Inspiration & Adventure

50K For 50 Years: Muir Energy CEO & Founder Trains For His First Ultramarathon

Muir Energy CEO on John Muir Trail

"Exactly 4 months from today, I turn 50. To celebrate this milestone, I've decided to run a 50k (my first ever) on or close to my 50th birthday. Today is day 1 of training: 30min EZ run." - Ian Muir McNally | Muir Energy Founder & CEO / June 21, 2019


Need some guidance for your own trail running and ultramarthon training? Check out our article "The 5 Key Ultrarunning Workouts That’ll Improve Your Performance."


Training For A 50K Ultramarathon

Muir Energy CEO 50k ultramarathon training
















Given my LONG (2 year) break from consistent running, and that I’m longer in the tooth, I’m going to take it REAL slow for a while.  My plan for the next few weeks is to run for time, 30 EZ every other day, and complement these runs with a mix of yoga, swimming, weights, and spins on my single speed.

6/21/19 - 30min EZ.  Marine Street to South Bird and back. 2.75mi, walked the last 2 min. First run in a LONG time (been busy busting my chops growing MUIR). Man, that was brutal, and humbling. With each stride, my body reported to my mind: wtf are you doing???  But I pushed through the awkwardness, stoked about that. I had to start somewhere, and this is where I am. A few more runs and my body will remember what this is supposed to feel like. Tomorrow: lap swim or a spin on my single speed. Next run: 30min EZ on 6/23/19.

6/22/19 - 30min spin on my single speed. To town to collect mail at my PO, then along the coast (LJ Cove to Windansea),stopping every now and then to check the surf, then through Bird Rock, then home.

6/23/19 - 30min EZ. Similar route to Day 1. 2.92mi, ran the whole way. My pace was about the same as day 1, but it felt A LOT easier today.  Thank goodness for muscle memory. Things still feel pretty discombobulated though, so my next few runs will be on grass, barefoot, so I can focus on how my feet are striking the earth.

6/24/19 - Yoga at home.  Sun salutations. I’m avoiding my Trigger Point foam roller. Why do we so often resist the things we most need? Fear of feeling well - i.e. if we felt well, we’d have to confront the litany of excuses we use to justify why we aren’t more alive and awake; more productive, effective or impactful?  All that noise. Pure nonsense. Like Aeschylus says, we must “suffer into Truth”.

6/25/19 - 30min EZ barefoot, running the perimeter of LJ Cove Park. EZ runs are supposed to be easy- low intensity, pain free, quick recovery. But my first two runs, even at a super slow pace, were NOT EZ.  But today’s run was. Yay! In fact, I took it REALLY EZ, kept my heart rate to 110bpm. I could have kept running! Most amateur runners, including me, push too hard on EZ days - which means I/we never fully recover to give my/our best on hard workouts. Too insecure to trust in the process?  Maybe. This time round, I’m determined to be smarter about my training. EZ days will be super EZ!

6/26/19 - Rest Day. Light stretching.

6/27/19 -  I was supposed to run today, but I just wasn’t feeling it.  Work/life stress, I was tired.

6/28/19 -  30min EZ. A beach run loop.  Not an easy run, but I pushed through it and kept my heart rate low (~ 130bpm).  

6/29/19 - 30min EZ. Was curious to see what running on consecutive days felt like. Not great. Too soon.  At least I know.

6/30/19 -  Walk around the neighborhood.  I finally overcame my resistance to using the foam roller.  Felt great - which baffles me to no end - why would I resist using/doing something that’s good for me?

7/1/19 - 30min EZ. 2.92mi. Humidity + mini hill at mile 2 = slightly elevated heart rate (150bpm). Not easy, not hard;  just putting in the work. Thought about my feet - more work needed barefoot on grass to reinforce mid-foot strike. I also thought about running cadence. So far, all my runs have been around 160 steps/min.  I want to increase this to around 180step/min. Counting 90 steps with my right foot sounds stressful. I’ll try playing a Chopin Waltz in my head: 180/3 = 60 => 3 beats/measure = 3 steps/second. DOWN up up, DOWN up up, etc. If that doesn’t work, I’ll try something else.

7/2/19 - Spin around town -  to my PO and the bank, then to the bike shop to inflate my tires, then along the coast to check out the surf. 

7/3/19 - 30min EZ. LJ-BR-LJ. Out and back.  3.02mi. Heartrate: 142bpm. Broke the 10min/mi barrier - mini victory. Humid = enervating. Def not my kind of running weather. 163step/min - a smidge better than previous runs, but still a ways off from my target (180step/min).  Oh, well. 

7/4/19 - My wife and I stayed home all day. We read, played scrabble and sudoku, cooked, walked our dog mid-afternoon, and watched The Americans.  Chill.

7/5/19 - 30min EZ - up Nautilus to Firehouse, to bike path to Bird Rock, across LJ Blvd and along the coast. Some mini-hills. 3.2 steady miles, 145bpm. Cooler temps, much more to my liking.

7/6/19 - Home yoga (sun salutations A & B, 5 of each) + foam roller. I think this was my first proper day of recovery. Felt great - hope I can keep it up!

7/7/19 - 30min grass - Allen Field. Man, I love this park. Used to play soccer here, it’s also where I tore my ACL. 3 EZ miles 142bpm.

7/8/19 - Mini-circuit. 5 Burpees + 10 push ups + 10 sit ups + 10 squats // repeat 3x’s. Spin on bike running errands. Foam roller.

7/9/19 - Growing a biz is EXHAUSTING. One long endurance race.  Continual stress, some days, like today, was more taxing than others. I was just too tired to run today.  So I didn’t.

7/10/19 - 30EZ. 3.1mi, 146bpm. Beach loop. Worried that I’d feel punished for having skipped yesterday, but I didn’t. Phew.

7/11/19 - Same circuit as a few days ago. Felt good, so I added an extra rep.  Then yoga (Sun Salutations A&B x 5 of each).

7/12/19 - 530a drive up to Patagonia (invited to tour the campus with George), then to Santa Ynez (to meet Kirk, CTS coach).  Then back to SB. Thought I’d have juice to run in late evening, but I was just too knackered. Walked with my cousin and her dog for about 30min.  Fell asleep at 9p.

7/13/19 - Huddle/demo at REI Santa Barbara + demo at SB Run Co + visit to Lazy Acres to see how we’re merchandized. Short 20min run before hopping in my car and driving back to San Diego.

7/14/19 - 30min EZ around the hood. 3.0mi. Body tired from 10+hrs driving in two days.

7/15/19 - Foam Roller + yoga sequence. Next time I’ll see how far I can get through the standing sequences from Ashtanga Primary Series.

7/16/19 - Another exhausting work day. Passed on running, and instead took my single speed down to PB and back

7/17/19 - Ok, it’s time to step up the training.  Today was my first “brick” workout. 30min EZ on grass (Allen Field) + hill repeats at Glider Port. Got through 1 full lap, top to beach and top, walking most of it, and called it good. Heart was RACING. BRUTAL. A harsh fitness reality check.  My competitive instincts are activated, though. These WILL get easier, with core strengthening and repeated efforts. I’ll try this same workout in a few days.