1 day interval type = pedal close to max for 3-10 minutes coast for 3-10 for 45+, i.e. mtbing
1 day long and steady at about 60-70% max for 90 minutes+ i.e. road riding.
1 day whatever you want, cruise, fun, fast, improve skills for 45+ minutes.
You can do both types of training on the trails but mtb for strength, road for stamina, is by nature more prone to provide that type training. It's also a good idea to do some body weight exercise like push ups, pull ups, sit ups to gain core and upper body stength.
After a few weeks and as your stamina and strength improves, up the #s and intensity. Don't know you or yourr condition, but most people can push themselves harder than they think or thier mind lets them. It might seem a bit gay, or useless but stretching after, and a warm up before will help with pain and recovery, allowing you to push harder next ride, and that warm up before will also improve that ride. Even if your warm up is just to take it light the first few miles. It's a good rule of thumb not train too hard for moe than 2 days in a row, then take it easy for a day. IMO it's good to take off 2 days in a row each week or atleast no pushing on those days.
Training, diet, and rest = best progress. Skimp on any 1 and your progress will slow.
Look into lactic, or anaerobic threshold training. Aside fom skill, on longer races it's what seperates the winners from the losers. Especially the mental part of it.
50 miles is no walk in the park, you've got enough time to start a 16 week plan so that's a plus but I would definitely seek out opinions in the Endurance Racing and XC Race forums on training. Probably be a good idea to find a training partner or coach that has experience also.
But if your starting from ground zero, depending on your level of fitness, I'd say ride 5-6 days a week for the next 4-5 weeks and get in your base miles so that you can start to train. If your at ground zero, to get to a level where you can train for a 50 miler, you are going to need to train to train to avoid hurting yourself. Best of luck man.
Edit: Also be a good idea to read up on nutrition as well, both on the bike and off it will play a role in your training.
Firstly build up your stamina and strength by incrementally raising the distance you ride each time for a few weeks.
Then cut the distance training and try riding shorter distances at a faster pace, till you can ride quite hard for say 2 hours.
Then intersperse longer weekend rider (almost up to the 50 mile distance) with shorter harder training of about an hour.
Knock the training off 2 weeks before the event and do just steady recovery rides with the odd harder effort so you come to event fresh.
It will be a breeze!
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