50 mile ultra in 6 weeks

My 2nd Ultra is 6 weeks away, Frostbite 50, my training has so far been OK although Oct / Nov ended up as pretty busy with Half Marathons and 10k races as a result I feel my endurance is probably not where I would like it to be. I just wondered what tips people have to put a little more pep in my legs in the last few weeks? As things stand the plan is to up my weekly mileage from:

50 miles over 5 sessions 5 - 10 - 5 - 10 - 20

to 70 miles over 5 sessions 10 - 10 - 10 - 15 - 25

with perhaps a couple of weeks at

80 miles over 5 sessions 10 - 10 - 10 - 20 - 30

Any tips, thoughts suggestion and ideas very welcome.


  • Do you not plan to taper prior to the event?

    Forgive me for asking the obvious but what advantage do you see in increasing the mileage with so little time left.  You already have good quality miles in your legs with the races (and presumably faster paced running to prepare you for those races) , you have a good base of weekly miles and you have already done an ultra.

    I assume that you are doing the 2 long runs as back to back efforts over the weekend so, if you have the time I can definitely see the benefit of doing a 20 then a longer run, maybe 25 miles, back to back but then I think I would be tempted to cut out one of the 10 milers. Therefore stay at 65-70 miles rather than pushing to get to 80mpw just for the sake of it.

    Frostbite 50 - great name for a race. Just like some of the American/Canadian ones - Rocky Raccoon, Bad Ass 50 etc

  • Personally I wouldn't increase your mileage too much now, the racing will have helped out and with only 6 weeks to go you shoudl be well on your way to being fit for it. Look at getting some back to back long runs in but also I wouldn't neglect the shorter faster stuff as well to keep you sharp.

    My favourite name for an ultra is "The Big Dog Backyard Ultra". I like the concept of it, if they ran one in the UK I would be right there!

  • Go for some loooong walks over christmas - spending 6 hours or so on your feet will help.
  • Agree great name! I think its official title is Yorkshire Ultra (its an adventurehub race) but as it heads out on a coastal path to the North Yorks moors in late Jan Frosbite fits nicely.

    Johnny Bike - Will taper from about 10 days out so perhaps 5 training weeks to ultra would have been a more accurate thread description

    Johnny Bike - I guess a subsection of my question was do people see much benefit in increasing miles with such a short time to the race? I think, as I am a tad nervous, I am looking at the taking some confidence from the number of miles put in.  I think a focus on the back to back is probably the more sensible approach.

    Nick L - Given the likely terrain hitting some loooong walks in the hills is a great suggestion - thanks.

    Given I have a couple of weeks off over Xmas would anyone consider sticking to the curent 5 -10 -5 weekday morning runs supplemented with some afternoon speed sessions?

  • This will also be my first Ultra. I am following the Hanson Brothers marathon training plan for this. ie one speed/power session then rest day and 5 days of back to back running fitting in around 45 miles in 5 days. I feel like this plan has really improved by base fitness and leg strength. Quite a few people I know rate not running to far for training, in an ideal world I would have time for several 4 hour easy sessions in the hills every week, but the reality is I don't so for me the Hanson plan seems to be helping me get fitter and stronger.

    I ran the first 30 miles of the FB 50 a couple of weeks ago as a test run for the plan it seemed to be working ok (does that count as a 50 km ultra image ) My recent training not been quite as good but taking time off over Christmas to try and get my training back on track.

    Been listening to a lot of podcasts about Ultra running and a lot of them seem to suggest that being mentally prepared is almost as important as the physical.

    Really looking forward to the race day, almost hoping ground is frozen as the section in the fells was very muddy.
  • Cragchick / Tim I look forward to seeing you both there; it helps to know I am not the only one juggling priorities to fit the miles in, I don't know why but I had a picture in my mind of the other runners all methodically ticking off each session from their highly organised plan!

    Whilst this is my second ultra it looks somewhat more challenging than my first (40 miles on easy trails starting up in the Peak District finishing down in Derby) so had just let a touch of anxiety get in - have now dismissed that!

