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How I Ran 50 Kilometers w/o Training

Updated: Jul 17, 2023

On my 21st birthday, I ran 50 kilometers without training, here's how to do it.

First let's talk about the events leading up to the run. I ran a marathon when I was 19 years old, to commemorate 9/11 and the lives lost that day. The marathon went well and I completed it in just over four hours. The marathon started a slight obsession with endurance challenges and maybe just physical challenges in general. I worked out like crazy over the next couple of months, hitting milestones like a 5:15 minute mile and running 6 miles in under 40 minutes. I also lifted and did calisthenics five or more times a week. I then signed up for a Spartan Ultra race, which is basically an obstacle course spread out over 50 kilometers. But right before the event, I snapped my foot during a tackle in a rugby game. It was a Lisfranc injury. The name comes from a doctor in the Napoleonic Wars who discovered the injury when soldiers would break their foot bones on stirrups while riding horses. The injury stopped everything for 8 months.

I started gradually lifting, even while still in a boot, and eventually completed my first run of 1.5 miles which took me over twelve minutes (not bad all things considered). Since then, I have been lifting and running casually, with every session feeling like a win, no matter the duration or intensity. At first this mindset was helpful for me, since it was demoralizing being so slow and weak. But eventually it became a trap. I was satisfied with half-assing workouts and doing the bare minimum. So without having run more than six miles straight, I decided to run a 50k on my birthday to prove to myself that I am stronger than I was before I broke the foot and that I still have that dog mentality. Here's how I did it and how I recommend you do it.

First, this must be run on a track. 125 laps around a track sounds psychotic, but it's the only reasonable way to complete the event. The two main reasons for this are that you will need a bathroom and a place to store food and water. Speaking of food, I suggest you eat simple carbs (apple sauce, gummy bears, honey stinger waffles, bananas, whatever you usually crave ...). For equipment, you can do this with any running shoe; but I do suggest breaking them in during a couple runs leading into the 50k. That's it. You might want Vaseline and Gold Bond body powder, in case a rash builds up, but now you're ready. Go to your local high school track and run at whatever pace you can. I ran three miles straight, then walked a lap while drinking water and eating. I repeated this as many times as it took.

The thing is, most sites will tell you to do all of these crazy things to train, making the feat seam harder than it is. I ran 12 miles a week for three weeks, and then did the 50k. All you need is food, water, bathroom, running shoes. You don't need some crazy reason why or even a fire playlist. At the end of the day, it's just running, don't turn it into anything more. Do it just to prove that you can.

Here's my Strava of it.

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