How Long Does It Take To Run A 50K: Training Time Do You Need For A 50 Mile


Are you Interested in a 50k ultra distance or do you just want to know how long Should you train for a 50-mile?

The 50k miles ultramarathon is an entirely different experience from a road marathon.

The 50k presents a unique set of challenges to each runner and tests both their mental and physical capabilities.

Your speed decreases in a 50k, and the intensity of your run increases compared to a road marathon, and how long it takes to run your 50k is dependent on a variety of factors.

How long does it take to run a 50K? Running time on a 50k run depends on many factors: physical fitness, age, training, experience, and terrain. Expect to run roughly 10-20% slower than your typical road running pace, or more if your trail has high vertical gains and is rugged and rocky.

Expect to run up to 30 seconds slower per mile than your marathon speed. On average a good 50K time is 6hrs 13min for a male and around 6hrs 49mins for a female.

If you wish to enter a 50k miles race, you need to adapt your training to suit the terrain and challenges of your chosen ultramarathon.

Proper training and preparation have everything to do with how many hours you would expect to complete your 50k.

If you would like to know more about what the 50k is and discover some tips to shave extra time off your 50k, please read on. 

What Is A 50k?

What is a 50K miles marathon? A 50k footrace is an ultramarathon or ultra-distance run that is longer than the traditional marathon distance of 42.195kms (26.219.)

50 K Is how many miles? Well, how many miles is a 50K, the 50-mile race takes place over 31.07 miles (50kms) and can be performed on-road and is most often run in natural trails in areas all across the world.

In Europe, ultrarunning traces its origins far back into history, with the ancient Greeks holding Marathons and Spartathlons.

Although it only covers an extra 5 miles more than a traditional marathon, requiring respect and dedication to training and fitness.

It is a significantly different race style to the conventional marathon. Often, the runner has to be self-sustained in terms of nutrition and hydration as aid stations are fewer and far between.

How Do I Choose The Right 50k miles?

Not all 50k ultramarathons are created equal, so you should choose wisely when starting your ultra career.

Specific trails are more suited to advanced 50k runners than the novice and have more significant height gain and trail difficulty.

When choosing the best 50 k miles for your level of experience and training, you should consider:

  • Altitude. Research the starting point of your intended trail and the overall height of elevation. Racing at higher altitudes than you are used to training may pose challenges to you as a runner.
  • Elevation gain. There can be considerable differences in elevation gain and loss in individual trails. Trails with more significant elevation gains are more difficult to beginner runners and are a far greater test of endurance than relatively uniform tracks.
  • Different course structure. The course structure you intend to race can vary from a rocky,  single track to a wide groomed trail, and runners should consider which suits their level of training beast.
  • Temperature. Choosing the right time of year for your 50 mile can have a significant effect on your performance. Temperature extremes are challenging to any runner, especially those new to the challenges of trail running.
  • Aid stations. Some of the more remote trails do not cater to large numbers of participants and provide few aid stations for the runners. You should research how many aid stations are on your intended course and the manner of aid they provide, such as fluids, foods, electrolytes, and toilet facilities.

How Do I Train And The Training Time For A 50K

How Much Training Time Do You Need

You might have completed a marathon or two and think the extra 5 miles longer than the 26.2-mile marathon won’t be a significant challenge.

At 31 miles, the 50k ultra marathon is not merely an increased distance, but it may be an entirely new way to run a race.

Although you might find road ultra marathons, you are more likely to find that 50ks take place on trails that have their unique set of challenges.

How much training time do you really need to run a 50K? For a good preparation to the 50K and 50 mile I will recommend you try to train at least 6 to 7 hours per week and keep this frequency for a minimum of 3 to 4 weeks in the row.

You need to keep in mind that if you want to be successful at the 50K and 50-mile ultra distances, you need to start your training sessions 6 weeks before your goal event.

Ultras set on trails include steep hills, rocky terrain with uneven footing, and long distances without any aid stations.

More than a race against other runners, the 50 k miles presents a more significant mental adjustment of endurance running and challenging yourself to achieve your best run.

If you are planning to run a 50k, there are ways that you may prepare yourself for the change of pace.

An essential base of your training should be your running time goals.

For example, if you plan to run your 50-mile in 7 hours, you should extend your training 20-30% more than your goal time every week.

So you would train 8-9 hours weekly to prepare yourself for the race itself.

Start Running Trails

The best part of the 50k ultras is getting to run in natural beauty areas, but being in nature means you won’t be running on tarred roads.

