Team Couch Potato
Last update December 14, 2021

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I suggest you print this out, get a calendar and mark the long run training dates backward from race day. The long runs listed are every other week. In-between the long run is 2 hours easy. Follow up the next day with a 20-30 minute cleansing jog after each weekend run plus one 1 hour week day run on Wednesday or Thursday. The sequence leads up to a 50K at week 12. If you are training for a 50 mile, then you can do a 4 hour minimum training run instead at week 12. The times are minimums just to finish. You can do more, but you raise the risk of injury.

This is for experienced runners who have finished a few marathons and trail runs and pretty much know their capability and want to attempt a longer distance or are out for the adventure. You should work up to be able to easily do a long run of 2.5 hours. If not, work up to that using the first marathon training schedule until you come to that time before starting. The long run times are minimums with no need to excede that time, but if a particular trail takes a little longer, that is OK, just take it easy. Force yourself to walk the up hills and jog the downs and some of the flats depending on how you feel at the moment. If you go out too fast or challenge a hill too hard, you will pay for it later.

Before each long run and race day, mentally plan out your run for how much fluid to carry in your run pack, food, ibuprofen, salt and Tums and anything else you know you will need depending on conditions - sun screen, toilet paper, Vaseline, cell phone, flashlight, etc. I prefer to put a baggie with my pills in one pocket and a baggie with a quick energy food in another. I like to wear shorts with pockets in the front so to make it very easy to get to either of these baggies at my planned times rather than in a pack behind my back where I might put it off. An alternative would be to put small zippered pouches on the front of your belt pack. The rarely used items can go in the main pack on the back. Estimate the time between aid stations or sources of fluid so you don't get into the dehydration downward spiral given the weather and other variables. Many aid stations use too small of cups or fill with only a few ounces of fluid so make sure you drink the right amount, and carry at least enough to get the next aid station if this one is out. Then set up your pack 2 days ahead so you have time to get what ever might be missing and not panic run day. Pack a run bag with a towel and change of clothes for after.

    Week 1: 2:30 Hr. long run - a street half marathon is OK, but training should simulate the terrain of your 50K or 50 Mile.

    Week 3: 3:00 Hr. long run. Do the Hydration Test to determine the amount you will need to drink during the event to stay even. This is a must and will make all the difference!

    Week 5: 3:30 Hr. long run - Experiment with foods that you like to eat and how well your stomach tolerates them. I like the miniature candy bars like Milky Way or Payday and eat one per hour vs. sports bars that end up tasting like sawdust and stop eating them after a few on trail.

    Week 7: 4:00 Hr. long run - Verify the foods that agree with you and don't change from here on out. Take a Succeed tablet every 2 hours or after 2 bottles of fluid.

    Week 9: 4:00 Hr. minimum long run. Do the Hydration Test again and fine tune the amount you will need to drink in the ultra marathon to stay even.

    50K Ultra Week 12: one run easy on Wednesday or Thursday, YOU ARE READY!

    Week 14: 4:00 Hr. long run

    50 Mile Ultra Week 17: one run easy on Wednesday or Thursday, YOU CAN DO IT!

Race Day

Sleep - Get plenty of sleep 2 nights before the race and eat normal but drink a lot of fluids.

Eat - The dinner the night before should be something you like that you know will go down and stay down easily and in moderate portions. Eat a light breakfast no less than an hour before the start that you know will cause you no problems while running.

Start - Arrive 1 hour early so you have no hassle parking, registration, etc. plus time to relax and talk to other runners.

For those that get knee and other joint inflammation on long runs, use Ibuprofen or Advil vs. other NSAIDs. Try them out on your long training runs if your joints swell and are painful afterwards. 20 minutes before the run, take your starter dose of 600 mg of coated Ibuprofen with a 1/2 pint of fluid to prevent joint inflammation. Take 400 mg every 3 hrs there after unless you become dehydrated and no more than a total of 2400 mg per day. Take the last 400 mg on schedule after finishing. Wearing compression sox and or knee straps are preferred over taking anti-inflamitory drugs which may damage your kidneys over time.

Drink - Drink your 6-8oz every half hour and if you run out, at every aid station the amount you know you have lost by time in your training hydration tests and refill your bottles - do not skip this no matter what! It is better to have to take a leak on trail than to become dehydrated.

Food - After 1.5 hours, and every hour after that, take what ever 100-200 calorie food you have brought in your run pack and supplement what ever looks good at the aid stations - your body might be telling you something if an item looks particularly appealing.

Salt - After what you estimate you have drank at least 24 oz of fluid, take a salt tablet or something salty at an aid station. Only take a salt tablet or Succeed tablet on the 1 per 24 oz of fluid schedule, which for most will work out to be every 2 hours. You can safely take up to 4 per day and be under the minimum daily requirement even if on a salt restricted diet assuming you dont sit down at an aid station and pig out on potato chips. You need the salt/fluid ratio in order to metabolize the fluid in your intestines and compensate for the salt loss in sweat and exhailing.

Cramps - If you feel cramps coming on and you know you are well hydrated, take a Tums. Otherwise take one every 3 hours but space them one a half hour after after you take the Ibuprofen.

Recovery. At the finish take a Tums and walk for 10 minutes then easy stretch.

After your warm down and stretch and within 2 hours, eat some easily digestible high carbo foods - a cold beer and pizza actually works quite well.

Do a 40 minute cleansing session the day after the ultra, it will make a big difference in your recovery as far as getting rid of being sore and stiff.

Congratulations, you are now an ultra member of Team Couch Potato!

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