Going Longer: How To Train For Your First 50K

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Ultrarunning Body Shop

In 2011, Tim Neckar, running coach and ultra-runner based in Houston, Tex., won the Tuscubia 75-mile Winter Ultra. What’s particularly impressive about Neckar’s performance is that he’s an anomaly in the distance running world (and especially the ultramarathon world); while the pounding seems to catch up with most (e.g. chronic limping, knee injuries, hip replacements), Neckar’s been logging high-mileage weeks for 37 years. Among a host of achievements, Neckar has competed at Badwater, the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim, the Hawaii Ironman, the Marathon de Sables, the Boston Marathon and Susitna 100, aka “The race across frozen Alaska.” Neckar continues to churn out 70 to 100 miles per week year round.

Here are some crucial tips Neckar instructs his clients to adopt to make running a lifelong endeavor the way he has:

1. Incorporate a strength routine into your weekly schedule. “My theory is the stronger you are the less energy it takes to go forward,” Neckar says. He particularly emphasized a strong core—the muscles surrounding and supporting the trunk. “Everything comes from the core. It helps you run with better form.” This strength, Neckar adds, becomes even more vital if you’re using a hydration pack or running  with 16-ounce water bottles in your hands.

2. Ice Baths. After long runs and races, Neckar breaks open three or four 10-pound bags of ice and empties them into a tub of cold water, then plunges his chewed up legs into the ice bath for 15 minutes.

3. Massage. Along with ice baths, Neckar relies on sports massage to bring life back to beaten muscles. “I get at least one a week. Sometimes two,” he says. If frequent massage is beyond the reach of your pocket book, consider getting a foam roller and a lacrosse ball and implementing a self-massage program to get the blood flowing to the damaged tissues.

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