I'll do my best to explain, however I have been thinking about it for a while.

I have a 50k coming up. Furthest I have ever ran is 20 miles (Saturday just gone) I managed to run the lot with a few hills in the hacking rain. I done  11 minute miles. I also had a 5 minute break at 12 miles (toilet food etc) So it may be a little under 11MM. At the end I could have given a little more, but not too much., Perhaps had another 3 miles in me before I really started to die.

Question is: Is it better to be out there longer running at a slower pace or quicker and not be on your legs for so long??

Hope this makes some sense.??


  • If you have not ran further than 20 miles, then I suggest that you start out at a slow pace, and take walking breaks if you need to.  If you start out too fast, then you are likely to hit the wall before the finish line. 

    If you are feeling strong later on, then you can hit the gas a bit. 

  • Thats what I thought. I just thought perhaps if I go at it a bit quicker and try to finish ASAP then perhaps fatigue will not kick in so quick as I am not on my feet so long? Weird theory I know. Just wasn't sure how humans work in that way image

  • No no no! The thinking is understandable but it doesn't work like that at all. If you set out too fast, you'll crash and burn early. It'll hurt, you'll be miserable, and most likely you'll end up finishing much later than if you'd set out slow and steady right from the start.

    My first ultra, I was rather worried about the pacing so deliberately set off at the back of the pack (so I wouldn't be tempted to try and keep up with faster runners) and very carefully bimbled along about a minute per mile slower than my marathon pace. It felt ludicrously slow but apart from a rather bad two mile section between miles 21 and 23, I kept going at a steady pace till 30 miles, when I realised I was still full of puff and thrashed out the last 3 miles at a fair old gallop. Felt great being able to overtake folk that were walking!

    Compare that with a recent marathon outing where I felt great at the start and foolishly set off at an unsustainable pace, kidding myself on that I might be able to keep it up till the finish. I started slowing down at the halfway point and from 17 miles was just jiggered. The last few miles were a rather ignominious shuffle-stagger...

  • loulabellloulabell ✭✭✭

    start of slow....and then get slowerimage

  • loulabellloulabell ✭✭✭

    if you can run and chat-then its too fast!! thats my rule of thumb!

  • I think it depends a lot on how far you're going and what training you've done in the past. With only 1 20 miler under your belt it would not be a good idea to try and run it more quickly to get it out of the way. Your body needs time to strengthen but since 20 miles is relatively short you're likely to end up injuring yourself before you run out of gas.

    As training increases the distance at which you can comfortably run will increase and so naturally the distance you can run 'more quickly' will increase too, if that makes sense. For example I'd could happily bang 20 miles out in 2.30 or plod around in 4 hrs, but for 30 miles I'd not really be comfortable trying to beat 6 hours. Somebody who runs more than me may be happy doing 30 miles in 4 hours but when stepping up to 50 miles may want 9.

    Everybody will have their own graphs where comfortable speed drops off as distance increases. The only way to improve your speed is by putting the miles in, though the good thing about ultras is that for most people it's the taking part that counts. If you tell somebody you complete a half marathon they ask you what time you got, if you tell somebody you just ran 50 miles they say well done!

  • I think you should set off as fast as you possibly can and see how you get on. Do come back and let us know how you got on though won't you? image
  • 5k pace from the start then as soon as you are out of site nip behind a hedge and hide. Wiat till the quick folk come past then slot back in and go steadily. The front runners will get a boost from chasing someone that isn't in front of them!

  • loulabell wrote (see)

    if you can run and chat-then its too fast!! thats my rule of thumb!

    Isn't that any pace for women!!

  • loulabellloulabell ✭✭✭
    Lirish wrote (see)
    I think you should set off as fast as you possibly can and see how you get on. Do come back and let us know how you got on though won't you? image expect him to come back after that advice?image we will be held liable for killing off forum members..



    AndrewSmith wrote (see)
    loulabell wrote (see)

    if you can run and chat-then its too fast!! thats my rule of thumb!

    Isn't that any pace for women!!

    i meant i you CANT chat then its too fastimage

  • Na makes sense most of it image Just thought it was a question worth asking. I'll plod along and see if I succeed. I'm pretty confident and looking forward to it. You're right, whether it takes 6 hours or 10 i'll do it. My thinking is that I can easily walk 30 miles so worst case scenario it will be a nice afternoon stroll image

  • DazDaz ✭✭✭

    Double run days (2 x 1hr-2hr) pref in the week, and back2backs (eg 15-20light sat and 10 tempo sun) would serve well.

    Endurance Coach @
    Elite Ironman, Ultra Trail Runner
  • I do at least an hour each day and a big run on Saturday then Sunday off. I did enquire about the back to back runs but some people say its not a good idea??

  • I would say back to backs are the staple of ultra running training.

  • Its better to be out there running faster for less time... Recent research suggests that the person who spends take the least amount of time to cover the course has achieved something known as "winning". Apparently this is a good thing. image

    On a more serious note, keep it conservative early on to avoid blowing up and turnign the run into a death march.

    Back2Backs... As Tiago says. Plus, they are good fun image

  • I suppose you get used to running on tired legs? It makes sense. Yeah trust me I'll never win a race thats for sure. Getting to the end will do. Getting to the end without any injuries would be even better

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