    Tim - How were the first 30? How easy is it to follow the route? As for does it count as an Utra? I think the Americans call a self supported Ultra a Fat Ass so by their measure you have at least bagged your first Fat Ass!
  • Also loving being a fat ass image Great title image

    The course is fab. I really enjoyed the run along to Robin Hoods bay and then also enjoyed the run into the moors which are very scenic. The climbs were not quite as bad I was expecting although I think running back along the coastal route could make the last 10 miles pretty tough as it undulates quite a lot.

    By the 30 mile point you have covered all the points on the course and are on you way back to Whitby. The instructions and maps are great. My friend and I made one or two mistakes but given that there was no marshals or signs up is not bad at all.

    I did the run in my Salomon speedcross and they were great even on the muddy bits. I am hoping to get up there in early Jan for a 20 mile run to re run the Moor section so will report back on the conditions.

    A friend and I are both doing this as our first Ultra so also looking forward to meeting everyone on race day. Whilst Ultra are competitive I am liking that people are more sociable on these smaller Ultra events image
  • My account of that 30 mile training with Tim are somewhat different lol

    As Tim says the trail along the Cleveland way from Whitby down to approx 4 miles below Robins Hood Bay is fantastic......The Cliff Tops are exposed and your running is broken by lots of steps that take you up and down different bits of cliff......There are also lots of stiles in this area....Very good under foot though and the scenery is amazing......From Robin Hoods Bay there is 4 or 5 miles cycle track which is fantastic to run on and you can make really good time on here. Only issue here is that it is made up of really tiny grains of grit that were a nightmare to get rid of even after came off that track....Bought some Innov8 sock/gaiters for a tenner for race day as drove me nuts and was still trying to get rid of grit hours later (blister risk) ....

    The initial run inland was ok but once you cross the A171 Whitby to Scarborough Road the fun and games sets in.....The first major pain was the run by the beck that occurs about half a mile after crossing the A171....The track is easy to navigage but was very muddy, very narrow and slippy and full of roots. There is the potential to end your race here, particularly if you push on (will explain this later)

    Once out of the beck area its pretty easy running through fields and farm tracks until you get to the moor....The long "trail" over the moor was unreal....I have always run roads so am a newbie on trails but this next few miles were not about running lol......The mud was at times ankle deep, the "trail" was absolutely appalling and was more about leaping from one dry island to another.....Tim would undoubtedly have run this whole section but it is a undoubtedly THE toughest part of the race. You will run this section twice (as start of the return section is on this bit) but on the way out it is a long steady climb over a few miles....The mud, difficult terrain and having to concentrate on every step made this an energy sapping section. Again after this there is some much easier areas as you go round the "loop" before you turn back for the 20 miles home. image

  • While my account differs from Tims it pretty much reflects the difference between our relative experience on trails....My major problem was caused by a pair of Nike Triax GTX "trail" shoes I had just bought. I use the road version of these trainers as wear orthotics and after years of trial and error finally settled on these......Problem is the trail shoe version are errrrrrrrr not actually trail shoes as such....Certainly a bit more rugged than the road shoes but certainly not adequate for this run......So as a newbie to trails (and somebody who has now been out injured for 4 weeks having twisted a cartlidge in my knee on the beck section) these are my tips and wish list for this race.

    1. Pray the temps on the moor are VERY cold. The mud was an absolute nightmare. When we were there it was mild and wet and it created a lot of issues...Would be great if the moor area was frozen image

     2. Trail shoes are a must. I suspect my injury occured because of me unwittingly having inadequate footwear.

    3. I originally had a plan to run 20 mins, walk 5 mins......My plan now is to walk the more difficult and technical sections such as the beck and long moor stretch....There are some really fast areas on this race and it seems madness to be walking any of those then trying to run a section where the running is so technical, treacherous and energy sapping.

    4. The wind/waterproofs are non optional, wind not a huge issue until you get onto the moor but once you are up there it is pretty brutal even on a nice day.

