Adventures in Running with Maurine

Preparing for my first 50 mile race

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I am less than two weeks out from my first 50 mile race – The 2009 Buffalo Run 50 Mile Race on March 28th, 2009. My emotions the last few months have ranged from total excitement to total terror and I am mixed with thinking how cool this will be with how idiotic it will be.

The biggest preparation has taken a couple of years – in order to finish a 50 mile race I had to get fast enough to be able to finish the race in a time limit and I knew I would have to become a runner in order to do this. Yes – I might have been able to as a speed walker – but I was not looking forward to the pressure that would have put on me the entire race. In order to complete this race in the 12 1/2 hour time limit – I need to maintain an average pace of a minimum of 4 miles per hour – including time at rest stops and bathroom breaks. Now that most of my running miles are comfortably under 11 minutes per mile, I think I can maintain this for that many hours.

The next preparation was making sure that I had enough time on my feet and endurance. Time on my feet has been building since I started training seriously in 2004 and increased significantly last year. My endurance has also jumped steadily up since I started running non-stop last October. The 35 mile training run from 3 weeks ago indicate that I have the capability of doing 50 miles. Until I actually do this first race, I won’t know the challenges ahead of me – but I think I can persevere and finish the course.

So – the mental and physical preparation are behind me. The next two weeks will consist of ‘fine-tuning’ my plans and being as ready as I can. The biggest step – avoiding any injuries.

In order to avoid any injuries – I need to let my body rest and heal. For this first race I want to do a serious taper. My plans for the pre race and post race taper periods are as follows:

  • Monday – 5 miles – including some explosive sprint sessions
  • Tuesday – 4 easy miles – including some hills
  • Wednesday – 5 miles
  • Thursday – 4 miles a.m. & 4 miles p.m.
  • Friday – rest day
  • Saturday – 10-12 miles, last 3 miles at marathon speed
  • Sunday – rest day
  • Monday & Wednesday – 5 miles – including some explosive sprint sessions
  • Tuesday, Thursday – walk to and from work
  • Friday – rest day
  • Saturday – race day
  • Sunday – rest day
  • Monday to Friday – no running – if I feel up to it, walk or bike to and from work
  • Saturday – alternate a little running and walking if I feel up to it – preferably on trails and slow

MY PACER – Leslie Peterson will be pacing me starting around mile 33. Her job will be to get me to the finish line under the time limit and keep me motivated. I am providing her some pacing instructions and a map and am relying on sharing the fun of this with her and then helping her finish her first 50 mile race this fall. My first marathon I had another running friend, Vic Mason, bring me in from mile 19 on and this will be the same. While I have run all the trails on Antelope Island – the distance starting at 35 miles will all be ‘new territory’ and it will help to have her there to push me on when I am starting to sag.

Drop Bags and Gear – I will be writing up lists of good weather, bad weather and mixed weather plans for both my drop bags and gear I will be carrying. Check back in a couple of days for another post with those details.

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2 thoughts on “Preparing for my first 50 mile race

  1. Holy smokes! Your plan looks solid 🙂 I realize that you are going 2x’s the distance of a marathon, but I am feeling the same things as you are. EEK!!!

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  2. Heck – just watching the half marathon on Biggest Loser this week made me start tearing up. Been there, done that, and soon to be doing something else.

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