50 Mile Ultra Running Training Plan


• 8 weeks, 6 days/week with 2 rest weeks at lower volume
• Designed to prepare athletes for 50-mile ultramarathon
• You should be able to handle 41 miles of volume per week to begin this plan
• Focus on running training, as well as purposefully designed gym-based strength sessions
• This training plan is one of the 200+ Plans included with an Athlete’s Subscription.


This 8-week program is designed specifically to train athletes for a 50-mile ultramarathon. For competitive racers, it is intended to be used as the first block of training following a rest or transition period. As the first block, you should complete this training program before any important races for your season. For recreational runners, this plan will prepare you to complete your first 50-miler.

You must be able to run 13 miles nonstop and handle 41 miles of volume in a week to begin this plan.

The training program begins with a 7-mile assessment to find your lactate threshold heart rate, and then deploys heart-rate based zone training intervals moving forward.

In addition to running, this training plan also includes gym-based strength sessions.

Weekday run sessions will typically be 2 hours or less. Weekend run sessions will typically take 2 hours or more. The strength sessions will take 90 min. including the short run afterward.

The weekly schedule for the first four weeks is:
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Gym-based Strength and Base Run
Wednesday: Lactate Threshold Intervals
Thursday: Gym-based Strength and Base Run
Friday: Tempo Intervals
Saturday: Base Run (High Mileage)
Sunday: Base Run (Moderate Mileage)

The weekly schedule for the second four weeks is:
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Lactate Threshold Intervals
Wednesday: Gym-based Strength and Base Run
Thursday: Tempo Intervals
Friday: Base Run
Saturday: Base Run (High Mileage)
Sunday: Base Run (Moderate Mileage)

Note: The primary difference between the 100 Mile Ultra Plan and the 50 Mile Ultra Plan is the distance in weekend runs. Otherwise much of the training is the same. 

Required Equipment

- You’ll need a full weightroom or membership to a commercial gym to complete the strength work in this plan.
- Heart rate monitor
- Stopwatch with interval timer
- GPS Watch (optional) - this will allow easy tracking of distance and pace

Sample Training

Obj: Gym-based Strength and Base Run


4 Rounds
5-5-3-3x Front Squat - 50-60-70-80% 1RM
8x Sit-ups
4/8x Push-ups
Instep Stretch


(1) 5 Rounds
2x Front Squat @ 85% 1RM
3x Scotty Bobs - 15/25#
Instep Stretch

(2) 3 Rounds
3x DB Walking Lunges - increase load until 3x is hard but doable
5x DB Military Press - increase load until 5x is hard but doable
5x Shoulder Dislocates

(3) 6 Rounds

15x Sit-ups

15x Flutter Kicks

8x EOs

15/15 sec. Kneeling Founder

(4) 2 Rounds
30 sec. Jane Fonda

(5) Run 3 miles Zone 1
Obj: Lactate Threshold Intervals


400m Zone 1
800m Zone 2
400m Zone 3
400m Zone 4


(1) 3 Rounds
Run 1 mile @ Zone 4
Rest 5 min.
Obj: Gym-based Strength and Base Run


4 Rounds
5-5-3-3x Front Squat - 50-60-70-80% 1RM
8x Sit-ups
4/8x Push-ups
Instep Stretch


(1) 5 Rounds
2x Front Squat @ 85% 1RM
3x DB Bent-over Row - 15/25#
Instep Stretch

(2) 3 Rounds
3x Shoulder Hold Lunges - increase load until 3x is hard but doable
5x KB Floor Press - increase load until 5x is hard but doable
5x Shoulder Dislocates

(3) 6 Rounds
10x EOs
20/5/20 sec. Sean Special
10x Bicycle Crunches
20/20/20/20 sec. 3-Limb Front Bridge

(4) 3 Rounds
Hip Flexor + Pigeon Stretch
5x Shoulder Jackknives

(5) Run 7 miles Zone 1
Obj: Tempo Intervals

Run 9 miles total.

