Photograph by SplitShire
Why should you run a 50k race?
Why would anyone want to run a 50k race? Especially a 50k race that is taking place where more than 50% of the course are endless and stiff hills.
For some is the natural order of things, they started running a few years ago either because they wanted to lose weight or because they wanted to become fitter and healthier.
They probably started with a 5k race and gradually moved up the ladder. After a few 5k races they started running 10k races and then half marathon races (21k). Finally, they made it to the big one. They completed their first marathon race! (42k) and they felt amazing.
They felt invincible and at the top of the world. After a runner had finished the marathon race, they felt that there is nothing that can’t be done.
The self-confidence and self-esteem boost you receive after completing a race of the magnitude of a marathon race is incredible. They are so earth shattering and profound that people most of the time get addicted to this kind of feeling.
It becomes a beautiful dependency, a natural high that can only be achieved through running long distances.
Natural High after the Race.
One reason to finish a 50k race is that imagine how you felt after finishing a marathon and multiply that by at least a factor of 5, that’s how much high you get by finishing a 50k race.
There are a lot of people that they do not consider a 50k race as an ultra marathon race. Let me explain what an ultramarathon race is before I go on. Ultra marathon race is any race that is beyond the distance of a marathon which is 42km and 195 meters.
That’s the technical definition of ultras. Some people like the legendary ultramarathon runner Yannis Kouros says that the training effort you give for a marathon is also enough to finish a 50k race, and I must admit he is right.
He considers ultras the races and distances that to finish them training it’s not enough, you will need your courage, your mental attitude and everything else that you need to find inside yourself that will allow you to finish distances of 80 and 100 km and even longer distances.
I also agree with that statement, but to be able to run and finish 80 k and above races, you need to start from somewhere right?
I mean most runners and I am not saying that there are not exceptions, before running a half-marathon they had 5k and 10k races and that gave them a sense and a feel of what is like to run this kind of sports. They build their confidence up slowly, safely and gradually before taking the next step of the running evolution as I like to call it.
Taste the addiction of a 50k race.
Another reason you should run a 50k race is that it will give you a small taste of what it takes and requires you to be able to start running ultras. After you finish a 50k race, you will know deep in your gut if this is something that you will want and enjoy doing or it was just a one-time thing. Either way, you will get out of the whole experience stronger both physically and emotionally.
If you decided that 50k is further you want to run, then you will be able to evaluate and management your future time better and more efficiently after the completion of the race.
Decisions to make.
If you decided that you achieved the ultimate running distance and that you don’t have anything else to prove to yourself, then you found your running balance. Finishing a 50k race helped you realize that from now on the best races for you will be 5 or 10 k or half marathons races. By understanding these concepts, you can plan and use and manage your training sessions better and be able to enjoy other aspects of your life as much as you do with running.
Many people realize that running marathons and 50k races take too much time of their daily life and it is true.
Training for distances of 42k and above is like having a second part job. It is time-consuming, you need to sacrifice many aspects of your life. You need to give up on social meetings and gatherings. You need to program your family time more carefully and so on. It is a sacrifice, and I admire people that achieve that. People have jobs and families and still manage to train appropriately and adequately to participate in events like a 217k race.
People that are also runners and also run long distances are luckier if they have the support of their families. Otherwise, it would be tough; I am not saying impossible but difficult.
Test your relationships.
Another reason that you should run a 50k race is to see how much your better half, fiancé, g/f or life partner loves you. I know it sounds like a test, but it is a real test.
If your partner loves you, then he or she will support you in your endeavor to run a 50k unconditionally. I know that one of the best things about being a runner is that we reciprocate, we are mostly good people, we love our spouses and better half’s, and we support them in any endeavor they want to proceed.
The reason that we do that it’s in order to be able to participate and finish a race some actions must be met. Those efforts turn us from inside out into a better, kinder, more compassionate caring human beings.
Training for a race helps you become more patient, resilient, persistent, confident and most importantly a healthier version of yourself.
All the aspects I described are qualities that a good partner should have in a relationship.
If you decided that after completing a 50k race that you want to pursue longer distances then the world of ultra racing is a wonderful world to be entering.
My 50k race.
After I had finished, I felt like a hawk flying very high in the sky, free, liberated incredible feelings. After three days of sore muscles and pain instead of telling to myself that it was stupid to run 50k, on the contrary, I was hooked, and I intend next year to train and attempt to finish my first 100k race.
I hope I was helpful and useful with the thoughts I expressed.
I want to say a few practical things that helped me train and finish the 50k race.
I read the following books that helped me get an idea and also prepare for the contest.
Runner’s World Run Less, Run Faster: Become a Faster, Stronger Runner with the Revolutionary 3-Run-a-Week Training Program BY BILL PIERCE, SCOTT MURR, AND RAY MOSS
This book will help you understand a lot of technical details about running like track repeats, tempo, and long run. Like Max VO2, lactate Threshold and so much more.
Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning by HAL KOERNER WITH ADAM W. CHASE
This book helped me understand a lot of things like what kind of gear to use. What kind of nutrition to use and also how to train. This book is fantastic; it’s a practical guide on how to prepare for ultras. It also supplies very comprehensive training plans from 50k to 100 miles and beyond.
This book is amazing, it has everything you need about nutrition and also strengthening exercises is a must read.
If you want a list of more books about running check this link where I present some of the books I read about running and I found very useful.
Gear I use for the race.
The gear I used personally for the 50k race was a 3 liter simple Camel pack which I found sufficient, but I have this feeling that for longer races like a 100k I need to buy a better camel pack. I am on the search for that.
Also, I used a belt where I carried my mobile phone, electrolytes and energy gels.
The energy gels and electrolytes I used were High five ones.
The shoes I used to train and run were Nike Air Relentless 6. They were ok, after running for more than 7 hours non-stop I only had a small blister on my right toe.
The t-shirts and pants and socks I bought them various shops. When I start training for the 100k race next year, I will evaluate and use more professional clothes and shoes.
Don’t forget about Chaffing.
Now for chaffing, I used an organically made ointment made out of balsam. It worked just find, I didn’t have any bloody nipples of irritation nowhere which it was unbelievable. It is a huge boost morale during running not to have pain and discomfort from scuffing. A lot of runners use Chamois Butt’r Chamois Cream, and they say better and cheaper than Bodyglide, I don’t know personally, but I intend to check both of them in the future.
My running cap was a simple had, and I used a sunscreen with factor 50 protection. I mostly applied on my hand and on my neck. Cyprus sun is not something to take light.
Events like this its certain that you will want to have somewhere to stay after the race will finish. Also to have a place where you will have your equipment and resupply items. A good tent is a must, and I have been using this tent for the last 5 years now. Three persons can sleep in it, and it’s very durable.
You should run a 50k race because:
- It’s the natural evolution of a runner.
- Your self-confidence and self-esteem get a huge boost.
- Physical, psychological and emotional strength are advantages you experience.
- Time management will become better and easier for you.
- Realization if you want to enter the realm of ultras as defined by Yiannis Kouros or not.
- Become a better person for your partner.
If you really want to run a 50k, then you should defiantly consider checking out Cyprusultra.com. You can come to the beautiful Greek island of Cyprus with the amazing warm weather 9 months out of 12. You will have fun, and at the same time test yourself on the ruthless terrain of Cyprus ultras races.