You need to start incorporating trail running into your training by shifting some of your runs to dirt.

First, just add a couple of shorter trail runs to your weekly routine to build up your endurance and adapt to the mixed terrain.

  • Start with easy trials to learn proper foot placement and adjust your stride to the new running surface. 
  • Gradually start training on the more difficult trails, ensuring that you take time to build up your skills and adapt to natural terrain challenges.
  • Once you have built your new running style, you may start to select trails that mimic your chosen ultra trail. Try and find training trails with a similar difficulty, elevation, and terrain surface as your chosen race.

Learn Your New Pace

Most marathon training includes speed training, which is not a high priority when running a 50k miles trail.

Your focus will need to shift from running at speed to a slower, sustained pace for up to 6hrs or even more.

Decrease your speed training and replace it with a moderate-paced aerobic activity that builds your leg muscles and increases your endurance.

  • Increase most of your run time to a comfortable pace that is slow enough to keep in conversation with a running partner
  • Use a heart monitor to ensure that you keep up the slow, sustained intensity of your running.
  • Learn to reduce your speed on hilly inclines and maintain an easy effort for a sustained intensity run.

What Pace Do Ultra-Marathoners Run?

When looking at running as a whole, the average pace seems to be trending upwards (i.e. getting faster).

However, when it comes to ultra-marathoners, people seem to be getting slower. 

Nowadays, ultrarunners are traveling at around 13:16 per mile pace. This works out to be 1:41 per mile slower than ultra-marathoners in 1996.

Why is this? Well, no one can say for sure. However, we believe it has something to do with the fact that there are a lot of novices entering these races.

Surprisingly, there isn’t much of a difference in time between genders these days.

In fact, there’s only a 2-second difference! Men seem to be running at 13:21 per mile, while women are running at 13:23 per mile.

What Pace Does Courtney Dauwalter Run?

Courtney Daulwater’s pace is around 10:47 per mile. She has managed to place incredibly high in pretty much all of the races she has competed in.

Daulwalter has sparked a lot of gender debates in the ultramarathon world as she repeatedly beats the men.

Some people have suggested that women are “better built” for this type of race.

But, there is nothing to suggest that this is scientifically true.

It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and mental agility to be able to get to where Courtney Daulwater is today.

To say she’s an inspiration would be a huge understatement.

Increase Your Distance

50k ultra-marathons is all about going the long haul. Your weekly long run should be the focus of your training and will be the area you will learn your capabilities the most.

Keep building up your distances over, and you will learn to cope with mental fatigue and develop the skills you need for the 50 k challenge.

  • Run for time and not for distance when training for an ultra. Long runs on a trail take much more time than the same distance run on a road. Give yourself a time limit instead and train on the trail. 
  • Learn to carry your hydration and nutrition on longer runs and start learning your bodies needs for optimum performance
  • After 4-6 weeks of extending your distance and endurance, cut back by 20% for a low mileage week, and then build up your distance again.

Intensity Training

Because your 50 k miles is not just about distance, you should consider incorporating some mixed intensity training to get your body trail fit.

These workouts should follow a two-week cycle and incorporate other moderate training exercises within your plan and deliver some diversity to your training schedule.

  • Fartleks or ‘speed play’ in Swedish focus on changing your leg pace from the easy pace associated with 50 mile trails. Fartleks are one-minute surges every 6-7 minutes of your run before returning to your easy long run style. These surges should not be massive, but merely 15-20 seconds increase in speed per mile.
  • Hill repeats to build up a runner’s strength and endurance for the race day. Find a hill with a suitable incline and run up the hill in 90-second intense bursts and recover by jogging or walking down for 2-3 minutes. Start with 4-5 repeats on moderate grades of 6-7 % running at 85% maximum pace. 

How Many Miles a Week Should I Run to Train for 50k?

To tell you the truth, the number of miles you run each week isn’t as important as the certain training stress.

It feels only natural that the longer you plan to run, the more miles you should run in training. However, this might not be the best way to go about it.

Since you are running an ultramarathon, your ability to cope with biomechanical stress is more important than the capacity of your aerobic system.

You need to focus your training on increasing efforts that simulate the actual ultramarathon.

Whether you do back-to-back extra-long runs a few times a week (around 30 to 50 miles) or training races, everything will be preparing you.

Is Running 50 Miles a Week Too Much?

To tell you the truth, there is no reason why you shouldn’t run 50 miles a week. Of course, there are rest days you need to take to allow your body time to recover.

