Our 50 Mile Training Plan Compete is designed for experienced runners looking to nail their 50 miler – whether it’s to compete against yourself or other runners.
The plan is 6 months long and is aimed at runners aiming to continuously run their 50 miler, and finish in under 9 hours.
Once you go beyond marathon distance and stray into ultra territory, the training strategies and advice vary an incredible amount.
This training plan was initially developed by pulling strategies from a few sources, and has been refined by myself and several other ultra-runners.
Here I’ve presented my rationale for the strategy provided.
The training plan is available for free in PDF and customizable Google Sheets format in both miles and kilometers.
50 Mile Training Plan – Compete: Essential Info
Who Is It For?:
Our Compete training plans are designed for experienced runners who want to challenge themselves, set a new PR, and perform well competitively.
If you’re planning to race and gain a good position, this is the plan for you.
Our Compete plans feature the most intense training regimes – there’s a lot of miles in there, different challenging workouts (speed-work), and typically only one rest day per week.
You should only attempt the Compete plan if you are starting from a solid running base, and have the time commitment and drive to really challenge yourself.
Six months // 24 weeks.
How Many Days Per Week?:
The majority of this 50-mile training program features 6 days of training per week.
Training Breakdown: What Will Your Weekly Schedule Consist Of?
One day of speed work is included in this plan; this is to improve your base running speed and your running economy. Essential for a competitive runner!
Time On Your Feet
This is paramount – more important than speed or miles. It’s also the biggest commitment you’ll have to give for your 50 mile preparation.
Your body has to get used to being on your feet for hours on end, so it holds up well come race day.
Hence the huge amount of miles included in this plan. This can mean committing serious chunks of your life (weekends) to running.
An ultramarathon is all about endurance, and muscular strength makes you an endurance animal. Many runners can get by with marathon-length runs by doing only running training.
But once you are on your legs for several hours at a time, having some core strength really helps you keep your form and fuels your endurance.
Remember – your whole body is active while running, not just your legs.
I highly recommend doing cross training once per week (more if you manage), focussing on the upper body.
If you only have time for one cross-training session, focus on your legs with lunges, squats and stretching – your body will thank you when you’re 10hrs into the race.
Cross-training also improves your cardiovascular health and strengthens some of the muscles weakened through running, thereby reducing your chance of injury. Other recommended cross-training exercises include bodyweight exercises, light gym work, swimming, yoga, pilates, and cycling.
Just like marathon prep, you should be factoring in one long, slow run every weekend. As a minimum, you want to have completed at least one 25+ mile run (50km) before your 50 miler.
This Compete plan features several 25+ milers, peaking out at 33 miles.
Another worthwhile training technique is back-to-backs. This is running two long runs on consecutive days. This technique gets your body used to running on tired legs.
I’ve included a few at the weekends as the event nears, where you have a long run on Saturday and a follow-up shorter run on Sunday.
Tapering For A 50 Miler
Tapering is the age-old marathon training technique of letting your training peak 4 weeks before your race and gradually backing off. It’s a nice rule of thumb that means you’ve given yourself plenty of time for preparation.
Tapering minimises the risk of injury prior to the race and means you should arrive at the start line in the best possible condition.
However, you’ll often find that it’s harder to apply such a rigid structure to ultra-marathon training.
Many seasoned ultra-runners barely taper at all – they might just relax a bit more in the week leading up to the event.
Download The 50 Mile Training Plan – Compete (Advanced) For Free:
- Open the Google Sheets version of this plan
( File > Make A Copy) to create your own version
- Get the TrainingPeaks version of this plan, which you can sync with your device.
Download The Training Plan Here
Enter your email, and I’ll send you this free training plan now, in PDF and Google Sheets formats (completely customizable), in both miles and kilometers.
After entering your email, you’ll be prompted to create an account on the Grow platform we use to control access to the plans. It’s completely free – make sure to complete the process to gain access to the plan!
Previous visitor or not seeing where to sign up?
Head over to our ultramarathon training plan database for full access to all plans.
The Premium 50 Mile Compete Training Plan . . .
Access the plan via the TrainingPeaks website and app, track your workouts in real-time against the plan, and get performance data analysis on your progress.
Proven Training Plans by a UESCA-Certified Running Coach
Every one of our training plans has been developed by Thomas Watson, a UESCA-certified running coach.
Thomas is also a podium-finishing ultra-marathon runner and has dozens of marathons under his belt.
Each training plan has been road-tested by hundreds of runners, refined and improved, and is free to download and customize to suit your needs!
Other Suggested Ultramarathon Training Plans
50k Ultramarathon Training Plans
- 50k Ultra Training Plan – Just Finish
- 50k Ultra Training Plan – Improver
- 50k Ultra Training Plan – Compete
50-Mile Ultramarathon Training Plans
- 50 Mile Ultra Training Plan – Just Finish
- 50 Mile Ultra Training Plan – Improver
- 50 Mile Ultra Training Plan – Compete
100k Ultramarathon Training Plans
- 100k Ultra Training Plan – Just Finish
- 100k Ultra Training Plan – Improver
- 100k Ultra Training Plan – Compete