tabs every hour.  If your goal is 100 miles, I recommend taking it very easy during the hot times - maybe walk more - to save your legs for running later.  If you need light for night running, I recommend looking into a head lamp.  I used a hand held and that was just annoying to hold it in position to see my path.  If you can have a friend/family member help you out - they do not have to stay there the whole time, but maybe they could (if they were close) come every few hours.


    The 12 hr race I did was an option in a 24 hr race.  It was hot in the daytime, mid 90's so I opted to run the second 12hr race.  My friend walked the entire 24 hrs and completed 102 miles!  That in itself is amazing but the truly amazing thing is that he was walking because he was wearing a boot due to a stress fracture... haha!


    Let me know if you have any other questions.  And good luck!

  • Billiken on the Run Pro 135 posts since
    Nov 28, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Jul 16, 2010 10:08 AM (in response to toms1234)
    Re: First Time Going Longer - Any Advice?

    I don't have any advice to offer, just wanted to say good luck!



  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,539 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Jul 16, 2010 10:46 AM (in response to toms1234)
    Re: First Time Going Longer - Any Advice?

    Good luck - maybe I'll see you.  I'll be there for the Midnight Madness, a mere one lap.




More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...


  • Correct Answers - 10 points
  • Helpful Answers - 7 points