But, running this much each week gives you the “serious runner” label that you may well want.

If you have a decent background in marathon training, your body should be more than used to running long distances. Thus, 50 miles a week will be a doddle (in theory).

So, how should you go about running 50 miles a week? Follow this:

  • 1 x long run (10 miles) possibly on Sunday
  • 1 x easy run (4 miles) on Monday
  • 1 x normal run (7.5 miles) on Tuesday
  • 1 x normal run (7.5 miles) on Wednesday
  • 1 x semi-recovery run (6 miles) on Thursday
  • 1 x normal run (7.5 miles) on Friday
  • 1 x normal run (7.5 miles) on Saturday

What Should I Eat on My 50k Miles?

If you are running a 50k miles, especially a trail 50k miles, you will not find the regular aid stations standard in road marathons.

With fewer stations, a runner must ensure that they can sufficiently provide themselves with hydration, electrolytes, and energy to complete the race.

The long periods spent on a 50-mile trail increase the body’s demands for hydration and energy.

By the time you are ready to run your 50k miles, you should have a clear idea of your nutritional and hydration needs from your training.

Sports nutritionists suggest that you start early and don’t get left behind, and only hydrate for the first hour to 90 minutes.

After that, you should have a strict timing schedule to eat and drink your preferred energy source.

  • Find out before your race where the aid stations are placed on the trail and what foodstuffs are available. That way, you will know what to expect and what you need to bring with you on your run.
  • Finding out your sweat rate is key to your 50K hydration needs, which is the cornerstone of your success or failure on the run. To determine this rate, weigh yourself naked before a moderate 1 hour run without water or food. Weigh yourself, and for every 2 pounds, you have lost 1 liter of water. Thus you may calculate the amount of hydration you need per hour when on the trail.
  • Increase your caloric intake gradually in your training to the maximum caloric intake per hour without becoming sick. For example, start with two 100 calorie gel packs, and increase your calories gradually, so your body becomes accustomed to it. Each individual is different in which manner they best chose to ingest energy, but you should be able to take in at least 300 calories per hour come race day.

What Should Runners Not Eat?

People have different opinions when it comes to what runners should and should not eat.

Regardless, the community tends to agree with the following foods that you, as a runner, should never eat:

  • Fried foods — they have a high-fat content that is hard for your body to digest.
  • Dairy foods — scientists have concluded that the main cause of stomach aches when running is dairy.
  • Alcohol — consuming alcohol in moderation is fine. However, you should restrict your intake as much as possible since it acts as an extreme diuretic.
  • Fiber-rich foods — fiber is very important but, it can give you painful bloating.

How Long Before a Run Should I Eat a Banana?

How long before a run should i eat a banana? On a normal running day, you need to eat a banana (or another snack) between 30 to 90 minutes before you start your run.

This will be enough to keep hunger at bay and give your glucose levels a bit of a boost.

If you are planning to go for a long run (i.e. it will take longer than 90 minutes to finish), then you need to eat a little bit more.

Try consuming a medium-sized snack around 30 to 120 minutes before your run.

For those of you who don’t like bananas, you could try some of the following:

  • Energy bars
  • Oatmeal (a little bowlful)
  • Toast with peanut butter
  • Wheat bagel peanut butter

What Happens to Your Body After an Ultramarathon?

Ultrarunning is not necessarily all that good for you. There are a lot of symptoms that can occur after you have finished running that can stay for a significant length of time. 

Anyway, let’s take a look at what happens to your body afterward, shall we?

  • Mood swings — you might cry randomly, become teary about good things, and so much more.
  • Muscle soreness — yes, this is obvious, but you might be so sore that you can’t move.
  • Exhaustion — you may experience delayed delirium (hallucinations can happen).
  • Swelling — it’s likely that you’ll get puffy toes. However, your ankles and knees may swell too.
  • Lack of appetite — it might take around 48 hours for you to get your appetite back after an ultramarathon.

What Gear do I need for my 50k?

Your gear for your 50k miles adventure is essential and may make or break your race.

A small first aid kit is a must, as well as sunscreen, your map, sunglasses, lightweight waterproof layer, spare batteries, and ready cut rock tape.

Ensure that your backpack is lightweight and comfortable, and take it often in your training to ensure it won’t end up chafing or causing you discomfort. 