(1) Run .5 miles in Zone 1-2

(2) 3 Rounds
20 min. in Zone 3
5 min. in Zone 1

(3) Run remainder of 9 miles.
Obj: Base Run

(1) Run 13 miles Zone 2

Obj: Base Run

(1) Run 11 miles Zone 2
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1)  Mission Direct

Gym numbers mean nothing. All that matters is mission performance. 

To this end, MTI’s fitness solutions and programming are not boxed in by convention, tradition, orthodoxy, public opinion or any other artificial constraint driven by inside or outside forces.

We begin with the raw fitness demands of the mission and build a fitness solution which directly prepares the athlete for those demands.


2) Fitness Solutions Built from the Ground Up

MTI’s programming is not “re-tread” bodybuilding, football, CrossFit, kettlebell, strength or general fitness programming. We’ve built our fitness programming for mountain and tactical athletes from the ground up.

The Fluid Periodization methodology we deploy to concurrently train multiple fitness attributes is completely original and has continued to evolve and improve over the years.

Our mid-section training methodology, Chassis Integrity, is also original, as is our endurance programming, 7 strength training progressions, tactical agility, and work capacity programming.

Our mountain sports pre-season training plans, tactical PFT, selection, school, course, and fitness improvement training plans across military, LE and Fire Rescue are MTI-developed, tested and athlete-proven.

Over the years hundreds of athletes and coaches have taken our advanced programming and unit fitness leader programming courses and MTI is widely recognized within the mountain and tactical professions and fitness media as a thought leader in fitness programming for military and tactical athletes.


3) The MTI Method

→ Research: MTI begins program design with extensive research of the fitness demands of the mission, sport or event, identifies the exercises and progressions which sport-specifically meet those demands, chose end-of-cycle goals, and program backward to design the training plan.

→ Deploy & Assess: We deploy the training plan “Lab Rats” at our Wyoming facility. Training session and cycle issues are identified and fixed as we work through the training plan. Post cycle we assess the programming’s effectiveness and efficiency. We keep the stuff that works, and fix or toss the stuff that doesn’t.

→ Publish & Assess Again: Plan is published for purchase as an individual training plan and made available to our subscribers. Feedback/results are assessed.

→ Iterate: We take what we learn from lab rats and athletes, re-visit, update and improve already published training plans. Several of our individual training plans are on their 4th or 5th version.


4) Mission-Direct Research

MTI exists to “Improve Mountain and Tactical Athletes mission performance and keep them safe.” To that end, we have developed a unique research methodology aimed at identifying real world areas of improvement and identifying immediately deployable mission-direct solutions. Click HERE to learn more about MTI’s Mission-Direct Research methodology, and Here to read about just few of our research efforts.

5) Field Proven

Our stuff works. Weekly we receive unsolicited reviews of our programming and testimonials to its effectiveness.


6) Programming Breadth

MTI’s library of 200+ sport-specific fitness plans for mountain and tactical athletes is unmatched. Resources range from specific programming for tactical special forces selections, to specific plans for climbing Rainier and Denali, to general fitness solutions such as running improvement, to post-rehab from injury.

Over the past decade, MTI has partnered with hundreds of athletes throughout their individual mountain and tactical careers, and provided fitness solutions as they face new mountain objectives, tactical schools, selections, PFTs and deployments, and came back from injury.


7) Worldwide Influence

Our work is not limited to US Athletes.

We’ve developed selection-specific training plans for Canadian, UK, Australian and German Special Forces Selections and worked with individual military personnel from Scandinavia, South, and Central America.

Canadian, Australian, UK and western European law enforcement and fire/rescue athletes have used MTI programming for mission-direct fitness.

On the mountain side, Alpinists from Japan to Slovakia have consulted with MTI and used MTI’s programming to prepare for mountain objectives.


8) Mission Performance beyond Fitness

MTI’s exists is to improve Mission Performance for mountain and tactical athletes and keep them safe. 

