Make the Rock/Creek StumpJump your first 50k

The article below was written by Matt Sims of the Rock/Creek Race Team. Registration for the 2012 Rock/Creek StumpJump 50k is now open; the race takes place on Saturday, October 6.

Sign up for the race at http://www.rockcreek.com/stumpjump.rco.

UPDATE, May 23 2012: We’ve put together a new video with Matt Sims to supplement this article! Watch the video here:

 

Rock/Creek Race Team member Matt SimsTraining for a 50k takes time and devotion to the sport of running. It is a landmark in many people’s running careers, and merely a stepping stone for others. People ask me all the time whether or not the Rock/Creek StumpJump 50k race is a good first 50k. My response is that any 50k is a good first-time 50k. There are obviously some 50k races that have easier terrain or fewer hills, but doing the 50k is not the hard part; training for the 50k is the hard part.

If you are reading this, you have some interest in breaking into the next level. Many of you are thinking to yourselves, “Why am I considering a 50k when I haven’t even run my first marathon?” The marathon has such a stigma attached to it, that in many ways I consider training for a 50k much easier. A 50k trail run is merely a long day in the woods. When one approaches the 50k with that attitude, the distance is made simple and more fun.

 

Base Mileage: If you are considering the 50k distance, you should first have a runner’s base. If you can answer yes to the 3 questions below you can complete your first 50k.

1. Do you run 3-4 days a week?
2. Have you been running consistently for 2 years or more?
3. Can you run 10 miles non-stop?

Training: I feel like training for a 50k properly takes 3 months. The schedule below should provide a guideline of training for the Rock/Creek StumpJump in October. Our training begins July 1st.

 

JULY

Week 1 will be our model for training and recovery.

Monday – Rest
Tuesday – 1 hour run
Wednesday – 1 hour run
Thursday – Rest
Friday – 1 hour run
Saturday – 1½ hour run
Sunday – Rest

Notice that I am allowing 2 rest days after my Saturday long run.
Notice that I have factored at least 2 rest days in each week.

Week 2
Maintain 3 days of 1 hour runs, add 10 minutes to the Saturday long run.

Week 3
Monday – 1 hour run
Tuesday – 1 hour run
Wednesday – 1 hour run
Thursday – Rest
Friday – 1 hour run
Saturday – 1 hour 50 minutes
Sunday – Rest

Week 4
Monday – Rest
Tuesday – 30 minute run
Wednesday – 45 minute run
Thursday – 30 minute run
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 1 hour 15 minutes
Sunday – Rest

 

Rock/Creek Race Team member Matt SimsAUGUST

Week 1
Same as Week 1 of July

Week 2
Monday – 1 hour run
Tuesday – 1 hour run
Wednesday – Rest
Thursday – 1 hour run
Friday – 30 minute run
Saturday – 2 hour run
Sunday – Rest

Week 3
Monday – 1 hour run
Tuesday – 1 hour run
Wednesday – Rest
Thursday – 1 hour run
Friday – 1 hour run
Saturday – 2 hour run
Sunday – Rest

Week 4
Monday – 1 hour run
Tuesday – 1 hour run
Wednesday – Rest
Thursday – 1 hour 30 minute run
Friday – 35 minute run
Saturday – 2 hour run
Sunday – Rest

 

SEPTEMBER

Week 1
Same as Week 2 of July

Week 2
Monday – 1 hour run
Tuesday – 1 hour run
Wednesday – Rest
Thursday – 1 hour run in the morning, 1 hour run in the evening
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 3 hour 30 minute run
Sunday – Rest

Week 3
Monday – Rest
Tuesday – 1 hour 30 minutes
Wednesday – 1 hour 30 minutes
Thursday – 1 hour 30 minutes
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 3 hour 30 minute run
Sunday – Rest

Week 4

Monday – Rest
Tuesday – 1 hour in morning, 1 hour in the evening
Wednesday – 1 hour in the morning, 1 hour in the evening
Thursday – 1 hour in the morning, 1 hour in the evening
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 3 hour 30 minute run
Sunday – Rest

 

OCTOBER TAPER

The 8-9 days before the race should consist of no more than 3 days running with no more than 30 minutes each run.

 

NUTRITION

Nutrition is as important as the training, often overlooked and underestimated.

1. Take in 16 ounces of fluid for every hour of running.

2. For every run that lasts longer than 90 minutes, replace electrolytes with a sports drink such as Hammer Nutrition’s HEED. Be sure to avoid drinks with high fructose corn syrup and other simple sugars. Hammer’s Endurolyte Electrolyte Replacement Capsules are also a quick way to replace electrolytes on your runs.

Remember that fluid replacement is not necessary to complete the training run, however it aids in recovery so that your body is able to run again the next day.

While on long training runs, I like to take in solid foods. Some of my favorites are PROBAR, Balance Bars, bananas or pretzels. These are also good to eat during training because most 50k runs offer these types of foods at aid stations during the race.

 

TRAIL or ROAD

With all the training you will do, it is realistic to expect 80% of all runs to be done on the road. Try to do runs over 3 hours on the trail. Your familiarity with trail footing and undulating terrain will give you the confidence you need for race day. For these 3 training months, play close attention to your body. Buy new running shoes, back off the distances if you feel an injury coming on, and feel free to modify the schedule to suit your needs.

If you can stay on course for these 3 months, you will cross the finish line of the Rock/Creek StumpJump 50k trail race, and what a great first 50k experience you will have had!

~Matt Sims,
Rock/Creek Race Team

Relevant Links:

 

Here are the race videos from the 2011 Rock/Creek StumpJump 50k and the 2010 Rock/Creek StumpJump 50k:

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