Other gear includes:

  • A mix of fuels. Energy bars, gel sweets, and rehydration packs are essential for a successful run. The high level of calorie consumption on a trail means you will have to consume energy often to ensure you don’t suffer exhaustion.
  • Chafing creams are essential in your kit, and invariably you will find yourself chaffing on a 50-mile haul.
  • A cap or hat to protect your eyes from the sun and prevent sunburn on your sensitive face area.
  • Good quality and lightweight headlamp with high lumens. Many ultras start before dawn and after sunset, so being able to see your trail is vital. 
  • Hydration. Because your aid stations may be spaced widely apart, you will need to take your own hydration, energy, and nutrition requirements.
  • Shoes. Trail running shoes are a must on a 50k trail that has a protective plate to protect your foot from rugged terrain and provide proper grip on slippery surfaces. 
  • Comfortable clothing. Although you don’t need specialized clothing, keep in mind the vagaries of nature, and ensure that you will have protection from the elements as well as comfort while running. 

50K and 50-mile ultra distances FAQs

Is Pizza Good for Runners?

Just like anyone, you need to eat a healthy, balanced diet as a runner.

Is pizza good for runners? Generally speaking, pizza doesn’t come under this “clean eating” heading. However, it doesn’t have to be this way! However, Pizza can indeed be rather healthy — especially if you make it yourself.

You can easily avoid high-calorie pizza options and go for the low-calorie, “light” options.

The crust on these will give you complex carbs and fiber. The cheese gives you calcium and the meat will promote muscle regeneration.

The veggies provide all the vitamins and minerals. Essentially, everything you need to have a great run!

Does Dean Karnazes Still Run?

Does Dean KaYep, Dean Karnazes does still run! He is aptly named as “the man who can run forever” — and he seems to be proving this time and time again.

We could spend forever listing all his amazing feats but to keep it short and sweet, we’ll just take a look at a few. Deal?

  • He ran to the South Pole in minus 40 degrees!
  • He ran 135 miles across Death Valley. The temperature here is roughly 120 degrees. Oh, and he did it more than once!
  • He ran 50 marathons, in 50 states, in 50 days. Bear in mind, these days were in a row!

How Do Ultra Runners Make Money?

There have been plenty of ultrarunners who have had tried to earn a living through just running and eating healthily.

However, most of them have eventually found out that it doesn’t really work if you aren’t an Olympic level athlete.

How do ultr runners make money? There are some ultrarunners who have made themselves into a brand. Not to mention that others have written and consequently published books that have been bestsellers.

It’s safe to say that this would make the extreme runners some money!

If you are trying to make money from running ultramarathons, you need to make sure you are amazingly good at it before you go down that path.

Try winning some races and get yourself some prizes money. And most importantly, keep running!

What Is The Longest Time Someone Has Run Without Stopping?

The longest time someone has run without stopping is astronimcal.

Seriously, most of us would die a horrible death if we even attempted to do something like this. But Dean Karnazes went and did it.

What is the longest time someone has run without stopping? Well, Dean Karnazes ran for a total of 80 hours and 44 minutes without stopping! He ran from San Francisco to Palo Alto which is a whopping 350 miles.

Karnazes didn’t stop to eat, sleep, or even slow down. The amount of stamina, physical fitness, and mental agility this would’ve taken is mind-blowing

Of course, he’s not the only one who has taken up “extreme running”. There are others who have run around the same amount of time without stopping.

Do Ultra Runners Walk?

Do ultr runners walk? In a word, yes. If it is a hilly race, the elite ultra runners will even walk so there’s nothing to be ashamed of! To tell you the truth, walking is the smart option when tackling hills in your ultramarathon.

Why? Because the effort needed when running up hills may make your heart rate go above your anaerobic limit.

This will eat through your glycogen stores too quickly and prevent you from finishing the race.

The difference between elite ultrarunners is their walking pace.

To teach yourself to walk faster, you should incorporate walking into your training. Yes, it sounds quite strange but walking is very different from running.

It involves different muscle memory, so practice. This is the only way to speed up.


Veteran 50-mile trail runners claim there is no better high in the world than completing a grueling 50k, regardless of your finishing time.

Being in the outdoors and discovering your limits, and pushing past them is all part of the joy of this increasingly popular ultra-marathon.

Proper training, nutrition, and building up your endurance over time will ensure you will get a place in the race as a bonus to the joy of the run.


Mike Gilmour

Hi, I'm Mike, co-founder, and editor of RV and Playa. My passion is traveling (with my RV) and enjoying the day at the beach (Playa)! Well, I originally created this blog as a way to share what I've learned by experimenting with the RV lifestyle, and I want to help others develop in life through new skills and opportunities.

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