This focus on “mission direct” solutions, enhancements and improvements drives our work and research and extends beyond fitness solutions to include training, leadership, gear, team culture, and safety. 

Fitness is just one area of our work.

Our non-fitness research has included tactical cultures, combat uniforms, and gore-tex performance, and effect of stress on marksmanship.

Our work on defining what it means to be a Quiet Professional has had penetrating influence and driven healthy conversations with both mountain and tactical professionals.


9) Direct, Honest, Clear Answers

Since 2007 we’ve taken and answered dozens of questions weekly from mountain and tactical athletes. We’ve saved these individual Q&A’s and now thousands are archived on our site.

We’re not salesmen, and our answers are noted for their directness, honesty, and clarity. Our stuff isn’t for everyone. If we can help, we’ll let you know. If we can’t, we’ll let you know that, too.

– Rob Shaul, Founder


All of the Above is Backed Up By Our Promise: Our Stuff Works. Guaranteed.

Our Stuff Works. Guaranteed.

By Rob Shaul

I received notes frequently from athletes hesitant to purchase a subscription or training plans asking me to sell them on why they should make the purchase.

While I understand the question, I’m not a salesman – so I can’t put a hard sale on anyone for our programming.

I can tell them the process we go through to design our programming.

We begin with extensive research on the fitness demands of the event, identify the exercises and progressions which sport specifically meet those demands, chose end-of-cycle goals, and program backward to design the plan.

Then we test the cycle on ourselves and our lab rats here in Wyoming. We document, note what works and doesn’t work, re-assess, and make changes and modifications.

Then we publish the programming in the form of one of our plans or as part of our subscription daily training sessions for tactical and mountain athletes.
We don’t stop there – our daily programming is the “tip of the spear” for our programming evolution. We use these sessions to learn and make continuous improvement.

As we learn more and improve, we go back, and update the sport-specific training plans on the website. For example, we’re currently on Version 5 of our Ruck Based Selection Training Plan and Version 3 of our Dryland Ski Training Plan and Version 4 of our Big Game Back Country Hunting Training Plan.

We understand our programing isn’t cheap, but we believe it’s a great value. The $79 for the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan, and $39 for the Dryland Ski Training Plan reflect the, research, work, innovative theory, iteration, testing and feedback we’ve put in and received to make these plans effective.

All that matters for us is outside performance, and we feel strongly that Our Stuff Works in the real world.

Here’s our guarantee:

1) Individual Training Plan Purchase:
If you purchase an individual training plan, follow it as prescribed before your season/event/pft/selection, and if you don’t feel you were physically ready for your season/event/pft/selection, and/or didn’t see dramatic improvements in your early season performance, we’ll refund your money, no questions asked.

2) Athlete’s Subscription
If you purchase an Athletes’ Subscription, follow the training sessions as prescribed, and are not satisfied with the quality of the programming, notify us within 30 days of purchase, and we’ll refund your money, no questions asked.

Email: rob@mtntactical.com


Do you have any reviews or testimonials from athletes who have used your Athlete’s Subscription
Yes. Click HERE.

Is it true you guarantee your stuff works?
Yes. If you purchase an Athletes’ Subscription, follow the training sessions as prescribed, and are not satisfied with the quality of the programming, notify us within 30 days of purchase, and we’ll refund your money, no questions asked.

How is MTI programming different than CrossFit?
This is a common question. Read our answer HERE.

You have a lot of competitors. Why should I choose MTI?
MTI is driven to improve mountain and tactical athletes’ mission performance and keep them safe. This emphasis and focus on mission performance sets us apart. Read about more that sets us apart HERE.

If I purchase a plan or subscription, how do I access the programming?
All of our plans are online, accessible via username and password.
You can log in through our →Website  or Mobile App →IOS and Android.

Do you have downloadable .pdf’s of the training plans?
No. But you can print the programming, by week, from your browser. You access individual training plans online via a username and password.

