To achieve a 3 hours 20 50k pace you will need to progress at 6:26 minutes per mile or 4:00 minutes per kilometer to finish in at just under 3 hours 20 minutes.
Ultra marathons are any distance over a traditional 26.2 mile marathon and a 50km is the first official race distance to count as such coming in at just over 31 miles. 50 mile, 100km, and 100 miles are the other most common ultra distances.
Pacing a 50k
The longer the distances, the harder it is to accurately pace, but hopefully this 50 kilometer pace chart will help give you some idea of working out a realistic time, but it’s important to remember that your primary aim is to complete the race, and that in itself is an amazing achievement.
The 50km world record has fallen several times recently and the current record was set by CJ Albertson on 8 October 2022 with a time of 2:38:43 but it’s probably a bit optimistic(!) to view that as an achievable time and being able to run 50k in under 3.5 hours is a great target.
Basic split times for 50k in 3:20
|KM||Split in hours|
We’ve included the splits below in both miles and kilometers as we know most runners have a preference even if the race markers will usually be in kilometers, but it depends what you’re used to.
Pacing in km
Pacing in miles
Training for a 50k ultra
You can use much of the same training for a 50km event as you would a marathon. You will have to be dedicated and consistent though if you want to achieve a sub- time ensuring you complete your weekly sessions of tempo runs, speed runs and long runs, with a typical training build up of around 12 weeks.
As you will be on for feet for a long time during these long runs, building up endurance, both physical and mental, will be key.
What to eat before a long run
On your long training runs and on your actual 50k you will want to ensure you’re fueled correctly to ensure your glycogen stores are topped up. If you’re not fueled correctly before you head out then you’re asking for trouble and risk ‘hitting the wall’ or ‘bonking’. Read what to eat here.
Finish first, worry about pace second
Even though a 50km is ‘only’ 8km or 5 miles more than a marathon it’s still MORE THAN A MARATHON and ventures into ultra territory so is a real achievement. Your first focus should be to complete the event especially if it’s your first 50km event. Run your own pace informed by your training runs and don’t be afraid to walk up hills… nearly everyone does!
There are bound to be a few hiccups along the way that affect your intended pace and that could range from bad weather, sorting out an issue with your clothing, or ‘undulating’ terrain. No race is going to be perfect and once you accept that you’ll be able to stress less and actually enjoy your run.