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:

17 Comments

  1. J.C. Maness said:

    June 8, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Is this race full for 2011? I cannot find anything definite, on the internet, telling me if they haves stopped taking applications, but I cannot find an entry form either. Please advise, as I am REALLY anxious to run my first Ultra and this would be the perfect race for me,

    Many Thanks!
    J.C. Maness

  2. @ JC,

    General information for the 2011 Rock/Creek StumpJump 50k can be found here: http://www.rockcreek.com/stumpjump.rco …when the race is full, the top of the page will note that registration is closed. Right now, there is plenty of room left.

    To sign up for the 2011 Rock/Creek StumpJump 50k, follow this link:
    http://www.rockcreek.com/stumpjump.rco

    To see who has already signed up, and whether they’re running the 50k or the 11-miler, visit https://www.raceit.com/register/registrantSearch.aspx?event=2160

    We’ll look forward to seeing you there!

  3. wow this is a great resource! Thanks!!
    Looking into make this our 1st 50km race and part of our holidays in 2012 :)

  4. Kristy, that’s great! We’ll look forward to seeing you then.

  5. Tim Cleary said:

    July 23, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Looking forward to the Stump Jump 50k. I have run the 11m the past 3 years. Moving up to the big time.

  6. Thanks for posting this 50k training plan. Has anyone used a similar plan but also inserted cross training periods/days? Thanks again!!

  7. Hi, I am doing my first 50k and in May 12′ I really like the looks of this plan, and it’s a 16 week plan which works perfect. I also like the going by time instead of mileage.

    Can you elaborate more on the OCTOBER training? I know you have to taper but what does the rest of october look like before the taper? When do you do your last long run?

    Thanks,
    Adam

  8. Adam,

    StumpJump 50k is traditionally the first weekend in October, so your last long run would be about a week before the race. Some years, like in 2011 when the race was on Oct 1, you’d have to cut back in the 4th week of September to get your training in. This year’s race is October 6, so you might want to skip your long run on the preceding Saturday to get your taper in.

    Hope that helps!

  9. Thanks Jeff,

    I am actually not doing stumpjump 50k. I signed up for Pineland Farms 50k in Maine, which is on May 27th. But this training schedule will work perfect for me, if I break it down to a 16 week training program. I will officially start training on Feb. 6th. I guess will start cutting back two weeks before the race.

    Thanks!

  10. Awesome! Definitely let us know how you do.

  11. terry hughes said:

    June 25, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    The stump jump is going to be my first 50k and the longest race that i have every done. were is a good place to stay close to the race.

  12. Terry, check out our write-up on Chattanooga accommodations here:
    http://blog.rockcreek.com/archives/chattanooga_accommodations.html

  13. Hi Jeff!

    Great schedule! I won’t be running a 50 K until 2013 October. Can I follow this plan running 3 days per week instead since i have a year to train?

  14. [Tried to post this on IRF but haven't had any responses so.......]

    Hello R/C Stump Jump community!

    This will be my first 50k and looking for suggestions and/or advice from those of you that have run the Stump Jump before. What should I expect on race day in terms of climate and the course? Will I need to layer for the start of the race before it turns warm? Do you prepare for rain with different gear? In terms of the “ruggedness” of my shoes – would I be better served dropping weight from current burly Salomon’s to something like a NB1010? Anything idiosyncratic about this particular race I should be aware of before toeing the line?

    For background, I live/train in Chicago and have run a handful of the North Face Endurance Challenge 1/2 marathons up in WI (ie, not a total noob, but darn close).

    Thanks in advance for any and all help. I’ll buy you a post-race beer if I can make it to the bar.

    – Brian

  15. Brian M.

    I’ve run RCSJ six times, will be running in 2012. I think you should stick to the burly Solomons. You’re going to get tired of running on top of rocks after a few hours, unless you just have awesome, burly feet that have taken a beating. They should call this race “rockjump” instead of “stumpjump” it seems. If you want to go to the lighter NBs for speed, that’s fine. But it looks like you’re not in this one for speed.

    I don’t ever prepare for rain on this course, because the forest canopy does a good job of keeping me dry. This is the southeast, so there are plenty of tree cover. I would recommend bringing a good hat and gloves. But you’ll dry off quickly as the day progresses. The layering will just slow you down, and you’ll end up wanting to ditch those things anyways. But do want you think will keep you comfortable.

    It does get cold in the early mornings, but you warm up quickly. I just bring gloves. Staying fueled would be my biggest concern. You should bring fluids and food, especially if you will be towing the line.

    Nuances…Well, there is a crazy bridge crossing, a crazy rock garden, sometimes wasp stings; be prepared to fall. You may slip on rocks, A nasty climb six miles to the finish. Plenty of opportunities to get wet.

  16. Jim McGail said:

    October 9, 2012 at 7:11 am

    I followed the training guide for the 2012 sj50k to the letter except I ran 1:15 for every hour in the plan making my long runs more like 4:20. I did all my long runs on trails with steep short hills. I say short now after ruinning the sj. The results were good for my first 50k. I still had legs the last 4 miles which I ran. Finished in 7:06 which seems slow to me but I placed pretty well and I’m happy with that. My goal was to finish with my head up and the world mostly in focus which I achieved. I recommend the training plan to others venturing into the ultra.

  17. Just wanted to say… if you’re thinking about signing up for the 2013 race, you don’t have long to do it. We’re down below 100 registrations left (85% filled). Sign up today: http://www.rockcreek.com/stumpjump.rco

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