I’ve decided to finally attempt my first 100 mile training week. I’ve never been a high mileage type runner. Thirty to fifty miles per week has been my sweet spot with the occasional peak week of 60-65 miles. I discovered relatively early on that I didn’t need to run a lot to complete ultras so I haven’t felt compelled to do so. Heck, it wasn’t until last year that I logged my first training week over 70 miles.
You might be thinking that it’s not a good idea to go straight from 70 something mile weeks to 100. The general rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t increase your mileage more than 10% a week. And while I’ve never come close to 100 in training, I have hit 100 mile weeks before. Fourteen times in fact. It’s just that they’ve come from races.
Now should race weeks count? The pace and effort during those hundred milers is much lower your typical training run. The counter-argument would be that those are continual efforts with no rest. Your body loads stress on top of stress throughout the race with no chance of recovery like you get with 8-9 hours of horizontal time.
Putting the above chart together, I was a little surprised my average weekly volume was as low as it was during 2015-2017 (33-34 miles). I then moved up to 40 miles in 2018, 47 mpw last year, and 49 so far in 2020. These increases have felt sustainable and give me more confidence that I have enough base mileage to go for 100 next week.
But running alone isn’t the only training I do. I’ve also added in a lot of hiking over the past couple years.
Up until last year, I would average maybe 2-4 miles per week in hiking. Not too much. Just the random dog walk when my wife wasn’t around or a weekend walk around the neighborhood. But last year, I started focusing on adding in evening hikes to add time on my feet or a low risk way to boost my mileage. I ended up with over 8 miles per week once the year was done. And with the extra time available this year from being quarantined at home, I’ve taken this up another couple notches and am averaging 14 miles per week of hiking. So 63 total miles each and every week so far in 2020.
I don’t know if I’m in the best shape of my life or not, but I feel like I’m finally prepared to tackle a hundred mile training week. The plan is to do 15 miles per day next week. I chose it because I’m going to be on vacation at the beach. This means I won’t have to co-mingle training stress with work stress and will be able to get plenty of sleep to help with my recovery. Flat road miles should also be easier than the rolling trails I normally run on. And if I have to break it up into two or more runs over the course of the day, I’ll have the flexibility to do that as well.
So as the saying goes, don’t try this at home. But feel free to give it a whirl if you happen to be out traveling.