    Despite the injury we ran 32 miles that day and having never run trails I have to say this course has me converted to trails.....It is hard, stunning and brutal and I am praying that i can get back to running in the next 10 days so that I have some chance of making race day image

  • Cragchick got the detailed route cards by email a few weeks ago. Tim / Phil great to get a flavour for the route / terrain have just broken the bank on waterproofs, gaiters etc so now you know how to spot me, I'll be the chap for whom the phrase all the gear and no idea fits nicely. As I changed my mind and bought NB MT101's as my choice of ride instead of the more cushioned / structured shoe I thought sensible for the event I am hoping for the softer side of firm. Training wise not a bad week with 63 miles knocked off, would have been more but yesterdays long trail run in my new rides somewhat twanged my Achilles tendon so settled for half running rations and a portion of stretches for today. Next job book a B and B.
  • I really fancied this one last year but couldn't due to injury, tempted again but it's a long way to drive for a run about on the moors. Craigchick  I think you said you were flying up, where from?
  • Sounds very tough and very tempting, maybe put it on the list for next year - ie 2013!

    Cragchick will be flying down!

  • 55 miles in a week? In my dreams just now ha ha......After the Frostbite 50 recce injury 3 weeks ago I am now upto a tentative 3 mile jog.....Yep, 4 weeks to a 50 mile ultra race day and I am currently capable of 3 whole miles lol.......Drastic (ok miraculous) recovery required within 2 week or its game over for me Im afraid.image

    If I do have to drop out have got my eye on the Hardmoors 55 in March.....It covers the first 55 miles of the Cleveland way and again looks a fantastic run round North Yorkshire. At the moment this is the more realistic option but dont want to give up the FB50 till I have to image

  • I know I should probably just wait and wouldnt normally be bothered but had this race on our agenda for over 6 months now......Wouldnt be bothered if Tim wasnt running it but if I dont run I will be taxi on the day so will get to see my running partner set off on his first ultra and getting the buzz of finishing it later....Also with doing a 30+ mile recce mission of the course I will feel robbed if I dont get to run lol image

  • Well done my last training run before Christmas. I did slightly joke about a run tomorrow and the silence was deafening!

    Hang in there Phill wish I had someone to train with on these dark, wet and cold mornings. I do like running but not the conditions right now image

    Have a great Christmas everyone.

  • "I did slightly joke about a run tomorrow and the silence was deafening!"

     Get yourself out man, just for a quick 10 miles or so....Wait till she has gone to kip, test out your new head torch. image 

  • Simillar icy silence to same proposition in the Stewart household! Mmm the desire to test out my new headtorch may well win through though!
  • Well, got out last night in gail force winds and managed a whole 6.5 miles with no reaction in the knee....First time I have used headtorch and what a piece of kit, absolutely class! New waterproof/windproof jacket deffo keeps out the wind and rain, infact all my new running toys bought for xmas working a treat....Having to force myself to have a day off between runs to give the knee chance to recover but chomping at the bit.....Am actually thinking the Frostbite 50 may happen (well I might make the starting line anyway lol )....Hoping for a 10+ mile run with no reaction before New Year, if that happens then I reckon its game on.image

  • Well in Phil! Let's hope we see you there. I reckon there must be more than a few elves dedicated to the running gear section of santas workshop as the big man managed to sling a few useful goodies down my chimney also.
  • New torch is the Alpkit Gamma......Was recommended off another runnersworld forum and having used it I reckon its a crackin piece of kit despite being cheap as chips


    Update on the knee, well couldnt be better......3 weeks after the injury I honestly could not see how I would run this race......Over the last 3 weeks it has got better and better and I feel stronger every day.....Done a couple of 14 mile trail runs and another couple of 10+ mile road runs and heading out for a 20 miler on Monday evening just so I know I have one in my legs....

    Missed 4 of the most vital weeks of preparation for the race and will have only managed 2 weeks of 40 to 50 mile mileage prep (the last two weeks) before starting to "taper" for final two weeks.....Seems mad "tapering" given how little running I have been doing....

    Given my awful preparation my goal for this race is simply to finish within the cut off and not to re-injure the knee.....4 weeks ago I would have ripped your hand off to be running at all so to manage that would leave me absolutely buzzing......Hope everybody else's prep is going smoothly, looking forward to seeing you all at the start line

     Phill image

  • Good luck, Phil. What date is the 50 again? Make sure you let us know how you go.
  • Saturday the 28th Jan, will post if/when we get back and let you know how we got on.....Thanx for the good luck message, its much appreciated, starting to get really nervous, never started a race when I am actually unsure whether I can finish.......Just gonna stick to the "one foot infront of the other" mantra till I hit the finish or am confined to a stretcher ha ha image
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