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What I learnt from my first 50 mile race

Updated: Apr 19, 2021

This was my first race back after lockdown and the first time I would attempt 50 miles, so there was a lot that could have gone wrong. Added to that was the fact that this was not my A race, meaning that I really needed to pace myself at the start and not get too over excited (something I have done many times before in races).

I stuck to my pacing plan well.

I had planned to take 11 hours and I wrote how long each lap should take me on the back of a notepad. The course was a 6.25 mile lapped event, some tarmac, some fields, and I knew there were around 3 steep hills every lap. Every time I completed a lap I would write how long it actually took next to it- see photo below.

As you can see I always stayed a bit ahead of time. When I completed each lap and realised I was ahead of plan this also gave me a confidence boost. At lap 6 I think I was a little delirious, I dropped my pen and couldn't find it (thank god I had a spare) and then I wrote my distance instead of my time!

My shakes worked, my cookies and chews didn't work!

My nutrition got me through without feeling too rough but I should have started eating more a bit earlier in the race. I was eating tiny amounts of clif cookies and a few chews up to 25 miles, after that I just couldn't swallow them! I tried a few times but would gag and throw them up.

Before I set out for the second half of the race I drank some of my shake and ate some crisps and Haribo.

For this race I took 2 shakers of Huel which is a 'meal replacement shake' and each shake contains 200kcals- 37g carbs and 29g protein. These went down really well and seemed easy to digest. I have drank these shakes intermittently for around a year, so it would have helped that my gut was very used to them.

I will definitely use the Huel again, I will have more detailed plan of how many grams and calories I need to take in per hour for the 100 mile race.

Hydration seemed okay, I will be buying salt tablets for the 100.

I filled my CamelBak up after every lap so I was drinking around 700ml of water every hour, which is what I had planned. I had some electrolyte sachets in my water but I will be buying some salt tablets as the sachets were a pain to add to my water.

I was lucky enough to have an amazing crew consisting of my Mum, Dad and Sister who stayed from the second lap to the end! This was a massive bonus in many ways but I did find myself standing chatting to them for a few minutes a couple of times, which does add up. The benefits of having them there outweighed the time added though, as I still stayed within my 11 hour target time.

The last important lesson- stretch properly!

I got too excited to start the race and was chatting away, I did a couple of calf stretches and that was it! I am normally a real advocate for proper stretching so I am annoyed with myself, my muscles are paying for it. I also increased my pace for my last lap, I was then so happy to finish that I scoffed a burger, had some photos taken, then didn't do any stretches or any sort of cool down afterwards either!

So to summarise my 50 mile race and my first ever blog post, I am over the moon at completing my first 50 miler 13 minutes quicker than the time I planned. The endorphins from this help to ease the pain in my legs from not stretching! I am so pleased that I now have a better idea on what will work for my 100 mile race in May, which is on the same lapped course. I am doing everything I can to increase the chances of me completing the whole 100 miles within 32 hours, so stay tuned for the next blog post which will be how that race went!

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