Do you have a mobile app?
Yes, we do. Available for IOS and Android.

What is the difference between purchasing an individual training plan, packet of plans or an Athlete’s Subscription?

  • Plan – Like purchasing the DVD of the first Star Wars movie. You own it forever, including any updates we make to the plan.
  • Packet – Like purchasing the DVD’s of all the Star Wars movies. You own them forever, including any updates we make to the plans.
  • Athlete’s Subscription – Like subscribing to Netflix. You get access to all 200+ plan in our library, but lose access if you unsubscribe.

If I purchase an Athletes Subscription Can I cancel on my own, anytime?

Do I have to contact MTI to cancel or can I do it myself?
You can do it yourself. Instructions HERE.

If I purchase a subscription and have questions about where to start or what plans(s) to use for my goals, will you help?
Yes. We answer dozens of training questions from athletes weekly. Email coach@mtntactical.com.

If you add new plans or update existing plans after I subscribe will I have access to them?
Yes. We are continuously adding training plans and packets (2-5/month) and updating plans. With your subscription you’ll have access to all new plans, new courses and plan updates.

What Equipment is Required?
Click the “Required Equipment” tab to find out what equipment is required for the specific plan you are interested in.

Where do I find unfamiliar exercises?
See our Exercise Library HERE. The Run and Ruck Calculators are listed as exercises.

What about nutrition?
See our Nutritional Guidelines HERE.

Can I see sample training?
Click the “Sample Training” tab to see the entire first week of programming.
You are encouraged to do it before purchasing.

What if I have more questions?
Email rob@mtntactical.com


Coach Rob,
I stopped into the gym to meet you this past summer with my wife, when we were on our honeymoon in Jackson; she still jokes with people that meeting you and visiting the gym was the highlight of my trip.

I completed my second ultramarathon this past weekend and wanted to thank you for helping me accomplish my goal once again. Last year, I used your preseason ultra/50 mile ultra plans for my first 50 mile race in Vermont, and I followed the same programming this year. This year, I broke ten hours at the JFK 50 (9:56:42), which was my goal. On the Appalachian Trail, my legs felt strong, and my cardio was spot on. I entered the trail behind a large portion of the pack, and it turned into a nightmare. The trail was too tight to pass a lot of people, and it bottlenecked at many points. Upon exiting the mountain portion after about 15 miles, I was behind on my pacing to break 10 hours but had plenty of fuel in the tank. After, I passed upwards of 450-500 people. In the final 10 miles of the race, my HR was steady, my legs/hips/body were strong, and I dropped the hammer even more, swallowing a handful of people who were trudging. Part of me wishes there were five more miles on the race because my body felt good enough to crank it up even more. With some more experience racing, I know that my times can continue to drop.

The race was on Saturday, and while my legs are sore, I have recovered incredibly well. Your programming is unbelievable, and I would like to thank you for helping me accomplish my goals.


I recently completed the 50 mile training plan to prep for my first ultra in 10 years, which was a 50k. I threw in a lot of "bonus" rest days to take it slow, and would have liked to have had a few more/heavier more upper body pulling exercises in the program, (but then, I have chronically unstable shoulders, so maybe that's just me). Anywho...

After doing this program, (mostly on a treadmill), I went and did my trail 50k and got first place among the females (16th overall). My stabilizers were more than capable of taking the strain of a trail ultra, and nothing got pulled or strained or overly stressed. The aid station crews kept saying it looked like I wasn't even trying! I think that's the mark of some stellar training.

Thanks for putting this together. You guys rock.

- C


"It was a great success! Thanks for the stellar plan. The training program almost doubled my farthest distance to reach this goal. The legs were ready for the challenge, in the end the muscles around my lungs is what slowed me down. Never-the-less, a buckle was earned and that was the goal. Thanks again!"
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This Plan is one of 200+ plans included in the Athlete’s Subscription.