20 Week 50K Training Plan: Tips to PR NOW

Are you searching for a 20 week 50k training plan? If so, I’m glad you are here at RunDreamAchieve. Our plans are 16 weeks in length. That being said, 20 weeks is perfect time for preparing for a 50K. You can spend 4 weeks running easy, base mileage before starting our 16 week build up leading into your goal 50k ultramarathon. I have run 2:19:35 for the marathon and 3:02:05 over 31 miles (5:52 mile pace). So, understand how much time, effort and focus in takes to train properly for a race of this distance. My goal with this post is to share with you some strategies that that I am certain can help you in your journey.

Remember, it isn’t the volume you are doing as much as it is the quality of the work output. There are plenty of hard working runners out there. That being said, the hardest working runners don’t always get the results. The smartest trained athlete with a well-planned out 20 week 50k training plan often times does. The key focus is to improve the athlete’s lactate tolerance. Of course, anyone can run easy for a set number of miles or even for just a few minutes. It is an art form to run fast. The only way to make 50k ultramarathon race pace to feel easier is to train at, near and far below that goal pace.

How Long Should You Train for a 50K?

Using a 16 week 50K training plan definitely is optimal. I would also say that 20 weeks is even better. The reason being is you provide sufficient time for the body to adapt to the stresses you are placing on it. So, spend 4 weeks building easy, base miles before starting a 16-week block of training. Again, none of us start off training hard anaerobically. We all have to start first on building a strong foundation of easier, aerobic running. One of the biggest mistakes I see runners make is running too many miles or kilometers too slow. In addition, too much mileage run too fast on easy, recovery days. Remember, all of the hard work that you are doing is going to come within the rest period.

Fast results do not occur in long distance running. So, you have to be patient, focused and have a belief in delayed gratification. Also, having the same discipline to slow down on easy days as you have to run fast on anaerobic days. The end goal is to adapt to the training that you are doing in order to get the highest return on your investment. We spend a great deal of time and effort with this sport.

You might as well get legitimate results while you are at it right? I have been competing for over 30 years so understand what it takes to run fast. My goal is to get the athletes I coach to work smarter rather than harder. I’d rather you do 60 miles a week and get results than 130 miles a week and run poor. Again, it isn’t about the quantity but the quality of the work you are putting in that counts.

How Many Miles a Week Should I Run to Train for 50K?

High mileage is necessary but it also doesn’t have to be crazy high either. Our highest week within our 16 week 50k training plans is 97 miles but has a low week of 43 miles. Of course, I am fine with athlete adding in or taking away mileage on easy days as they see fit. That being said, the harder workout are meant to be completed. I don’t like wasting time and I surely don’t want my athletes wasting theirs. So, it is key to train to improve your 50k ultramarathon race pace. Again, I want to see you succeed, not fail. The focus is to get that race pace to feel more manageable and less stressful on the athlete.

I am a big believer in jogging on easy days and hammering the harder, anaerobic workouts. Training should be the most difficult part of your preparation. So, make training the most challenging part of your preparation. The race is the celebration of the hard work you have done. Let your competition be up tight, tense and stressed out the morning of the race, not you. Again, we all have control of our thoughts and what we have control over. Practice staying as relaxed as you can in training and in your race. Do the best you can to minimize muscle tension as that energy will be needed during the race.

How Do I Prepare for My First 50K?

Plan well in advance. I always register for my races and book hotels months in advance. There is no sense in spending more money than you need to right? So, get the logistics of your race out of the way months in advance if you can. Again, focus on building 4 weeks of easy base mileage before starting a 16 week 50k ultramarathon training plan. A 20 week 50k training plan is a legitimate approach to get the highest return on your time investment. You are working hard out there so you might as well get the best results possible.

I am a believer in running faster, varied pace long runs followed the next week by an easy, relaxed long run. There are too many runners running too slow on these workouts. The result is they fail to hold race pace long run. Again, you have to stress the anaerobic systems of the body properly. In addition, back off and jog on recovery days to ensure that you adapt to these anaerobic workouts. You also have to learn to spend more time on your feet as well preparing for long distance races. The shortest long run in our plans start at 8 miles and the longest being 32 miles. Of course, that longest long run is only done once. The majority of the long runs range from 8 to 27 miles in length.

Closing Thoughts

So, ask yourself what percentage of my past ultramarathon mileage have I trained at, near or far below goal pace? Has it been 5%? 15%? I would recommend between 40 to 45 percent. Also, ensuring you are running easy enough on your recovery days to maximize results. A big reason why runners doubt themselves is the simply have not spent sufficient time below goal race pace. It isn’t because they don’t have what it takes or their time is past. My goal with our 16 week 50k training plans is to ensure you get the highest return on your investment.

Again, training smarter, not harder is the end goal here. Make sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel for additional tips and strategies to move forward with your running. I create new video content every week to help athletes of all ability levels. We also have a private community of runners who want to work with me monthly as their coach. You can check out our running community here. You are more than welcome to visit our about page if you would like to know more about my background. Welcome to the RunDreamAchieve success team. I am glad you have made it here and look forward to hearing about your middle distance to ultramarathon success.

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